In the beginning of the year 1985, Elder Ernest McNear, being led of The Lord, founded True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church. Upon it’s inception, The Lord opened a door at York Street Community Center where Pastor McNear began holding services. Soon thereafter, Prayer and Worship services were carried on in his home. Upon further sanctioning of the ministry of True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church, The Lord blessed with the acquisition of 763 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146, the first home of True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church.
The building, a three story shell, was converted into a more than suitable tabernacle within which to worship with the building construction help of Reverend Ricci Hausley, Pastor of Eagle’s Nest Christian Fellowship. The Church was dedicated within that same year, 1985, and Elder McNear’s former Pastor, the late Bishop Reuben Timothy Jones, Sr., delivered the Installation Charge. Within a few years thereafter, the entire facility had been renovated. The first floor housed the Church and day care, the second floor consisted of offices and the new built “Fellowship Hall”, and the third floor facilitated the pastoral suite.
In November of 1994, The Lord divinely intervened while Pastor McNear was in prayer, and told him to take the 54th Chapter of the Book of Isaiah and possess it in its entirety. Being a man who walks by faith, Pastor McNear (oblivious to its full revelation) held fast to Isaiah, Chapter 54 and incorporated the reading of this chapter in his daily prayer and devotions. Shortly thereafter, the Church experienced a marked increase in the expanse of its Day Care and Learning Center Ministry, the Evangelism and Outreach Ministry, Street Witnessing and Follow up, the Music Ministry, and an expansion of True Gospel Time Broadcast to other states in this country.
In March of 1996, Pastor McNear traveled to Kansas City, Kansas accompanied by his friend, Pastor Ronald Tucker of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Glassboro, New Jersey, to attend a Multiplication Anointing Conference. On the way back to Philadelphia, they purposed to stop in Columbus, Ohio, to attend Reverend Rod Parsley’s service at World Harvest Church. This was the point in time when The Lord spoke to Pastor McNear’s heart and said, “Significant Breakthrough.”
In May of 1996, The Lord began to unfold to Pastor McNear the meaning of Isaiah 54 in conjunction with the term “Significant Breakthrough.” During this time, Superintendent Andrew H. Willis advised him of a church on the corner of 16th and Mifflin Streets where there was a three building property owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese. Not only was the property not listed for sale, there were no “For Sale” signs on any of the buildings comprising the property.
On Sunday morning, June 7, 1996, Pastor McNear and Evangelist Barbara McNear attended service in order to get confirmation from The Lord. The leaky roofs, water-stained walls, and torn out floors were only a part of the dilapidated condition of the Sanctuary. However, Pastor McNear immediately saw the hidden beauty. During his brief moments in the Sanctuary, he received the confirmation to “Go and possess the land.”
On February 20, 1997, Pastor McNear sat at the settlement table with his attorney, Jeffrey P. Lowenthal, Esquire, the United Bank of Philadelphia, and the Episcopal Diocese, and made claim to that which The Lord has given. Pastor McNear, as well as the congregation of True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church, are grateful to The Lord for displaying his Sovereignty. Because “The Kingdom of God draweth night,” True Gospel Tabernacle Church has re-established at 16th and Mifflin Streets to reach out to this inner city, multi-racial community, and to all those who are strangers to the Almighty God.