Tri-County Baptist Church

Church History

Tri-County Baptist Church 8040 S. Lovers Lane Road (Highway 100)

In April of 1979, Rev. Clayton Jones was called to be the pastor of the Ambassador Baptist Church, located at 19th and Rogers Streets in Milwaukee. The church had been started by Pastor Chestor Henry in the 1970s. In 1989, Ambassador Baptist merged with the Grace Baptist Church, and the newly formed church relocated to the suburb of Muskego. It also changed its name to Tri-County Baptist Church to symbolize the three counties that come together near its new location: Waukesha, Milwaukee, and Racine counties.

The church moved into the former Durham Hill Elementary School on North Cape Road after extensive remodeling. Pastor Mike Marshall became the Sr. Pastor and Rev. Clayton Jones became the Associate Pastor. In 1993, Sr. Pastor Mike Marshall was called to the Maranatha Baptist Church in Lyons, N.Y., and Rev. Jones became Sr. Pastor, and has served in that capacity ever since.

In 1995, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation condemned the church property by power of eminent domain, so that Highway 36 could be widened. The church was forced to look elsewhere, and five acres of land were found in Franklin, directly across from Owe’s Apple Orchard and the Silent Night Motel. The land had formerly been owned by Edwin Schuber, a well known Franklin teacher, who at first sold it to a group of church members from the Christian Missionary Alliance. When their plans to build a church fell through due to their pastor dying of a sudden heart attack, the property was again for sale. Tri-County Baptist Church bought the property.

In the meantime, the church was forced to leave its former location in Muskego. The American Legion Hall, at 76th and Ryan Road, rented to the congregation for a very modest fee, and the church met there for over two years. During that time, construction of a new 10,800 square foot building rose on the Franklin site. At the same time, litigation related to the settlement offered by the Department of Transportation, resulted in a four-day jury trial. Tri-County won the case, and was awarded a monetary settlement, plus the original $300,000, plus all attorney and court costs.

Ground breaking for the Franklin church took place on March 23, 1997, with many dignitaries present, including Franklin Mayor Klimetz, as well as the architects, contractors, friends, and church members. The congregation did much of the construction work themselves, including roofing, tiling, carpeting, heating, air conditioning, painting, siding, and carpentry work. On March 6, 1999, the congregation received occupancy for the new building.

Since that time, Tri-County Baptist Church has been ministering primarily in the Franklin area, where they are very involved with community activities. Tri-County’s members are Independent Fundamental Baptists that believe in Old Time Religion, the King James Only Bible, Great Hymns of the Faith, and Conservative Music. In addition to a variety of services and programs, the congregation has ministered monthly at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission since 1980, and is in the process of beginning a new ministry outreach to the Franklin House of Corrections. Tri-County Baptist Church describes itself as “Franklin’s Friendliest Church.”