James Leroy Kilgore (1926~Present)
United Pentecostal Church International
It was on a pallet laid on the dirt floor of an auto mechanic’s garage…in the middle of the night…with the faint scent of gasoline and engine oil still lingering in the cool darkness…that a twelve-year old boy began to weep. His mother, the wife of pioneering evangelist C.P. Kilgore, heard one of her ten children stirring, and kneeling beside each pallet, she began to sense the presence of God in that old garage. As she approached James, she recognized a special anointing of the Holy Ghost and quietly began to pray with him as he received his initial call to the ministry.
When he was born on September 23, 1926, his sister Blanche fell in love with her little brother James. She thought he looked like their daddy and soon noticed that he grew to be more like him every day. Little she did know that James would someday take his place in the ministry and become the spiritual leader of the Kilgore children. But their mother, Ella Lee Kilgore had known that there was a holy calling on his life, and that night in the old garage in Idaho, her mother’s intuition was confirmed.
His early life was spent traveling across the country with his ministering family, singing in the old brush arbors, building pulpits, altar benches and churches, and eventually preaching the Gospel. In July of 1049, young evangelist James Kilgore met the love of his life in Sherman, Texas, and six weeks later on September 13, Imogene Ellen Richie became Mrs. James Leroy Kilgore. What a wonderful, blessed life they built together.
The new couple began their marriage in the parsonage of their first church in Paris, Texas. When God called the Kilgore family to Houston eight years later, they left behind a growing congregation that today is still a thriving church. The small group who welcomed them to Houston believed God had chosen this little family to pave the way for revival in their city, as well. And they did! Brother and Sister Kilgore reached thousands of souls and mentored hundreds of Sunday school workers, bible school students, evangelists, pastors, and missionaries. The result of their vision and leadership are evident not only in Life Tabernacle of Houston, but also in the many daughter works established throughout the city. Their love for souls reached around the world as well, as Life Tabernacle gave to support every foreign missionary and to establish Bible colleges in other countries. Pastor Kilgore refused to let his congregation be satisfied with the ordinary. Going the extra mile had always been a way of life for his church, inspired by the example of a loving and faithful leader. For forty-five years, he has tirelessly admonished his church to dig deeper…to reach higher…and to go farther.
While in Paris, Brother Kilgore began a lifetime of service to the United Pentecostal Church International when he was elected as the Texas District Youth President. He served faithfully in that capacity from 1952 to 1960. A founding father of Texas Bible College, he served as its president from 1963 to 1964. In 1971, at General Conference in Houston, Texas, the ministers of the UPCI elected James L. Kilgore as the Assistant General Superintendent of the Western Division, an office he filled until he was elected as the District Superintendent of Texas in 1994.
Living his life to serve others has been his most fervent calling. His faithfulness, generosity, compassion and steadfastness have been strength to people in every walk of life…and in virtually every country in the world. James L. Kilgore is a hero to many…an inspiration to the ministry…a father to the fatherless…a help to the widows…a comfort to the broken..a champion of young people…a matchmaker…a friend…a godly example…a leader..a rock. The many who have been touched by his life remain committed to helping bring life to his vision of worldwide revival that began in his heart in that cold garage in Idaho so many years ago.