By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9
Every Sunday morning in churches across the country people spread the word of God. At River of Life Church in Oklahoma City, they may not have been able to do that if it weren't for the innovative thinking of one man five decades ago.
The late Reverend Robert Rex of Oklahoma was sent to Houston to start a church from the ground up, his son Lonnie Rex said. A fund he started has now helped more than 800 Pentecostal churches across America to build or remodel.
"He found a lot downtown," Rex said. "We pitched a tent and immediately it was a success, and we were ready to buy a lot and build a church. But, we had not money."
The Reverend had an idea. Since it's difficult for churches to get loans because of the "risk" involve, he decided to create a savings and loan fund. Members of the Pentecostal church would be able to buy bonds which would mature at a higher interest rate than most, and the money could be loaned to churches that need to be built or remodeled.
"He called me one day and he said ‘Son, it's all registered. You're going to buy the first bond," Rex said.
The Pentecostal Holiness Church Extension Loan Fund began with Rex's first $100 and has grown to more than $53 million.
Now, 50 years later, people are gathering to celebrate the Rev. Robert Rex and the difference that's he's made, said Rick Fountain, loan foundation board member.
"What it's done is enabled us to expand the ministry, the Gospel, in places that otherwise wouldn't have had an opportunity to, without the loan fund being there to provide the funding for it," Fountain said.