Mt. Olivet was organized in 1907, when a small group of African Americans were successful in persuading the American Baptist Home Mission Society to grant them a contract of organization. The church was originally located on the Northwest of Portland, at Broadway and Everett. In 1921, to get the church on the "proper side of town," the Ku Klux Klan donated some lumber to help the church relocate to the Northeast side on the corner of NE Schuyler and 1st Avenue.
Mt. Olivet is the third oldest African-American church in Portland and the first African-American Baptist Church in the state of Oregon. Mt. Olivet is a lifetime member of the NAACP and was a leader in the fight for civil rights throughout its early history up through the 60's. Two of its well-known former pastors, the late Rev. J.J. Clow and the late Rev. John H. Jackson, were heavily involved in issues of justice and equality. Both men served Mt. Olivet for over 25 years respectively.
In November, 1987, Pastor James Martin, from Bluefield, West Virginia, became the Senior Pastor. Upon Pastor Martin's arrival, there were less than 200 people attending the church, but the church immediately began to grow rapidly. It grew so fast that the church went from one Sunday service to three services and was debating whether to try to do four worship services on Sunday. To alleviate the crowded conditions in the small church and relieve the strain on our personnel, the church entered a lease agreement with Stonetower Seventh Day Adventist Church on NE Sandy and 28th Avenue. We met at that church for the next three years. Due to its larger seating capacity, we only needed two Sunday worship services each Sunday.
Meanwhile, we negotiated to purchase the old Pay-N-Take-It Supermarket on North Chautauqua Boulevard in 1991. We also bought the Portland Sports Arena next to it in 1993. These two buildings were in poor condition, but we completely renovated them. One is now our present worship center, and the other building has become our present Family Life Center, which accommodates our diverse family oriented ministries serving the church and community. We occupied those buildings during 1993 and 1994.
In April 2002, we started an additional worship service on the Westside at Southridge High School in Beaverton. We outgrew the limited space at Southridge High school and decided to look for our own building in the Beaverton/Aloha area. In 2014 we found a new building to hold our West Campus service in Aloha, Oregon.
During these years from November 1987, more than 2,000 people have been won to Christ and baptized at Mt. Olivet.
Today, we are a multicultural center of worship, teaching, and service and have a global ministry. We largely support several missionaries overseas. We have constructed a three-story Christian elementary school on the outskirts of Bangalore, India. The school serves over 800 children. 300 of them are orphans. We sent two of our pastors to plant new churches - one in Vancouver, Washington in 1997, and the other one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2002. Our goal is to plant additional churches.