The concept that led to J Bar J Country Church was born in March 2001 when God placed a call on Reverend Charles Clary's heart to start a "cowboy" church in Ruidoso, New Mexico. After serving 28 years as a pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, Rev. Clary retired on June 30, 2001, and he and his wife, Alice, moved to Ruidoso.
"Retirement" is hardly the word for what began a few months later. On April 2, 2002, the Fellowship of help and Hope held its first meeting in a room beneath The Vine Christian Bookstore at 127 Rio Street in Midtown Ruidoso. That is when God stepped in provided the perfect location on Highway 70.
The J Bar J Western Store had ceased operation after the death of owner Jim Jones, and the red barn building and property were for sale by his widow, Nancy Dell Jones. The Church took possession of the property on October 1, 2003 and incorporated as a charitable organization with the new name J Bar J Country Church. The word "bar" in Aramaic (Jesus' Native tongue) means "son of". All of the sudden the name took on a spiritual meaning unseen before- J(esus)Bar(Son of)J(ahweh) or Jesus, Son of God.
The non-denominational church grew and by God's Grace, prospered. J Bar J paid off the $350,000 owner- finance loan in two and a half years. Soon it became necessary to have two Sunday morning services during the summer. This need for more space led to thoughts of a larger building for worship. The original building could then be used as a fellowship hall by adding an expanded commercial kitchen. After an extensive search a company was located that could supply plans and materials to duplicate the style of the original J Bar J red barn. Construction began in the summer of 2007, and the building was ready for occupancy on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009. The cost of construction and furnishings were approximately one million dollars, and with God's generous provision, was totally paid for-NO DEBT.
In 2010 the church called Chris Weaver to be a minister to Youth and Young Adults. In 2011 the chidren's classrooms and youth loft were completed, and the worship began for Children, Youth and Young Couples in their separate areas. Alice Clary began Preschool time, Deidra Eckard and her daughters Ariadne and Khyrstyne began a children's Sunday School and worship. Rev. Weaver began Wednesday evening program of worship, Bible Study, fellowship and a meal for youth with the aid of adult helpers.
Bro Charles retired in January of 2014. Chris Weaver then took over as lead pastor. Chris resigned in February of 2018 and J Bar J called Pastor Steve Griffith to be our new pastor effective October 1, 2019. Steve retired in December of 2020 and the interim Pastor is currently Robert Harrison.