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FC: The Church of Jesus Knows Best 1987-2011 | Built Below The Earth | testimonials of a basement ministry

1: Built Below The Earth | testimonials of a basement ministry | The Church of Jesus Knows Best 1987-2011

3: When no one could hear us, there was power. When no one gave us credit, there was still power. When we were ignored because of where we worshiped, we had power. The basement ministry was power below the earth.

4: Elder Rufus Shepard

6: First Beginnings

7: HISTORY The Church of Jesus Knows Best, Inc. was founded by Elder Rufus Shepard, Jr. and Sister Delores Shepard in April of 1987, in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Elder Shepard came to understand the fullness of the Apostolic Doctrine under the leadership of the late Elder Leroy Belcher, founder of the Greater Refuge Church of Christ. In 1977, after hearing the Word of God preached during a three-night revival, Elder Shepard was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and went on to receive the infilling of the Holy Ghost. In October of 1979, he united in matrimony with Sister Delores Lewis, a praying young woman who was also a devoted member of the Greater Refuge Church of Christ. It was while under the leadership of Elder Belcher that Brother Shepard received what he believed was a divine appointment; He went to Pastor Belcher and told him that he felt the call “to clean the church.” Brother Shepard was faithful to that assignment and was later promoted to chairman of the Greater Refuge cleaning committee. His commitment to the service of the house of the Lord continued, and in 1980, along with several other brothers, he was ordained as a deacon. It was during this time that Brother Shepard felt the pull to take the gospel of Christ to the streets of Hartford. He became a home bible study teacher and spent years preaching and teaching God’s plan of salvation on the street in Hartford’s worst neighborhoods. It was under the leadership of Bishop Arlonzo Boswell, Elder Belcher’s successor, that Brother Shepard was ordained first as a minister, and later on as an elder of the Apostolic faith. In 1987, Elder Shepard felt inspired of the Lord to leave Greater Refuge and begin a new ministry to be called, “The Church of Jesus Knows Best.” The Lord showed him that the vision of this new ministry would evolve in three phases, starting in the garage of the Shepard home, expanding into their basement and from there, moving into an actual church building. Exactly as the Lord had shown him, the Church of Jesus Knows Best, located at 24 Brookdale Avenue in Bloomfield, grew from the garage to the basement and eventually, to its current location at 700 Blue Hills Avenue in Hartford. For more than 24 long years, the ministry of the Church of Jesus Knows Best Inc. reached out to hundreds of wayward souls, baptizing more than 200 people in the mighty name of Jesus and preaching the truth of the Apostolic faith in prisons, schools, convalescent homes, churches, hospitals, community centers, city streets, and in private homes all over the Connecticut region. Numerous souls received the infilling of the Holy Ghost as the ministry operated with a full missionary department, Sunday School, youth department, evangelistic team and usherboard. Delegated as a mission by the town of Bloomfield, services for the ministry occupied almost every area of the Shepard home. At one point there were three separate Sunday School classes being held in the kitchen, dining room and basement, and baptisms were performed in the Shepard’s garage. The basement ministry remained until June 12th of 2011, when the Lord miraculously, and without a mortgage, allowed the Church of Jesus Knows Best congregation to purchase the facility it houses today. To GOD alone be all the glory for the great and mighty things He has done!t

9: Pastor Rufus Shepard Jr.

10: Elder David J. Austin | the basement ministry equipped me to be in boot camp!

12: Deacon Dennis Henderson, Sr. | "I had rather be a doorkeeper..." -Ps. 84:10

13: I became a member of the Church of Jesus Knows Best when it first started in April, 1987 under the leadership of the Pastor and founder, Elder Rufus Shepard, Jr., and his wife, Sis. Delores Shepard, along with my family, Cynthia T. Henderson, wife, and my two sons, Dennis D Henderson, Jr. and Calvin R. Henderson they were both 7 and 5 years old of age at this time. In December, 1988 I was ordained as a Deacon of The Church of Jesus Know Best and given guidance, direction and teaching by a great Pastor and his loving wife and family. Approximately ten (10) years later the Lord blessed us to add to our family with a daughter, Tashianna May-Lynn Henderson. What the basement ministry meant to me is a place where I received great teaching, and how to keep the faith and believe that anything is possible to those that believe God. I thank God for a true man and women of God that go by the leadership of God. I praise God that He has allowed me to work diligently, as a servant in His house! I am glad to be a part of this great ministry and I am looking forward to the future growth of our church as we have moved into our new building and location at 700 Blue Hills Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut.

14: Dec. Reginald Callaway | The Church of Jesus Knows Best Basement Ministry was the starting point of my spiritual growth cycle as an adult. It deepened my understanding of God's Word and who God is. And this truth has transformed me into a heavenly kingdom man-child of God. Pastor Shepard's' spiritual existence imparted Word and strategic, spiritually educational guidelines for living, which produced in me a radical faith toward God. The results: the willingness to step out with a quickening, inspiration and hope that God will move, a deeper conviction and walk with God [which include others as a service to God]. Within numerous situations and circumstances of good and evil that test my faith, I am sure I'm well on my way to a deeper depths and a higher height of purpose for my life, with heaven being my final destination. Thank you Jesus for your help forgiveness and protection.

16: Andrea Williams | In the basement of the Church of Jesus Knows Best was plenty of apostolic teaching, soul winning, love, bible teaching, mending of broken spirits, longing for God’s spirit, and cleansing! I came to the church by invitation of the Pastor. Elder Shepard came to invite me to his first service as Pastor of his own church. I came in as a sinner and planned to leave as one. I didn’t believe in this church thing, this Holy Ghost! I was so caught up in the world, and didn’t really put any thought on Jesus, on being saved, born again, being baptized in Jesus name and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (whatever that was/is) or speaking in tongues as the evidence.

17: But in the basement of Jesus Knows Best I learned what it was all about; I learned about repentance; I learned about speaking in tongues. In summation, through the basement ministry I learned about real love, I learned about Jesus and how he suffered for me, I learned humility, and controlling of the tongue. I learned about being born again! I was a new creature – baptized in Jesus name and filled with his precious spirit. | I came, I went, I saw! Teaching was high and people were getting saved. There were people tarrying with you to receive the Holy Ghost. There was so much love flowing. I was in awe and wanted to experience what these people were experiencing. Our pastor was known as the flat-footed preacher, he never strayed from the truth, from the bible! He always did what the Lord had him to do. He was a praying man. I became curious and wanted to feel this love that they showed, I wanted to be forgiven, by God. I had already been through the first process of which the Pastor spoke of – the baptism in Jesus name. I didn’t do it in the right frame of mind; I had heard that in order to make it in you must be baptized in Jesus’ name, so when the world was supposedly ending in the late seventies, I went and got Baptized at Greater Refuge Church of Christ and continued in my sin.

18: When the devil knows that you are gifted by the power of God and have divine purpose on your life to manifest that power, he is petrified of you! Because of that, very often, God has to hide you. Divine deliverance then, often comes out of hidden places. I believe that our basement church was such a place. It provided a divine ‘cocooning’ of sorts; a way that God chose to protect and insulate the power of our ministry from the corruption, defilement and propaganda of what had become mainstream Apostolic pollution. For me, this ‘hiding’ was a special and specific level of sanctification. We were sanctified among the sanctified. It was like God put His mighty hand over us, shielding us in the cleft of His Word, by His Holy Spirit, for such a time as this. Our families were spared from a lot of the mainstream chaos and misery and destruction because of this. | In the basement, all we had was the Spirit of God. ‘Pastor Shep,’ as we all call him, wouldn’t move unless the Spirit sanctioned it. That taught us to obey the Spirit and how to recognize and trust the move of the Anointing. We learned how to explore and develop and surrender to our own anointing, under his guidance. It was a life-changing process. The presence of God was very sacred to our pastor and He refused to let sin come in and defile our church with dirt. He dealt with sin. He dealt with the devil, and in that basement space, we witnessed firsthand, how he fought to keep our victory. That’s a priceless legacy that I will never forget. It made me a lover of truth and righteousness. It made me a hater of sin. The ministry of The Shepards was all about getting people ready for heaven and I wanted to get there!

19: Lastly, the basement experience was both our wilderness and our Canaan. Although we were abandoned by big churches and suffered the reproach of not having a building, it kept us real and humble. We learned patience; how to love our enemies and our haters. Most of all though, it taught us how to believe God through anything, and how to love Him and each other with everything we had.

21: Cynthia T. Henderson

23: Sis. Delores Shepard

25: Mother Erma Thompson

26: Jackie Beckford

28: Missionary Robin Chapman

30: Alexus Beckford

31: Hi, my name is Alexus Beckford, and I have been going to The Church of Jesus Knows Best since I was 4 years old. Going to the church really helps me live and grow. Everyone at the church is very nice to us (me and my family) and others; they are very caring people and great to be around. Each lesson that gets taught has a different meaning and saying, and I love that! ````Our pastor is Pastor Shepard and he cares about the church a lot. He will do anything in his will to help us make it to heaven, and we thank him for that. When I am at school or home, and there is a problem, I know how to deal with that problem and I thank the church for that. ```` I was baptized on March 7, 2010 in the garage of the Shepard's home and it was the best day of my life!! I never will forget the basement ministry and what it has done for me and my family.

33: In 2001 my Mom and me started coming to the Church of Jesus Knows Best. I watched people come as I watched people go but we still remained at the basement. We've been criticized and teased about how long we've been in the basement but that did not stop us from believing God and we weren't in a rush to get out but we just waited on God and whenever he was ready to get us out then that's when we would want us as well. As the years we spent here I learned a lot of the rapture and that we need to get ready before God comes for all of his people that really encouraged me to make an effort to get to heaven. Pastor Shepard used to preach long messages that some nonbelievers would disagree with and get upset at but it wasn't Pastor Shepard’s fault he was just teaching and preaching what God wanted him to preach but in the long run pastor Shep’s teaching and preaching helps us and changes our lives. He's a very wise man and I truly believe that without him and God and JKB, I don’t know where I would be. | Amber Chapman

35: Ankara Shepard

36: Brandi S. Cook

39: Sandi Shepard


41: First Baptismal Candidate in our new home: Bro. Darnel Shepard | DECEMBER 3rd

43: Kasandra

45: Kristin Brown

47: Nicolle Beckford | Our basement ministry was and is more than a church. It became more of a family to me. I had started coming to The Church of Jesus Knows Best when I was little. Then in my teens I started coming full time. I slowly realized that I needed a change in the way I was. As the years passed, I’d go to school and talk to my friends about the things I would learn at church. I would go home and tell my mom and my sisters about everything I was learning at church. Soon, my family started to coming with me. | Because of the Basement ministry, I am growing in Christ and I am excited to see where the continuation of this ministry takes me. | In March of 2011 I was baptized in the name of Jesus! Even though it took a while for it to happen, I am happy that I decided to go down in the name. If I didn't have the Basement Ministry I would not be the person that I am today. I would not know the things that I know about everyday battles and victory in life, or anything about the bible,for that matter.

48: Rashar Brown

50: Shimei Cook

53: Tahari Austin

54: Tashianna Henderson

56: Tiffani Austin

57: The Church of Jesus Knows Best is the reason that I’m the person I am today. From a child to the woman I’ve become, our ministry has formed me with the most important morals it’ll take to get all of us from Earth to Glory. I’ve learned how real spiritual warfare is & how to fight against spiritual wickedness in high places, through our simple bible classes. I’ve learned how to see people the way God sees them & to never get too high that I look down on anyone else. Pastor Shepard taught me that! He showed us the higher we go in Christ, the more of a servant we should be! Growing up in a basement-church, there was no way I’d be a normal “preacher’s kid”. Instead of going to church because I was made to, being a rebel & never understanding who God was until I’d be a grown up, I understood at an early age what it felt like to be in love with God. Five yrs old, loving to pray because my ministry emphasized the importance of a prayer life, conviction to salvation by six & seven yrs old until Pastor baptized me, & filled with the Holy Ghost by eight. My life started with power because of the ministry in The Church of Jesus Knows Best; and even as a child, I had demons running! Now that I have grown into a woman of God, I realize the differences between me & young people in a lot of other ministries & I know it has a lot to do with the way I was taught. I love our church & I am privileged to have the opportunity to be a Levite (musician). Starting from drums & ending at the organ, I knew music was my calling. Now that I knew how to war against the devil, I felt God’s pull to war through our music ministry; each service fighting with my hands to evoke God’s presence into the atmosphere & drive evil spirits away. Nothing makes me happier, & it is here that I find my place in God.

58: Torria Austin

59: Torria Austin

60: And God Added To the Church

64: TAKE ME TO THE WATER... | ACTS 2:38 | First Baptismal Candidate in our new home: Bro. Darnel Shepard

65: DECEMBER 3rd



76: Auxiliaries of The Church of Jesus Knows Best | Office Staff | Missionaries | Brotherhood | Evangelistic Team | Musicians

77: ch | Vessels of Glory

78: Auxiliaries of The Church of Jesus Knows Best | Sunday School | Yearbook Staff | Church Announcer | Usher Board | Offering


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Tahari Austin
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