Thomas J. Payne was born on October 21, 1935 to James B. and Vivian L. Payne. He attended Oak Lawn Elementary and Turner High public schools in Waxahachie, Texas. He graduated in June 1954. Pastor Payne has been married for over 54 years. For forty-seven of those years he was married to the late Geraldine Payne, and out of that union two daughters were born. For the past seven and a half years, Pastor has been and is currently happily married to the outgoing, soft spoken and warm-hearted Sandra F. Payne.

Thomas Payne attended the Southern Bible Institute, in Dallas Texas, from 1973 – 1976 where, during that time, he served as Vice President of the Student body. In 1976, he graduated with honors. Thomas Payne attended Dallas Bible College from 1986 – 1987. After the institute relocated, he attended Dallas Baptist University from 1988 – 1989.

Pastor Thomas Payne accepted his calling on August 18, 1973. Pastor Payne served as pastor of the Samaria Baptist Church in Kerens Texas, from April 16, 1976, until- January 3, 1982. During his years in Kerens, he rebuilt the Samaria Baptist Church. With the help of the Lord and his friends, Pastor N. L. Robinson and the Late Rev. C.O. Smith, on December 17, 1981, the Pearly Gate Baptist Church was founded and organized under the leadership of Pastor Thomas Payne. The congregation consisted of five adults and seventeen children and the first offering of only $143.00.

With the help of the Lord, Dr. Robbie Moore and friends of the church, Pearly Gate Baptist Church has grown to over 3,000 members; with nine ministers, twenty-five deacons, and a full-time secretary. The Lord has blessed the offering from $143.00 to an asset of $23 million. The church has seven new buildings and an academy, Gateway Charter Academy, which educates from PreK-4 to the 12th grade, with over 800 students and their new state of the art high school.

In May 2009, Senior Pastor Thomas Payne received the honorary degree ‘Doctorate in Humanities’ from the Southern Bible Institute in Dallas Texas. He now serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board of the Southern Bible Institute and Revival Chairman of the Dallas Baptist Ministers Union.


Dr. Robbie L. Moore has over twenty-five years of experience preaching the Gospel in diverse roles from Youth Pastor, Assistant Pastor to becoming teaching Pastor in 1999 at the Pearly Gate Baptist Church under the tutelage of his grandfather and founding pastor, Dr. Thomas J. Payne. He has provided pastoral leadership through preaching; worship planning, visitation, counseling, and administration. He was instrumental in securing $3.5 million for a new sanctuary for the Pearly Gate Baptist Church. Dr. Moore received his B.A. in Pastoral Ministries from Dallas Baptist University, a M.A. in Biblical Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and a D. Min. in Human Resource Management at Trinity Seminary. Dr. Moore founded Gateway Charter Academy in 2000 with a vision to provide Dallas students with a safe and student-centered learning environment in partnership with parents and community. Gateway has grown tremendously from 97 students its first year to serving over 800 students Pre-K through 12th grade.

Gateway received a $10 million bond to expand middle school/high school. The state of the art facility is the first of its kind for a charter school. It is designed for growth over 92,000 square feet on 22 acres of land complete with football track and field.