When you think of a pastor, you may imagine a suit and tie straight-laced conservative
And if that’s the case, Billy Joe Henry’s story, the senior pastor of a church, will come as quite the surprise.
His calling seems even more unlikely when you consider his past
“I was doing an eight ball of crank or meth a day, smoking as much pot as I possibly could, and again just trying to dull the pain was going on in my mind,” says Henry.
He suffered from PTSD after serving in the military and made choices that put him in and out of jail.
“The cold concrete floor of the Vigo County Jail is where I found Christ.”
After his revelation and a series of miracles, his now wife, Lynn told him God had a journey for them.
“And she’s like we’re gonna start a Christian tattoo shop. I was like, girl there isn’t anything Christian about tattoos what is wrong with you.”
Little did they know, their innovative tattoo shop would become a place of worship for people who need it most.
They opened a tattoo shop in Terre Haute then moved to Nashville where they found great success. Then Billy says, God called.
“Then he told me, “I need to go back to Terre Haute started church.”
The couple didn’t ask questions, they walked away from making more than $800,000 dollars a year to invest everything they had into a new tattoo shop and the Bridge Church in Terre Haute.
“We have people that I feel, a lot of them wouldn’t feel comfortable in other churches,” says Billy’s wife Lynn Henry.
Considering his past and the change faith made in him, Billy knew exactly who he wanted to serve.
“You can walk in our church on any given Sunday and there will be homeless, be business owners, there will be drug addicts,there will be alcoholics, there will be womanizers, there will be homosexual, there will be straights,” says Billy.
Billy and the Bridge Church are far from traditional.
But his movement is hard to ignore. Just ask follower Shana Wilson.
“He’s not giving up on any of us. he’s giving up on anybody inside this church or outside of the church,” says Wilson.
The Bridge Church is giving hope to the hopeless and those who know him call Billy a crusader of sorts.
“I don’t know what you would actually call him I mean there’s no one higher than Lord he’s pretty close.”
The Bridge Church opened in 2012 at its current location on 8th Avenue. And it’s already expanding and opening a satellite location on 6th and Washington.
And in case you were wondering, Billy Joe’s tattoo shop is located on South 7th Street.