The founding of God’s church dates back many centuries. The foundation was built upon the prophets and the apostles with Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-20) as the true and living God said in the Old Testament (Isaiah 56:7) and in the New Testament (Matthew 21:13 and Mark 11:17).
Down through the years God has always had servants whom he has prepared to leadhis people and perpetuate His Word. One of God’s chosen leaders was the late William Christian, to whom God revealed His Plan of Salvation. He established the first Church of the Living God (C.W.F.F.) in the United States in May 1889, in Wrightsville, Arkansas. He was acknowledged as chief of the entire body and membership. He was neither elected nor appointed, but by the virtue of divine calling, the position of Chief Bishop was created and bestowed upon him.
The Church of the Living God #342 was organized July 15, 1987, pastured by Elder Joe Church, Sr. first established as a home based ministry; it included the Pastor’s family and a handful of other members. Services were originally held from house to house, but were later held exclusively in the home of the pastor.
As more members were added, the membership began to look at moving into a church building. Within three months we were able to purchase property in North Little Rock and the original plan was to build a temple on that site. But, Elder Church located a vacant building from the Church of God In Christ. On October 14, 1988 the Lord blessed us to purchase it for $15,000. About a year later, in November 1988 we had our March in service in which the late Overseer James Ayers was the speaker.
At that time, the membership consisted of many children under the age of seventeen. However, the church continued to grow and prosper to the point that a larger facility became necessary. The pastor and trustees served as general contractor of the building project. The Trustee Board was headed by Chairman Brother Melvin Peoples, Sr. and Assistant Chairman Brother Danny Oates, Sr. The Trustees were Brother Orlander Burnley, now Missionary Olia Church, and Sister Carolyn Cooley. Elder Church, along with the Trustee Board and members did a great deal of work in order to save the church money.
The ground breaking ceremony for the new sanctuary was held in August 1997. Although beset by many obstacles, the sanctuary was completed in May 1998. The Dedication Service was held August 30, 1998 under the leadership of our pastor Elder Joe L. Church, Sr., Overseer Elbert Jones (District Overseer), the late A.L. Ponder (District Bishop) and the late W.E. Crumes (Chief Bishop).
A parking lot was added adjacent to the temple, and over a period of time, the church was blessed to purchase three fifteen passenger vans, with a fourth one donated by one of the church’s neighbors. The church has sponsored community related meeting and events in an effort to reach people in the area.
We continue with our Nursing Home ministry every 2nd Saturday of the month in Lonoke, AR. Missionary Ewing backs the pastor up in bringing the message.
The church sponsors piano, drum and bongo lessons for several of our young people. Pretty soon you’ll be seeing them perform with our regular musicians.
One of the lots across the street and the house that was on the property, were purchased at the time with the hope of opening a daycare. Due to the condition of the building and the cost to repair, it was torn down.
However, once again we find ourselves in need of more space. Therefore, we have begun a building fund drive with hopes of building a larger facility across the street on the same property.
Elder Joe L. Church, Sr. is our current pastor and we are blessed and greatful to have had him as pastor for the past 26 years.