Our First Steps
The beginnings of First Assembly in West Memphis go back to cottage prayer meetings held in the years 1944 and 1945 by Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Joyner and Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Scott.
Thomas Carter was the first pastor of the church. He began his ministry to the small group in 1946, which met in the home of Mrs. Myrtle Derrick. The above mentioned meeting was extended into a two week revival effort which was conducted in the front yard of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Kennedy. A number of conversions resulted, and this group began conducting weekly services in the home of Mr. H. M. Kennedy. Approximately three months after their first meeting, they decided to construct a church building of their own. A lot was purchased at 622 S. 11th Street, and with donated labor, a small concrete structure was erected. The attendance reached 20 to 25.
October 13, 1946 is a significant date in the church’s history. So October, 1946 is when the church officially began and the time from which the church’s anniversary is set.
Boyd Smith served until July, 1948 when J. O. Smith, who had previously pastored at Earle, became the new pastor. Under his leadership, a fund was started for a new church and attendance reached 100. Funds were scarce in those days and penny marches and0 other pledges were used to raise money. On October 2, 1950, a special meeting was held at which time a building fund was created for the new church.
In early 1952 the old church and parsonage were sold and with this and the funds that were collected, lots were purchased on Missouri Street on July 27, 1952. Construction on the new building began in approximately 8 months. This building began as a step of faith with no designated pledges received and no plans for financing it other than free-will offerings. A large percentage of the labor was donated by the men of the church and remarkably enough, one year from the date construction was begun, a dedication service was held on November 8, 1953 in the new auditorium.
As the church grew, a contemporary service was added on Sunday mornings. This additional service was designed as an outreach service to share the gospel in a casual format. The church continues it’s strong missions emphasis with yearly missions trips and strong missions giving.
In June 2014, Rev. Bill Harness became the new Lead Pastor.