A BRIEF HISTORY OF CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH
Central Baptist Church was organized August 8, 1937, following an evangelistic meeting held by Roy Ward of Marvel AR. Twenty persons, including 18 from the Oakland Missionary Baptist Church located northeast of Fayetteville, presented themselves as charter members. In November 1937, the small congregation of Trinity Baptist Church dissolved with 13 being received into Central Baptist Church. In August 1938, the pastor, D. N. Jackson, conducted a revival meeting resulting in the addition of 21 new members to the congregation. The addition of these new members materially strengthened the church in numbers and resources.
The church met first at 220 North School Street in a building used by the Four Square Gospel Tabernacle congregation. In 1939 the church moved to the White Chapel on South College Avenue. This location proved inadequate so in 1941 the church purchased the Tabernacle building in which they had previously met. Under the leadership of Pastor Charles Ashcraft the church embarked by faith on a building program. Acreage was purchased at the junction of North and Gregg streets. The present sanctuary was completed and occupied in June of 1964. The annex was built in 1966 and the on-campus parsonage, replacing an old one on North Street, was built in 1976.
During its 63 years of service the church has been a home to about 2100 communicants. Of these 30 were ordained Deacons. The church has ordained 20 more making a total of 60 men who have served the church in this capacity. Sixteen men have served as pastors of the church to the year 2001. Some of these former pastors of the church have contributed substantially to the cause of Christ in their service. Charles Law and Johnny Almond became Chaplains in the United States Military Service. Johnny Goodman, ordained by the church and a leader in MBSF work, also served as a Chaplain in the Military Service. Other individuals who were members of Central and were licensed or ordained by the church include George Raley, former pastor and current (2001) President of the American Baptist Association, Kyle Guimon, Missionary in Uganda, Mark Harris, Steve Westbrook, John Mooney, Floyd Baker (Deceased), R. L. Clark and others have dedicated their services to the ministry.
During its existence Central Baptist Church has sponsored the establishment of other churches of like faith and order. In April 1944, the church sponsored the organization of the Summers Missionary Baptist Church. In April 1954, the church established a mission work at Springdale that resulted in the organization of the First Landmark Church. In the spring of 1960, a mission effort began at Truman, AR that resulted in the organization of Grace Baptist Church at Jonesboro. In 1964, Missionary Eugene Reagan, sponsored by Central Baptist Church, established a mission point in Siloam Springs that resulted in the organization of the Landmark Baptist Church in Siloam Springs.
Prior to 1955, churches of the Missionary Baptist faith and order had no organized ministry directed toward college campuses. Roy Reed, pastor of Pauline Baptist Church of Monticello, and Edgar Sharver of Central Baptist Church, developed the concept of the spiritual growth of Missionary Baptist College Students. The first MBSF was organized by the Pauline Church at Monticello with the Central Baptist MBSF being organized soon after. In the early days, there was some resistance to the program but now there are MBSF units at our churches throughout the nation. To God be the Glory!
Prepared by: Dr. Lloyd O. Warren