We are blessed to have a rich history of over 65 years serving the city and surrounding areas of Columbia, Missouri. The following is the history of our first 40 years from the words of our founding pastors.
The First Forty Years
by Revs. Charles and Mona Parker
First Assembly of God Church was founded in the providential act of God as He led us to feel the burden to establish a church in Columbia, Missouri. In the years 1939, 1940, 1941, and part of 1942, while pastoring the Assembly of God Church we had founded in Slater, Missouri, we would pass through Columbia many times on our way to fellowship meetings in Jefferson City and other towns in the Sedalia section of the Southern Missouri District. We often wondered why there was no Assembly of God church in Columbia. After we left Slater in 1942, we felt God’s call to start a church in Columbia. In fact, in September 1942, we felt God’s call to start a church in Columbia. In fact, in September 1942, we made a trip to Columbia but found a young man from the Marshall Assembly who was attempting to start a sister Pentecostal church, and we did not think it right to come at that time.
We took the pastorate of Northeast Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, in November 1942. It was a good church, and God blessed our ministry there, but we could not get Columbia off of our minds. We wrote to Brother Glen McClure who was a presbyter of Section Two, asking his permission to come to Columbia to establish a church. He wrote that Columbia was not in his section, so we wrote to Brother Glenn Renick, presbyter of Section Three. He said Columbia was in Section Two. Shortly after Brother McClure recognized that Columbia was in his section, he gladly gave his permission for us to come to Columbia.
Help From the Section
The section bought a twenty-four by forty-eight foot tent, thirty-five folding chairs, a homemade pulpit, and an old piano. Brother McClure and his brother-in-law delivered these items to us and helped us set them up. We had resigned our church in Springfield and moved to Columbia, renting a house on North 63 Highway from George Spencer, the Prosecuting Attorney.
The First Ten Services
July 2, 1944, we began tent services on the Jefferson Junior High School grounds on Rogers Street. We continued services for ninety nights with a Kids Crusade at 6:30 and an evangelistic service at 7:30 each evening. Two young ladies from our church in Springfield, Edith Newberry and Ruth Rogers, helped in the Kids Crusade for about two months. After three weeks in the tent, we began Sunday School with forth-seven in attendance the first Sunday.
God Provides a Building
With winter coming on, we knew we needed a building for our services. It was during World War II, and since we could not build, we bought a large two and one-half story house on the corner of Eighth and Alton Streets. The District sent us five hundred dollars (fifty dollars per month for ten months) as they had started a Home Missions policy of giving this amount to couples to start new churches. We did not know what this money was for, so we did not spend it. Later we were informed it was for our expenses, but we used it to make a down payment on the house. While remodeling the house, we had services for almost five months in a rented store building at the corner of Rogers Street and Paris Road. To save money and expenses, we lived on the second floor of the house we had purchased and had services on the first floor. The half-story above was used for evangelists’ quarters. We used that house as church and parsonage for twenty years, remodeling it three times, in 1944-45, 1947, and a major remodeling in 1952-53. This building was sold in 1962 to William and Doll Harrison who gave us permission to use it until we moved to the new church building. It is now owned by Columbia College.
The Move to Seventh Street
After twenty years, the congregation felt we should buy property and build a new church to house the growing congregation. Five houses and lots on North Seventh Street across from Hickman High School were purchased. Three houses were moved to the back lot, and one was razed to make room for the church and parsonage. We moved into the new building in September 1964. Later, Parker Hall was erected at the rear of the parking lot as a gymnasium and activity building. The mortgage for the church and patronage was paid and the papers burned the day we retired as pastors of First Assembly of god, July 2, 1984.
Special Outreaches in the Vicinity
The church had four or five week tent revivals each summer through 1956, some in Columbia and some in Stephens, Rocheport, Ashland, and on Brown Station Road. In 1946, we bought time on radio station KFRU for a thirty minute broadcast at 8 AM each Sunday morning. These broadcasts continued for thirty-nine years. We also had a fifteen minute broadcast Monday through Friday for five years. The church had a Vacation Bible School each year, and a Kids Crusade almost every year, and enjoyed three or four revivals each year.