Cottage prayer meetings in 1928 were the catalyst for the establishment of First Assembly of God in Pine Bluff. A six-week tent revival followed at 14th Avenue and Pine Street and led to the construction of a tabernacle at that site. As growth ensued, additional buildings, classrooms, and eventually a larger church were constructed at that same site.
Historians relate that a prophetic prediction in 1974 indicated that First Assembly was to be “a lighthouse to all of Southeast Arkansas.” The purchase of 45 acres on Ridgway Road in 1979 was a part of that greater vision, not just to build new facilities and relocate, but also to prepare to fulfill God's ministry mandate for this congregation. The vision was partially realized with the first service taking place in the present sanctuary in April 1995.
Since moving to the Ridgway Road site, God’s favor has continued to rest on this congregation. Committed vision spurred more growth and impact. For example, Ridgway Christian School opened in the fall of 1997, and construction of a new multiplex facility (including a full-size gymnasium, classrooms, offices, game room, etc.) began June 15, 1998. School classes actually moved into that facility in January 2000, and a subsequent construction project added even more multipurpose classrooms and a computer lab/media center.
Following a season of fasting, prayer, and debt reduction, God opened another incredible door of opportunity in 2005. First Assembly was able to purchase the property at 3201 Ridgway Road, worth approximately $2,000,000, even before repairs and refurbishing that began as soon as the school year ended and eventually totaled more than $800,000. Acquisition of that property and surrounding acreage again multiplied ministry opportunities, both as the ultimate home of Ridgway Christian School and the site of occasional outreach and church ministries.
That miracle continues as the impact of Ridgway Christian School has exploded with about 400 students enrolled before the beginning of school for the 2011-12 school year. Class offerings begin with K3 and include a complete and dually accredited elementary and secondary program. The fourth class of seniors graduated in May 2013, and before that graduation ceremony, it had already become apparent that a lease agreement with the Pine Bluff Educational Endowment Board would allow the Ridgway Christian School secondary classes to move to the facility previously occupied by the Catholic High School. With divided elementary and secondary campuses, the doors were opened for more growth.
Furthermore, comprehensive renovations and upgrades have been made in the sanctuary, nursery, and youth and children’s facilities of the church property. Plans to complete the entire upgrade package in two phases were made, and improvements are nearing completion.
Countless miracles and a strong commitment to ministry serve to emphasize the fact that there are very few churches in America like Pine Bluff First Assembly of God. This church is not great because of its place, its prosperity, or its plans. It is, however, great because of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Though history is important, the church must be relevant and anointed today.
This church is full-gospel in “stance,” Pentecostal in perspective, aggressive in evangelism, committed in discipleship, and diverse in cultural makeup, but united in the purpose to do everything possible to mold uncommitted people into fully devoted followers of Christ. Services are crowned with dynamic worship and anointed pulpit ministry, and there is just something different about the fellowship, the consciousness of God's presence, and the purpose of this church that sets it apart. Without doubt, there is something here for everyone. First Assembly is and will be “a lighthouse to Southeast Arkansas.”