History of the Missouri District Church of the Nazarene
Adapted, 70th Anniversary Program
Following the official union and organization of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene on October 8, 1908 at Pilot Point, Texas, H. F. Reynolds and E. P. Ellyson came to Missouri and held revivals an Redford and Ellington.
Missouri was originally part of the Arkansas District. At the Arkansas District’s Third District Assembly, it was suggested and decided that a Missouri District be formed. The first Missouri District Assembly was held in 1911 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with District Superintendent, C. L. Williams and H. F. Reynolds, General Superintendent.
Eighteen preaching points and six ministers were reported at our Assembly in 1912 at Des Arc, Missouri. Des Arc played a very important part in our Missouri District’s beginning. It was here the grounds became filled with wagons and horses for both Camp meetings and seven of our early District Assemblies. The Nazarene Bible Institute became our first holiness school. In 1918 a committee was formed to investigate the moving of the school to Clarence, Missouri.
In 1919 action was taken that the new school be known as the Missouri Holiness College and that it be the authorized Nazarene School of the Missouri District consisting of seven and one-half acres of ground, a commodious brick main building, and the large frame girls dormitory with all out buildings be valued at $15,000.00. During these years both the Nazarene Bible Institute and the Missouri Holiness College became a blessing to the young people of our district. Many of our pastors attended there and General Superintendent D. I. Vanderpool attended the college of Clarence, Missouri.
Our early leaders were filled with the Spirit and had zeal and vision for God and our District. In 1918 twenty-eight churches were reported with 858 members and four parsonages. Rev. W. I. Deboard was the District Superintendent and at the District Assembly he challenged the district by telling the people, “As we look at this great state and its many resources we are made to think of our great possibilities. The majority of our large cities have no Pentecostal Nazarene Churches, and have never had a holiness revival that we know anything of, and we have nothing to do but go up and possess the land. The needs of the Missouri District are; a few more godly consecrated pastors to care for our churches, and a few more self-sacrificing evangelists to enter those cities with a tent, and start something for God, Holiness, and the Pentecostal Nazarene Church.”
During the early days our pastors on the district didn’t receive anything like adequate support. Our Spirit filled leaders didn’t let this dampen their zeal but continued to carry the Banner of Holiness high. Revival fires burned across the state and people worked by beginning missions, which later turned into strong churches.