Freedom Church- First Assembly of God
First Assembly of God History
By Devin Tiffany Fall 2015
The First Assembly of God Church in Tallahassee, Florida has had a interesting history as the church has moved all around Tallahassee and has had multiple churches built and torn down but are now located on 2801 Thomasville Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32308. This church is important to the community as they provide a lot of things for the community such as children’s camps in the summer along with a food pantry where they supply fifty five to sixty families with groceries for the week as they cannot afford groceries from the grocery store. The goal of this church is to spread the first Assembly of God through the people and with helping the community and with a following of more than 600 people in a week makes this church a big community landmark. This church has been in Tallahassee since the 1930s during the great depression when people needed the love of god more than ever as families were struggling to eat, and at the bare minimum live as everything was so expensive and no one had jobs. Before the church was completed fully the congregation started praying before there were windows or even doors on the small frame of a building.
The congregation did not stop growing though around the 1930s when they created the first church. The church looked for ways to expand and spread “the word of god”, the secretary treasurer during the 1940s wrote to the production board in Jacksonville, Florida asking to obtain a permit to build better facilities. Denied because of the war that was going on and the supplies being needed for the war effort, but was told that they could present their argument in front of the board in the following weeks. When their argument was presented in Jacksonville it was granted and the new facilities continued to serve as the congregation grew through the 1940s and 1950s. During the 1950s Pastor Harthern realized that a new church was going to have to be built as the congregation started to overwhelm the small frame of a building that was their church on Monroe Street. Property was purchased on Tharpe Street and a brick parsonage was built. There was a strong push for children’s ministry and the church grew even larger as Sunday school classes were at an all-time high with a record amount of students. Many facilities were built during the 1950s such as ground facilities, a nursery, a fellowship hall, a baptistery and a kitchen. The church ministries duties also increased as they were in charge of Boy Scouts, Missionettes, Women’s Missionary council and men’s fellowship all of this was completed by August 9th, 1959.
Around the 1980s while there was racial desegregation going on Pastor Lukowski realized that the church was going to have to move once again to a resolution Church on Thomasville Road where it currently stands today. First Assembly made the front page of the Tallahassee Democrat when the members covered the front lawn of the church with small white crosses. Each Cross represented 25,000 aborted babies as this being such a controversial topic the Democrat had a strong want to write about this far from the normal grand opening. One of my pictures from the Church the Democrat article that is hung up in multiple places of the church shown as an object of pride as they are spreading “the word of god”. In 1997 Pastor Mark Shepard was hired in 1997 and came on scene with a new energetic personality that the families loved as the children within the congregation tripled under his pastor ship. He created an outreach program called “Sidewalk Sunday School” which takes the Gospel to children in the Tallahassee neighborhoods.
Pastor Perry was one of the more famous pastors that the First Assembly of God has had with what he did for the church. His leadership provided a strong, servant-minded staff that helped the mission program grow. First Assembly broke more records in the mission giving than in any other time period, members have participated in several Mission America Placement Service (MAPS) trips to Honduras, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. After these events Pastor Perry was feeling a burden for the homeless and underprivileged of Tallahassee so the First Assembly sponsored the Convoy of Hope in 1998 and 1999, many people made decisions to join the First Assembly through these holy missions. Due to the rise in the college student population Pastor Perry worked hand in hand with Chi Alpha Pastor Mario Solari to find many students a church home. As well in 1999 the congregation responded to the lack of their being a Christian daycare by creating their own called the Children Development Center, the point of the center is to reach out to families in Christ’s love and to install Christian faith.
This Church has been through the good and the bad over the last 85 years as they just celebrated that anniversary a little over a month ago at the church. This church has gone through about everything that a family could possibly go through including opening it in the Great Depression. This group is an inspiration as all they want to do is help the community as there is a big push with children’s community service within this church as well as the missionaries and the goal to spread this protestant sub division across the globe. This year they have given one hundred and fifty thousand dollars towards sending missionaries across the globe mostly to third world countries to spread “The word of god”. They push the “Love Boldly” as their motto of the church and these missionaries are spreading that across the Middle East which is very important now more than ever with the turmoil going on over there. This church has shown me there is a lot more to these churches than just sharing the message of the bible, their goals are more oriented around the needs of the community and the surrounding society. The history of this church is as diverse as the people within the church and the sacrifices made by all the different Pastors to make the church what it is today which is one of the most is giving community landmarks within Tallahassee.