The roots of the First Pentecostal Church lie in a humble beginning in the late 1930s. As the years of the Great Depression dragged by, a small group of Pentecostal-believing families from different walks of life began assembling in an old store-front building at 501 East Washington Street in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The group later moved to another store-front building and then, after a tent revival where many were saved, they purchased an old two-story house at Second and Buckeye in North Little Rock.
The late Bishop A.O. and Sister Agnes Holmes began pastoring the church in May of 1946. Brother and Sister Holmes preached the message of repentance, baptism by immersion in Jesus’ Name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Bishop Holmes baptized many people in Lake #7 in Lakewood. In 1949, a rock-front building was built at Second and Buckeye, and a concrete block building was added in the mid 1950s to accommodate Buckeye Christian School. During the 50s and 60s, the church sponsored the a children’s home and nursing home. Using the airwaves to reach the city, FPC produced a weekly radio broadcast on KGHI station.
In 1969, at the age of 59, Rev. A.O. Holmes had a debilitating stroke. His nineteen year old son, Rev. Joel Holmes, assumed the pastorate. A few years later, Rev. Joel Holmes married Janet Burr from Port Arthur, TX. Together, they provided leadership for the church from 1971–2014. When the church at Second and Buckeye was destroyed by fire in 1970, a new facility was built at #1, 52nd Place, North Little Rock. Throughout the twenty-two years in which the church met at this location, it experienced continued growth.
As the building in Park Hill filled to capacity, the congregation began raising funds to purchase property on which to build a new sanctuary. It was at this time that Sister Agnes Holmes saw a vision of a large footing. She described it as the largest footing she had ever seen. The opportunity arose in 1988 to purchase ten acres on Interstate 40. In 1989, we began having morning prayer at the church. Within three years a new sanctuary was built on Interstate 40. On November 22, 1992, First Pentecostal Church moved into its new facility at 1401 Calvary Road. During the 1990s, FPC experienced tremendous growth while staying true to the Acts 2:38 message.
In the late 90s, the church leadership began exploring possibilities for expanding the sanctuary. Plans had been drawn to build an adjoining building for a fellowship hall and classrooms; but instead it was decided to build a larger sanctuary, and use the existing building for the needed classrooms. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new sanctuary was held on February 14, 1999. A contract with Matson Construction Company (who also built the first building) was signed on April 23, 2000. The outline of the floor plan was drawn out on the ground and the members met to walk through and pray over the layout of the new sanctuary. Matson Construction began digging the footings for the building in the fall. Sister Agnes Holmes visited one day, and recognized the footing as the one she had seen in the vision ten years earlier.
At the beginning of 2001, the steel structure stood tall. The new sanctuary of the First Pentecostal Church was well on its way to completion. Brick masons began covering the steel frame, and the lower portion of the steeple was placed into position. Funds had been set aside to pay for the stained glass, the angel sculpture, the carpet, and a portion of the sound system, items which weren’t included in the contract. With the threat of a falling economy after 9/11, Pastor Holmes met with the men of the church on September 24th, to discuss whether we should pull back on some of the special projects or continue as planned. The powerful anointing of the Lord came down, and unanimous support was given that the project should continue full force! The building project was completed, and the first service was held on Easter Sunday of 2004.
The miracle of the new sanctuary is that it was built in total unity. There were no cross words or dissension from the design phase to the completion. This spirit of cooperation was present as people caught the vision of reaching out to others and learned the blessing that can be found in giving. In April of 2008, the mortgage on the new sanctuary was retired and the facility was dedicated during the 60th Arkansas International Campmeeting.