The Work Begins
In the summer of 2007, the Gentry church board chartered the Compass ministry, a contemporary Adventist group, that began meeting once a month. The first monthly meeting was held in September in the Gentry youth center. About 150 people began attending, but there was a lot of set up and tear down of the stage, sound system, and chairs so in May 2010, the service was moved to the Ozark Adventist Academy auditorium, and then to the boys’ dorm chapel during the summer when attendance was low. Some of the problems that arose from meeting once a month were that people would show up on Sabbaths of the off-weeks, and many would only attend church once a month, so Compass requested that they be allowed to meet weekly. On August 7, 2010, Compass began meeting in the Pipeline room of the old Gentry elementary school on Sabbath mornings. Compass soon outgrew the space and the Pathfinders, who were using two rooms at the back of the building, began meeting in the front room, while Compass remodeled the back rooms, removing a wall to create a larger room, making it a more suitably-sized meeting place. This was their meeting place for the next five years, with an average attendance of sixty. During this time, a group of twenty to twenty-five people worked together to develop a mission statement. In January 2012, the completed statement read: “Compass is a fresh expression of the church. A biblically true, safe environment where people are free to belong, grow, and serve.”
Compass Fellowship NWA Company Organized in 2015
In the spring of 2015, the group was told that the Pathfinders needed the meeting space and they would need to be out by the end of the summer. Compass began the process of becoming a separate entity instead of a ministry of the Gentry church, and began looking for a new home that had enough space for meeting, parking, and kids. On March 18, 2015, the Compass Fellowship NWA company was organized. In August 2015, Compass received a $50,000 donation, and a place to meet was found in a former bank building in Siloam Springs. On October 3, 2015, the worship service moved to its own location.
Compass had an active youth program, but no easy way to transport them so in March 2018, they purchased a 2009, 44-passenger Bluebird bus. Another need was for fellowship space with a kitchen and bathrooms. In the fall of 2018, a 30’x 40′ barn was located but space was needed for youth, showers and bathrooms, and a kitchen. By August 2019, the space was enlarged to 50’x 80′ with a kitchen, three bathrooms, a 50’x 55′ gathering space, and a 16’x 80′ back porch.
A New Church in 2020
In 2020, Compass leaders learned that Simmons wanted to use the bank building again, and although Compass was paying rent, it was well below market value for the space. They needed to find a new place again. They heard that the Siloam Springs Bible church was for sale and had been lowered in price. Compass leaders made an offer and on July 15, 2020, were able to purchase the church and other buildings on the property on Highway 412 and Stateline Road. Members are excited as they feel the potential for this property. Once the pandemic is over, they can seat 400 in the main building and have space for over 100 in the youth building. Compass held its first service in the new location on August 15, 2020.
God has blessed their journey and they claim the promise of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(2014, Dec. 4). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
Simpson, Chris. (2015, Oct. 26). Compass Fellowship NWA Company. Retrieved from eadventist.net.
Sutherland, Greg. (2020, Spring). Powerpoint presentation.