Springtown Seventh-day Adventist Company

A Brief History of Springtown, Arkansas

The Work Begins

Elder V. B. Watts ca. 1908

Elder Volner Brockway Watts began holding meetings in Springtown near the end of September 1905. After three weeks, with no interest to speak of, he decided to close the meetings. Since he wasn’t going to use the tent, the black Seventh-day Adventists used it to hold their Sabbath school (Watts, 1905).

A New Plan

Many years later in 1997, Bill Einhellig, Jim Jensen and Don Cox got to talking about their church and how there seemed to be so many members who were no longer attending. After some discussion they hit on a plan. Jim knew of a small Methodist church nearby that was for rent. He went to inquire about the church that same day. He was told it could be rented for $50 a week. It was an old church with no indoor plumbing or air conditioning, but otherwise seemed adequate. “Then,” said Cox, “we went to visit people we knew were no longer attending church and invited them to this church. We expected about twenty people,” Cox continued, “but instead sixty-five came that first weekend in October. Why did they come? They came because somebody had missed them or taken time to visit them and invite them to the meeting! We had no money to pay for the first week’s rent,” Cox said, “but when we took up an offering at the end of the church service, we had over $200.” The one problem this new congregation was facing was that there were no rooms for children’s Sabbath schools. Then “the Church of Christ minister came to us and offered the use of his church close by in case we needed more room! That solved our Sabbath school problem for the children. We offered to pay rent, but he said he didn’t need it. We insisted, and so we paid them $50 a week for the use of the rooms” (Cox, 1998).

On November 22, 1997, more than 40 people registered for membership in the new Springtown group. The congregation, which was meeting in a rented Methodist church, continued to grow as word reached around the community. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

Springtown Company Organized

A former pastor, Eugene Johnson, who had pastored in Gentry between 1971 and 1978, was invited back for a series of revival meetings. The first weekend there were 163 in attendance at the evening meeting and attendance kept growing (Cox, 1998). Springtown was organized as a company and its membership has grown to over 300 members (Minutes, 1998).

A New Church

In 1998, it was voted to purchase almost nine acres of land so the Springtown company could build a church (Minutes, 1998). A nice building was erected and on April 9, 2016, a groundbreaking was held for a new sanctuary for the Springtown company (Minutes, 2016).

Springtown company on Fairmont Road in Gentry, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Stephen Burton.

Citations

(1998, Apr. 7). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.

(2016, Mar. 3). Ibid.

Cox, Don. (1998, Feb. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 6.

Watts, V. B. (1905, Oct. 17). Ibid., p. 2.