Our Story: Church History
Late in the fall of 1983, seven families from four different churches met together. One particular concern united them on that evening of careful consideration. The question addressed was simple, yet also complex: “Was there a need in the Northwest Arkansas area for a new church with a distinctive emphasis and approach to ministry?” After discussion and prayer, the families were unanimous; there definitely was a need for such a church. On December 8, 1983, the seven couples met and committed to spend seven days in prayer concerning two questions. First, were they willing to become part of a new church? Second, would they be willing to sacrificially give of their time, resources and skills to help the church get started?
The following Sunday, the families came together and voted unanimously to begin Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas. The seven couples first met in the home of Jim and Anne Arkins for worship, teaching and sharing. Although the church was soon incorporated, it continued to meet privately. Public ministry to the community was to be delayed several months until the proper foundations were laid. Effective February 1, 1984, the first pastor (Dr. Robert Cupp) of Fellowship Bible Church began a part-time ministry with the new church. Beginning February 5, the church family met each Sunday in the Benton County Public Services Building. Throughout the spring, several families joined the core of the new church.
When Fellowship officially opened to the public on Sunday, May 27, 1984, the core of the church had grown to seventeen families and the new church was meeting in the facilities of the Seventh Day Adventist Church (Bentonville). Fellowship was engaging ministry through small groups that met in homes and through corporate worship on Sunday mornings.
For three years (1984-1987), Fellowship Bible met in the rented facilities of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. In June of 1987, the growing congregation moved to Oakdale Junior High in Rogers. For four years (1987-1991), this school was the Sunday home of Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas. There were many pioneers who would arrive early to turn the Jr. High school into a church for the morning. Sound equipment, portable cribs and children’s ministry supplies were set up and taken down each week. Eventually, additional full-time pastors and staff were added.
The church began to take on a decidedly “regional” complexion. On June 16, 1991, Fellowship dedicated its first building on Pleasant Grove Road. Fellowship has expanded the current campus several times since the initial
building was erected.
Fellowship implemented the multi-congregational approach to ministry in September of 1998 with the addition of our Saturday Night congregation (now called “Mosaic”). Since then, several other congregations have either formed at Fellowship or developed a close partnership with Fellowship. The Grove Church, Samaritan House Fellowship, White River Fellowship, New Heights Church, The Church at Springdale, Grace Church, Celebrate Recovery, and others have all been ministry partners of the original church body. In 2011, Fellowship launched the BiLD Training Center, which focuses on developing spiritual leaders for service within our church, other ministries, the NWA community, the mission field and future church plants.