In 1998, God placed a burden on the heart of Bishop Steven M. Arnold, Senior
Pastor of the St. Mark Baptist Church at 5722 West 12th Street of Little Rock, to
plant a church in Jacksonville, Arkansas. At that time, St. Mark Baptist Church
had a membership of over 4,000 members and was having two Sunday Morning
Worship Services with capacity crowds.
After doing some research, it was felt that Jacksonville was fertile ground for a
progressive ministry and that a church in the area would help to accommodate
over 150 members who were already commuting from the Jacksonville area to
the Little Rock location for the weekly worship services.
Bishop Arnold shared the vision with the Church, leaders and staff and they
began to organize and develop this effort in 1999. After much work and prayer,
the first worship service was held at 10:00 a.m. on the 2nd Sunday in September
2000 at the Jacksonville Community Center. St. Mark Baptist Church became
“One Church in Two Locations”. Bishop Arnold continued to preach and pastor
at both locations.
The initial vision was to plant the church and turn it over to another pastor and
allow it to function independently from the mother church, St. Mark Baptist
Church of Little Rock.
In January 2002, the assistant pastor of St. Mark, Pastor Al Romes, began to
alternate and share the preaching and teaching responsibilities at the
Jacksonville location. In the meantime, an aggressive effort was launched to
acquire a permanent home for the church.
In July of 2003, God blessed St. Mark to acquire property from the Landmark
Baptist Church at 800 North First Street in Jacksonville, Arkansas. This property
consists of over 2 acres with 2 buildings in excess of 17,000 square feet.
On September 14, 2003, St. Mark Baptist Church moved from the Jacksonville
Community Center into the Worship Center at 800 North First Street in
Jacksonville. After moving to the new location, a church-wide Bible Study was
established on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. weekly.
In May 2004, Bishop Arnold moved forward with the effort to make the
Jacksonville location independent from the Little Rock location. He
recommended that the Jacksonville location be renamed the St. Mark
Community Church and that his assistant pastor at St. Mark Baptist Church,
Rev. Al Romes, be named the Senior Pastor of St. Mark Community Church.
The Board of Elders unanimously approved the recommendation and the
Jacksonville church was officially incorporated and named the St. Mark
Pastor Al Romes took the reins as the Senior Pastor of the St. Mark Community
Church on September 12th, 2004, as the church celebrated its’ 4th
Anniversary. On November 21, 2004, Pastor Romes was officially installed as
the Senior Pastor. Staff was hired to assist with the work of the ministry. This
staff included a full time Minister of Music; a full time Administrative Assistant; a
part-time Bookkeeper; a part-time Sound Technician; and a part-time Custodian.
In 2006, Rev. Darold Maxfield was added to the staff as Associate Pastor. Six
new deacons were ordained bringing the total number of deacons to seven.
The Deacon’s Family Ministry was also organized at that time.
In 2009, we were blessed to add three new deacons bringing the number to ten.
Since 2006, some 20 ministries have been started. A scholarship fund has
been established and scholarships are given each year to qualifying high school
graduates. We have an annual revival that follows our annual church picnic. A
program of regular contributions to foreign missions and local charities has been
From the very beginning to now, God has blessed this church beyond measure.
God has demonstrated His awesome power in so many ways and now this
church family knows why Pastor Romes’ favorite scripture passage is Ephesians
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church
by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end."
| Key Point
Your obedience to God
is based on the fact
that He is your
Creator. You obey him
because of who He is.
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