FRIENDSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH
A History 1847-Present
THE EARLY YEARS
Friendship Church had its beginnings as the “Friendship United Baptist Church of Christ” and was organized three miles south of Springdale, Arkansas on May 29, 1847 at the home of Mr. And Mrs. James Meeks. There were nine charter members; R. C. Hill, J. F. Mitchell, Joseph Baker, Rhoda Baker, James White, James Meeks, Isaac Horton, Nancy Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Meeks. The first pastor was Joseph Baker. Services were held in the member’s homes until 1848 when a hewn log church building was constructed. This building was used for worship services until 1860.
Property was purchased from John W. Stafford including land for the Friendship Cemetery. In 1860, a more substantial wood frame church building was built on the north side of the cemetery.
In 1869, the word “United” was stricken from the name, and it was known as the Baptist Church of Christ at Friendship until 1888. At that time, the church was renamed Baptist Church at Friendship.
The Northwest Arkansas Baptist Association was created in 1860 when the Mt. Zion Baptist Association united with the Fayetteville United Baptist Association and Friendship was probably a member of one of these Associations from the date of its origin in 1847 until 1860. In 1868 the Northwest Arkansas Baptist Association dissolved and Friendship Baptist Church then affiliated with the Bentonville Baptist Association. In 1918, the Washington County Baptist Association was formed and later became the Washington Madison Baptist Association. In 1941, Friendship Baptist Church was added to the Washington Madison Baptist Association and is a cooperating member of this association of churches to the present day.
GROWTH AND CHANGE
Friendship Baptist Church celebrated its first 100 years in August 1947 and many former pastors were in attendance. In the early 1980s, a kitchen and fellowship hall was added to the building. In September 1985, construction began on a new brick worship center seating 250. This worship center was completed and the first services were held in the new facility in January 1986. On September 25, 1995, the congregation purchased 10 acres of land on US Highway 412 in order to relocate and build a worship center. After celebrating 150 years in 1997, the congregation began the transition that would lead to relocation.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held December 30, 2001 at the new location on Highway 412 East. On February 20, 2002, the congregation sold the Friendship Road buildings and land to the Primera Iglesia Bautista church, a Spanish-speaking congregation of First Baptist Church of Springdale. The current 350 seat worship center at 5395 East Robinson Road was completed and first services held on May 18, 2003. On February 26, 2006, the church called Mike Sypult as Senior Pastor.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
Under the leadership of Pastor Sypult, the church is expanding and launching new ministries. The church celebrated 160 years of ministry in 2007. As a part of the 160 year anniversary celebration, the congregation added a student center that accommodates 100 junior and senior high school students with a worship center, game area, and three classrooms. An outdoor playground for children was added in 2009. Current expansion includes a children’s center with children’s church auditorium, kitchenette and six classrooms.
“Friendship Church’s mission has always been to help people discover a personal relationship with Jesus Christ”, says Pastor Sypult. “We believe that ordinary people committed to the Great Commission and Great Commandment will grow a great church. It is our prayer that God will use us to impact Northwest Arkansas and the world with the good news of God’s grace and love.”