In the 1940’s, Reverend A.O. Holmes, one of the greatest Pentecostal pioneers that ever lived, felt a call from God to leave his home in North Little Rock, Arkansas to start a home-missions church in Biloxi, MS. With very little money and a few hard working men, what is now Pentecostals of the Gulf Coast came together for their first meeting under the flaps of a large tent. The tent was erected on the west side of Caillavet and Bay Avenue near a large Oak tree. The gulf waters served as the baptistry.
During this time of transition, the church searched for leadership among several different pastors. Though each was qualified, none felt it their calling to remain with the small struggling congregation. On September 11, 1960, Reverend James H. Springer felt a definite call to come shepherd the church that Rev. A.O. Holmes founded. Not only was it the will of God he remain, but also the desire of the congregation (which by then numbered about sixty adults and children).
Within three years of his arrival on the Gulf Coast a new education facility was added to the existing church. In 1974, Reverend James Springer initiated the building of a new sanctuary realizing his dream of a new and larger building. The new building seated 200, but proved too small shortly after completion.
Paul Springer, Revered James H. Springer’s son, also answered the call into the ministry. In 1977, he went into full-time ministry. In 1980, Bro. Paul Springer left full-time evangelism and became his father’s assistant. He was later voted in as associate pastor. Rev. Paul Springer was officially ordained on June 6, 1990.
As the construction of the new church on Popps Ferry Road began, Bro James Springer was injured in a fall on the construction site. Both Rev. James and Sis. Betty Springer had been hospitalized a total of five times in four months. In 1994, Pastor Paul D. Springer was elected Senior Pastor of First Pentecostal Church of Biloxi (now Pentecostals of the Gulf Coast) and served in this capacity for 25 years.
Pastor Paul D. Springer also had a vision. On May 20, 2018, the first service was held in the new facility.
As Pastor Springer began to look forward, he wanted to secure the future of Pentecostals of the Gulf Coast. On February 22, 2018, Rev. Chadwick Craft was elected pastor of Pentecostals of the Gulf Coast and continues to serve, alongside his wife Sarah Craft, and three children, Sunday Rose, Jackson Rhett, and Harrison Chadwick.
Pastor Craft has a degree from Jackson College of Ministries and has served as a Christian school principal and JCM instructor. He has been involved with the MS district UPCI and has been in ministry for many years.
The Crafts’ vision for the future is to continue leading a hope-giving congregation, build strong families, fund missionaries worldwide, and send ministers into the harvest field. Future plans also include paving a new parking lot, connecting the original church building on Popps Ferry with the new facility, renovating the old facility, founding an education center, and building a world-class family life center.
The future is promising because the foundation is strong!