Community Bible Church of Fort Smith, Began in September of 1996 seven families from three different churches met together to address two questions. The first question was: “Do we believe a need exists in the Fort Smith area for a new church with a distinctive emphasis and an innovative approach to ministry?” The unanimous answer was “Yes.” The second question was: “Are we willing to dedicate ourselves to such an enterprise?” Again, the unanimous response was “Yes.”
The following month, Community Bible Church of Fort Smith (known initially as Community Church of Fort Smith) was incorporated and held its first worship service on October 6th in a living room on which day Dr. Edward A. Saucier was invited to become the church’s first pastor.
Soon thereafter the church rented a conference room from Westark College and met there for Sunday morning worship for a period of several months. Later in that same year an old theater was leased for the worship services allowing more room both for worship and children’s classes. After some months, due to the need for more room for nursery and children’s education, Community signed a lease with the downtown Holiday Inn where the church met for a period of one year.
In February of 1998 the decision was made to sign a three-year lease for space located inside the Phoenix Village Mall in Fort Smith. Some 12,000 square feet of space was leased and remodeled. In June of that same year the church relocated to the site. During the summer of 2001 Community rented and renovated an additional 3,000 square feet of space in the mall providing 5 new classrooms, a conference room and a learning center.
In January of 2001, we decided to begin an aggressive campaign to raise funds in order to purchase 20 acres of land on Dallas Street. We had agreed to purchase the land at half the assessed value of $600,000. However, before those funds were raised, the twenty acres were anonymously given to the Church. A three-tiered task force was formed and the plans for a new building were devised.
In March of 2004, we moved from Phoenix Village Mall to our new twenty-acre plant on Dallas Street, into a 35,000 square feet building. With a worship center capable of seating 900, children’s classrooms, a student room, and offices, these twenty acres should serve as our main physical location for many years. Nearly $700,000 was raised in the three years preceding the completion of the building project. Through donations of labor and material, along with hard work from many church members, we were able to build property valued near $3 million while only financing $1.4 million.