The concept of a community church was the culmination of a dream by organizing pastor, Reverend Robert L. Castle, III. Through his foresight, faith in God, and spiritual inspiration, Friendship-West Baptist Church became a reality. Worship services began on the second Sunday in June 1976 at the Mary Lois Sweatt School of Dance on Liberty Lane, with a total of nine worshippers. During the summer of the same year, the membership grew to over 50 members.
The need arose for more space. Consequently, the Wee Wisdom Day Care Center on Camp Wisdom Road became the second temporary site. Within six months, the membership of Friendship-West moved into an A-frame designed church, located on 7505 South Polk Street.
The ministry of Pastor Castle paved the way for enormous growth. He brought new, challenging ideas to spiritually lift God's people. He served diligently until his untimely death on February 25, 1982. The church was left without a pastor. At that time, the congregation invited Reverend Frederick D. Haynes, III, a studying young minister at Bishop College, to serve as Interim Pastor. Rev. Haynes served until his graduation in August 1982. Again, the congregation was without a pastor. Reverend John Taylor, Jr. was selected to serve as Interim Pastor and served until February 1983. On February 13, 1983, Reverend Haynes returned to assume pastoral leadership, and was officially installed as pastor on April 10, 1983. God continued to shower blessings on Friendship-West and the membership grew to over 300. Because of the rapid growth of the membership, the need arose for more space. While plans were being made to purchase another worship facility, services were held at the Faith Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church at 825 West Pentagon Parkway, from January 1990 until May 1991.
The Lord gave Pastor Haynes a vision concerning the direction of the church appropriately labeled Vision 2000. The essence of Vision 2000 is captured in the vision statement. On June 2, 1991, the first phase of Vision 2000 came to fruition. The Friendship-West family moved, by caravan, from its original location, 7505 South Polk Street, to the location at 616 West Kiest Boulevard, praising and giving glory to God. With the prayers, faith, talents, and tithes of the congregation, the current building was transformed into a beautiful place of worship and ministry.
Blessings have overflowed in the last 16 years. God is doing great things for us. From 1996-2006, church membership increased exponentially. Since 2000, approximately 7500 individuals have accepted Christ and joined our flock, with an average of 800-1000 people completing the New Members Curriculum each year. Currently our membership is over 9000. Friendship-West actively engages in ministries that exalt the Savior, evangelize sinners, emancipate those who suffer, and equip the saints for service through over 45 ministries. The ministries and administration of the church are serviced and led by a full-time pastoral and support staff exceeding 45.
"Beyond the Walls" is a slogan of service that characterizes the ministry concept of the church and is incarnated by her members. At least 10% of all income is designated for Outreach, as Friendship-West Baptist Church tithes the tithe. Friendship-West has adopted Emmanuel Baptist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe Africa, helping to fund the construction of the worship auditorium, day care center, and School of Emmanuel, while the ministries of Friendship-West have adopted ministries of Emmanuel.
As a reflection of Friendship-West's commitment to the community, the church served for 10 years as host for the Bishop Five Plus One Community Revival benefiting Bishop College, and continues to be the headquarters for many community events and activities.
While grateful to God for a bright, but brief past, Friendship-West Baptist Church has "promises to keep, and miles to go" before she sleeps. We are now in our new facility on 2020 W. Wheatland Road and continuing ministry that makes a difference!