In 1907 Evangelist Rachel Sizelove from Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California made the long journey to Springfield, Missouri to see her sister Lillie Corum. As Rachel, Lillie, and others prayed together one evening, Lillie became the first person in Springfield known to receive the Pentecostal baptism.
Friends and neighbors frequently stopped by the Corum house to hear about the Azusa Street meetings. The conversations often ended in prayer. That summer, cottage prayer meetings overflowed out of the Corum home into tent meetings on Center Street (now Central Street) near the Greene County Courthouse.
Three years later an important friendship blossomed between Lillie and a woman named Amanda Benedict. Amanda was a well-educated woman from New York and had conducted a rescue home for girls in Chicago. Amanda was intrigued by Lillie’s testimony of Pentecost and prayed to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
In 1911 Lillie and Amanda received permission to construct a tent at the corner of Campbell and Calhoun, where Central Assembly now stands. Amanda was known for her tireless hours of prayer, late into the night, where she interceded for God’s work in Springfield and for the fledging church.
The group of believers, who would eventually be distinguished as Central Assembly, moved from various temporary quarters around Commercial, Division, and Central streets until 1920, when they dedicated a white wooden building on the corner of Campbell and Calhoun.
The church became officially affiliated with the Assemblies of God in 1925 under the pastorate of D.W. Kerr. The pastors who would follow D.W. Kerr would continue to inspire the congregation with a mission to share God’s love with people in their neighborhood and abroad.
Central Assembly marked an incredible milestone in 1926 when they sent their first missionary, Forest Coover, to Tibet. Central also planted churches all over Springfield: East Side (now Praise Assembly), North Side Assembly, Northeast (now Bethel Assembly), and South Side (previously Calvary Temple, now Life360 Church).
Central celebrated its centennial on June 1, 2007, 100 years to the day of the first meeting in the Corum home.