Friendship Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1922 when God touched the hearts, souls and minds of six spirit – filled believers – Horace and Hazel Smith, Willie and Maggie Smith, Omer and Virginia Maxville. During their soul stirring weekly prayer bands, the Lord moved upon their hearts saying, “Upon this rock, I will build Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Out of this prayer band, Friendship Church was birthed.
Reverend H.J. Hammond accepted the challenge and became the first Pastor of Friendship. The initial services were held in a frame house in the 1900 block of Midland Street and later moved to a building located at the corner of Lansing and Marshall street. Reverend Hammond served faithfully until his demise in 1929. After Reverend Hammond’s death, Reverend J.H. Russaw was ordained as Pastor and served for six months, after which time he asked to be released from the pastorate.
In 1930, Reverend Varon B. Moore accepted the call and became Friendship’s third Pastor. He was a graduate of Morehouse College. At this time, Friendship moved its meeting location to the corner of Queen Place and Midland. Reverend Moore worked faithfully until his death. In 1955, Reverend C. J. Smith was called to pastor Friendship. Reverend Smith was no stranger to Friendship. His father and mother Horace and Hazel Smith were a part of the original organizing prayer band Rev. Smith served until his death in 1969.
Pastor L.L. Tisdale
The fifth pastor was Reverend T.C. Morris, who came to Friendship in 1969. He is remembered as both a “preacher” and a “pastor”. It was under his leadership that Rev. H.J. Mosely accepted his call to ministry. Reverend Morris was a sincere minister who was concerned for all members, as well as non-members. He retired in 1976 due to failing health. In August of that same year, Dr. L.L. Tisdale was called to Pastor Friendship and officially assumed this role the first Sunday in December. Pastor L.L. Tisdale was affectionately given the name, “The Holy Ghost Preaching and Singing Pastor.” He was a man with a vision who was led by God. Dr. Tisdale was very interested in the youth of the church and made certain that Christian values were the basis of their lives. He was not only concerned about the young people but for all members of the congregation and the unsaved everywhere.
During Dr. Tisdale’s leadership, God caused the membership to grow immensely from approximately 150 to over 1000. Due to this growth, Friendship outgrew the edifice on the corner of Madison Avenue and Queen Place. With a vision from the Lord, the Ground breaking ceremonies were held on March 12, 1983 for the present edifice. The new Friendship Missionary Baptist Church located at 1709 N. Madison Avenue had its official opening on February 26, 1984. Under Pastor L.L. Tisdale’s leadership, our church and music ministry continued to blossom. Friendship Missionary Baptist Church had several ministries that catered to the needs of all its members. We had a 110 voice choir that would travel all over to minister in song. Pastor L.L. Tisdale was a passionate preacher and committed community leader. He served as Moderator of the Canaan Baptist District Association for several years. He was a Pastor and mentor to many preachers. He was truly committed to the cause of Christ. He’s still remembered today by the enormous impact he made on the lives of many. Pastor L.L. Tisdale passed away suddenly on March 28, 1997. After his sudden death, Reverend H.J. Mosely served as Interim Pastor.
Pastor Weldon L. Tisdale
On July 20, 1997, Reverend Weldon L. Tisdale Sr. was selected as the next pastor in succession to his father. Pastor Weldon L. Tisdale is an anointed visionary and trailblazer. Upon him being called as Pastor, he felt led by God to implement ministries, programs and activities to reach diverse individuals that will contribute to the spiritual and numerical growth of our church. Pastor Weldon blended the church’s traditional Baptist roots with Pentecostal beliefs which caused the church to transition from Friendship Missionary Baptist Church to Friendship Church. This change expanded the church’s fellowships and allowed them the opportunity to travel all over the United States. His vision led our church membership to grow spiritually and exponentially. We added an additional worship service time to accommodate all of our members. Both of our services were spirit-filled and let many souls to Christ. Pastor Weldon had a passion to provide needed assistance to youth and the elderly in our community. Therefore, he built the Friendship Resource Center which served as a hub for community resources, training and information. Pastor Weldon understood the extreme need to ensure that our students were equipped for college and the professional world so he birthed People’s Builders Inc. which provided job training, interview skills; resume building, career development and preparation for Oklahoma Promise .
Pastor Weldon was innovative with Christian Education so he put a new twist on Sunday School by referring to it as Discovering the Word. He also implemented Men of Vision and Daughters of Jerusalem which were ministries that directly served specific demographics. He not only had a passion to develop members of Friendship Church, he also felt the desire to provide an opportunity for Pastor, ministers and corporate executives to grown in knowledge and leadership so he organized Restoration Conference which brought in people from all over the United States. As Pastor Weldon implemented ministries for youth, children, young adults and the community, he didn’t want the senior members to feel left out so he instituted the Season Saints ministry to provide the elderly and opportunity to dialogue and dine with one another and community stakeholders. After 21 years of committed service, on Sunday, December 30, 2018, Pastor Weldon L. Tisdale Sr preached his last sermon as the Senior Pastor of Friendship Church.
Pastor Jamaal Dyer
In March of 2019, the Friendship Church called Rev. Jamaal Dyer as their 8th Senior Pastor. Rev. Dyer is 33 years old which makes him the youngest pastor in the history of Friendship. Pastor Dyer preached his first sermon, " Your Comeback Will Be Greater Than Your Setback," as Pastor – Elect of the Friendship Church on April 7th, 2019. Pastor Dyer is affectionately called “Pastor J” by his parishioners. Pastor J and the Friendship Church have seen rapid spiritual and numerical growth in a short period of time. Under his leadership, the Friendship Church finances have significantly increased, the choir has grown and Friendship has continued its rich legacy of being a community friendly church by being available for various community members to use. The church has increased its community outreach by canvassing “Madison Street” to invite neighbors to church and inform them about the churches availability to serve them and we’ve developed a partnership with our neighbors at Edenwood Apartments. Pastor J has a vision and passion for all members. Our multi-generational congregation encompasses ministries for all ages to utilize their gifts and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In a short period of time, the church has repurposed a room and created a welcome center for our first time visitors as well as renovated our nursery to provide a kid friendly atmosphere for our little saints to play and be nurtured. We are excited about what the Lord has done in the life of Friendship Church and we’re looking forward to what He’s going to do next.