who we are
First Assembly of God grew out of humble beginnings. The first gatherings in 1917 were cottage prayer meetings held in the home of L. E. and Violet Moore at 721 N. De Villiers Street. This group was first known as Holiness or Pentecostal people. A mere thirteen people gathered regularly and Rev. Andrew J. Martin was invited to preach on the weekends.
By 1918 a building was acquired at “F” and La Rua Streets and others were added to the church. As the group grew they moved to “12th” and Salamanca Streets and even met in an old street car barn at the corner of De Villiers and Gadsden Streets. These were turbulent days of persecution. The Pentecostal message was resisted and on one occasion Rev. Martin was physically dragged from the pulpit by an angry mob of men and threatened with hanging. After several other incidents that required intervention by the police, Governor Sidney J. Catzarkatz was call to Pensacola to settle the matter.
The Assemblies of God was formed in April of 1914. On December 18, 1921, Rev. Martin applied for affiliation with the fledgling Pentecostal Fellowship and on January 12, 1922, First Assembly of God was officially associated with the General Council of the Assemblies of God. In 1931 the church purchased property on the corner of Garden and M Streets and for the next 49 years experienced growth and development that required many renovations and additions to the original church structure.
Under the leadership of Rev. Edwin Barg the church purchased property for the current location at 12th Avenue and Bayou Boulevard. In June of 1980 the church dedicated the spectacular edifice that occupies that corner today.
Through many years of growth, great leadership, faithful members, and yes, even persecution, First Assembly of God still stands at the corner of 12th and Bayou Boulevard as an Oasis of Love for a hurting community.
David Scruggs, Sr. is the Senior Pastor. He came to Pensacola First in 2012 from North Carolina where he and his wife, Trig, led a church for 32 years. Pastor David began preaching at seven years old and was ordained with the West Florida District Assemblies of God in 1969. He is a native of South Alabama/Northwest Florida Region and has led churches in Florida, Kentucky, and North Carolina. He was educated at Central Bible College in Springfield, MO and has held local, district, and national offices with the Assemblies of God. Pastor David’s signature is scripture based preaching. One of his favorite sayings is, “its OK to read the bible in church”. Pastor David has three children, David Jr., John, and Amy and 5 grandchildren. Trig went to heaven in 2016.
Steve Rhodes is the Youth Pastor. He was Born in Charleston West Virginia in 1985. He grew up in Pace Florida, where he also studied ministry through an internship at Pace Assembly of God. Steve and his wife Deidre married in 2009. Steve and Diedre both have a passion for reaching & discipling children and teenagers for Christ. Steve and Diedre came on staff at First during the year of 2011 were they have served faithfully. Steve and Diedre have Two children Addyson who was born in 2012 and Colt who was born in 2016.
Gay Bursey serves Pensacola First in a variety of ministries and is a native of Pensacola. She attended Evangel University in Springfield, MO and District School of Ministry in Mississippi. Gay was ordained in the Mississippi District Assemblies of God where she and her husband, Steve, pastored churches and directed Teen Challenge of Mississippi for women. Currently Pastor Gay leads For Every Women, a Women’s Ministry of Pensacola First, and fills in teaching and music roles. Gay has two children, Michele, and Steven, and three grandchildren. Steve went home to heaven in 2017
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