Arnold P. & Betty J. Williams
Faithful dedication to a God-given dream and vision has resulted in the present day ministry of River of Life Christian Church, an Interdenominational Ministry. God gave the dream and vision to Apostle Arnold P. Williams and his wife, Apostle Bettie J. Williams.
In 1969, on Arnold’s 30th birthday, God appeared to him in a vision and commanded him to tell the people, “Time is running out!” (Rev. 22:7), “Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he that keepeth the prophecy of this book”. Arnold did not take heed to God’s word immediately, but rather, he ran from it. Four years later, he found out, as did the Apostle Paul, that it is hard to “kick against the pricks of God,” (Acts 9:5).
In the fall of 1974, the church began operating as a “store-front” missionary ministry. The first Sunday evening services were held at 606 Selby Avenue. At that time, focus was directed primarily in ministering to those we might describe as non-traditional people who were not being reached by traditional churches; the destitute, distressed and brokenhearted. “All them that are afar off” (Acts 2:39; Luke 14:15-24).
Pastors Arnold and Bettie attended Compassion Bible School and became involved in missionary work in Belize, Central America, Canada, and various other places. In addition, Pastor Arnold served under his father, the late Rev. Dr. Kneely Williams, as an Associate Pastor at New Hope Baptist Church. Pastor Arnold became a licensed minister in 1976 and was ordained in 1977.
In the fall of 1979, God called them to fulltime pastoral shepherding ministry with regular Sunday morning worship services. The Lord spoke to Pastor Bettie and instructed her to contact many of the brothers and sisters in the Lord who had influenced their lives that they might give Pastor Arnold encouragement on the first Sunday morning worship service and the church was filled to capacity.
The name, RIVER OF LIFE CHRISTIAN CENTER, was adopted as the church’s official name. The name was given to Pastor Arnold several years previous, by a brother in the Lord who spoke prophetically saying the name of the church he was to found would be called River of Life. (Rev. 22:1), “And he shewed me a Pure River of Water of Life, Clear as Crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
At Arnold’s and Bettie’s invitation, Brother Harold Graham joined the pastoral staff of River of Life. The Lord continues in His faithfulness to prosper the church’s humble beginnings. It has grown in spiritual maturity with a complete eldership and deacon ministry that was raised up by the Lord. Also established, are many outreach ministries to include: prison/jail, 12 steps, hospital, hospice, nursing homes, foreign and local missionary outreach, youth ministry, music ministry, and the list continues to grow.
The completed vision God gave Pastors Arnold and Bettie Williams also includes ‘The Healing of the Races’. Pastor Arnold understood that the church body needed to be a ‘united front’, so that the body of Christ could go forward and bring the message of God’s love to the world. For 24 years, he and his wife, Pastor Bettie Williams worked side by side to bring God’s great men and women together in Unity. They knew that it would take the love of God to transverse all racial, cultural, economical and denominational boundaries that separate and weaken the mandate of our Lord’s prayer of Unity (John 17:20-21).
The Lord added to the church which quickly exceeded the capacity of the first building. The Holy Spirit lead Pastor Arnold to move “The River” to 999 Selby Avenue in 1982 and the ministry continued to grow. In July 1996 the Lord enabled Pastor Arnold to achieve another one of his dreams, that of moving the church to its current location, 739 Summit Avenue.
Before Pastor Arnold went home to be with the Lord in 1998, he passed the mantle to his wife, Pastor Bettie J. Williams where she developed into a powerful and renowned preacher, intercessor, mentor and consecrated servant leader. She enhanced “The River” missionary outreach by establishing Men’s & Women’s Fellowship, Family Prayer, Praise Dance, Teen Ministry, Foundational School of Ministry, Mental Health Fair and our Annual Men and Women International Conferences. Before Apostle Bettie Williams went home to be with the Lord in November 2009, she strengthened the leadership and members of the church and we will continue in the spiritual legacy left to us by these two great Apostles and build upon the foundation until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, today when one fellowships at River of Life Christian Church, they will note that the dream given to Pastors Arnold and Bettie Williams is no longer a dream, but a reality! Christians who love the Lord, who love one another from every background mentioned, walk hand in hand together wrecking Satan’s kingdom and building up the Kingdom of God. To God we give all the glory, the praise and the adoration for what He has done in and through our lives, Our church motto: “Remember to greet someone in Jesus’ name, and tell him or her that Jesus loves them and so do you”.
Water of Life Outreach Ministry
Waters Of Life Outreach Ministry, is a branch of the River of Life Christian Church, it was founded by Pastors Earl and Pamela Gilchrist, but established by the Lord Jesus Christ. On June 27th 2003, Pastors Earl and Pamela Gilchrist were given the assignment to go out and establish the Waters of Life Outreach Ministry. They were Commissioned to go out with the Blessing of our their parent Church. WOLOM is a ministry that God has sown into the earth in this millennium, for such a time as this.
The ministry has been developing since the day Earl gave his life to the Lord, May 14th, 1986. That was in Stillwater State Prison, D-Hall, after an extensive life of crime and drug abuse. What was only a seed has now flourished into full corn. The process wasn’t an easy one but we knew with God’s blessing we could bring it to pass.
Today the ministry is thriving and growing continuously. God’s stamp of approval is all over it. We’ve come from the Community Center where it started through leasing from another Church, to purchasing a 11,000 square feet building, only by God’s Grace and Mercy.
Through the process the scriptures came to life, Matt.25:21; “Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many.” Lk.16:10; “He that is Faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much…”
At this time God has elevated us and we, Bishop Earl and Pastor Pamela Gilchrist are Senior Pastors of “One Church Two Location”, the River of Life Christian Church, St. Paul Mn. and the Waters of Life Outreach Ministry, Minneapolis, MN. to God be all the GLORY!!!