Rev. Carroll W. Martin
1918 ~ 1971
Bishop Carroll Wesley Martin was born May 22, 1918 in Faulkner County, Arkansas to his parents, Grover and Buna Martin. He was the eldest of five children, and married December 7, 1935, to Violet Hall of Pulaski County, Arkansas.
In the early 1940’s Bro and Sis. A.O. Holmes traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, from southwest Mississippi, to preach a revival and later in 1943, became the Pastor of the little home missions church on 5th and Victory, then on to 2nd and Buckeye, now known as First Pentecostal Church of North Little Rock, Arkansas. It was during a great revival there with Bro. Wallace Kennedy in early 1946, that Bro. Carroll and Sis. Violet received the Holy Ghost and was baptized in Jesus Name, along with his father, Bro. Grover Martin and his brother, Bro. Dean Martin and his fiancée, Sis. Minnie Belle.
A short time after receiving the Holy Ghost, Bro. Martin felt the call of God to the ministry. He often shared how that his little daughter Linda, who had died only a short time before, came to him in a dream in the form of an angel. Her message to him was "Preach the Gospel, Reach the Lost, and if you reach no other, be sure to save Homer Tullos." Homer was a first cousin, son of Sister Eva Martin Tullos, one of the original members who founded the church. It was during the war, and most of the men were gone, and Sis. Eva was a minister and felt the need to start having a church in their city. They began having church in their homes and other small locations, and was having a move of God, when God sent Bro and Sis Holmes to be their leaders.
Bro. Carroll, (as he was called then), began pastoring a small church at Cato, Arkansas, about twenty five miles north of Little Rock. They had revival and won souls for the Lord. Some of who are still serving God today. He pastored there for awhile, until the Lord had other plans for his ministry.
In obedience to God's call and direction, with Sis. Agnes Holmes being the messenger, in December of 1948, Bro. Martin sold his home and farm in Arkansas and left for southwest Mississippi to preach revivals, in the same area where Bro and Sis. Holmes were from. They arrived in a rural community, a place called Bethel, near Jayess, Mississippi. The church had seen no one receive the Holy Ghost for several years. They began revival and over fifty adults received the Holy Ghost, and the people loved him and wanted him for their pastor. He continued preaching revivals all over southwest Mississippi and Louisiana, and many people were filled with the Holy Ghost, everywhere he preached. On January 4,1949 he became Pastor of New Bethel Jesus Name Church in Jayess, MS. A sinner man in the community, donated property and they immediately moved about a half mile up the road and built a new church and named it New Bethel Jesus Name Church.
Times were very hard in the rural country of Mississippi and money was scarce. In fact, the day they arrived at Bethel, he was met with someone who said "if you came here for money, you've come to a goat's house for wool," to which Bro. Martin replied, I didn't come for money, I have enough food to keep me for thirty days and enough money to get me back home. I have come for revival. And revival they had! The church had to do many things to raise money to support the church, which included planting and picking cotton, but God blessed their sacrifices and multiplied the church with many saints and supplied all their needs.
In 1950, the Lord blessed them with a baby girl, Nelda Janet, an answer to many prayers they had prayed. Earlier in their marriage, they buried a stillborn, and a little darling daughter, Linda Doris who was four years old. Her death was the tool that God used to bring Bro. Carroll and Sis. Violet to church. Sadly, in May 1956, after a very brief illness, Sis. Violet was called home to be with the Lord. He later married a young lady, Sis. Mary Alice Boyd, to whom there were five children born to that union.
Bro. Martin used radio programs as an outreach for the church, and from that ministry, he built another church at Bogue Chitto, Mississippi and pastored there for several years, as it was a 'daughter church' of New Bethel. There were many people saved and ministered to at that "little church in the wildwoods". Later there were several other ministers who pastored there, under Bro. Martin's direction.
In the fall of 1958, he founded a Christian School, at New Bethel, that is still very successful today. God richly blessed his ministry there for twenty-three years plus, that he was pastor. Because of Bishop Martin's love and passion for Christian Schools, he helped establish many all over our nation. It was during a time that Christian education was not the norm. But God dealt with him to start the school, and that ministry alone, became the saving of so many children, who are now adults, many of who continue to be a part of New Bethel church. There are many of those children that graduated from the school, who married a spouse who also graduated and all of their children as well. He often stated, that if he had to choose between the church or the school, he would have to choose the Christian School.
An annual event, was the last full week of June, hundreds of saints would gather from across our nation to come to worship together under the large outdoor tabernacle, with sawdust on the ground, for Jubilee! There was preaching in the day services and singing and shouting at the night services. Bishop Martin enjoyed dancing before the Lord, and many times that old platform would be shaking and dust rising while the saints of God danced and worshiped the Lord for hours. Of course the visitors were fed some of the best home-cooked Southern food from anywhere around, and the saints would open there homes for the guests.
Many people were saved and healed by the miraculous hand of God through Bro. Martin's ministry. He was a much respected minister, far and wide and helped to build many churches and Christian schools, all over the United States. He was called Bishop by many ministers, of whom he helped to save churches in trouble, spiritually and financially. He was a great man of faith, and when called in to pray for the sick, he would sit down and began talking faith and many times never even anoint or pray over them, they would just be healed by hearing faith from this great man of God. His ministry affected hundreds of ministers and thousands of saints nationwide.
Bro. Martin was a great story teller, and people loved traveling with him just to hear his stories. He also had a wonderful personality that people loved. His love for life was so evident, living in the country, at New Bethel was dear to him. He often stated that he lived in the 'garden spot of the world, the land that flowed with milk and honey,' because he had the cows and the honeybees. He loved the farm, and had so many different farm animals. The one that was most unique, was the peacock that freely roamed the grounds and entertained the guests with his display of beautiful feathers and his loud call. A cute story about the peacock was that there was an evangelist that was preaching revival at New Bethel and it continued on for fourteen weeks, every night, and the evangelist said that the peacock was hollering "STAY STAY" to which one of the members replied, that he was hollering "AWAY, AWAY!" Well, those were the days!
Miles never stopped Bishop Martin from traveling to help another church or just to attend special meetings anywhere. He loved people and would go the distance to help. He attended church somewhere almost every night, if there was not church at home, he would find a church somewhere that he could attend. Often returning home by 1:00 or 2:00 A.M. It was nothing for him to travel a hundred miles one way to visit and support his ministry friends and their revivals and special meetings. And then, he traveled far and wide as ‘Camp Meeting Speaker’ in many places as far as California.
When people would express their concern that he wasn't getting enough rest, his reply would be "why would I want to live for 100 years, when I could live it up in 50?" He frequently would remark that he would rather "wear out for the Lord, than to rust out for the devil." He was indeed a unique person, loved my thousands that knew him. He would speak of the "enemies of the gospel" not appreciating this ministry, but he was never intimidated by them. Some of those even burned the church and parsonage in 1953, but God allowed it to be a blessing, in which they just built back much larger and improved. To God be the Glory!
Bishop Martin became ill in early 1971, and died at age 53, on December 5, 1971. God bless his memory!