Rev. Samuel C. McClain
United Pentecostal Church International
1889 ~ 1969
Reverend Samuel C. McClain was born February 25, 1889, on a farm near Madison, Georgia. From the time of childhood, he attended Sunday school, the younger children and his mother riding in a two-seated buggy while the older children walked. When he was about eight, he was asked what he planned to be when he became a man. He replied, "I am going to be a preacher."
When Sam McClain was fourteen, his parents moved to Arkansas. There, in an old fashioned Baptist revival where people shouted and even fell under the power, quite a number of young people joined the church, he among them. Of this occasion, he said: "I got nothing from God then, but a short time later, when reading the Bible, I raised my hand, looked toward heaven, and said, 'Jesus, I love You and thank You for dying on the cross that I might be saved from sin and go to heaven.' Oh the love and glory that exploded in my soul! I wanted to love Him and do all that I could to please Him."
At the age of sixteen, he began teaching an adult Sunday school class. At seventeen he was called to preach, though he told no one of this call for a whole year. Instead of heeding the call, he attended a business college and accepted a position to teach school. At the end of the first school term, the Apostolics were granted permission to hold a revival in the school building. From the first night, Sam McClain was convinced that they had something he did not - something he wanted. On May 25, 1912, he received the Holy Ghost. He described the experience in these words:
"It seemed that a barrel full of glory was charged with electricity and poured over and through me. Suddenly it moved up and took hold of my mouth and tongue. Such words I had never spoken in all my life! I just listened as the Holy Ghost talked through me." After receiving the Holy Ghost, Sam McClain began to receive calls to conduct prayer meetings. The preaching of his first sermon grew out of rather amusing circunstancs. A young man had arranged to conduct revival services. But when the time drew near, he developed cold feet. He said, "Brother Sam, I just can't go; will you go for me?" Sam McClain did go!
He was ordained on August 14, 1914. On January 16, 1916, he was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. As a pioneer, conducting revivals in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, he established several churches. He and those assisting him knew what it was to go hungry and to be persecuted for the name and cause of Christ. His gospel tent was burned, one church had all the windows broken out, they were pelted with rocks and eggs, and once a stove was thrown through a window. His life was threatened. But none of these things moved him.
His ministry was diversified. He pastored churches in Ft. Smith, and Arkadelphia (Arkansas); El Paso, Amarillo, Canadian, Lubbock, and La Feria (Texas); Alburquerque, New Mexico; Aberdeen, Mississippi; and Rupert, Idaho. He taught in D.C.O. Opperman's Bible school in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, during 1918-20 and in Pentecostal Bible Institute, Tupelo, Mississippi, from 1947 until January 1950. In addition, he served as Arkansas state overseer in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World from 1921 through 1925; was a district presbyter for the Texas District of the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated in 1934 and 1935; was district secretary-treasurer for the Arkansas District of the United Pentecostal Church during 1946. He was editor of the Apostolic Herald, official voice of trhe Pentecostal Church, Incorporated, from 1937 until 1940.
He accepted the pastorate of the church in La Feria, Texas, in 1964, and continued there until his retirement. Samuel McClain passed on to his reward on February 24, 1969.