It was in the year of 1910, in the little town of Bastrop, Texas, upon the very conception of Lorea Johnson, that God had chosen and ordained him to be the visible overseer of the assembly known as the Friendlywill Missionary Baptist Church. While serving as a deacon at the Greater New Zion Baptist Church in 1948, under the leadership of the late Rev. T.P. Moss, the Holy Spirit anointed Rev. Johnson as a “Messenger of the Gospel.” In 1954, some six years later, the Holy Spirit, as to Abram, said to Rev. Johnson, “Separate yourself from among your friends.” As Rev. Johnson had always been obedient to the Holy Spirit and with the support of his loving wife Sis. Climmie Johnson by his side, he followed God’s direction. God blessed Rev. and Sis. Johnson with a building on 49th Street and Vermont Avenue. Sis. Johnson called a few of their friends and associates to join them at their inaugural church service.
So there it was, the “Beginning” of Friendlywill, Easter Sunday morning, April 18, 1954. Seven people were present that day, the eighth person being the Holy Spirit. The service was endowed with spiritual blessings from on high and the financial blessing was seven dollars and fifty cents. The name “Friendlywill” was prayerfully accepted by all.
In 1957, the Rev. Frank Watson informed Pastor Johnson of a facility located at 1225 East 68th Street in Los Angeles. After conversing with a realtor, Pastor Johnson was informed that a payment of $1,800 would erase the nine-month delinquency on the building. The same strong hand that guided the assembly in the wilderness had provided for Pastor Johnson and Friendlywill. God had blessed our treasury with exactly $1,800.
Under the anointing and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Johnson continued to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus with his own unique style and method. His message was powerful, his style was humble and his method was to express Godly love towards everyone.
The ministry grew as the Holy Spirit continued to add to the Friendlywill Family. In 1977, improvements were made to our present structure, which increased a seating capacity from 170 to 350 people. Also in 1977, God blessed the Friendlywill Family to eradicated the existing mortgage and a copy was placed in the church cornerstone, laid by the late Rev. P.J. Jones.
In July 1989, God removed from His garden, one of His most beautiful flowers, our Founding First Lady, Sis. Climmie Johnson of whom we shall always love and cherish.
The church continued prayerfully under the strong leadership of Pastor Johnson and in 1990 a special drive was launched to pay off the seconded mortgage. “For the people had a mind to work” Nehemiah 4:6.
October 6, 1991, the Friendlywill family burned the church mortgage, as we each laid a piece on the altar. It was during this service that we adopted the theme song, “The Greatest Warrior”, because it is only God who continues to fight our battles. This service was shared with Faithful St. Mark Baptist Church - the late Pastor R.V. Adkins, Christ Is The Answer Fellowship Church - Pastor D. Thompson, Faithway Baptist Church - Pastor M.J. Metters and Morning Star Baptist Church - Pastor A. Davis.
On November 29, 1997, the Friendlywill Missionary Baptist Church submitted to the will of the Eternal Father as our proud renowned Pastor and Founder, Pastor Lorea Johnson was laid to rest. If he could speak to hearts today, he would humbly say “Just Stay In The Race.”
As the Friendlywill Family continued in prayer, the same strong hand that moved and anointed Pastor Johnson, was already in motion, preparing and anointing one of Pastor Johnson's son's in the ministry to provide visible leadership as Pastor of Friendlywill MBC Family, so in February 1998, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Rev. Chez J. Lister Sr. was called to serve as our Interim Pastor. The Friendlywill family waited patiently and prayerfully for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and on November 28, 1999 by divine providence, the eternal hand of God moved and anointed Rev. Chez J. Lister Sr. as overseer and pastor. As so vividly declared by the prophet, Jeremiah 3:15 – “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Under the leadership of Pastor Lister, the ministry of Friendlywill continues to flourish as the people continue to grow in knowledge of Gods Word. Pastor Lister's leadership emphasizes the necessity of Bible Study in order to understand God's Word. Under Pastor Lister's leadership, the Friendlywill Family has continued in the work of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all men.
Several Ministers have been born to our Friendlywill Family and have gone to pastor their own churches, as well as several associate ministers including Rev. Chez J. Lister Sr. (now Pastor), Evang. B. Gales and Rev. A. Price. As to Pastor Johnson, three sons have been born under the leadership of Pastor Lister, Min. P. Nelson, Min. D. Lee Sr. and Rev. E. W. Estell Sr.
We pause to Thank God, for we have come this far by faith. We have come through many hills and valleys, but we made it! For we know when this earthly journey is consummated, we shall meet the Lord in mid-air. Many have been part of Friendlywill Family. Some have gone and many have rejoiced in the day that they were reunited, but God bless those charter members who are still anchored: Mother Pearlie Hurd, Sis. Alvina Lakey, Mother Nomie McKinzy, Sis. LaJan Johnson and Sis. Patsy R. Jenkins.