THE BIRTH AND RISE OF THE WORD OF FAITH CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, INC.
The Word of Faith Church of Jesus Christ Inc. is an apostolic ministry that was incorporated on April 28, 1996 by Elder Larry Frazier Sr., a Spiritual Son of Gospel Ark Temple Bible Way Church of Washington, DC under the leadership of the late Bishop-Elect John Lamb. Elder Frazier heard the Call of God and accepted his assignment to branch out to the place where God would send him to serve as Pastor to a local assembly of the Body of Christ. The ministry was birthed after a series of meetings held in the home of Elder Larry Frazier and his wife, Anita Frazier. They were supported by their four children: Larry Jr. (who was serving in the military at the time), Sandra, Shonez, and Keith, and approximately 28 other relatives and friends. The name of the Church, Word of Faith, was inspired by Elder Frazier's desire to develop people of faith based on Hebrews 11:6: “For without faith it is impossible to please him (God)” and Romans 10:8: “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach.”
Word of Faith formally began in August 1996 in Riverdale, Maryland after Elder Frazier and his son, Keith, spent several weeks riding around searching for a building to hold worship services. The search came to an end when they found a building in the East Pines Shopping Center in Riverdale, Maryland. Elder Frazier was favored by God to sign a lease agreement with Standard Properties to rent space that covered approximately 3600 square footage. Upon the signing of the lease agreement, Elder Frazier obtained the necessary occupancy permit and completed the requirements and official guidelines for operating a church in Prince Georges County, Maryland. On August 6, 1996, the grand-opening service was held in a temporary space provided by the owners while the permanent space, formerly occupied by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), was being prepared. Elder Ronald Frazier, Pastor of Christ Church (Way of the Cross) was the special guest speaker for this momentous occasion. He is also the brother of Elder Larry Frazier.
While waiting on the official space to be completed, the Ministry held Bible Studies and Community Out-Reach Programs: clothing and school backpack giveaways, cook-outs, car washes, and more. The church grew from 28 members to approximately 40 members. In August of the same year, Elder Larry Frazier, Sr. was officially installed as Pastor of Word of Faith by the late Honorable Bishop Joseph (Joe) Nathan Brown, the former 3rd Presiding Bishop of the Bible Way Churches Worldwide Incorporated. On August 25, 2001, Elder Frazier was consecrated to the Sacred Office of Bishop by Bishop Dennis Golphin and Bishop C. Anthony Muse.
The Ministry of Word of Faith continued to grow over the following years and was favored to use open space, at no additional charge, to house a computer lab with 10 computers and a Training and Employment Program (TAE). This program served about 19 individuals from the Social Services Department, the community, and members of the church. It offered everything from typing to office skill training, to Microsoft Office Suite, to preparing a resume that resulted in several students receiving employment. Many of the programs offered by the Word of Faith Church, including the TAE program, were interfaced with Vision DC (World Vision).
Word of Faith sponsored several gospel concerts that featured the following: Victor Johnson & Free (I Got the Victory), Keith Wonder Boy Johnson (Send A Revival), Isaiah Thomas and Elements of Praise (God Said He Would Be with Me), Kevin McFadden (A Word for You), and Restine Jackson and Grace (Free). The concerts drew many people from the community. The Members of the Word of Faith are indeed thankful to God for the vision of their leaders. Bishop Larry and First Lady Anita Frazier not only developed the church ministries but also conceived and birthed The Word of Faith Christian College & Graduate Schools in 1997. The college was instrumental in conferring Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees to many aspiring pastors and laypeople.
In 2004, God enlarged the Word of Faith’s territory. The owners offered 7,600 square footage of space in exchange for the 3600 square feet that were being leased. After the contract was signed, the members worked diligently to renovate the space in preparation for the new edifice. In October 2005, the space was ready and services were held celebrating the passage from the old space into the new. Dr. Melvin Robinson preached the message: “You’re in it now, you just as well praise Him”, and praise Him they did. With the continued growth of the Ministry, many ministries were implemented including junior church, women’s, men’s, youth, and young adult ministries; choirs, praise and worship ministry; street, nursing home, and outreach ministries.
Throughout the years Word of Faith has hosted concerts featuring the Northwestern High School Gospel Choir and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Gospel Choir under the direction of WOF’s own, Bro. C.J. Whittaker. The church choir has participated in the Largo High School Christmas Concert sponsored by Dr. Jeremiah Murphy. The members of Word of Faith have supported the House of Ruth Women’s Shelter and participated in Noah’s Ark (food bank); taught American Sign Language (ASL), Spanish, and English as a Second Language class; and served as a certified Biblical training and workshop institute. In 1997 the church also hosted a Tutoring program at a low cost for elementary, middle, and high school students in the Riverdale area. The classes were taught by professional schoolteachers and paid for by the parents of the students.
The Outreach Ministry was initiated by Minister Ronald (Ron) Sharpe in 2004 under the inspiration of the Lord. It reaches out to the community four times a year with a Free Hot Dog Saturday in July, Fish Fry in September, Feed the Hungry and Thanksgiving Dinners in November, and a Toy Drive in December. The summer events draw crowds of people from all races and backgrounds while providing the Street Team Ministry the opportunity for witnessing. Other ministries established included the Benevolence and Hardship Ministry; the Brothers and Sisters of Faith, which is a Pastoral Support Ministry that was started by Minister Bernetta Heights and continued under the direction of Minister Virginia Davis; and the Sunday Morning - Free Breakfast Club implemented by Minister Thomasina Armwood and supported by several faithful team members. Breakfast was held every 3rd Sunday, serving everything from continental to a full breakfast. The early morning breakfast was an evangelistic tool that assisted in growing the Sunday School.
Word of Faith is particularly known for housing A Victorious Disciples Ministry, using material authored by Wanda Bolton-Davis. This program was a certificate 12-month discipleship/mentoring study course based on biblical principles that taught Christians how to apply God’s word to their daily lifestyle, empowering them to live a victorious life depending totally on God. The first class was held on January 13, 2008, with 7 students and one facilitator and grew to 19 students and 4 facilitators. At the end of each Annual Training, a graduation exercise was held. The students proudly marched into the service in their “chosen color” for the year Victorious Disciples t-shirt with their name among the list of students’ names on the back.
Since Word of Faith’s inception, a host of specialized programs, training, and outreach activities have been developed to enrich the educational growth of the congregation and the Riverdale community. They include the annual hosting of New Life for Girls from Westminster, Maryland, and the Academics and Scholarship Program. The program honors students for their year-end achievements and assists college students with tuition and purchasing books.
From 1997 to the present, Word of Faith has taken on Beacon Heights Elementary School as an Adopted School. The church donates school backpacks, supplies, and uniforms to the school each year. In addition, new and used coat drives for the adopted school have been held. In 2017, Word of Faith provided space for the Beacon Heights Elementary School to hold ESL (English as a Second Language) classes for parents of the Spanish students at Beacon Heights. In 2018, a Living Free Training Ministry was implemented to assist members and families in coping with life-controlling problems. The most recent ministry implemented is the Tribe Leaders Group. This ministry consists of four groups: Tribe of Judah, Tribe of Joseph, Tribe of Benjamin, and the Tribe of Simeon. Each Tribe has an assigned Elder of the Lord’s Church who serves as the Tribe Leader with the purpose of reaching and meeting the members’ needs on a smaller scale, spiritually as well as in emergencies. Be it unbeknown to Bishop and Pastor Anita, this ministry would be a great asset to the church ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Word of Faith has held numerous Sunday Morning parking lot Worship Services with loud-sounding instruments, under the direction of Minister Tyrone Armwood, that alerted the neighbors to the sound of worship. Every annual church celebration has concluded with a church banquet, amusement park trip, or a cookout at a local park.
The Word of Faith Church is in fellowship with Eagles United Covenant Fellowship of Churches (EUCFOC), a ministry established by our very own, Bishop Larry Frazier Sr., the presiding prelate. The church is also in fellowship with Kingdom Fellowship Covenant Ministries (KFCM) under the presiding prelate, Archbishop Ralph L. Dennis.
Bishop Larry Frazier Sr. has always had a great love for the people of God and adamantly enjoys working in ministry. Bishop loves the Word of Faith members immensely; however, he believes that his tenure in pastoring has come to an end. In 2019, Bishop sought the Lord in prayer to release him from the ministry. After announcing his retirement plans, protocol dictated that a succession process was necessary. The search for his successor was orchestrated and in July of 2020, the members voted to elect a new Senior Pastor. On Sunday, July 8, 2020, Dr. Napoleon Abram Bradford was officially introduced as the new Pastor of Word of Faith. Accompanied by his wife Dr. Karen H. Bradford, he immediately began implementing his vision for the future of the Word of Faith Church.