In 1967, Pastor Josie M. Carroll obeyed the voice of God and left her home in Cincinnati, Ohio and journeyed to Memphis, Tennessee. She and her husband, Bishop Eshmon Carroll, were faithful members of the House of God and planted churches throughout the United States. After two years of holding services in their home with the five founding members and people from the neighborhood, the Lord blessed them with a building on Trigg Street in 1969. From that point on, the ministry continued to grow, and the church moved to a building at Mitchell and Third Street that was owned by the Church of God in Christ.
While Bishop and Lady Carroll glorified God for a place to worship on the Sabbath, they knew that church would eventually need a space of their own. The saints prayed, and the Lord promised that He would provide Bishop and Lady Carroll with their own building. Two faithful members of the church, Lady Jones and Lady Haskins each sowed a seed of $100 toward the building fund. As a result of their obedience, two months later, the church acquired property at 598 Edith Street in 1972.
People from the surrounding neighborhood joined the church after experiencing the jubilant worship services and hearing Lady Carroll’s fiery sermons on holiness. The church continued to grow and renovations to the Edith Street property were made. For two years, the church worshipped at the pastor’s home on Beach Grove while an addition to the Edith Street temple was built and other renovations done.
Over the course of fifteen years, the church eventually outgrew the property on Edith Street. Lady Carroll sought the Lord for another building. He led her to the old Pearly Gates Baptist Church at 1374 Nicholas Street in the heart of North Memphis. Seventy-three members joined within the church’s first year on Nicholas Street.
Pastor Josie Carroll was regarded as a woman of wisdom by the members of the House of God. After much prayer, she passed the mantle to one of her spiritual sons, Elder Be’Daun Ray Smith, in December 2014. Pastor Smith joined the House of God-Memphis while a student at LeMoyne-Owen College and served in various capacities, such as musician, Sabbath School teacher, and head of the Evangelism Department. During his tenure as head of the Evangelism Department, many people in the Memphis area were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. Attendance at Friday night and Sabbath day service increased, often drawing preachers and members of the Memphis and Mid-South gospel music community to minister and share their gifts.
On January 1, 2015, Elder Smith was presented to the trustee board of House of God-Memphis and officially appointed as pastor. Elder Smith proposed that the name of the church be changed to Greater Beth-El Temple House of God, inspired by the words of the prophet Haggai:
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts. (Haggai 2:9)
The trustee board and membership unanimously agreed to the name change. Under Pastor Smith’s leadership, the church has continued to experience major growth. New ministries have been established and existing ministries have been strengthened. Pastor Smith’s background in corporate banking has also been an asset to the ministry, helping to ensure the church’s financial and administrative stability.
Greater Beth-El Temple is truly a church with a rich history, a glorious past, and a bright future. We are excited about the plans that God has for our church!
But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)