Our journey began with a tent, a Bible and a short, blue-eyed curly-headed fireball preacher, by the name of Hugh A. McNatt and his loving wife Sis. Mary L. McNatt. Bro. and Sis. McNatt have led countless souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. They had a vision with a love and burden for the hopeless and the wayward seeking answers to life's difficult situations. As ministers of this great gospel they always remained totally devoted to Jesus Christ and are worthy of double honor.
In 1947 Bro. McNatt attended a tent revival. The minister had never met Bro. McNatt, but was led of the Spirit to ask him to minister. It was his first time ministering, and he preached on repentance. Many came forward and gave their lives to God. As soon as the service ended a man approached Bro. McNatt and offered to purchase him a tent if he would preach. Bro. and Sis. McNatt held services in that tent for about 2 years. They moved the tent all over Tampa until they were able to purchase a small piece of land. Even when the tent was vandalized by a group of young boys, Bro. McNatt refused to be defeated. So the preacher preached on.
Bro. McNatt's hearts desire was to have a real church building. Around 1950, he stepped out on faith and purchased two lots on Wilder Avenue in Tampa, FL. They moved the tent to Wilder and continued services there until the church building could be built. They were finally able to break ground on the building when a precious saint, Sis. Stella Johnson offered to donate pine trees from her land to be used as lumber. Bro. and Sis. McNatt, along with many saints, built the church with their own hands. This marked the beginning of The First Pentecostal Tabernacle at 3410 East Wilder Avenue, in Tampa, Florida. It still stands today and is occupied by another church family.
In 1965 the church on Wilder was sold, and the land at 7416 East Mohawk Avenue was purchased with plans to build a new sanctuary.The new neighbors were not welcoming. Bro. McNatt refused to be defeated.God was on his side and he was victorious. While the new sanctuary was being built services were held in a pink building on 40th Street. It was not a beautiful building, but the Lord always showed up. Dedication of the new sanctuary on Mohawk took place on September 5, 1965. At first, there were no padded pews or carpet and we only had one microphone to share. However, we did have a Baptismal inside along with central heating and air conditioning. After a short time, we were able to purchase a PA system, carpet and padded pews!
God has truly blessed. We have a fellowship hall, a library, a guest room, a children's church and a sound room.
After 50 years on Mohawk, the church is still standing and we still hold services regularly. Satan has tried many ways to destroy the work Bro. McNatt built from nothing, but with God, we have prevailed!!
7416 East Mohawk Avenue - Tampa, Florida 33610 - 813-626-2090