Joseph Rex Dyson (1900~2002)
The Church of Jesus Christ
Joseph Rex Dyson was born March 12, 1900 in Redfield, Arkansas. It is a small town about 35 miles South of Little Rock. His father, James (Jim) Dyson and his mother, Emily (Bama) Dyson had a family of eleven children. Rex received his calling to the ministry in 1923. It was in 1926 that he obeyed the call and began preaching revivals all over the country. While preaching a revival in St. Paul, Minnesota, he met Carolyn Shaffer and thet were married. Together thay had a family of five sons and one daughter. All five sons became preachers.
One can be assured that if anyone has spent at least 30 minutes in the Rex Dyson home they have heard in no certain terms, what he believed was required to make it to heaven. When Rex obeyed the call of God in his life, there were many battles he would face along the way. When he walked off his job in the mattress making business, he had no intentions of turning around. There were many battles he would face along the way. He never considered where his finances would come from. In his first evangelistic offering he received the whole amount of fifteen cents.When he started his evangelistic journey, he had been diagnosed with a heart condition that would not allow him to eat solid food. In one of the first meetings the Lord miraculously healed him.
His ministerial journey took him many places. From Clarendon, Texas where he had a wonderful revival, to Amarillo, Texas, then Woodson, Arkansas where he conducted a brush arbor revival. Then off to Norfolk, Virginia he held a tent revival, and then to Clebit, Oklahoma for another brush arbor.
Brother Dyson has had great influence on many outstanding people throughout the country. The parents of the renown evangelist Rex Humbard named their son after him. In 1932 the Dyson family arrived in Memphis, Tennessee. At that time there was not a oneness Pentecostal church in Memphis. He faced much opposition but not being a quitter in spirit and God saying do it, who could quit? Trying to find the will of God, Bro. and Sis. Dyson were walking down Main street and heard a preacher preaching in a little building that would only hold about 50 people at the most. They went in and immediately was asked if he was a preacher. He admitted he was and Bro. Bowman asked them to sing. They sang about seven songs and started a revival that night, but soon moved to a place down the street. The crowds were so large, the policemen had to direct traffic. During that two year revival, they moved to what they called a mule barn when the weather got too cold for the outside.
In 1935 they purchased the church building with parsonage at the corner of 4th and Keel streets for the total amount of $6,000.00. From there the church at 610 No. 7th Street was built. There have been hundreds and hundreds of people saved at 4th and Keel and 7th Street churches. Many many things happened during the early years in Memphis. Rex preached on the street corners many times and Court Square was a favorite place to preach. At that time anyone who wanted to, could preach on the streets. It was during one of the street meetings that the Presley family, Vernon, Gladys and Elvis, wondered by, stopped, listened, and was stirred. They then came to the church and were all baptized in Jesus’ name including Elvis. Even during his high school years, Elvis frequently attended Bro. Dyson’s church.
This ministry did not stop in memphis but branched out over seas to a life long dream to preach in the Holy Land. In the early 1950’s Rex established a Christian mission in Bethlehem. Bro. Dyson’s zeal and innovation pioneered many of today’s church programs. In the days when it was strictly taboo for christians to view movies of any kind, he would show 16 MM films of stories of Jesus. This would attract thousands to his tent meetings and church revivals.
Since it is impossible to tell all the travels, experiences of this wonderful man of God, to number the people whom he baptized in Jesus’ name would just be impossible. The impact that he had on the lives of many people was phenomenal. On August 2, 2002 in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 102 Bishop Rex Dyson rested from all his labors and went home peacefully to be with Jesus