The church is named for Dr. Joel Snyder, longtime pastor of First Baptist, Fayetteville, who had a vision of a church “on the hill” (the newly developing suburb in the Haymount area). Dr. Snyder died in 1941 but in 1949 his widow, Mrs. Bessie Snyder, led a contingent of 125 First Baptist members to fulfill his vision by establishing a church using Westlawn School as its temporary home. Through the enthusiastic and diligent work of lay leadership and the first pastor, Dr. Lloyd Barker, Snyder Memorial grew quickly. The first building was completed in 1951. When Dr. Barker left in 1957, the church was having dual Sunday Schools and worship services to accommodate the crowds.
Dr. James Cammack, the next pastor, led in the construction of a new 1000 seat sanctuary and educational building in 1958. His thirty year tenure as pastor saw continued growth and innovative programming including a child care center and after school program. Snyder was the catalyst for the establishment of the Fayetteville Family Life Center which provides faith based counseling for the community. In 1978 Snyder presented its first Singing Christmas Tree which is seen annually by 5000 people.
Dr. Dan Griffin came as pastor in 1989 and Snyder had its largest one year growth in its history. He was succeeded in 1994 by Dr. David Crocker who was instrumental in beginning , Snyder’s contemporary worship service. Snyder began Operation Inasmuch, a program which involves church members in community wide mission projects for the needy such as roof replacement, house painting, sewing, etc. The program was instrumental in bringing All American City honors to Fayetteville in 2001. Inasmuch is now a nationwide program with over a thousand churches involved each year. The church underwent an eight million dollar building and renovation project to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1999. Dr. Mark Olson came as pastor in 2003 and led the church in developing a statement of missions and core values to serve as a guide for the future. Snyder’s sixth and current pastor, John Cook, received his call to ministry while a member of Snyder in the early 80’s and retired from the Army as a chaplain in 2009 to return as pastor.
Snyder has always been a mission minded church. From the beginning the church has supported missions. In the last 10 years the church has given over 6 million dollars to mission causes. In 1971 the church purchased a missionary home adjacent to Campbell University for use by missionaries on furlough. Later the church bought a house adjacent to the church property for use by Interfaith Hospitality Ministry, to house college campus mission trips, and to house refugees. Snyder has built 10 Habitat for Humanity houses by providing both the labor and funding and provided funds to refurbish 3 Habitat Houses. Over 200 church members have done short-term mission projects overseas (some going as many as 15 times) and hundreds have participated in national projects.
Although not a “military” church, Snyder has always had many active and retired military personnel in its membership. They have brought vigor and cosmopolitan ideas which has given Snyder an edge. Snyder is known for its creative programming, diverse worship experiences and community involvement.