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This Week in AG History -- July 8, 1973

M.B. Netzel may not be a name everyone is familiar with, but his devotion to God and loyalty to His service placed him in key AG leadership positions throughout his life.
Martin Bryan Netzel (1908-1973), better known as M.B. Netzel, was a dedicated servant who was highly esteemed by the leadership of the Assemblies of God. His life and ministry were fully dedicated to serving Christ and others. He served as a pastor and evangelist in his younger days, North Texas district superintendent, and general treasurer of the Assemblies of God.

M.B. Netzel, of German and Bohemian descent, was born to Max and Emma Netzel in San Felipe, Texas, and grew up and graduated from high school in Houston. As a young man he felt the call of God to be active in gospel ministry. He began preaching at the age of 20, and served in ministry for 45 years.

During his first four years of ministry, Netzel supported himself by serving as manager of a grocery store in the Houston area. He married Josie Mae Williams in 1929.

In 1932, Netzel accepted the pastorate of a pioneer work in Jewett, Texas, and was ordained by the Texas District of the AG on June 8, 1933. His devotion to the ministry earned him a great deal of respect in the Texas District. He was elected secretary-treasurer of the Texas District Christ’s Ambassadors, a position he held for three years.

In 1934, Netzel became pastor of the Assembly of God of Galena Park, Texas, and the following year he became the pastor of the Assembly of God in Tyler, Texas. In 1937, he served for a year as an evangelist. In 1938, he accepted the pastorate of Trinity Tabernacle in Texas City, Texas, a position he held until 1945.

The Texas District elected him assistant superintendent in 1947, and he served in that office for five years. During that time, he also served as a pastor and evangelist in Houston, Texas. He later was elected superintendent of the original Texas District (1952-1956), and when the district of Texas divided, Netzel became superintendent of the North Texas District, serving for one more year.

In 1957, Netzel was elected general treasurer of the Assemblies of God, and served until 1973. Along with his duties as general treasurer, Netzel was a member of the Assemblies of God Executive Presbytery and of the board of administration. He was director of the departments of Finance, Benevolences, and Stewardship. He also served as head of administrative services for the AG before the restructuring of offices in 1971.

Netzel was a member of the boards of directors and administration of Central Bible College. He was also a member of the boards of directors of Evangel College (now Evangel University) and the Assemblies of God Graduate School (now Assemblies of God Theological Seminary). He was also a member of the board of directors and treasurer of the Ministers Benefit Association (now AGFinancial) and served on the board of directors for Bethany Retirement Home (Lakeland, Florida).

M.B. Netzel passed away on May 20, 1973, in Springfield, Missouri, while serving as general treasurer. He was hospitalized for 10 days after suffering a stroke, and continued to carry out his duties as much as he was able while in the hospital. Afterwards, Assistant General Superintendent G. Raymond Carlson carried out his duties until his successor, Raymond H. Hudson, was elected at the next General Council meeting.

At his funeral service, General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman compared M.B. Netzel to Barnabas in Acts 11:24, declaring, “He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith; and much people was added unto the Lord.”

Zimmerman said, “Martin Netzel was one of the most loyal men I have ever met. He was loyal to God, above all else; and also loyal to his brethren.” He also called Brother Netzel “a tower of strength” who could be relied on to be at his place of duty, discharging it with great faithfulness. “He had a high code of personal conduct. It would not allow for compromise or deviation.”

Netzel’s wife, Josie, passed away in 2004. Both are buried in the San Felipe Cemetery in San Felipe, Texas.

Truly M.B. Netzel is a fine example of one who devoted his life to ministry and service to others in his role as an evangelist, pastor, and in district and national leadership.

Fifty years ago, the Pentecostal Evangel featured a tribute to M.B. Netzel. Read “Brother Netzel Promoted to Higher Service” on page 6 of the July 8, 1973, issue.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Built to Take It!” by David A. Knight

• “When the Fence Blows Down,” by Stephen Rexroat

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Glenn W. Gohr

Glenn W. Gohr is the reference archivist at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri.