Jim Jones began his ministry as a Methodist, accepting a position as student pastor at Somerset Methodist Church in Indianapolis in June 1952. He remained in that denomination for four years, even as he participated in the services of the Laurel Street Tabernacle – a Pentecostal Church – and eventually founded the church that would become Peoples Temple.
In 1954, Jim Jones opened a small church that he named Community Unity, and less than two years later, he purchased a church building at Fifteenth and North New Jersey, calling his new congregation Wings of Deliverance.
On February 5, 1956, Jones became an ordained minister in the Independent Assemblies of God. The ordination certificate includes the first known mention of Peoples Temple, listed here as “People’s Temple of the Wings of Deliverance, Inc.” An insert under the name notes that the church is “with complete autonomy.”
The church eventually became part of the Disciples of Christ – which has a policy of local autonomy – and Jones himself eventually became an ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ denomination.