The first meeting of First Christian Church was held in October of 1867. The building was located on the corner of Jackson and Walnut. Because of a lack of meeting places, the church was disbanded in 1875. Then in 1877, the church was started again with 11 charter members.
The site for the congregation was at Washington and McDonald Street in a frame church building, also used as a community center.
In 1880, First Christian Church was able to build a frame structure just south of their church for a cost of $8,000.00. By 1900, it had outgrown this church and erected a beautiful, brick church on the site of the old congregational building.
For 5 years, the church members enjoyed this new church building until a devastating fire destroyed the building. Although the church itself was totally lost, newspaper accounts reported on “The Bible that did not burn.” The Bible that was in the pulpit had fallen through the floor into the basement and was not destroyed.
While the building was still burning, a group of women from the church met to make plans for a new building. Rebuilding started immediately. On February 6, 1905, the new church was dedicated. First Christian Church remained at the Washington Street site until July 31, 1966, the First Christian Church family moved to our present location on US Highway 40. It was there, they dedicated the newly completed structure. The church had steady growth over the years.
In 1983 another dream was fulfilled by the congregation. The church had dreamed of a multi-purpose building where they could seat 1,000 people, have a gym, and obtain additional classrooms for Christian education. On December 11, 1983, the Family Life Center was formally dedicated. Cornerstone Christian Academy began its first session on August 29, 1985. The school started with 49 students and reached their highest total of 171 in the school year 2000-2001. In 1993 the church family participated in the Open Door Project, which added 2,600 square feet of classroom space to Cornerstone Christian Academy.
On April 5, 1998, the new building project brought the church adult and children education wings and a central worship center, which included balcony seating. This project was dedicated to the glory of God. Construction began in November of 1996. This structure was 30,308 square feet. The congregation first occupied the building on February 8, 1998.
The dream of First Christian Church continues today. In December 2019, we were able to present Facebook Live. This digital platform allowed us to stream our services to those who live too far away, have health issues that inhibit their ability to attend, and market our services to people in our community. While the past is impressive, the future is even more exciting! The best is yet to come.
We tell you all of this to express our joy that First Christian Church has been around for 150+ years. By the grace of God, we are still incredibly blessed today.
Even though our church has been in existence longer than anyone who attends here now, we have worshipped the same God for all these years. Our church may change as years go on, but the God we worship will never change.
As it says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”