In the years that this congregation has been around, God has directed and blessed us to grow in mission, ministry, and service that have given cause to subsequent campus developments. And while this church’s history could be recounted by reciting the phased additions of brick and mortar, the real story is about people who found Christ, a family of faith, and a fulfilling purpose.
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house… “ – 1 Peter 2:5
excerpt below were taken from a document A.J. Heck did back in March 1999 as well other Warrensburg Church of Christ documents:
C.M.S.U. (Central Missouri State University is now called University of Central Missouri)
The “modern era” of Churches of Christ in Johnson County began in 1944. Virgil Atwell, a railroad postal employee was transferred to Warrensburg. He located the Floyd Mcwhirters who were living here and they, with two others families, began to meet in a hall over the old Vernaz Drugstore at 108 W. Pine. In 1945 they purchased the property at 214 N. Washington street from the Reorganized Latter Day Saints.
The elders of the Washington Street congregation believed in two thoughts still wide spread in Missouri. They believed in mutual edification or preaching by all able men of the congregation and opposed a paid ministry. They were also non-institutional, opposing congregational support of colleges and orphan homes as well as the idea of co-operative action through a “sponsoring congregation.”
On March, 4, 1958, some members of the Washington Street congregation met separately for the first time. They felt that a more positive program was needed. The group began meeting each Sunday evening at the Sweeney-Phillips Funeral home.
The following people were in this first group; Glenda Lamb, Ray and Mable Holland (Glenda’s aunt and uncle), Leona and Mike Loman, Thomas and Margaret Campbell, Bud Carron, Ervin and Neva Petros and Jack Morris. Brother Ivan Hedges from the Brush Creek congregation in Kansas City preached the first sermon.
Since the funeral home could only be used on Sunday nights the group moved to Citizens Bank which could be used both Sunday morning and evening. In September it was decided to add Bible study on Wednesday evenings.
Jack Morris preached for the congregation part-time while attending C.M.S.U.
In January, 1959, Brother and Sister Jerry Ball came to Warrensburg. Jerry preached for the church while attending here. The Ball family left in 1960.
On November 5, 1959, the brethren purchased a lot at 330 East Gay Street for $1,500. The erection of a building began in April, 1960 and in less than five months it was completed enough to move into. Jerry Ball preached the first sermon in the new building.
Brother Frank Barnard and wife Norma Jean moved to Warrensburg in February, 1961. They labored with the congregation until the last day of March, 1962.
Brother W.O. Davis came to fill in for the months of April and May, 1962.
The Jerry Ball family moved back here in June, 1962 and Jerry preached here until August, 1963.
In September, 1963, Larry Watson began preaching while attending C.M.S.U. He was here until March, 1964.
In 1964 a lot to the West of the building was purchased for parking.
In May, 1964 Brother Hershel Davis came here from Whitney, Texas to be our first full-time minister. He was single when he moved here bit on September, 3, 1964 he married former Jo Nell Shook. The remained here until the last day of August, 1965.
On August, 1, 1966, Kenneth and Virginia Shelton and children moved here from Bowling Green, Kentucky where they had been houseparents at the Potter Orphan Home. Brother Shelton preached here until August, 1967.
In August, 1967 the congregation appointed elders for the first time. They were Bob Anderson, Charles Layman and Bob Weaver. After about two years, two of the three moved away and the eldership was dissolved.
The congregation was without a preacher until Brother Jim McDermott and his wife Maratha moved here in the Spring of 1969. They left in June, 1970.
Roy and Evelyn Pruitt moved to Warrensburg in late 1970. It as while Roy was here in 1972 that the house at 914 Ridge Drive was purchased. That loan was added to the one on the church building and was completely paid off in April of 1987. In 1973 there was a movement toward appointing elders once again. An exodus of members including most of the men under consideration ended that possibility. The Pruitts left in October, 1973 for Texas.
Bill and Robbie Cannon and daughters moved here in March, 1974. Bill was a retired Air Force Chaplain. The Cannons left in May, 1975.
In September, 1975, Hugh Piper and his wife Jean came to work with us. There were here till March, 1978.
In September, 1978, Richard and Carol Rogers and children came to Warrensburg. They were here until November, 1982.
In September, 1980 Wayne Richards came to work with us as a campus minister. While we gave Wayne some of his support, he also had outside support. His work with the students at C.M.S.U. as well as other growth gave us Sunday morning attendance exceeding 125 for quite a period of time. It is only the last few years that we have exceeded that figure. Wayne left in May, 1982.
It was in April of 1982 that a number of families from Gay Street organized a congregation at Knob Noster. This of course has a considerable effect on attendance at Gay Street. That congregation later disbanded as did a second attempt a few years later. The problem in establishing a congregation there has been the lack of permanent members. Since the membership has been almost totally Air Force families they have not had the continuity that was needed.
In January, 1983, Mark and Cindy Cheatham and children moved here from Oklahoma. In September, 1983 with attendance again on the rise we purchased the house at 324 E. Gay Street for $30,000. This house was just west of the parking lot and was used for classroom space. A decline in attendance in 1985 made it unnecessary for classrooms so we began renting it out at a nominal rate to young Christians attending C.M.S.U.. In 1991 it was torn down for additional parking space. Mark and Cindy moved back to Oklahoma in June, 1985.
In October, 1985, Mike and Jane Jones moved here from Memphis. Mike was in the Reserve Air Force Chaplaincy. They were here until July, 1990 when they moved to Louisville so that Mike could get a Doctor of Divinity degree.
It was during this time that the congregation again appointed elders. A committee of men, who did not wish to be considered screened and interviewed those nominated who wished to serve. Johnny Brooks and Alan Olas were approved in September, 1988. Rod Zywicki was added in November, 1991. In December, 1991, Johnny Brooks felt it necessary to resign. The first deacons were appointed a few months after the elders and a complete list will be given at the end of this history.
In December, 1990, Dave and Connie Coleman and children moved here. Dave had just graduated from Sunset School of Preaching in Lubbock, Texas, although he had preached before attending there. It was during the time Dave was preaching here that we experienced our greatest period of growth. (see attendance figures at the end of this history) Because of the growth we purchased the house east of the building in 1994 and tore it down. This was done for additional parking but with an eye to space for building expansion. In September, 1994, Dave and Connie moved to Fulton, MO where Dave joined Connies’ family in business.
In February, 1995, James and Janet Smith and their daughters moved here from Colorado. They stayed until December, 1997, when they moved to Seminole, Texas.
In 1995 the congregation began to look at a remedy for the lack of space. At first we looked at expanding at the existing location at 330 E. Gay. In 1996 an unusual opportunity was presented when the former Campus Theater at 722 South Maguire (Mo Hwy 13) closed. The city said we could not use the existing theater area because of the sloping floor. An architect was engaged and it was determined to be feasible to meet the City’s requirements if the building could be secured at a reasonable price.
Jay Heck (now in Liberty, MO), the real estate agent, secured an agreement whereby Commonwealth Theaters sold us the building far below its appraised value and claimed the difference as a contribution for tax purposes. In order to meet city requirements it was necessary to pour a new concrete floor where the theater floor had been. This gave us a level auditorium floor. It also allowed us to have classroom to the west of the auditorium and a fellowship hall in the new “basement”.
Robert and Melody Baysinger and daughter Amanda, moved to Warresnburg in January, 1998 to work with us. As we move to our new building we will all have some fond memories of the building and events at 330 East Gay. The new building (practically the entire interior is new) will give us an opportunity to expand our efforts to reach out to the community.
In 1999, we moved from East gay street to our current location as we were growing out of the building and needed a new location.
The Baysinger’s left in 2000.
Men of the congregation did the preaching. In 2005, Dirk Nelson (faculty member of C.M.S.U.), did it most weeks for continuity purposes.
In April, 2006, Steven Wright was hired as the full time preacher. Steven, his wife (Nicole) and the rest of their family was here till February, 2007.
In July 2006 the congregation started the process to get elders, but it did not happen.
After Steven’s departure the men of the congregation once again did the preaching.
In June 2008 till May 2009, Johnny Brooks did the preaching on Sunday morning.
Then from June, 2009 till early/mid 2010, Ed Redman took over as the one who primarily gave the lesson on Sunday morning.
This was done to help provide continuity for the members and others who attended.
In July 2010, Jeff Kenee was asked by the congregation to come work with us as the evangelist/minister. Jeff and his wife (Ida) came to work with the congregation.
In January 2017, after a 9 month process, elders were elected by the congregation to oversee the spiritual needs of the flock, while the men’s business meeting stayed on for day-to-day administrative functions. For more information on the elders overall process, click here
Elders that were elected by the congregation were, John Olas, Mark Otter, Herman Pope, and David Stevens
In March 2017, Jeff Kenne announced that he would stepping down as the Warrensburg Church of Christ evangelist/minister on 30 April 2017. Jeff took a position in Union City, TN, so they could be closer to some of their family.
In June 2018 – John Paul Suchecki was hired as the full time minister (preacher). John Paul, his wife (Rachel) and their two sons (Phillip and Thomas) came to work with the congregation.