History of central church of christ
Below are two accounts of history of the Central church of Christ. The first account is contributed to by members of the church.
The second source is from a publication in 1982 compiled by Perry Cotham titled, "The Churches of Christ in Warren County."
In 1830, Sandy E. Jones preached the congregation’s first sermon at the old Warren County Courthouse, taking his text from Acts 10:34-35. It was described as“a great gospel sermon.”
By 1840, the church grew and it was necessary to build a small brick house at the corner of Morford and College Streets.
In 1877, funds were beginning to be raised for a larger building. Construction on the new building occurred January-October 1, 1878. This building was outgrown in 1928.
A new facility was completed that year, housing approximately 400. In January 1972, Central outgrew the size of it 44 year old auditorium. After 1 ½ years of construction, Central assumed occupancy of the current auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,000 on October 7, 1973.
Preachers for the Central church of Christ
- 1. P.W. Harsh 1893
- 2. F.W. Smith 1898
- 3. John B. Cowden 1908
- 4. Price Billingsley 1913
- 5. Fred Cowan 1917
- 6. Tommy Clark 1917
- 7. H.T. King 1918
- 8. Paul Slayden 1922
- 9. T.Q. Martin 1929
- 10. Granville W. Tyler 1942
- 11. M. Kurfees Pullias 1943-1945
- 12. Allen Phy 1945-1953
- 13. John B. Hardeman 1954
- 14. L. Daniel Harless 1956-1959
- 15. Winston Tynes 1959-1968
- 16. Julian Goodpasture 1968-1978
- 17. Lindell Doty 1978-1981
- 18. Randy Simmons 1981-1984
- 19. Morgan Medlin 1984-1986
- 20. Jim Gammon 1986-1999
- 21. Kirk Brothers 2000-2003
- 22. Tim Parish 2004-2010
- 23. Ben Bailey 2011-present
Elders who have served the congregation over the years
Dr. AJ Trail
James A Dillon
John L. Eaton
J. Lloyd Eaton
Historical Sketch of Central Church of Christ
Central of McMinnville grew from seed which was sown in services conducted in the old Warren County Courthouse, which stood on a spot near the center of what is now the city's main thoroughfare, dividing the downtown park.
In 1830, Bro. Sandy E. Jones preached the congregation's first sermon. His text for what pioneers have described as "a great gospel sermon," was taken from Acts 10:34-35. Preaching continued at intervals during the periods, 1830-40 and 1840-50. From this meager beginning, the Lord's work in McMinnville progressed to the extent that, through efforts spearheaded by Major L. D. Mercer, father of the late Judge Foster H. Mercer, Samuel Alexander, Isaac Jones and other, a small brick house was erected at the corner of Morford and College Streets. Since that time, the Central congregation has worshipped at the same location, in the heart of downtown McMinnville.
In the early days of occupancy of the first building, the congregation was ministered to by James Trod, J. D. Eichbaum of Nashville, Elder Murphy and others. Brethren Elisha and Jesse P. Sewell were both young preachers at the time and did extensive preaching in and around McMinnville, including service to the Central congregation. Samuel Alexander and Isaac Jones were elders of the Central congregation in its infancy. During the Civil War, the meeting house deteriorated extensively. At the close of the conflict, H. L. Walling, Jonathon Logo, J. T. Webb and others repaired the building and regular Lord's Day worship was renewed. The Sewell brothers did a major portion of the preaching for the church during the succeeding years. Other ministers including Ben Franklin of Cincinnati, Ohio, held meetings from time to time. The congregation, during this period, increased from a membership of about 30 to well over 100. With the increase in membership, the Central congregation soon outgrew this "little meeting house" and in 1877, H. L. Walling undertook the responsibility of raising funds to erect a larger building. At once, Bro. calling, his brother Jesse, and W. P. Faulkner subscribed more than 50 percent of the amount required to build the new structure. O. M. Thurman, J. C. Martin, W. E. B. Jones and others were among the liberal donors. All of the money necessary to cover the cost of the building was raised and erection too place during the period January - October 1, 1878.
The Central congregation has always been self-supporting. It has been instrumental in the establishment of new congregations, both locally and in foreign fields, contributing generously to the preaching of the gospel throughout the world. It has always concluded that the Gospel is God's power to save to all who believe as it reveals the one true way of salvation. It has always been the aim of the Central Church to: "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent," to the end that all may recognize Jesus Christ as the head of the Church and give Him the preeminence in all things.
Ministers serving the congregation and dating back to the year 1914 have been Price Billingsley, Fred Cowan, T. B. Clark, H. T. King, J. Paul Slayden, T. Q. Martin, Granville W. Tyler, M. Kurfrees Pullias, Allen Pay, John B. Hardemann, L. Daniel Harless, Winston W. Tynes, Julian W. Goodpaster and Lindell R. Doty. (Editor's note - please see the above article for more recent minister names.)
On January 23, 1972, Central concluded the use of its then 44 year old building. While the lifespan of the former building was not lengthy, the growth of the congregation necessitated a more commodious facility. Consequently, on Tuesday, January 25, 1972, razing procedures were begun. After a building period of some 1 and a half years, Central assumed occupancy of her new house of worship on October 7, 1973. The present auditorium is designed to seat approximately 1,000 worshippers. Inaugural services saw visitors from many areas and several responses to Christ's invitation.
Excerpt from "The church of Christ in Warren County" by Perry C. Cotham, 1982