The Downtown church of Christ was established on November 4, 2007 with 128 in attendance and 3 listening by phone in Perm, Russia. It is the goal of the members to remain true to God’s Word in dedication to teaching the gospel and worshipping in the manner of God’s commands and by the example of Christ’s established church in the New Testament. Hubert Smith presented the first sermon and remained a stable part-time speaker until a permanent preacher was hired in May of 2010. Following the service, a fellowship luncheon was held with tables scattered throughout the halls, on the front porch and lawn area. George Preston presented the sermon that first evening. Several men such as Mike Crosby, Roger Owens and some of our own members rotated speaking assignments throughout the first 2 ½ years. Membership has now grown to 85 families in regular attendance.
Downtown has grown numerically and spiritually and is a very close knit church family. The church at Downtown has always seen the need to become fully established with a permanent preacher, elders and deacons. In November of 2009 three elders were installed to shepherd the flock: Norman Patten, Doug Sturdivant and Roy Vincent. In June 2011 George Preston was installed as one of the shepherds. By February 2010 seven men were installed as deacons to oversee the works and missions of the congregation: Randy Alexander, Tim Havens, David Lackey, George Preston, George Shipley, Larry Williams, and Clifford Yeldell. In June 2011 James Neff was installed as a deacon to serve with Randy Alexander, George Shipley, and Larry Williams. These men are dedicated, faithful and passionate in their assigned areas of work. The need for a full-time evangelist was evident. In May 2010 David McElwain, a professor for the Magnolia Bible College in Kosciusko, MS became a Texan and filled the position as preacher and evangelist. David and Pat are an integral part of the Downtown church family and have made a huge impact with David’s vast knowledge of the Word and eloquent manner of delivery. Pat faithfully serves by David’s side and is involved in Ladies Class, teaching young children, and Mission Printing. We are richly blessed through their service.
It is with great anticipation that the Downtown congregation looks to the future. Many works are in the planning stages and many works are already instituted. Mission Printing is a much loved and tremendous work with which the congregation is involved in. More than a dozen meet each week to prepare materials to be sent around the world to teach the gospel. A foster child at Cherokee Home for Children is partially supported through benevolent efforts. The Ladies Class ministers to our church family and the community in various ways throughout the year. Summer Camp is one of the best participated Youth events of the summer with about two dozen adults involved and dozens of children attending. The Youth Program is growing and has recently incorporated the Lads to Leaders Program for our youth and all ages. The Downtowners, a group of over 50s, meet once a month to fellowship and serve others. Members of all ages have a place to worship, grow in Christ, serve, and enjoy fellowship at Downtown.
We are blessed by the maturity and growth of the men, especially fathers of young families who have become involved in the acts of worship by leading singing, publicly praying, and reading scriptures. Several members are involved in teaching classes and participate in the many evangelistic efforts of the congregation. Members at the Downtown church of Christ look forward to serving the Lord for years to come.