Christian Chronicle

When God comes with a loud thud

Why an old, declining church closed to make way for a new, growing congregation to take over its building.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jeff Pendleton met and married his wife, Marcia, at the Red Bridge Church of Christ, a once-thriving congregation less than a mile from the Kansas state line.

He baptized his daughter, Kelly, there.

When loved ones died, he sang hymns and shed tears there.

“It’s a cherished place for so many,” said Pendleton, who served as a church elder. “There are so many memories there.”

At one point, average Sunday attendance topped 350. The church expanded to two morning worship assemblies.

But in more recent years, the congregation became older and grayer. The numbers shrank, down to about 80 on a typical Lord’s Day. Attracting and retaining young families became increasingly difficult.

“Lord, show us your will for Red Bridge,” the church’s leaders began praying a year ago. “What do you want us to do? What do you want us to become?”

The answer came not with a whisper but with a loud thud — as God opened the door for the old, declining church to close and a new, growing church to replace it.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the May 2018 edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Road Notes: 19-year-old cancer victim’s faith inspires parents to keep serving (reporting from Kansas City, Mo.)

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning journalist who has reported from all 50 states and 13 countries in his 28-year professional career.

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