A History of Innovation
On January 19, 1896, M. E. McMaster (board member of First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, 9th and Broadway) gave the church the lot on the corner of 25th and High Street. He hoped the church would become more active in city mission work. That work became Union Bible School, meeting each Sunday afternoon. A chapel was dedicated on July 4, 1907, to serve the fast growing east side of the city.
The chapel served as Union Bible School until April of 1911. J. F. McMahan was hired as associate minister of First Christian Church and preached each Sunday night at 25th and High Streets. On September 3, 1911, under the leadership of McMahan, Union Bible School became the second Christian Church in Quincy. Twenty-five members signed the original charter. By 1914, Bible School averaged 115 in attendance.
In 1916, L. C. Mauck was called to serve the church, which he did for 35 years. During the depression era a new building was constructed by the unemployed members.
Services were initially held at Madison School. The Madison Park Christian Church building was dedicated in 1929. Lyle Brassfield was called in 1951 when the church was averaging 200. Charles Webb was hired in 1956 (the church was averaging 250 per Sunday). Lillie Stock provided the property for a new worship center on the corner of 25th and High Streets. Groundbreaking took place August 17, 1958.
In October of 1959, Robert Pate was called to the congregation and the new building was dedicated October 25, 1959. On June 2, 1968, Madison Park Christian Church became an independent congregation.
Lloyd Dunn began his ministry in January of 1969. In 1970 a second worship service was added to accommodate growth. In March of that year, John Miller was called as associate minister. In 1971, Freddie Griffith followed Lloyd Dunn. By April of 1972, the congregation paid off all its indebtedness and began a new building fund. A planning committee soon recommended developing a new congregation on the south side of town. On March 3, 1974, Madison Park gave 78 people to form Payson Road Christian Church, (now known as the Crossing). John Miller served as their minister until they were able to secure a preaching minister of their own.
In 1977 the congregation purchased 11.7 acres on Kochs Lane for future expansion. Economic conditions forced that plan to be put on hold. In 1978 both the Griffiths and the Millers moved to new ministries. Mike Britton was called as the associate minister and Henry Pratt was called to serve as the preaching minister. In 1979 Mike Britton went back to school and Mike Brown was called to serve in his role (he stayed until 1982). In 1983 Henry Pratt resigned and a nucleus of Madison Park members formed Faith Christian Church (on north 12th Street).
In 1983 Larry Smith became the preaching minister and Scott Alexander served as part time youth minister (1983-84). In September of 1984 Bob Leinbaugh came as education and music minister (he left in 1989) and Keith Ehresman began a weekend youth ministry, becoming full time in May of 1985.
In 1986 Church Growth Services (William Walter, consultant) developed a 25-year blueprint for growth, which the congregation adopted. In an unusual turn of events, the former Jacks building (4700 Broadway) was purchased in September of 1988. The building at 25th and High Streets was sold and services were held at the YMCA until July of 1990. At that time worship was held in the current fellowship center. The current worship center was completed in 1994. The congregation went to two services in the worship center within a year of moving in.
During Larry Smith’s ministry attendance grew to an average of 550. Bruce Willard was added to the staff (June, 1994) and Matthew (Gil) Gilchrist came as a part time youth minister in 1997. Gil served full time from May of 1999 until August 2003. At the end of May, 1998, Larry moved to the St. Louis area to work with another congregation. Loretta Nobis served as part-time worship minister from 1998 through 2004. In July 1998, Chuck Sackett came as the interim preaching minister.
God continued to bless the congregation with growth even during the time when there was no regular preaching minister. After approximately 18 months, the leadership of the congregation called Chuck to an unusual arrangement of teaching full time at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary and preaching at Madison Park. This arrangement began in December of 1999.
After filling the preaching role, the leadership began to fill needed ministry roles in the staff. Brian Lowery served in the area of adult discipleship from 2000 to 2004. In July 2000, Evan Horner began serving in the area of pastoral care and counseling. Lindi Horner began serving part time in early childhood ministries, January of 2001. In July 2003, Kim Hageman began serving in the area of children’s ministry (elementary ages) and in February 2004, Matt Wilson began serving in the area of Jr./Sr. High Youth Ministry. Steve Hill joined the staff in September of 2004 to help disciple our adults. Lacey Liggett joined the staff in the area of worship in June of 2005.
God continued to bless Madison Park through the innovative leadership of her elders and staff. As God has led, the leaders have attempted to follow. In 2001, thirty-five acres were purchased at the corner of 48th and Columbus Road. Significant remodeling occurred in the current facility in the next 4 years. New check-in areas for the early childhood ministries took place. The hospitality room was created. Significant changes took place in the office area. The warehouse, the back hallway and the choir room were completely remodeled.
God continued to bring people to hear the gospel. At least 80 people per year made decisions about Christ. Approximately 90 young people have gone to CIY each year. Dozens of families participated in FamFest. More and more people have been drawn into ministry roles. Adult discipleship classes have grown significantly (over 40% of those in worship attend a discipleship class).
In October 2003, we began using the Warehouse (behind the Annex) for a variety of ministries including Children’s Worship, Student Ministries, Aerobics and more. Beginning in September of 2004 we began utilizing “The Annex.” The Annex provides new and needed space for children’s, youth and adult classes.
2006 was a year of transition. Kim Hageman announced her call to join the David Atkin’s team in Taiwan. She transitioned to mission support in January, 2007.
Keith Ehresman transitioned to a leadership role in student ministries. He joined Matt Wilson and Lindi Horner in “developing students of influence.”
Chuck Sackett began serving full-time in June of 2007. That same year the elders determined that we would seek to maximize the 4700 Broadway property and develop other strategies for reaching the people of the Quincy area. As a result the land at Columbus Road was put up for sale.
Tyler Myers joined the student ministry staff in June of 2008. He concentrates primarily on ministry to and through college age young people. In August of 2008, Jason Beddall joined the staff to develop our technical ministries. He leads in training and overseeing our volunteers in the areas of audio, video-production, lights and our website.
Our Current Situation
The leaders of Madison Park are seeking God’s direction as we move forward. We continue to seek the means of reach the un-churched of our communities. More and more efforts are being put forth to provide ministry to people with real needs throughout our area.
The history of Madison Park Christian Church is a history of change. Visionary leaders have made innovative decisions allowing the congregation to move forward and God to bless in ways beyond most people’s imaginations. We trust He will continue to bless as we continue to follow.