Jesus Christ is our leader
New Testament LeadershipChrist is the head of the church (Col. 1:18). A “thus saith the Lord” is the authoritative basis for our religious worship and practice (Col. 3:17). The New Testament Church was meant to be organized according to the apostles’ doctrinal direction (“set in order,” Titus 1:5; Acts 2:42). This included the structure of an eldership (presbuterion); deacons, working in close connection with the elders (Phil. 1:1); and, an evangelist (s) (Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11). The original apostles and prophets provided a confirmation of the gospel message by means of the miraculous (Heb. 2:3-4). But, once the apostles had died, the ability to apostolically transfer the miraculous also ceased (Acts 8:18). The apostles’ word remains the true basis for biblical belief and unity today (John 17:20-21).
The History of the Church in Cape Girardeau
In 1940 the Broadway Church of Christ in Paducah, KY was contacted by two members who had moved to Cape asking for help in establishing a local congregation. A tent meeting was held at Themis and Lorimier streets, across from the courthouse with J.D. Harvey preaching. With ten members the church began regular meetings.
The church met above the Buckner-Ragsdale Department Store at the business college. Being locked out one Sunday, they began meeting in the home of one of the members until on November 10, 1941 a dwelling was purchased at 306 S. Benton. They also met at 730 S. Ellis St. (1945) and in the upstairs hall at 421A Broadway.
By November of 1949 the church had 85 members and owned two lots at the corner of West End Blvd. and Bloomfield streets where the present building was constructed. On October 19, 1952 the church met for the first time in the new building which was pictured in the November 29, 1952 issue of the Southeast Missourian newspaper and described as the “lovely, modern, new home of the church of Christ.” Although the congregation met in the building in October, the formal opening services were observed on Sunday, November 9th with evangelist Jess Hall as the speaker.
C. W. McEndree and Thurman Simmons were installed as elders in October, 1958. Brother Simmons served for many years in that capacity as did brother Mac who served until his death.
In the fall of 1962 construction of the Educational Annex was begun. Later the auditorium was renovated and on July 25, 1971 the church was ready to hold its first worship service in the newly renovated building. The center aisle replaced the two side walkways, new carpeting and new pews enhanced the appearance of the interior.
Over the years many preachers have served the congregation on a full-time basis. Our most recent evangelists include David Bragg, who held a long-time ministerial position with the Cape congregation from 1982 until 2004 and Robert Housby who served as minister from July, 2002, until August, 2009.
On August 1, 1979 the church began a program to minister to students at Southeast Missouri State University. Campus ministers included Glenn Drysdale, Brad Simpson, David Asbill, Randy Alford, Wade Gillespie, Kevin Knight, Bryan McAlister, and Austin Holiman.
A new pulpit minister, Spencer Strickland, began his work with the congregation in November of 2009. After the birth of his first child, Carolina Grace, he and his wife moved back to North Carolina in August of 2011, to be near grandparents.
Austin Holiman was retained in an associate minister's position beginning in January, 2012. Along with occasional pulpit lessons, Austin spent much time developing the college campus ministry. In November, 2013, with the resignation of Don Boyd, he took over the pulpit ministry position.
Don Boyd, a long-time missionary to parts of Africa, was hired to be the pulpit minister in April, 2012, and continued working in that capacity until November 25, 2013, when he retired and moved to Abilene, Texas.
With the decision by Austin Holiman to move his family closer to grandparents, Jordan Bishop was hired to be our pulpit minister beginning on October 9, 2016.
The church supports the work being done at the Children’s Home in Paragould, Arkansas, and continues to reach out into the community of Cape Girardeau.
Adapted from a history written by Melva McEndree