North City Church of Christ actually began in 1994 when Chris and Kelliann Hale took part in a training program based in St. Louis that placed them in the inner city daily. While there, Bible studies began in the homes of those searching for meaning in life. Many of those were plagued with problems commonly effecting the inner-city population; drug abuse, gang violence and unemployment just to name a few.Tutoring programs were initiated and a pantry was begun in Chris and Kelliann’s home to fulfill the needs of those they were serving. Wednesday evening Bible studies were conducted with teen boys and girls who have been touched by either violence, drugs or gangs. Young, single mothers came looking for hope, forgiveness and a refuge of peace. On more than one occasion, the Hales took in children whose mothers were abusive and struggling with addictions.
In March of 1997, they had the first worship service in a building in the inner city in which they were working. In a dingy old gym with water on the floor and holes in the roof, one hundred plus people attended. This was a great day in the Lord’s church in that city.
When Chris and Kelliann decided to return to Abilene Christian University, Matt and Melanie Chandler were asked to continue this vital work in the inner city. The Chandlers brought several young people with them from a previous ministry and spent many hours mentoring the youth to become the young Christians God wanted them to be. The home in which North City was meeting and the Chandlers lived was becoming too crowded for the number of youth that were wanting to be a part of this family.
Around 2005, the Chandlers began to seek a facility that would house the current ministry and allow them to expand with a number of programs that would empower those who were being served by North City. It wasn’t until the spring of 2006 that they were able to find such a place.
At the suggestion of Scott Jewell from The Urban Mission, the Chandlers took a look at an old Catholic facility in the Mark Twain neighborhood. It was determined that the location had a lot of potential, but more expense than the ministry could take on alone. The leaders of North City decided to contact St. Louis Christian College to explore the possibilities of a partnership. The college got on board, then Dr. Mike Pabarcus suggested contacting Robert Lawrence of Metropolitan Church of Christ as their ministry wasn’t too far from this facility.
God’s timing couldn’t have been better. Robert and other leaders at Metropolitan were trying to determine their next steps when they received the phone call from Matt. That very night, a group got together to discuss the mission and vision of their respective ministries and to explore if they could be brought together. After a summer of the two groups meeting together to get to know each other while negotiating a purchase contract with the Archdiocese, North City Church of Christ merged in a segment of Metropolitan Church of Christ and moved into the Mark Twain neighborhood.
Since that time, North City Church of Christ has worked hard to learn what true reconciliation looks like, both across racial lines and as a church into the community. Adding to the mix, Craig Piper has been bringing people from his scouting outreach to worship. North City Church of Christ also joined in a ministry alliance with The Urban Mission, Lampstand Ministries, and Baden Community Christian Church. The Baden Church has since brought its membership over to be a part of North City.
Each day, we strive to learn to trust God more and more as we seek His will for the community in which He has placed us. Please keep us in your prayers as we pray for your endeavors as well.