In January of 1903, about 75 people met in the Chester County Courthouse and formed the first congregation of the Henderson Church of Christ. A.G. Freed and A.M. St. John were named as the first elders. N.B. Hardeman, J.A. Ward, A.G. Freed and W.T. Hardeman were trustees. Dr. John B. Hardeman, father of N.B. Hardeman, gave a bulding lot on the corner of Crook Avenue and Second Street where the meeting house was built. It was a rather small white structure, furnished with walnut pews and a baptistry under the stage.
By the mid-twenties, the congregation had outgrown the building and began holding worship services in Freed-Hardeman’s auditorium. The building on Crook Avenue was used periodically for small group meetings. Use of the college facilities enabled the congregation to have Sunday School classes. The little church building burned on November 1, 1933.
Bible instructors from the college were employed to preach for the Henderson church most of the time from 1903 until the early 30’s. Hall L. Calhoun preached the entire year 1925-26, and T.B. Larimore also preached a full year. Among the great preachers who preached for the Henderson church in the first thirty years were A.G. Freed, N.B. Hardeman, L.L Brigance, W.H. Owen, E.A. Elam, J.D. Tant, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., T.Q. Martin, C.P. Roland, and W.C. Hall.
Plans for a new building began in early 1944. Members of the board of trustees included M.D. Hartley, J.R. Glass, J.A. Ward, D.E. Mitchell, W.B. Powers, Algie Smith, and Dr. W.O. Baird. Elders in the period from 1903 to 1987 were A.G. Freed, A.M. St.John, K.D. Lowrance, George Roberts, I.N. Roland, J.G. Hardeman, S.C.Malone, Worth Powers, C.P. Roland, Gordon Reid and Tom Williams. The building committee chosen in September 1947 included N.B. Hardeman, D.E. Mitchell, Dr. W.O. Baird, Henry Johnson and C.P. Roland. Henry Johnson and son, Raymond, constructed the building. This building, which we now occupy, was completed in 1949, and on the third Sunday in April, N.B. Hardeman preached the first sermon.
The building completed in 1949 cost about $85,000, including equipment. In 1958, an annex was added on the south side, increasing the seating capacity of the auditorium to 825 and adding classrooms in the basement. This cost about $45,000. In 1967, the Johnson property was purchased and is now used or parking. All of this cost about $31,000. In 1981, an educational building was constructed on the east side of the main building for classrooms; it also serves as a fellowship area. More parking space and needed equipment have been added in the past few years. In 1995, a new activity center was completed at a cost of $530,000 giving additional space for offices, classrooms and fellowship, as well as providing a recreational area. The lot across Second Street was purchased in 1987. Remodeling of the basement classrooms was completed in 1998. Two additional pieces of property were purchased in 1999 on Hill Avenue adjoining the Second Street property. Work began to enclose the area between the Main Building and Education Building in September 2002. The new area, called the Commons, was completed in the spring of 2003. Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new auditorium were held August 5, 2012. On January 19, 2014, the morning service was begun in the old auditorium, and then the entire congregation walked into the new auditorium, and the worship service proceeded. On January 26, 2014, a dedication and open house ceremony was held at 3PM for the new auditorium, with city and county dignitaries, construction team, and former and current staff members present.
Others who have served as elders include Lattie Averitt, Robert Darnall, John R. Hall, John W. Johnson, Wayne Bulliner, Reeder Oldham, James Williams, Robert Witt, H.C. Christopher, Charles Miller, John Rickard, Ray Nelson, David Magee, Jess Wilcoxson, Joe Hardin, John Adams, and Larry McKenzie. Serving at present are Larry Bloomingburg, Shawn Bolton, Ron Butterfield, Richard England, Mike McCutchen, Gary McKnight, Stephen Morris, Larry Oldham, Barry Smith, Charlie Smith, Keith Smith, Algene Steele and John Sweeney.
In 1934, R.E. Henson preached full time and remained until 1937. Between 1937 and 1948, N.B. Hardeman, W.C. Hall, L.L. Brigance, and C.P. Roland each preached one Sunday a month. In 1948, Jim Cope began preaching full time. Other preachers who followed were B.B. James, 1950-55; Paul Simon, 1955-56; Jess Wilcoxson,1956-60; C.W. Whitten, 1961-66; Elvis Huffard, 1966-67; (H.A. Dixon shared with Huffard during the fall of 1966); Phil Hefley, 1968-75; Max Patterson, 1976-87; Ben S. Flatt, 1987-2005; Alan Highers, 2001-05; Daniel Hope, June 2005-October 2010. The current ministers are Matt Sokoloski and Billy Smith.
For more than 25 years, young men worked in a training program as assistant ministers, especially working with our youth. Among this group are Roger Coffman, Harold Neal, Billy Smith, Glen Colley, Dwight Robards, David Powell, and Frank Belizzi. During the past 20 years, the congregation has benefited by the employment of the following full time youth ministers: Bryan Maynard, Brad Howard, Kevin Cain, Mike Wamble, Phil Dean, Jason Beard, and Chuck South. Bill Wade and Jared Gott are currently the Youth Ministers.
Ron Butterfield served as educational director from 1990-95. David Lipe served as Campus Minister/Educational director from 1995-97. David Powell served as associate minister from 1995-2001. Larry Oldham served as educational director from 1997-2005. Jake Morris served as campus minister from 2002-05. Mark Finton served as educational director from 2005-06. Justin Gerhardt served as the outreach minister and educational director from July 2007-June 2010. Doug Yates served as associate minister/educational director from 2011-14. Larry Oldham began working as Involvement Minister in the fall of 2014. Bill Wade began as associate minister in December 2014.
The mission of the Henderson church is to nurture the saved and evangelize the lost. Historically, it has and continues to generously support foreign and stateside missions, advance the spiritual growth of its members through numerous venues including a strong Bible school program, and values its close relationship with Freed-Hardeman University.