History of Crittenden Drive Church of Christ
In the fall of 1927, A.R. Boyles, a member of the Kedron congregation who lived near Russellville, approached the Gospel Advocate office in Nashville, Tennessee with a request for assistance in holding a gospel meeting. R.C. White agreed to come for a ten-day meeting in October. Central Church of Christ provided a small tent, which was pitched on Spring Street in Russellville. Brother White was paid thirty dollars for his efforts. As a result of the meeting, the following people formed the nucleus of the Russellville Church of Christ: Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Boyles, Mrs. Charles Ballard, Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Delk, Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Mayton, Miss Nannie Shelton, Mrs. Jeffie Shelton, Mrs. Albert Baggett, Mrs. A.D. Hinton, Miss Lizzie Henson, and Miss Marie Mayton.
They were joined on the following Sunday by Mrs. Will McCormick and her mother, Mrs. Mary Harris, who had been attending the Christian Church services. Mrs. Harris often spoke sadly of her memories of the church before it had allowed digression to enter. She once said that a piano had been moved into the building for a wedding and had never been removed. The Boyles, Mayton, Delk, and Shelton families and Mrs. Baggett were originally from the Kedron church. Mrs. Hinton was from Nashville.
Some of the charter members of the Russellville congregation had attended the services of the Christian Church, but as that congregation continually embraced practices contrary to their beliefs, they were determined to provide a New Testament church through which they could serve the Lord.
There were only four men among the first members of the church, and two of them took no public part in the services. Boyles, a capable song leader, had the responsibility of conducting most of the worship services. He also taught the men's Bible class. Mary Mayton taught the ladies' class.
The church rented two rooms in an old building on North Main Street, one block from the public square. Members were poor, and comforts in the building were few. Until other seating could be afforded, benches which had been used in a park were the only seats available. The women of the church made muslin covers to hide advertisements painted on the benches. A speaker's stand was built. It was placed near the door that connected the two rooms to accommodate anyone who might be seated in the second room. For the first year, White preached monthly and returned for a second meeting in the fall of 1928. F.B. Srygley, a senior writer of the Gospel Advocate, came by train from Nashville monthly to preach on Saturday night and Sunday morning from 1929 to 1931. The teaching which these two men gave the church was of the highest caliber, and members were well-grounded in sound doctrine.
When Boyles went to Detroit to seek employment, the church persuaded Smiley E. Blake, who attended services at Kedron, to come to Russellville to assist the church in its services. He and Mrs. Donna Blake and their small daughter, Martine, were welcomed into the congregation. About that time, Mrs. Baggett took her small niece, Etta Jo McEndree, into her home to rear, and the two girls were the first two small children in the congregation.
Additionally, Ruth Browning came to live with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Delk. Ruth Browning later married Terry Page and remained a faithful member until her death on September 4, 1991. Upon her death, she made a generous contribution to the church which allowed the expansion of the church library, now known as the Ruth Page Memorial Library. A plaque with the inscription, "Ruth Page Memorial Library made possible by her love for the Lord," denotes her generosity. In 1930, Mrs. Louise Epley, a new bride, was baptized, and they joined Marie Mayton as the only young people in the congregation.
Thomas H. Burton was sent by Central Church of Christ in Nashville for meetings under a large tent in the summers of 1929, 1930, and 1931. He was accompanied by Jeff Derryberry in 1929 to lead the song service. In 1930, Allen Jaynes of the Bethany church led the singing. Burton brought his son, Tommy, to lead the song service in 1931. The 1930 meeting was for one week only, but the church was greatly strengthened. Twenty people were baptized. Baptisms took place in the "crusher pond" off the Lewisburg Road, just outside the city limits.
It was during these meetings that some people who were to have a long-reaching influence on the church were added to the number. Two of them were N.L. Hendley and Press Herndon. Mary DeShazer, librarian at Russellville High School, was converted. Her sister, Ina DeShazer, who was a member at Kedron, began to worship with the Russellville church.
Moving into Russellville were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Thurmond, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Harris, Mrs. Mackey Scott, mother of Mrs. Harris, and Mrs. Annie Rachel Burchett. Some county residents identified themselves with the congregation, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Pedigo and their seven children still living at home. Mrs. Frances (Granny) Dockins and members of her family who lived with her, Geneva Rudolph and John Dockins, added strength to the congregation. Members of the Tom Lyons family, consisting of several children, were all baptized during the 1930 meeting. In 1931, C.B. Laws came to Russellville to work for an insurance company. He began part-time preaching for the church and filled appointments at nearby rural congregations.
In 1932, the church rented an apartment on East Third Street and met there for a few months, until a residence on East Fourth Street was purchased. The historical old building had been used as a hospital during the Civil War, but returned to a residence following that conflict. The deed to that building was very explicit in defining how and by whom the building was to be used: "The said property purchased by S.E. Blake, N.L. Hendley, and A.R. Boyles, Trustees in trust for the Church of Christ at Russellville, Kentucky, shall be for the exclusive use and benefit of the Church of Christ in the said town of Russellville, Kentucky, for a house of worship. The said congregation recognizes and uses no creed, discipline, doctrine of faith, etc., but the Bible and the Bible alone. They do not recognize authority of any organization beyond the local elders and deacons. In their work and worship, they reject the use of instrumental music or choirs, using only congregational singing, and all effort of auxiliaries..." (A long list of organizations was given.)
An additional page of provisions for future use of the facility was included. This deed is recorded in Deed Book 121, on page 285, in the Logan County Court Clerk's office. The wording of the stipulations laid down in this deed reflects the hurt of people who had experienced division among brethren. It was their intention to see that it could not happen again. Twenty-six years later, when the property was sold and larger facilities were built; the exact wording was entered into the new deed.
In the fall of 1934, the church rented a large tobacco warehouse located on North Main between Third and Second Streets for a three-week series of meetings. Vernon Spivey, who then lived in Chicago, led the singing and did the preaching. The meeting was well attended by members of the congregations from the county and adjoining counties. Townspeople came in large numbers. It may have been at this time that the citizens of Russellville began to realize that the church was here to stay.
The building was remodeled in 1939. An auditorium, a baptistery replacing the one that had been built in the yard, and two dressing rooms were constructed. The older part of the building was remodeled into a hall and four classrooms downstairs and a hall and two classrooms upstairs. In that year, Homer A. Daniel came to work with the congregation. He preached on alternate Sundays, going to other churches on the Sundays that he was not in Russellville. He was followed by Charlie F. Arnett, who came in 1942. Arnett remained in Logan County for many years, preaching for most of the churches and establishing others. He was sound in the faith and endeared himself to all through his humility and service.
Ross Embry was the first full-time minister of the church and served for six months in 1946. A residence was bought for the preacher's home on West Fourth Street. In 1947, Oaks Gowen began working with the congregation and continued for five very productive years. In those years the church experienced a period of growth and built a more commodious house on West Seventh Street to serve as a residence of the minister and his family. Other men who served the church while it met in the Fourth Street building were Clyde Brannon, Jewell W. Norman, W.C. Sawyer, Jack Hackworth, and Tommy C. Brown.
By 1950, church leaders came to realize that there would soon be a need for a new building in which to worship. A lot on West Seventh Street was purchased, with the intent of erecting a building there. As time passed, it became evident that there would not be sufficient space for adequate parking for a growing congregation. By 1959, the congregation had outgrown the old building and was holding two worship services each Lord's Day morning. Under the tireless efforts of Brown, a large lot on Crittenden Drive was purchased from Ewing Stuart and Ewing Wright. Trustees at that time were N.L. Hendley, J.B. Pedigo, and Owen Burchett.
A building committee was appointed, consisting of Ghan Smith, Sr., Channie Wilson, James C. Turner, John Pedigo, James Starks, and Harold Heaton. Serving as Treasurer was Owen Burchett. Burchett served a total of twenty-seven years, faithfully accounting for all financial transactions.
The men whose duties were to plan and complete a new building spent many hours with architects and contractors. Brown proved to be an astute businessman. Wilson, whose work was less confining than that of other committeemen, spent many hours observing the construction effort and running errands to expedite the work. Bonds were sold in denominations of $50 to $500, the last of which matured in 1973. A modern brick building with adequate classrooms, nursery, office, and restrooms was erected. The church began meeting in the new building January 1, 1960, with the dedication of the facility in March of 1960. Willard Collins, then vice-president of David Lipscomb College, gave the dedicatory sermon. When the final bond matured in 1973, both Collins and Brown returned to congratulate the congregation and to see Burchett burn the note.
Brown was followed as minister by Barclay Riley, who, after a short tenure, was called to become superintendent of Potter Children's Home and School in Bowling Green. Other ministers who served the church were Carlos Pitts, Glann Lee, G.L. Mann, Robert Brewer, who left in June of 1969, Edward Anderson, Jim Shannon, who left in December 1979, Steve Blackman from 1980 to 1983, Charles Roney from 1983 to 2001, Dale Graham from 2001 to 2005, and Steve Kenney from 2006-2007.
In the 1950s, an attempt was made to appoint elders. Men who served for a short time were Bert Dillahay, J.B. Pedigo, and N.L. Hendley. Each, after self-study, felt that in some way he did not meet scriptural qualifications and withdrew from the office.
Several men were appointed elders in the 1960s. Among them were Bob Howard, James Stevenson, Don Celsor, Claude Dillihay, G.F. Kluss, and later Sterling Gass and Ghan Smith Sr. The work of the church was not so harmonious during this period, but the unrest subsided, and the church pressed on to greater achievements. Some of those men moved from the community, some became ill, and others resigned. The church was without elders again.
In 1973, the church chose Charles Cole, Frank Dockins, Jr., and Kenneth White as elders. Under their direction, the church enlarged its vision and enjoyed harmony and prosperity. Cole moved to Louisiana in 1983, and it was not until 1986 that additional elders were chosen. Three men who had been hard-working, conscientious deacons, Russell Jones, Glenn McGehee, and Jim Riley, were added to the eldership. Additional deacons were selected to work with Dale Baugh and Ronald Hooper, who had served in that capacity for several years. Those appointed were Harris Dockins, Michael Maxwell, Roy Mosier, Jim Turner, and Darrel White. Responsibilities of the work of the church were divided among the deacons. Each deacon had committees of men to work with him. Without them, the work of the church under the direction of the elders could not have run so smoothly.
Over the next several years, various other men served as deacons. Among them were James Pulley, Dorris Moore, Charles Cole, John Q. Hite III, Felts Clark, Bill Webb, Clifton Dodson, John W. McCarley, Owen Burchett, Cecil Starks, and Larry Brown.
An additional building was erected in 1978, as a result of growth and needs of the church. The building included needed classrooms, a large multi-purpose room which could be divided by folding partitions into three classrooms, a kitchen, and offices of the preacher and church secretary. Kenneth White, an elder, was the contractor. The new building relieved crowding in the older building and gave space for a larger library, conference room, and storage area. The benevolent center was also in the older building.
The educational building continues to be in use every day, and is used by Russellville Christian School during the school year. Classes are available for three-, four-, and five-year old children, who come from a diversity of homes to receive instruction from Christian teachers. The school is directed by a board of Christian men and women and not by the elders. At the time the new building was erected, Jim Shannon, the minister, expressed a desire to build his own home. The residence built in the 1940s was sold, and a lot lying adjacent to Daniel Street and Wildwood Drive from the church grounds was purchased to use for future needs.
Crittenden Drive Church of Christ has been active in programs designed to spread the gospel. Long before the church moved to the new location, a daily radio program was begun. It continued for many years. Among other programs, one of the farthest-reaching endeavors has been the television program, Search the Scriptures, seen each Sunday morning on Channel 13 from Bowling Green. The program began in 1975 and continued until 1984. For two years of that time, an independent station, Channel 17 in Nashville, also showed the program. The time was then used by the “Herald of Truth” which was supported by Crittenden Drive and sister congregations in the area.
Bible Call was a very successful effort of the church. Members of the church operated the equipment on a voluntary basis, each working a three-hour shift. Public interest waned; eventually, however, the program was recessed, with the church retaining the equipment for future use.
Continuing programs during this time included support of missionaries abroad and in the States; support of Potter Home and School; and the Russellville Christian School, brief spots on the local radio aired under the title of Search the Scriptures; a visitation program carried on by teams; the correspondence courses which have been well received; the benevolent center which supplies clothing, food, and furniture to the needy; regular visits to nursing homes; Vacation Bible School with classes for all ages; and two Gospel meetings annually. There are many widows in the church, and a man and his wife of the congregation are appointed to see to the needs of each widow.
Short-term programs included a county-wide campaign with Mid McKnight, in which the deGraffenried Auditorium was used; the Marriage Enrichment series, offered to and attended by people of the community; and the series by Landon Saunders, called "The Heart of the Fighter."
In the fall of 1983, the original building was severely damaged by fire. The church made use of the educational building, holding two services each Sunday morning. Repairing the building and making needed improvements required the better part of the year. White was the contractor for this work.
The church that met on East Fourth Street and now meets on Crittenden Drive in Russellville, Kentucky has always demanded strict adherence to Apostolic Doctrine. Much credit for the spiritual strength of the church is due not only to the located preachers, but to the forceful preaching of visiting evangelists during Gospel meetings. The congregation has been blessed to have some of the strongest defenders of the Truth in the brotherhood.
In a period of four years, 1975 to 1979, the church held eight Gospel meetings. In a 1975 meeting of one-week's duration in which Ed White preached, twenty-six people responded to the invitation. In 1978, Glen McDoniel returned for a series of meetings that produced seventy-one responses. (He had preached in a meeting in 1968 with eleven responses, and again in 1971 with thirty-two responses.) In 1979, Jimmy Allen was the speaker in a meeting in which thirty answered the invitation. These were especially good years.
Crittenden Drive church is blessed with many children and young people who give great promise for a future. Although the church has never contributed to the schools that are church-related and Bible-oriented, each year many of the congregation's college freshmen have elected to attend one of them. David Lipscomb has attracted the largest number, where they have excelled for many years.
In 1986, Agnes Harris, a member of the congregation for more than a half-century, died, leaving no heirs. The widow of Dale Harris, she demonstrated her dedication to the Lord's church by bequeathing her home and other possessions to the church. Additional real estate was acquired in 1986. Mr. and Mrs. Gish Arnold, Jr., who owned property adjacent to the church ground, offered their house and lot to the church before advertising it to the public. The elders, with the consideration of future expansion, purchased the property for $43,750. The three-bedroom brick house was situated on a 100-foot by 225-foot lot which adjoined the educational building and was separated by a driveway from the main building. It faced Crittenden Drive. The Harris property was sold, and the income from the sale was applied toward the cost of the Arnold property. The house was moved to Wildwood Drive for the home of the youth minister and the present auditorium is situated on this lot.
The problem of storing furniture used in the work of benevolence by the church was solved in the fall of 1986. A lot measuring 270 feet by 150 feet on Highway 431 South, within the city limits, became available. The lot included two concrete buildings. Purchased as an investment by Jim Riley and his business associate Charles Ray, the property was appraised at $8,000. Riley, an elder of the church, donated his half of the property. Ray, who is not a member of Crittenden Drive, generously donated a part of his share of the property. The total cost to the church was $3,126.38.
The fourteen years between the publishing of Marie Turner's history of the church in 1986 and the end of the twentieth century were characterized at Crittenden Drive by expansion. During that time frame a new worship center was added to the physical complex, programs for youth and missions grew, the number of deacons needed to help carry out the work of the church was expanded, and the average weekly contribution more than doubled. In 1994, the elders recommended to the congregation the construction of a new worship center. A special contribution to start a building fund that year produced over $100,000.
Kenneth White, an elder, Dale Shrull and Michael Maxwell, two of the deacons with construction skills and management experience, oversaw the design and construction of the 9,000-square-foot auditorium. Clay and Lindsay Turner, grandchildren of one of the congregation's original members, Marie Mayton Turner, were the last people baptized in the old auditorium. The first worship service in the new building came on July 7, 1996. Worship services began in the thirty-six-year-old "old auditorium," and then the congregation moved into the "new auditorium" while singing "Blessed Be the Tie."
The church purchased 1.74 acres south of the grounds for expansion and announced in 2000 that part of it was to be used for a shelter. An outdoor classroom in the area between the two auditoriums was also constructed in 2000. The two auditoriums and the educational building are joined by a walkway/lobby.
In 1997, the old auditorium was converted into a large fellowship room. Most of the labor came from within the congregation. Removing the baptistery was the most difficult part, but it gave way to a kitchen, since the new worship center contains a baptistery. The large young adult class meets there, and it is the site for potluck meals, the monthly elders/deacons/ministers meetings, and a number of other church activities. It is also used extensively by the public for meetings and wedding receptions.
As the elders, especially Frank Dockins, had predicted, attendance and contribution rose dramatically, not only with the opening of the building, but even with the announcement that it would be built. The contribution had remained around $2,000 weekly for several years, but when construction began, it jumped to $3,283. In 1996, the average was $3,695. In 1997, the first full year in the new worship center, the average was $4,190. In successive years it increased respectively to $4,404, $4,629, $4,732, $4,899, and $5,053 in 2002. It dipped slightly in 2004 to $4,955.
Sunday school attendance has been in the low 200s for about twenty-five years, with the top totals of 217 in 1999 and 222 in 2001.
Lorene Barker, a long-time, faithful member of the church, passed away December 10, 2002. She commented that Crittenden Drive Church of Christ was her "family." Mrs. Barker did not want any special attention, but left her estate of $114,604 to the church. John Pedigo, the last member of the building committee that constructed the church building on Crittenden Drive, passed away April 28, 2004. His wife, Evelyn, had died several years before John. They left a major part of their estate in trust to the Crittenden Drive congregation to be used for mission work. At this time the amount of the estate is unknown to the church.
As has been the case in most other statistical measurements, Sunday evening worship peaked about the turn of the century with 198 in 2001, sixteen higher than any other year. Wednesday evening services have stayed consistently in the high 150s and 160s
On June 30, 2000, a turning point for the congregation came when Charles Roney announced that he was resigning after eighteen years as pulpit minister. He had been not only a fixture at Crittenden Drive, but also in the community. He had been the first preacher to be president of the Russellville Rotary Club in seventy years, had been named Rotarian of the Year, and had been active in the Logan County Chamber of Commerce and Historic Russellville. His wife, Pat, also highly respected, had also been an active worker in the church. Roney stayed on as preacher until a successor was chosen. That took well over a year. Dale Graham moved to Russellville from Missouri in mid-summer 2001. Graham continued in that position until the summer of 2005.
The Roneys stayed in Russellville for a couple of years after that, and Charles was named an elder. Dale Baugh had also become an elder, having served as a deacon for many years. They both have since moved away, with Dale and Fran Baugh going to Bowling Green, and Charles and Pat Roney to Alabama to be near their daughter, Diane, and her husband, Tim. That left as elders the long-time quintet of Kenneth White, Russell Jones, Frank Dockins, Glenn McGehee, and Jim Riley.
Over the years more deacons were added, including Steve McCarley, Dale Shrull, Rob Sindorf, Donald Boyles, Marlin Coe, Paul Kerr, John Q. Hite, Jr., Millard Lewis, Kelly Yokley, Fred Thompson, Barry Watwood, Larry Wright, Keith Wilson, Tracy Cole, Darrin Peters, Willie Maxwell, Mitch Johnson, Billy Joe Coleman, David Bilyeu, Elmer Jenkins, Brian White, Brian Stratton, Harris Dockins, and Darrell White.
Some deacons have moved or resigned, and most recently, John Q. Hite passed away after a lengthy illness. The deacons in the fall of 2005 were David Bilyeu, Donald Boyles, Marlin Coe, Tracy Cole, Billy Joe Coleman, Harris Dockins, Ron Hooper, Elmer Jenkins, Mitch Johnson, Willie Maxwell, Darrin Peters, Dale Shrull, Rob Sindorf, Brian Stratton, Brian White, Darrel White, and Keith Wilson.
Hooper has served the longest. Bilyeu and Boyles are sons of some of the first members of the congregation. Coe, Dockins, Jenkins, and the Whites are among the elders' immediate families. Wilson's great uncle was on the building committee which chose the Crittenden Drive site. Coleman, Hooper, Johnson, Maxwell, Peters, Shrull, Stratton, and elder Jim Riley were led to the Church of Christ by their wives. Cole and Sindorf moved here with Logan Aluminum.
Todd Loyd came to Crittenden Drive in late 1995 as youth and involvement minister, and still serves in 2005. He met and married his wife, Amanda, while living in Russellville. They have two young sons, Brock and Battle. In addition to a successful year-round youth program, he is the director of the Logan County Christian Camp, which involves over 100 youngsters and a large number of adults who attend Taylor Christian Camp each June for a week of fun and Christian inspiration. He is also active in the community, including being the public address announcer for Logan County High School football and basketball as well as a radio sportscaster. Todd has also taken teens on mission trips throughout the region, including trips to Texas, Illinois, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and hurricane relief in Florida.
Todd is also involved in a large and popular Vacation Bible School managed by Jim Turner and family and currently overseen by Rob Sindorf and family. VBS attendance averaged over 300 each night for nine years from 1994 through 2002, including 346 in 1997, 360 the next year, and 334 in 1998.
Todd was the congregation's third full-time youth minister. The first two, Keith Peterson and Steve Tyree, are now active in Bowling Green congregations. Steve Tyree has served in a number of different ministerial positions and is now campus minister of the highly successful Hilltoppers for Christ program at Western Kentucky University. A number of those who have grown up at Crittenden Drive have been active in that program. In fact, that is where Todd Loyd and Josh Givens met their wives.
Members Frank Dockins and Douglas Jones were long-time preachers who now worship while listening to others at Crittenden Drive. Others associated with Crittenden Drive who have gone into ministry include Daniel McCarley, who grew up at Crittenden Drive and is now youth minister at Columbia Avenue in Glasgow. Harris Dockins is the pulpit minister at Bethany in Olmstead. Steve McCarley is worship leader at Franklin, Kentucky, and Jeff Penick preaches in Tennessee. Glenn McGehee, Danny Williams, and former member James Neely have filled in around the area at smaller churches in times of need. Jeff Penick, who was a teen member, went to the Memphis School of Preaching with the help of the congregation and now preaches full-time. Daniel McCarley, David Bowles, Sam Hartford, and Josh Givens have become youth ministers in training as an outgrowth of the youth program. David Bowles, Brian White, and David Atkins have served as part-time youth ministers and now hold positions of high trust in the community while continuing in worship at Crittenden Drive. Frank Harris Dockins, Sam Hartford, and Josh Givens have also served as youth ministry interns, and Givens interned for the Hilltoppers for Christ.
A number of young people from the congregation and youth group have been on mission trips abroad. They include Tia Benton Todd, Trevor Coe, Lindsay Turner, Andrea and Kristin Sindorf, Adam Graham, and Jay Campbell. Tia and Lindsay have been gone the longest, each spending several weeks in Brazil. Charles Roney has made three trips to the Ukraine helping establish a congregation there. Pam Jones, wife of elder Russell Jones, has also been to the Ukraine.
Charles Roney and Dale Graham led small groups to conduct Vacation Bible School in Rockport, Indiana. The church supports the work in Indiana, and also supports works in Greece and the Ukraine.
Other members in church-related work include Jennifer Campbell and Jimmy Hampton, who both attended here and became recruiters for their Alma mater, Lipscomb University. Jennifer still works at Lipscomb, as of 2005. Jim Riley serves as a trustee of Potter Children's Home. The late John Pedigo served on the Potter board for many years. Steve McCarley is the director of Taylor Christian camp, and Willie Maxwell serves on the board. The church built a large amphitheater for the camp in 2003, a project supervised by Maxwell and undertaken by several men of the church.
Among the preachers who have spoken in gospel meetings or seminars for Crittenden Drive include Jim Bill McInteer, Willard Collins, Willard Tate, Jimmy Allen, Mac Lynn, Glenn McDoniel, Marlin Connelly, Walt Leaver, James Vandiver, Charles Arnett, Albert Hall, Pat Casey, Bill McDonald, Willie Kato, John Dale, Bruce McLarty, Jimmie Adcock, John York, Dale Smith, Russ King, Ken Joines, and Bruce White.
In October 2005, the direct descendants of the original members who are still part of Crittenden Drive sixty-eight years later are as follows: Marie Mayton Turner and her son Jim, daughter-in-law Elaine, and three grandchildren Clay, Lindsay, and Trey; Donald (Turtle) Boyles and his wife Betty Sue; Mike Boyles and his wife Diane; and Punkin Hendley Klein and her great nephew Nathan Hinton. Louise Epley became a part of Russellville after inception, and Irene Pedigo Deaux and Bobby Burchett remain from families which became part of the nucleus in those early years.
The last two members of the building committee when the church moved from Fourth Street to Crittenden Drive forty-five years ago, James Turner and John Pedigo, died in the early years of the 21st century. Several other members have been worshipping as part of the Russellville congregation for fifty years or more.
Additionally, a large group of young families, many of whom have moved into the community, give great hope for the congregation, not only to continue, but to thrive.
Steve Kenney, who had preached for congregations in Texas, Alaska, Tennessee and West Virginia, followed Dale Graham as the pulpit minister for Crittenden Drive in 2006 and 2007. Also a lawyer who had worked as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, he was a deep thinker and a dedicated student of the Bible. He was joined in Russellville by his wife Leslie and three teenage children—JaneAnn, Erin and Scott.
Todd Loyd ended a remarkable 10-year tenure as the congregation’s youth minister in 2007. He built a large and active youth group quickly upon his arrival in Russellville after graduating from David Lipscomb High School and Lipscomb University. A former comedic movie actor, he was able to both entertain and teach young people. He was in demand around the nation as a guest speaker and puppeteer at teen gatherings.
His leadership helped build a Logan County week at Taylor Christian Camp with over 100 youngsters participating each year. Many of the participants were not active at Crittenden Drive at other times of the year, but for many years saved the first week in June to return to the camp. Dozens of adults from Crittenden Drive and other congregations in the county were also involved, many of them taking vacation time to spend the week helping young people.
Todd was active in the community, including serving as public address announcer for Logan County High School and middle football and basketball games.
While he was at Crittenden Drive, he met his wife Amanda at Hilltoppers for Christ on the Western Kentucky University campus. She became a teacher at Auburn Elementary School. Their three sons were born during their stay in Russellville. Several teens associated with the congregation did foreign mission work during the spring and summer. Among them, Lindsay Turner spent 12 weeks in Uberlandia, Brazil in the summers of 2005 and 2006 with fellow Christians form Western Kentucky University as part of the Let’s Start Talking program, teaching English to Brazilians by using the Bible. Adam Graham and Abbie Dawson did mission work in the United Kingdom separately, and then returned to Scotland as missionaries following their marriage after graduation form Lipscomb University.
Two elders were added to the congregation’s leadership in early 2007. Donald “Turtle” Boyles and Rob Sindorf—both former deacons—were added to the eldership, joining Frank Dockins Jr. , Kenneth White, Jim Riley, Russell Jones and Glenn McGehee.
A highlight was paying off the mortgage which had been taken when the new worship center was built in 1996. A special contribution was taken on Sunday, October 14, 2007 to obtain the final funds to clear the indebtedness, which was originally $425,000. Only $2,422 was needed. The congregation gave over $27,000, after having already collected the regular weekly contribution.
After a catered meal, a note-burning ceremony was held with Frank Dockins making the remarks and Russell Jones setting the note on fire.
Two of the elders, Kenneth White and Turtle Boyles, were not able to attend because of serious illness. Dale Baugh, who was an elder when the decision was made to contruct the new auditorium but had later moved to Bowling Green, was in attendance.
Interim minister Jim Brown spoke at the morning and early afternoon service, the latter featuring congregational singing.
In 2008, Daniel McCarley was hired as youth minister, and he and his wife Jennifer and daughter Skyler moved to Russellville. His son Trapper was born shortly thereafter, and he is doing a wonderful job with the youth group. In 2009, Andrew Phillips began serving as pulpit minister. He and his wife Kathryn have one son, Luke, and we are excited to see what the future will bring!