HISTORY ABOUT CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH HENDERSON, NV

This past Easter 2014, the attendance at Central Christian exceeded 50,000. This includes our satellite churches and our prison ministry. Our family began attending in 1981 when the average attendance was 450 on Sundays. As we changed from a traditional church to being evangelical, the attendance rapidly began to increase. In 1991 it was decided that we had to have a larger sanctuary and pursued buying 80 acres. We learned two things: We would see Satan at work and God allowed us to see supernatural events occur that we felt were impossibilities to complete.

Our first service on the Russell Road property was held on October 1995. It was held under the sun on a temporary stage with 3000 people in attendance. The service ended with 96 people being baptized in two horse troughs. It was the largest number of baptisms on a single day in Central’s history up to that time. Some of those being baptized were people many would never have expected to confess their belief in Christ. They were men and women from every walk of life. Some were students, real estate salesmen, cocktail waitresses, cops, lawyers, carpenters and plumbers. Some men from the Henderson city government were in attendance and one well-known attorney, whose reputation for toughness was legendary, was baptized with his wife. Had they not witnessed, they may have had trouble believing it had happened.

When we started our building it was apparent Satan was certainly opposed to what was taking place and would do his best to interfere. It appeared Satan would enlist the help of those who were open to being obstructionists causing setbacks and project delays. Some of the criticism came from outside and inside the church.

There were communication breakdowns with the architect who, it was discovered toward the end of construction, had forgotten to put lights in the chapel and the rotunda stage had to be redesigned after most of it was already built. One of the subcontractors ran into cliche (hard-pan) when digging a trench for utilities and attempted to cancel his contract. Another threatened to sue the church for changing what we had planned to do after he had purchased materials. The electrical contractor lost most of his experienced workmen when they quit and went to work for one of the large casinos that was pushing for early completion and was paying overtime. This caused a number of wiring mistakes and took months to correct and resulted in more threats.

Our design team failed to provide for a cross. I heard complaints that our leadership was watering down the gospel or were we ashamed of Christ. A number of us made sure that a cross was erected on a mound outside the building.

For many years, Central partnered with a number of evangelical churches in the Las Vegas valley. It probably was at its best during the Billy Graham crusades in 1978 and 1980. It came as a surprise when in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Central became a growing target for criticism from some of the other evangelical churches in the valley. The criticism was: Central is preaching a feel good gospel and you won’t hear a message on sin in that church.

Mary and Roger were asked to organize a prayer group. The team met regularly for the next ten year and over those years a number of people joined through periodic twenty-four hour prayer vigils. There is no way of knowing how the prayers of this team of hundreds of people impacted what took place over those years. But we saw a number of supernatural things that in human terms were inexplicable. One thing we do know, our church could never have moved from Mojave Road in Las Vegas to Henderson on its own resources. Central was either the luckiest church on earth or there were an incredible number of fortunate coincidences…or, God was active through the prayers of people.

Before we could build we ran into a number of problems. We had to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act, in place since 1973. What sort of endangered species could be on our 80 acre parcel of land? The former gravel pit had a ground water problem three feet below ground. Thousands of cu. yds. of dirt had to be hauled in. There then was a matter of flood control. The property was constantly flooded and a concrete channel had to be built and two bridges over the Pittman Wash channel. Then the City of Henderson required we sell them 24 acres to build a sports complex to accommodate six major league baseball franchises with spring training facilities. Which never was built.

If you have been going to Central for a short period of time you may believe the 150,000 sq. ft. building just appeared one day. For those of us who went through the finding of property and building the church allowed us to see how Satan operates and how God came to the rescue. Each of us came through the process with an increase in faith that God had a purpose for His church. That mission was to reach those who were unchurched in Las Vegas and help their lives be changed by accepting Christ as their Savior. We also estimate that at least 50,000 have also been converted through the church’s ministry. There is no doubt that God gave a vision to the Elder Board and the results indicate this is what He wanted the church to accomplish.

Originally, the church had planned to build an auditorium that would seat 10,000. Instead, it is now time to increase our seating capacity to over 4500. Shortly this project will begin and possibly we will be able to see the church and our satellite outreach, on special occasions, reach 75,000. Hopefully, most will come from new converts. Especially if we are getting close to the end times as some predict.

Those outside the church who were critical, we do hear sermons on sin and there are not too many feel good gospel messages. I must admit, there are not too many messages on hell-fire and brimstone, a tool that God uses to destroy the wicked. However, fear of hell is a good motivator but we think God’s love, that none should perish, is even better.

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