Recognizing that the origins of the Church go back to Pentecost (Acts 2), the beginning of the Edmond Church of Christ occurred in the fall of 1922. J.M. Harrel, a farmer/preacher who had established over 40 congregations in southwest Oklahoma, moved to town and met Everette Baird, a rural mail carrier, on the streets of Edmond. Harrel told young Baird to find them a place to meet and he would do the preaching. On November 12, 1922, 13 members of the Lord's church met in the Gem Theatre they had rented for $2.50 a week.
The scope and personality of the church changed little for the next 17 years; however, members dreamed of the day when they might worship in their own building. That hope came to fruition in June 1939 when the congregation moved into a little white-frame building near the corner of Fourth and Boulevard. The $2,000 facility was already paid for when the first service was held.
Everette Baird and L.A. Holland became the first Elders in 1940 and they hired Charles Tinius as the first full-time preacher at $80 a month. The next ministers, Warren E. Starnes and Preston Cotham, had short tenures but by 1943 the membership climbed to almost 150. During the times of LeRoy Thompson, Sterling Turner and L.L. Weaver, attendance ranged from 100 to 150. Will M. Thompson was the preacher in November 1953 when the congregation moved into its new, brick building with a 325-seat auditorium, full basement and 10 classrooms. Bill Cofer preached from 1955 until 1958 when Hartsell Johnson gained the pulpit duties. The same year, the church purchased a new residence for the minister's family at 321 Tullahoma and Central Christian College moved from Bartlesville to the south edge of Edmond.
In 1960, the town's population climbed to 8,577 fueled by the growth of Central State College and Oklahoma Christian College. As the church grew, it looked beyond its own borders for the first time and pledged $40 a month to help a small congregation in Hoisington, Kansas. In 1961, a classroom annex was built north of the Fourth and Boulevard building and during the following year, J. Harvey Dykes began as the new minister. In 1963, the Church of Christ Bible Chair became a recognized campus organization at Central State and in late 1964, Harvey Scott began his preaching assignment in Edmond. The next summer, John Moreland became the first director of the Bible Chair and acted as associate minister for the congregation. A balcony was built in 1966 and Phil Watson was hired in 1967 as the new preacher. By the fall of 1968, two morning services were necessary to accommodate the growing church. Attendance hovered around the 500 mark and the weekly contribution exceeded $1,200.
In 1969, the Edmond church joined several area congregations in supporting the five-night television special "Journey to Eternity", the "Herald of Truth" radio and television program, and the West Main Mission in downtown Oklahoma City. In 1970, the Edmond Church of Christ organized as a corporation to meet the legal requirements of the State of Oklahoma. In the summer, Ken Helterbrand began his work with the congregation as a youth minister and song director.
The church celebrated its 50th anniversary and hired Tom Marshall as its new minister in 1972. On November 14, 1973, the Edmond saints worshipped for the last time in their familiar location at Fourth and Boulevard and began meeting on a temporary basis in the new junior high facility on Fifteenth Street and in the Bible Chair building on East Campbell. Finally, on February 10, 1974, the congregation moved into its new 23,000 square-foot building on East Ninth. Doug Lawyer of Oklahoma City spoke on March 31 as the new facility was dedicated. That fall, the church began its popular college adoption program that paired CSU and OCC college students with member families during the school year. Another institution, Living Word Academy began using the building for its schoolhouse in the 1975-76 academic year.
Richard Jones began his 21-year minister responsibilities on November 14, 1976. Attendance was 733 and the contribution was $2,819 on his first Sunday. A 12,000 square-foot multi-purpose building was added to the church plant in 1977. On April 3 of the same year, 1,207 attended the morning worship service. The all-time record attendance was set on November 10, 1978 when 2,002 came together to worship and hear a group of guest speakers selected for every key age group.
April 1, 1979 marked the first "Missions Sunday" to emphasize the congregation's growing commitment to worldwide evangelism. In the fall of 1987, Kent Risley joined the staff as the new college minister and Roger Saumur took over the work in Montreal. Paul Coffman began offering his counseling services in 1989 and Don Vinzant received his assignment as the education program director. Also, Ken Helterbrand launched his Church Music Institute. In 1990, Edmond began another mission tradition as Kent Risley led a group of college students and adults into the remote mountains of north central Mexico to share God's blessings. It was the first of many, 2,000-mile Spring Break trips to the village of Aquiles.
Responding to needs of older members, the church began holding an "Early Bird" Bible class at 5 p.m. on Wednesday nights in 1990. Don Vinzant's new class regularly attracted 80 to 90 people. The Elders also moved to meet the needs of the growing children population and hired Dana Pankey as the first children's education director in 1991. More new families were coming to Edmond and on March 27, 1991, 1,202 people attended Sunday morning worship. Looking to serve the community, two-key ladies of the church launched U R Special in 1993 to help needy children with back-to-school clothes every year. In 1994, 190 members signed on to the Visitation Program to make calls on new citizens of Edmond or recent visitors to the church. Later in the year, Randy Roper became the new youth minister. After the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, the Edmond church reached out again to the community and helped establish the Kid's Place to help young children deal with traumatic experiences and loss.
In 1997, Richard Jones moved to Madill, Oklahoma and Don Vinzant became Edmond's pulpit minister. The congregation celebrated its 75th Anniversary in November with reflections on the past and promises for the future. Since then, Kent Risley has become the associate minister, David Duncan the personal evangelist, Randy Roper the family life minister, Brent Nichols the campus minister, Jake Perkins the youth minister and Brenda Gordon the children’s education director.
Near the opening of the 21st Century, the Elders led the congregation into a major building program and alliance with Oklahoma Christian Academy that transformed the existing structure into a school facility while a new church edifice was constructed on the corner of Ninth and Bryant. Just two days after the membership made their grand march down Ninth Street, past the Search building and entered the doors to the new complex, all Americans were shocked back to the realization that life is only a vapor that even terrorists can exploit. Somber reflections of 2001 saw it as a year of historic tragedy and triumph.
Over the years, the Edmond Church of Christ has built a reputation for meeting the needs of people of all ages in all stages of life. Although we strive to equip and empower individuals by meeting their physical, emotional, and most importantly, spiritual needs, the Edmond Church of Christ is not people-focused, but rather strives to be Christ-focused.