Sunday, August 10, 2008

History and Life of the Crooked Creek Baptist Church

The Crooked Creek Baptist Church was organized June 10, 1837 with fourteen members. Their purpose was to establish a new church north of Indianapolis to grow, and give comfort, strength and love both spiritually and physically through the power that comes from God through Jesus Christ. Madison Hume, one of the original members, became the first pastor. One of these fourteen founding members was African-American, and over the course of much of its history (including the present day) has been a racially mixed congregation.

The original church structure was an old log schoolhouse across the road from our present location. In 1840, a plot of ground north of the school was purchased and a frame building built. A second building, erected in 1856, was built across the road (to the north of the present building). This structure was altered and enlarged many times and in numerous ways. In June of 1935 Franklin Crutchlow, a student at Franklin College, accepted the call to pastor the church and was ordained in the church in September 1937. Our Centennial anniversary was celebrated June 12 and 13 of 1937 and it was determined that it was the appropriate time to consider a larger building for the growing congregation. Ground was purchased south of the old church (where our present church stands) for a price of $982.50. World War II then stopped all construction, so the new building had to be delayed. A ground breaking ceremony for the new building was held in August 1950 under the leadership of Pastor Louis G. Crafton. Construction started in August 1951 and the cornerstone was laid. On July 19, 1954, a farewell service was held in the old church and on July 25, 1954 the first service was held in the new building with Pastor Crafton delivering the message. The new building was dedicated in October 1954 in a service that remembered the fourteen founders.

In March 1955, Rev. Orval Sutton accepted the call to become our pastor. In 1981 Michael Snow came to Crooked Creek as Associate Pastor and Youth Director. Rev. Snow was ordained in the Church on May 16, 1982. In June of 1987, we observed our sesquicentennial, celebrating 150 years of heritage. In March 1995, Rev. Orval Sutton retired after 40 years of ministry at Crooked Creek. In April, 1995, Rev. Michael Snow became our new Senior Pastor after serving 14 years as our associate. Under the leadership of Rev. Snow, the church continued to grow and prosper. In May of 1999, Crooked Creek called Mike Thompson to be Associate Minister for Youth, Young Adults, and Families. Mike grew up at Crooked Creek and felt God’s call to ministry. In November 1999, Rev. Kevin Bengtson was called to be Associate Pastor in Music and Worship. Rev. Thompson was recently ordained in the church, and Rev. Bengston served as interim pastor until August 2008. On Sunday, August 24th, 2008, the church extended the call to Rev. Tom Bartley to become the senior pastor.

In 1998, Crooked Creek established its current Statement of Purpose. It is as follows:

• To be a Loving and Caring Community of Believers
• To Glorify God Through Personal and Public Worship
• To Lead Others to Christ and to His Church
• To Grow in Christ and in the Knowledge of His Word
• To Show God’s Love by Serving Others

Our church is now 171 years old. Some members today have third, fourth, fifth, and sixth generations on the church roll. As an example, a member of our church for 82 years (baptized at 9 years of age) joined the chancel choir at age 14 and only just recently retired from singing in it. He and his wife are still active in the life of the church.

We continue to be actively involved in our community and seek to minister to the needs of those around us. We are also actively involved in the life of the American Baptist denomination. We look forward to what God is calling us to do in the years ahead.

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