"A Church that has left the building"
In 1945, the assembly meeting at 12th and Thayer Street purchased land at 13th and Wolfe Street, which is now on the property of Arkansas Children’s Hospital. There, they constructed a building and selected the name “Central Church of Christ” because of its location in the city.
In 1967, the church purchased a 10-acre site located on Barrow Road, planning to construct a new building on the property. Within 12 months, they sold 5 acres for the same price of the original 10, and construction was underway. By March 1970 the Central congregation merged with the Westside congregation that met on Gamble Road. In 1993, the Barrow Road church merged with the Maumelle congregation.
Around 1996, quarterly worship services shared with McAlmont Church of Christ in North Little Rock led to membership growth at Barrow Road, which improved racial diversity-making this church family a unique representation of the Kingdom of God. The rapid growth in membership led to additional parking and classroom space and the purchase of four of the houses adjacent to the main building. With increasing attendance, the church offered 2 worship services on Sunday morning, and it was time to begin looking for a larger facility.
The larger facility the church family longed for became available in 2003. The Sixth and Izard Church of Christ, built a new meeting place across the river in North Little Rock, and sold their downtown church building to the Barrow Road congregation in August. This purchase tripled the square footage at the time from 25,000 sf to 75,000 sf. The Barrow Road building and adjacent properties quickly sold to Baptist Hospital, and over the next six months updates were made to the former 6th and Izard building, which had surprisingly doubled as a bomb shelter for downtown Little Rock after its construction in 1951. The capacity for this building is 1600 people.
In November of 2003 the congregation began worshipping here at 823 West Sixth Street and once again became known as the Central church of Christ in Little Rock where the membership grew to nearly 600 members over the next 5 years.
Central church of Christ is a body made of imperfect people striving to love God and love others every day. This singular body — as the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 12 — is made of many members. In this church, you’ll find people from different backgrounds, cultures, ages, interests, ideologies, theologies, and more. You can find Central on the 800 block of West Sixth St. in Little Rock, AR.
Ultimately, to know the history of the Lord’s church called Central that meets in Downtown Little Rock is less about the locations, and more about the Spirit of God at work in his people—A people who follow Jesus, love each other, and want to be a blessing to this community, by serving alongside our neighbors in faith.