Neal Pollard

The Beatles first album was released. The first Kmart and the first Wal-Mart opened their doors for business. West Side Story wins for best motion picture at the Academy Awards. Mandatory public prayer in schools are ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  Wilt Chamberlin scores 100 points in a single basketball game. Marilyn Monroe dies from an overdose.  Spider-Man appears in comic books for the first time. Johnny Carson takes over as permanent host of the Tonight Show, where he would remain for 30 years. The Cuban Missile Crisis occurs (facts via Wikipedia, Infoplease, Timelines, et al).

Depending on your perspective, the facts above either make the date seem ancient or almost like yesterday.  The records of what was happening in the church in 1962 are harder to obtain, especially as that was nearly a decade before I was even born.  I know that my dad enrolled in Freed-Hardeman College that year as a Bible Major.  The anti-cooperation movement was growing stronger and more prominent within our brotherhood.  Most congregations, especially in the deep south, were racially segregated.  Widely-known preachers included Gus Nichols, B.C. Goodpasture, Marshal Keeble, Joe Malone, Batsell Barrett Baxter, George Bailey, George Benson, and Roy H. Lanier.

In the growing western city of Denver, at the behest and with the help of some area churches, the Bear Valley church of Christ began meeting.  Though a building would not be erected until March, 1964, and the school of preaching would not begin operation until September, 1965, the body of Christ began meeting together.  Most of the charter members have passed away, but who among them would have believed that one congregation would be involved in a work touching so many lives around the globe as we look back, look around, and look ahead here in 2012.  Graduates who have gone to be missionaries in Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Brazil, Peru, Canada, Germany, Philippines, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ghana, Tanzania, Slovakia, Vanuatu, and no doubt other countries.  They have also gone to preach in all 50 United States.  We have started extension schools in a total of more than 20 locations, with 15 currently in operation and others soon to begin.  Then, there are the sheer number of our former members who are spread out all over this country serving the Lord and helping the kingdom grow.  There are the countless fruitful labors that have gone on here that have resulted in hundreds of baptisms since 1962.

Did the Bakers, Hughes, Denewilers, Wrights, Milams, Whartons, Tharps, Laniers, and others know where this would lead?  Probably not, and that is not to their shame.  But the God of 1962 is still the God of 2012.  What will He do with this church, and His church universal, in the next 50 years?  It will be just as unpredictable, and it can just as grand if we keep looking for greater ways to serve Him!

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