Kirkville In Southeast Iowa there are a lot of small towns and communities, each one with their own character and unique attributes. Kirkville, however, is one that is seeing a miracle radiating from the center of the town. Kirkville Community Church continues to grow and see lives change every day.
Kirkville, Iowa is a small town of approximately 170 people, established in 1844 and is driven past by thousands every day without anyone really taking notice. In the center of town is Kirkville Community Church. This church was built in 1844
as the center of town. Recently it was abandoned and was days away from being closed up and torn down. Then God used Emery Troxel, a man with a huge heart to make a change in Kirkville. Refusing to see the core of his community taken away, Emery bought the building in 2014 and started what is now Kirkville Community Church. The building was in complete dis-repair. Pastor Phil Morrison remembers the first time he walked into the building, panes of glass missing in a window with snow blowing into the sanctuary. There was a lot to be done to make the building comfortable, but they had church. And through the discomfort, God started His work in the church and in the community.
Starting regular attendance was 6 people, and at times it was as few as 3. But as God so often does, he was working through this small church in a small town and was preparing for something big. In 2016, Pastor Phil Morrison was called to be the pastor. After a month of prayer and clear signs that could only be from God he accepted the job and together with his wife Julia, became a pastor for the first time in his life, on July 31, 2016.
After becoming the pastor for the Kirkville Community Church, Pastor Phil remembers some of challenges that they faced. One in particular was the first Christmas program the church had. The building still didn’t have any heat. So, with everyone bundled up in their long-johns, gloves and coats, seeing everyone’s breath, they enjoyed their first Christmas program at the church. As Pastor Phil worked on leading the people of the church the church started to see growth and improvement to their building. With each step of improvement they made to the building attendance grew. It was clear God was doing something special in this church. At one point, Emery Troxel looking around at the sanctuary, remembering how far things had come in such a short time said to Pastor Phil, “We really are a church, aren’t we?” They had become a living example of Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (NLT)
Since that time God continues to bless Kirkville Community Church in unbelievably amazing ways. In the last year their building has been improved with, new electrical, a new roof, a new sound board, refinished floor in the sanctuary, new pews, painting the outside and the work continues. Some of the next things they are working on are repairing the windows in the sanctuary with new stain glass, installing new carpet in the aisles of the sanctuary. They also have a vision and need for new Fellowship Hall that would connect to the main building. This would give them much needed additional space that would be available to teens and the community. It would also add the necessary ADA restrooms and make the existing building more accessible.
The blessings God provides goes far beyond the improvements of their facility, it is seen the number of lives changed and the growth of the people in the church. Attendance has grown from the original 6 to an average attendance of 60 people, with that number reaching 80 on some Sunday’s. They have added a Wednesday night of services where 15-20 teens attend their youth group and they have a growing adult bible study. The space for children is drastically needed and Pastor Phil points out that they have actually outgrown their space in an extremely short period of time. As he states, “those are great problems to have” the need for the additional building is growing.
Another long term vision, or “Big Dream” from Pastor Phil, is the church being able to organize and start a Drug and Rehabilitation Center in Kirkville. He sees an opportunity that Kirkville and the Kirkville Church has, of being able to get addicts away from the environment that is holding them back in order to provide on that is wholesome, faith based and focused on giving to others. Ingredients that he knows are essential to winning a battle with addiction.
Focused on their mission, “Kirkville Community Church: a stepping stone to faith, where the community becomes family” the community of Kirkville has seen firsthand the growth and blessing that God gives to those that step out in faith with a focus on giving to others. As the church grows, the needs of others continue to grow as well. Pastor Phil points out there are several ways anyone can help in the work God has begun in Kirkville. Prayer is the first and most effective way to further God’s work; we all can include Kirkville and the work of the church in the community. Giving financially to Kirkville Church is always welcome, as long as it is done with the right heart and how the Lord guides you. Third, keep up with what Kirkville Community Church is doing on their Facebook page. If you have a skill or building material that could be used to continue the work on their facility there are always ways to help. The small help from one person is something God will turn into a huge help for many. As Pastor Phil says, “There are no limits to a limitless God.” It is exciting to see another shining example of that in Kirkville, Iowa.