History of Christ's Church
We are an unaffiliated Baptist church that began in 1963 under the name West Side Baptist Church. They began meeting in a store front at 514 4th Street West under the direction of Ron Storz, who served as the Pastor until 1966. In July, 1964, the fledgling congregation purchased a house at 2331 Lewis Avenue previously used by a Lutheran Congregation. On July 4, 1971, the growing Baptist congregation held a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a new church building on that same property. With an investment of over 4,000 volunteer hours, the new church building on the corner of Lewis Ave. and 24th St. W was dedicated for regular use, by Pastor Ed Anderson on Christmas Day, 1971.
In December of 1977, 20 acres of farm property at Monad Rd. and 32nd St. W were purchased and construction of the present church facilities began. At the time of the construction’s completion, in September of 1979, the church was located on a gravel road in the middle of vast open farm ground. Over the years, the church congregation has voted to sell portions of unneeded acreage to residential developers. The sale of the land, combined with the growth of Billings, resulted in the building being ideally situated at a busy intersection, surrounded apartments and subdivisions.
This construction project was carried out under the direction of Pastor Lynn Howe, who was called to be the Senior Pastor in December of 1973. Pastor Lynn’s 42 years of faithful ministry to the congregation makes him the longest serving Pastor in the church’s history. In the fall of 2015, Lynn and Peggy Howe moved to Laramie, Wyoming to assume new ministry responsibilities.
Jonathan Mauger, the church’s current Senior Pastor, began his ministry with the congregation as an Associate Pastor in April of 2011. Lynn and Jonathan labored together as co-Pastors for a few years, until Lynn completed his pastoral ministry with the congregation.
Jonathan’s start in pastoral ministry at our church differs from his predecessors in that the Maugers had previously joined the membership of the church in 2010, with no intention of pastoral ministry. Jonathan was asked by the church to join the Pastoral staff with the intention of a multi-year pastoral transition. It was in the summer of 2013, during these transition years, that the church completely renovated and reconfigured the church auditorium into its present setup.
The present auditorium, which was designed by a lifelong member, has several unique features. The speaker’s lectern is a one of a kind piece that was commissioned by a life-long friend of the ministry and given to the church in honor of Pastor Lynn Howe’s 4-decade ministry. The front walls of the auditorium are decorated with two pieces of religious artwork; a Cross and a Trinity Symbol. These were crafted by two artisan woodworking members of the church and both made from the oak pews that sat in the former auditorium. Additional wood-workings by members hang in other parts of the building. The current members of the church are frequently and wonderfully remembering the past members of the church when they see these visual reminders.
The church has been blessed by many wonderful Associate Pastors. Pastors Mel Gemmill and Bob Marlow are two Associate Pastors who continue to bless the church with their presence and involvement. Mel provides sound counsel and discipleship to the leadership and Bob helps to lead the music with the worship team.
In October of 2017, the church congregation voted to operate under the new name of Christ’s Church of Billings. While we are committed to remaining an independent Baptist congregation in keeping with the church’s history and historic Baptist beliefs, the general consensus was that it was the right time to establish a renewed and clear sense of identity and purpose, as we desire to courageously walk into the future with Christ.