In the spring of 1987, I was the pastor of Central Baptist Church in an Indiana town of 3,000 with three Baptist churches—at least two more than needed. Years ago people broke with the pastor of First Baptist and started Central Church; shortly after that, the people now at Eastview Baptist left because they were angry with the pastor of Central—my predecessor. I am quite proud to have no church splits on my résumé and only one quick exit.
Central bought its current building from the Methodists, the wealthiest Christians in town, when the Methodists decided to move a half-mile to the suburbs. The sanctuary they left behind was prettier than that in most Baptist churches, but the education building must have been constructed by Alph and Ralph, the Monroe brothers. It had a mostly flat roof, which in Indiana shows remarkable shortsightedness.