Our Story

How it all started...

From a small meeting of people gathering in an abandoned blacksmith shop on South Street, the Winchester Church of Christ in Christian Union was first organized.
In the fall of 1936, Rev. Russell Bowman held a revival meeting in his blacksmith shop and it served as a place of worship for the following year (1936-1937). In 1937 the congregation purchased a lot and work began on the building of a new church facility. After much prayer, planning, and sacrifice opening services were held that fall in the new building.
In 1945 a house on the adjoining lot was purchased for use by the pastor and his family. the next major step was the addition to the church of a full basement and the enlargement of the sanctuary both required by the steady growth of the congregation.
In July 1956 the congregation decided to start raising funds to add a new stone front to the old frame structure, a wing that further enlarged the sanctuary, Sunday school rooms, and an office. Dedication services were held on Palm Sunday for the new addition.
In the fall of 1974 and spring of 1975 the entire church was remodeled. Electric heat was installed, carpeting and paneling were added, and the ceilings lowered giving the sanctuary a completely modern look. Aluminum siding was put on and the basement completely refurbished.
During these years the church was privileged to have the following men serve as pastors: George Belcher (1939-1943), S.G. Williams (1944-1946), Melvin Maxwell (1947-1952), Paul Brown (1953-1954), Leonard Fitts (1955-1957), Lloyd Miller (1958-1961), Jack Norman (1962-1966), Bob Barth (1967-1972), Dan Tipton (1973-1980), and Bob Trimble (1980-1982).
Dan Harrison (1982-2019), As the church has grown it has been necessary to add additional staff members. Marilyn Roades came on board after the completion of the new building in 1988 as the first paid secretary of the church. About five years later she became the director of lay ministry. Juanita MacQuarrie joined the staff as church secretary in August of 1993 and Bill Benner assumed responsibilities as pastor of Evangelism and Discipleship in September of 1996. Each of these staff additions allowed the church to minister in more ways to more people.
The staff additions would never have been necessary if the congregation hadn’t been willing to take a huge step of faith and begin fundraising in 1987 for the construction of an additional 8,910-sq. ft. of building. It was necessary to purchase several additional properties for the construction of the 66′ and 135′ building housing a new sanctuary, Sunday school classrooms, restrooms, and office space. The new building was connected to the existing sanctuary and the entire structure was bricked to aesthetically blend the two buildings into one.
The next major step of faith was taken in March of 1997 when the congregation purchased property directly across the street from the church. This site had previously been the home of the public school in Winchester for many, many years before the building was closed in the fall of 1989.
The old school building has now been demolished and replaced by a large parking lot. The remaining gymnasium and four and a half acres provided the church vastly expanded opportunities for anticipated growth and ministry.
In 2005 the church sought a new opportunity for growth in children’s ministry. The initiative was moved forward by the hiring of a children’s pastor and building a new Children’s Ministry Center on the vacant school land.
A small army of volunteers makes possible a vast array of ministries to infants, children, teenagers, and adults of all ages. It is our goal to help everyone involved in our church experience the personal relationship with Christ, significant relationships with each other and a custom tailored ministry responsibility that fits their spiritual gifts, passion, and personality.
God has blessed us tremendously and we give Him all the praise and the thanks for everything that has been accomplished. He alone is able to transform hearts and lives so He alone is worthy to receive the glory and honor that is due His name.
In 2019 Chris Johnson became the lead pastor after a six-year tenure as associate pastor.  W3CU has always had innovation in it’s DNA and this spirit of innovation is moving the congregation to reach out to the community in new ways.  W3CU adopted seven core values that January which have guided the congregation as they engage and reach new people.  In 2020, the church launched their livestream, consistently reaching new people every week. In the September 2020 W3CU held their first 21 Days of Prayer event.  This focus on prayer has consistently happened every January and August.  Pastor Chris often remarks that the congregation really started seeing great things happen after they initiated this focus on prayer.
Presently, W3CU is focused on realizing the vision of helping people to know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a difference.
                        Rev. Russell Bowman  
Church in 1984
Sanctuary in 1984
66' X 135' Addition in 2018
CMC Ground Breaking Ceremony

Expanding the vision...

Our vision is the help people know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a
difference. You might wonder, how did we come up with this, what does it mean, and
how are we moving people into this vision.
These are four things that appear again and again in Scripture. The earliest appearance
is in the Old Testament book of Exodus, where God says:

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:6-7)

The Jewish people would read this passage at every Passover and drink four ceremonial cups of wine as they read this passage.


The cup of sanctification—their being brought out of bondage and establish a
relationship with God.


The cup of deliverance—their being free from living in slavery.


The cup of redemption—that they could be a sign to the world and point people toward


The cup of praise—that their lives would have meaning and introduce others to God.
Jesus restated these purposes for God’s people in the Gospel of Mark saying: 

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe...
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:15-20)

Jesus tells them to:
  • Preach—that people will know God.
  • Pastor—that people will begin to follow God.
  • Disciple—that people will begin to serve God.
  • Send—that people will begin to lead others toward God.

At W3CU we translate these to our vision our helping people to:

Know God

God is knowable. He wants a relationship with people. The Scriptures reveal the God has a personality and is knowable. In Genesis Adam and Eve spent time with God and so did many other people in the Scriptures. The most important thing we can tell you is that God wants a relationship with you. Every worship celebration at our church is designed for you to experience God’s presence. Every service is preceded and empowered by prayers asking God to reveal Himself.

Find Freedom

Once we Know God, His desire is that we break free of our old patterns of living. We believe finding freedom is often a process although the process often precedes and experience. God’s plan is to set people free from destructive patterns of living by the power of God the Holy Spirit working in their lives. In the book of Exodus God gets the Israelite people out of slavery and then he begins the process of getting the slave out of the Israelites. It’s the same for us. We believe in FREEDOM GROUPS here and encourage everyone to join a Freedom small Group and then attend the Freedom Conference.

Discover Purpose

Purpose—Once we’ve settled our yesterdays by Finding Freedom, we are ready to look completely to the future. The truth is, God created you with a purpose. A sad reality is that many who would call themselves Christians never discover what that purpose is. Once we discover the ways God has designed us to serve we can really get to the most exciting and lifegiving parts of being a Believer. We  prepare people for service through a process we call Next Steps which is a series of four one-hour
meetings. During these meetings you will learn  about W3CU and have the opportunity to take membership, discover your some things about yourself (personality, spiritual gifts, heart for serving others), and have an opportunity to learn about the Dream Team Opportunities at W3CU.

Make a Difference

Mother Teresa said, “A life not lived for others, is not a life.” We believe the highest level of living is adding value to other people. There are many teams on which people can serve here at W3CU we call these servants the Dream Team. There are Worship Arts Team, Hospitality Teams, Student Ministries Teams, Children’s Ministry Teams, and Small Group Host teams. One thing is certain you will fit
somewhere and you were Made to Make a Difference.


We believe the best way to love God is by loving other’s well. W3CU is constantly exploring new ways to invest in and add value to our community. This happens in a few ways:

  • Monthly Food and Clothing Pantry
  • Annual Teacher Appreciation
  • Annual Community Serve Day
  • Events that invite the community to come together

The Church is not a place or a building—it’s people. Even more than that, The Church is people making a difference in their community and around the world.

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together a 10:00 AM.  You can also join our services live on Facebook or Youtube.