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Our Story

One cold morning late in 2004, some friends gathered to pray in the chapel of a local church.  During a time of reading from the Bible, the eyes of one of them fell on Jeremiah 6:16, a somewhat obscure verse in the Old Testament of the Bible:

This is what the LORD says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.”

That verse inspired a common thought in the community: what more is needed in modern, chaotic, hectic, and narcissistic Johnson County than a place of rest for weary souls?  What if committed Christians built a community at the crossroads of ancient paths and founded on the good way?

Then someone in that prayer group heard that 120-year old Morse Church building, one that had been closed and dormant for 20 years, was being marketed by its owner as a storage shed, an office space, or a home site.  Suddenly, an idea formed—what if the Morse Church building could be preserved as a sacred space? What if a group of people restored it over a 9-month period and returned to the community it once served? What if the Morse Church congregation was resurrected as a quiet, simple, peaceful place for weary souls on September 11, 2005?

So it is the vision of the Morse Church: to be an “ancient/future” church, one that transcends not only the last 120 years of modernity but also the last 2000 years of church history.  In short, we are attempting to live into this dream: The Morse church is a 21st Century expression of the 1st Century church.

What was the church like in the 1st Century?  What did they do?  Three very important documents have helped inform our vision:  the biblical books of Acts and I Corinthians and the historical document called The First Apology of Justin Martyr.

Acts 2:4242 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common;45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home? and ate their food with glad and generous? hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

First Apology of Justin Martyr, AD 90 — And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

In these documents, the team discovered that the 1st Century church was committed to:

  • Gathering together for worship.
  • Reading the Old and the New Testament.
  • Instructing and exhorting.
  • Rising and Praying
  • Sharing bread, wine, and water
  • Receiving an offering
  • Taking care of those in need

Further, instead of the life of the church revolving around a single, dynamic personality and growing a single congregation bigger, the 1st Century church grew big by growing small.  In other words, the 1st Century church grew by raising up new leaders who started new services and new congregations.   Finally, most ancient texts seem to indicate that the 1st Century church met in homes in small groups, communities of people who helped each other grow in their faith, who held each other accountable to Christian principles, and who took care of each other’s needs.

So The Morse Church is restoring the small 120-year old building at 154th Street and Quivira so that it cannot grow; rather, the church  must grow by staying small—multiple people leading multiple services in multiple places and at multiple times.  All our weekend worship services will include Communion; all our people will gather regularly in small groups.  And we have made an amazing discovery—that a church with these visions, values, and practices can be quite effective at reaching unchurched people in our community with the message of hope in the Gospel and assimilate them into the church family

Want to get involved? Contact us!

(913) 424-3758

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Service Times & Directions

Sunday Morning Service Times

8:15 a.m. Traditional Carols & Holy Communion

9:45 a.m. Music in Contemporary Arrangements; Relevant Talks; Holy Communion

The 1st century welcomed all ages into worship services. We follow this practice at Morse Church. However, as a convenience, we offer safe, fun, instructive, and loving care for children up to kindergarten age.

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15431 Quivira Road
Overland Park, KS 66221