History of Sherwood
God used the great Chicago fire of the late 1800's to pave the way for the beginning of Sherwood Bible Church. During the Great Fire, tent and awning maker, Caleb Baker wisely hid his canvas and sewing machines in the Chicago River to protect them as the fire raged through the city. Later, he was in a position to reap rich rewards as the city was rebuilt.
Mr. Baker was more than an astute businessman; he was a Christian. Not only did he help rebuild Chicago's economy after the Great Fire, he helped rebuild many of Chicago's churches. Some years later, Mr. Baker recognized the need for business expansion into other markets. He chose Kansas City for development.
While the awning and tent business grew, Mr. Baker became influential in the Plymouth Brethren Church in Kansas City. As the years passed, Mr. Baker's daughter met and married a Godly young medical doctor named Walter Wilson. Some years later the Lord impressed Dr. Wilson to start a new ministry.
Dr. Wilson decided that instead of starting a new church, the would offer an alternative to denominational churches. They met on Sunday afternoons to allow people to attend church services in the morning. They also decided they would focus on a detailed expositional approach to Bible study. They met in a centrally located downtown store front called Central Bible Hall.
On September 12, 1920, with 42 original members, Central Bible Hall was born. The group soon flourished under the dynamic preaching skills of Dr. Wilson. By the middle 1930's, the group's size forced them to consider formal organization into a church ministry and to acquire property for a church building.
Central Bible Hall became Central Bible Church and continued to thrive as one of Kansas City's largest churches. Dr. Wilson's abilities captured the heart of the growing city and touched so many people that he earned the title of Kansas City's "beloved physician." Furthermore, he chose to pioneer a Bible College to train missionaries and pastors. Eventually that college became Calvary Bible College. Central gave birth to many of the Bible churches in the area. Central Bible church was powerfully influential in reaching Kansas City and beyond for Jesus Christ.
By the late 1960's the light that had once shone so brightly began to fade. Dr. Wilson had gone to be with the Lord. Industry surrounded the church buildings and many of the nearly two thousand members moved to the suburbs. For a decade and a half the discouraging decline continued. By the early 1980's only 150 people met weekly in the large auditorium.
In 1982 the church called Leonard G. Hale to lead them. Pastor Hale quickly recognized the need for moving the church into a residential area. In 1983 the church purchased the old Sherwood Country Club. With about 100 people, the church made the move to the Northland and became Sherwood Bible Church.
Today, using new ideas and innovative approaches to ministry, together with the original focus of detailed expositional Bible study, Sherwood Bible Church is once again a growing influence in reaching people for Christ in this community and around the world.