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12:15 P.M. EST Feb. 23, 2010 | KANSAS CITY, Mo. (UMNS)
The Rev. Curtis Huffman is pastor of Northland United Methodist Church, a
new congregation that meets in the Parkville Athletic Complex.
photos by Fred Koenig.
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The Rev. Curtis Huffman, a former Air Force chaplain, is a dreamer.
The title on his Northland United Methodist Church business card is
It is difficult enough to go into an area and start a
self-sustaining worship community.
Huffman, however, has a vision of Northland United Methodist Church
becoming a large-membership congregation that will start other churches
that also start new congregations.
“I’m not here to start a church. I’m here to start a movement,” he
The adventure begins
Part of Huffman’s faith in the future of Northland comes out of
necessity. He has seen the numbers. United Methodist worship attendance
and membership fall a little each year across the United States, and
the Missouri Annual (regional) Conference is no different. The bright
spots in the numbers are new churches, which statistically show the
greatest potential to grow and bring new people to Christ.
North Kansas City, the area he picked for Northland, is a logical
place for a new church start. Upscale developments are under
construction, and there has not been a new United Methodist church in
the area for many years.
The congregation started last September with 23 people in Huffman’s
living room. Earlier this month, 112 people attended a Feb. 7 service
in the Parkville Athletic Complex, the church’s current home.
As a former coach, Huffman feels right at home in a gym. The
main room is larger than two gymnasiums, and there is a balcony. The
facility can hold about 1,800 people.
The closest United Methodist church is Platte Woods. Huffman has an
office there, but never uses it. Instead, he spends his days working
out of his car. The new church is a project of the Missouri Conference,
and Huffman is on his own.
“This is the adventure of my life,” he says.
Huffman is not targeting people of any certain age. He is trying to
reach all “pre-Christians.”
“We’re normal people, and we want our church to be a place where you
can talk intelligently about your problems, and know that your best
days are still ahead,” Huffman says.
He is excited about having Kenny Gamble, a well-known Christian
musician in the Kansas City area, as his worship leader. He also feels
blessed to have Lyndy Elmore, a public relations professional,
marketing the church.
The new church, which will officially launch March 7, also recently
received an anonymous donation of $100,000.
“This is an amazing blessing that will allow us to move forward and
grow as a new church,” Huffman says.
Dream on, chief dreamer.
*Koenig is editor of Missouri Conference publications.
News media contact: David Briggs, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470
Tomorrow: Urban church starts new congregation in coffee shop.