A brief overview of thirty years of ministry that are filled with love and victories.
A glimpse of the hearts of two of God's most precious souls. There is just no way one could express in words the debt of love and appreciation that we all feel for Mack & Jo Evans.
From the first day the Evans' began walking the streets of Joplin seeking for lost souls until today, God has used them to orchestrate a symphony of love that has touched lives in the Four-States and around the world.
From mass salvation services numbering over 8,000 to the weekly salvations from Central's altars, unknown numbers of lives have named the name of Jesus and accepted Him as their Lord because of Mack & Jo Evans.
Mack and Jo, your lives, dedicated to feeding God's sheep, have truly been a fulfillment of His desires for you and a blessing to all those lives you have touched!
Dr. and Mrs. Mack Evans announce "A New Beginning". The Sheep Shed held it's first worship service on Jan. 8, 2012.
An author, evangelist, international motivational speaker, church founder, & 30 year pastor of Central Christian Center in Joplin, Mo., Dr. Evans is deeply invested in the emotional & spiritual well-being of this community.
In the spring of 1972, a handful of people from the Duenweg Baptist Church and a couple from Frisco Church in Webb City sat in the living room of Kenny and Diana Parker's home in Joplin, Missouri, enjoying each other and their new experience in the Lord. This small band of Christians had just been introduced to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and were completely overwhelmed with the way God was working in their lives. As they were praying and sharing, a knock was heard at the front door; and when they opened the door there stood a young man in a cowboy hat who said, "Hi, I'm Mack Evans and this is my wife, Jo. Can we come in?"
One of the couples in the group, Sharon and John Hadley, were distant relatives of Mack, and they had told the group a little about Mack and Jo and the call they were feeling from God to relocate in the Joplin area. The Evans' were in town just to look the area over and to seek confirmation from God that He was calling them here.
As Mack and Jo visited with the group gathered there that evening, they could see the zeal in these folks and could tell they needed someone to bring them along in their new walk with the Lord.
After a couple of days in the Joplin area, Mack and Jo returned to their home in Louisiana. A few weeks then passed when Mack received a telephone call from the headquarters of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, telling him about a small congregation on West Twenty Sixth Street in Joplin who needed a pastor. The church was small, but it was a start. The church needing a pastor, coupled with that prayer group which was full of zeal and lacking in understanding, confirmed to the Evans' that Joplin was where they were supposed to be. So, in April, 1972, Mack and Jo, along with their children, Parish and Melody, left Jonesboro, Louisiana, and set out to make Joplin their home.
Joplin was an area that was not altogether foreign to Mack, because when he was twelve years old his family had lived in Joplin for a brief time, and Mack had attended school here. The Evans' had also made several trips to Joplin over the previous months, testing the waters and seeing if this was what God was really telling them to do. Armed with God's call on his life and a loving wife by his side, Mack accepted the challenge that lay before him.
Those first years were tough, to say the least, for the Evans' as they "lived out of the pan," as the saying used to be, which simply meant that each Sunday the offering was taken, and after all the bills were paid the pastor got what was left over. Most of the time that wasn't much.
Warned by many that Joplin was a worn out field and that nobody could build a church here, Mack & Jo became even more determined that this was where God wanted them.
They began by going out door to door inviting folks to church. Saturdays were spent getting people to commit to come to church on Sunday.
Many times the family vehicle became the transportation for many of the would-be church goers.
The small church was home to thirty-five folks, some of whom are still members of Central Christian Center. Soon the young couple got their hands on an old airport sedan that had four doors on each side and worked well to transport people to church.
When the sedan became too small, it was traded for a bus. The congregation of thirty five began to grow and the little building on Twenty-Sixth Street began to bulge at the seams. A staff member was added, and then a couple of trailer houses were bought for use as classrooms. The crowds were growing faster than the church could come up with a facility large enough to house them.
Knowing that a new building would take too long for them to construct, Mack went searching for a building large enough to hold the 300-plus folks who were by this time attending Central and would give the congregation more room to grow.
Located in the center of Joplin was the beautiful old Fox theater, a glorious facility that once was the showplace of the Midwest. But it had fallen into disrepair and needed someone to restore her to the grandeur she once knew.
The owners wanted far too much money for the young pastor and his followers to even think about paying; yet, Mack believed that was where God wanted them to be.
When the realtors were offered only a fraction of the price, they smiled and said there was no way the owners would even consider such an offer. At Mack's insistence, the offer was made and then the congregation began to pray. To the surprise of the realtors, the offer was accepted by the owners!
The Central congregation moved into the building in 1974 and began to grow. A bus ministry was birthed and the church added a couple of staff members and began to evangelize the Four-States again, going door to door and inviting folks to church.
Evenings were spent working on the building to get it suitable for services; and the enthusiasm and love for souls exhibited by the pastor motivated the people to great heights of service that led to the church growing weekly.
A Christian school was started, and as the church bought surrounding buildings near the old theater, storefronts were turned into classrooms and children's churches were begun.
In 1976, '77, '78, '79 & '80 Central was recognized by Moody Monthly Magazine as the fastest growing church in Missouri. By then the church was running about twenty buses and bringing in over 1000 each Sunday from Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, as well as Missouri. It was in 1976 that Dr. Evans was designated as the Joplin Jaycees' "Man of the Year."
In the mid '70's, Brother Mack, as he was affectionately known by those who had partnered with him in the spreading of the gospel, took one of his staff members and went to Beckley, West Virginia, where they worked with a church that in nine months went from a weekly attendance of 200 to over 1000, with 2400 present on Easter Sunday, all the while still overseeing the Joplin congregation. When Pastor Evans felt the church was stabilized, he left Bill Cox in Beckley and returned to Joplin.
Over the years the church was not the only growth the Evans' experienced, as Jock and Jeremy were also added
to their family, and Brother Mack completed his doctorate in behavioral psychology.
His church-building and people-motivating
accomplishments began to be known across the country, as he started to receive invitations to speak and appear on television programs from coast to coast. He authored four books, and many of his articles appeared in Christian magazines across America. Mack & Jo sang, to the delight of thousands, which led to their producing several music albums.
In the early 1980' s Dr. Evans was asked to be featured speaker for the Amway Corporation, which led to his speaking to literally tens of thousands of people from Portland, Oregon, to Miami, Florida, from Dallas, Texas, to New York City, and many cities in between. His dynamic delivery and passion for lost souls even led to his speaking in many other countries on several occasions. Today his audio and video tapes are sent around the world to folks whose lives he has touched.
After several years on the radio, in 1985 Central Christian Center launched a television program titled "To Strengthen Our Wings," which is seen twice each week throughout the Four-States on CBS and on several cable channels. Since its beginning, it has been rated the number one religious program in the area. The program continues to bless the area with Dr. Evans' keen insights and practical messages which help people live fulfilled lives that prepare them for eternity.
Over the years the church, under Dr. Evans' capable leadership, has completely remodeled many buildings in the downtown area, both internally and externally, bringing the facilities into a block-long church building that complements the grandeur of the original theater building.
In 1983 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in Washington, D.C., and the church has received many awards and accolades from city, county, and state organizations, recognizing its efforts in restoring the downtown facility.
In 1998 the church added a 20,000 square foot addition to the north end of the original building, which houses church offices, nurseries and a replica of the original tabernacle outlined in the Old Testament. The tabernacle furniture was hand-made by men in the church, and many of its pieces were overlaid in gold, as in the Old Testament account, to add to the beauty and magnificence of this testimony of our heritage. The tabernacle features a burning bush, a fountain, the brazen altar, a laver, the four curtains of scarlet, white, blue and purple, (representing the blood of Christ, the majesty of God, the purity of Christ, and the splendor of heaven,) the candlestick with seven candles, the table of
showbread, the altar of incense and the Holy of Holies, complete with thunder, lightning and theatrical smoke. In a brief, fifteen minute walk through the tabernacle, visitors hear narration by Dr. Evans telling the Biblical story from Moses to Jesus.
The tabernacle has become the focus for literally thousands who have studied the Holy Scriptures and then who have visited Central Christian Center to experience the journey through the tabernacle first-hand.
With a heart for the people of Joplin & the four-state area, this dynamic speaker & teacher has been energized to come out of a health related retirement & open the doors to The Sheep Shed, an exciting new ministry for those looking for hope, healing, & direction in this rapidly, changing world.
If you are looking for a church with a casual atmosphere, come join Mack & Jo at The Sheep Shed..."where it feels like home".