by Ann Wallace, reprinted by permission of

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Many people consider Jesus the ultimate example of pay-it-forward — a gift that keeps giving.

And the pay-it-forward concept takes on real meaning for members of the new Barkers Mill Church of Christ.

“The Madison Street Church of Christ planted Hilldale Church of Christ 50 years ago, and now Hilldale is planting the new church at Barkers Mill,” said longtime member Nick Muiznieks.

Barkers Mill Church of Christ has opened on Tiny Town Road near the entrance of Barkers Mill Elementary School. It has been a journey about people of faith building a foundation for future generations.

“This has been a 10-year plan, desire and dream to plant a Church of Christ in North Clarksville,” said Steve Kirby, senior minister at Hilldale Church of Christ.

Kirby said about 50 families from Hilldale Church of Christ moved to officially become the charter congregation for the North Clarksville church.

Mark Muiznieks and wife Claire with their three children are members of the new flagship fellowship.

A special Gospel Meeting is scheduled this weekend. James Sampson from Marshfield, Wis., is the featured speaker. He will discuss “How to Understand God’s Providence” at 7 p.m. today and present a three-part series “How to be Happier” Sunday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“His talks are based on 15 biblical principles,” Caleb Sampson said. “Good stuff for anybody.”

“For us, there was a need to have a congregation in this part of town. We’re grateful we were given the opportunity to be involved. It has helped develop us as people and to be part of God’s church,” Muiznieks said.

Getting started

Caleb Sampson was tapped to helm the new church. He and wife Kristin with five children moved from Iowa to Clarksville in September. The new congregation started meeting at Barkers Mill Elementary School in October while construction started.
“Mark and Claire opened their home for Wednesday night services during those months,” Sampson said.

Hilldale Church of Christ gave the new congregation 9 1/2 acres of land and covered site development costs. The new congregation has shouldered a mortgage for structure construction. The 5,000 square-foot facility includes a sanctuary with seating capacity of 140 with a nursery, an office, a kitchen and six classrooms.

Sampson said donations from Thomas Lumber Co., Jimmy Miller and Jeff Burkhart resulted in considerable savings. Also, Hilldale Church of Christ committed to covering the minister’s salary for three to five years.

“These are just measures to help them as they get on their feet,” Kirby said. “After all, they’re an extension of our family.”

‘Grow as a family’
Sampson stressed his vision for Barkers Mill Church of Christ is “grow as a family.”

“We have a great group of folks to work with. A big part of our thrust will be an outreach to the military. We want to help families here while loved ones are deployed and when they’re home,” Sampson said.

He also said congregation members would be active in the local area “with a lot of door-knocking.”

Reaching out with the good news is important to Mark Muiznieks.

“As a congregation, we try to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. We want to be as close to the first century church as possible and are open to study with anybody,” Sampson said.

Editor’s Note: You can read the original article at TheLeafChronicle.