Even with the arrival of a new year, a Midwest megachurch with a 125,000 square foot facility that foreclosed back in September is still on the market.
First Family Church of Overland Park, Kan., once the megachurch for Pastor Jerry Johnson, was foreclosed in September of 2011, yet still has not been sold to any prospective buyer.
“There’s been some activity on it, with interest both inside the community and outside the community,” said Craig Kelly, a listing agent for the real estate company Cassidy Turley, in an interview with the Kansas City Star.
“I think it will find a use that’s either similar to the prior use or has something to do with education or recreation.”
Neither Pastor Jerry Johnson nor Craig Kelly of Cassidy Turley could be reached for comment by press time.
First Family Church was headed by Pastor Jerry Johnson, an influential evangelical preacher who was ordained as a minister in the 1970s at age 17.
Initially an itinerant evangelist, in 1996 Johnson established First Family Church in the Performing Arts Center of a Kansas high school.
Johnson’s First Family congregation at one time topped 4,000 members, but due to various internal issues regarding money, employment nepotism, and alleged corruption, it dwindled to a few hundred. Eventually, lacking the funds to pay off a mortgage, First Family had to close its doors in September of last year.
Undaunted by the loss, Johnson soon founded a new church, New Day Church Kansas City, which meets at a high school auditorium in Olathe, Kan.
First Family is not the only once prominent megachurch finding itself being sold off. In Southern California, the Crystal Cathedral also recently found itself in financial disarray.
Eventually in November of 2011, the Cathedral, founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, was purchased by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County.
Another megachurch, Bishop Eddie Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, recently had to close its kindergarten through 12th grade Christian Academy over what it said was a mixture of decreased donations and enrollment.