After more than three decades of planning and saving, Victory Assembly of God in Bonner Springs has begun construction on a new church overlooking K-7 Highway in Shawnee.
Nicknamed “the hill,” the church-owned property at 4945 Old K 7 Road has been part of the church leadership’s dream to build anew. The church had bought the 15 acres in 1988, then with Pastor Norman Springs at the helm. His son, Pastor Tracy Brooks, has since taken over leadership of the church and is overseeing the project.
“He was always a guy that was looking to the future,” Brooks said of his father. “We want highway accessibility and visibility, so when this property came on the market in 1988, we attacked it right away.”
The hill has been the site of the church’s outreach ministry. Already, the foundation of Shawnee West Christian Center is nearing completion. Brooks said they hope to finish construction by November.
The Victory Assembly of God congregation has not decided if it will continue services in Bonner Springs after the new church is built. It has about 130 attendees.
Leading construction of the new church is Roe Messner, a building contractor who has built more than 1,700 churches all over the country, including a few megachurches. Victory Assembly of God first opened in the 1940s in downtown Bonner Springs. Brooks said Messner’s grandmother and aunt were the church’s founding members.
After the church closed for a few weeks in 1970 due to a lack of finances, it reopened with Norman Brooks at the helm. The church building burned down in 1976, and then the congregation rebuilt it in 1978.
Tracy Brooks said he is particularly passionate about the project after what his family has gone through in the past 30 years. He had decided to go into banking after completing seminary, but after he broke his back in an accident in 2007, and doctors discovered he had stage four lymphoma, Brooks said he found his calling to become a pastor.
“I was going a totally different direction than ministry,” he said, adding that he is now cancer free. “God opened the door.”
Tracy Brooks and his wife, Vickie, took over leadership of the church in 2010, after his father’s health began declining. Although his father died last May, Brooks said he believes that if he were alive today, he would be thrilled to be part of the church’s new future in Shawnee.