Abandoned Megachurch Provides Unique Window to the Past

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James Lasher

Editor’s note: This documentary contains mild language as well as explicit graffiti.

For all of the nastiness that is found on social media and the internet these days, every once in a while you find a true gem that captures your attention and imagination, filling you with gladness over what you just witnessed.

Recently, the YouTube channel Ruin Road posted a now-viral video featuring the abandoned megachurch complex of the Akron Baptist Temple.

But something about Akron Baptist has struck a cord with many viewers as it is well on it’s way to becoming the channels most-watched video to date, currently sitting at 750,000 views since Apr. 6.

A crew from the YouTube channel embarked on a mission of discovery into the halls that once held thousands of worshippers on Sunday mornings.

Boasting a massive radio and ministry media for it’s time, the church is littered with abandoned cassette tapes and VHS recordings of old sermons, as well as in-house produced gospel music tracks and a radio program.

Leaning into a deep-history lesson as they walk the abandoned rooms throughout the church grounds, you feel as though you are living the history of that church with those in attendance over the decades.

“Sitting in the southern side of Akron, Ohio, lies the decaying remains of the Akron Baptist Temple a vast expanse of building that was one of the first mega churches in the United States,” the documentary shares. “Akron Baptist Temple would get its modest beginnings in 1935 with just 80 members it was headed by Dallas F. Billington, a southern evangelist who had moved to Akron to work at Goodyear Tire.”

Throughout the church’s history it endured much, from expansive growth and new constructions to a devastating fire in the 1970s, suspected to be from arsonists.

As the short documentary closes with before and after video of what the Akron Baptist Temple looked like during it’s heyday, to the tune of “It Is Well With My Soul” sung by the Akron Baptist Chorale, one can’t help but think back on our own past histories of church attendance.

James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media

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