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About Us


Our Core Beliefs:

Who We Are: 

The Harlan Christian Church is a non-denominational Independent Christian Church which is self-governed under the Lordship of Christ. We are Christians only, but not the only Christians. 

What We Believe:


  • Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead.  (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

  • The Bible is the inerrant, inspired word of God, and is the practical application for every circumstance of life. (2 Timothy 3:16)

  • Every person has worth as a creation of God, but that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

  • Every person may be forgiven their sin and receive eternal life by believing and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior.  (John 3:16)

  • To accept Christ as Lord and Savior, one needs to repent of their sins, publicly confess their faith, and be baptized.  (Acts 2:38)

  • Jesus Christ will return to judge the living and the dead based upon whether we accepted his grace and not our works. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Ephesians 2:8-10)

come worship with us!

Sunday School: 9:30 AM

Sunday Worship: 10:30 AM

Family Bible Studies: Wednesday's @ 6:30 PM (All students eat from 6:00-6:30 PM)


david pic.jpg
David Johnson
Youth Pastor

Senior Pastor

Youth Pastor


David is a lifelong Harlan Countian and has served in numerous roles in the community. Graduating from Asbury College (now a university) in 1983, David served as a teacher, coach, counselor, and principal at Harlan High School before becoming the district superintendent. After a 30-year career in education, he retired and took a position as the director of a regional education cooperative before resigning to answer the call to pastor his home church, Harlan Christian Church in 2021. David completed his doctorate in educational leadership in 2018.

Prior to becoming pastor, David served as an elder, Bible teacher, and worship leader at HCC. He and his wife, Holly, also lead medical mission teams through Global Health Outreach (GHO) based in Bristol, Tennessee. Through GHO, the couple has participated on teams to Central and South America. David also serves as the Ministry Leader for Celebrate Recovery - United Harlan (CRUH), Harlan's local ministry for anyone with hurts, habits or hang-ups.

David and Holly enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and paddle boarding but most enjoy time with their children and families, including five grandchildren. David loves cheering on University of Kentucky football and his beloved Green Bay Packers. Go Pack!

Our youth pastor, Pastor Chris, has accepted a senior pastor position. We want to congratulate Chris and wish him and his family God's blessings. So, HCC is now looking for a new youth pastor to begin as soon as possible. Please review and share the job description (Youth Pastor at Harlan Christian Church) and contact our Pastor, David Johnson, at 606-573-1314 to learn more about the position. Feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested.

- HCC currently has an opening for a full-time secretary. Qualifications, duties and more can be found within the job description for this position (Secretary at Harlan Christian Church). Please feel free to share this opportunity with anyone who may be interested. Applications should be submitted to: David Johnson, Harlan Christian Church, 130 S. First Street, Harlan, KY 40831 or via email to You can contact our Pastor, David Johnson, at 606-573-1314 with questions or to learn more about the position.


The church was initially called into existence in 30 A.D., on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ. Through the centuries, much of the organization and doctrines of the New Testament church were replaced by the traditions of man.  Prior to becoming a state in 1792, what is now Kentucky was an extension of the colony of Virginia. As pioneers entered Kentucky in the 1750s through passages like Cumberland Gap, they brought their diverse religious beliefs with them. The first churches were established in Kentucky about the time of the American Revolution in 1770s and, starting in the 1780s, circuit riders traveled across the region taking the gospel to settlers living in the isolated frontier. By the late 1790s, revival broke out in Kentucky leading to the Second Great Awakening in America. From this revival sprang the Restoration Movement aimed at “the unification of all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament.”

Early in the nineteenth century, there was a general unrest among the churches in America. In all denominations there could be found those who believed that the followers of Christ should lay aside those traditions and go back to the church described in the Bible. In 1801, large revival camp meetings were held in Cane Ridge in Bourbon County, Kentucky. From these meetings came the Christian Church in 1804, led by Barton Stone, declaring that they wanted no creed but the Bible and no name but Christian. Stone later joined with Alexander Campbell in 1832 to form the Disciples of Christ. They aimed not to start another church, but to call people back to the church's original teachings. They were not reformers, but restorers, thus starting what is known as the Restoration Movement.  Some of the fundamental beliefs of the Restoration Movement are:


"Where the Bible speaks-we speak; where the Bible is silent-we are silent"

"No creed but Christ-No book but the Bible"

"We are not the only Christians-but we're Christians only"

"In essentials-let there be unity, In non-essentials-let there be liberty, In all things let there be love."

Because of its beautiful and rugged mountain surroundings, Harlan County was isolated and sparsely populated until the arrival of the L&N Railroad to the county in the early 1900s. By 1908, the railroad reached the city of Mt. Pleasant, now Harlan, and businesses, homes, and other structures sprang up across the town. One of the new buildings was the Mt. Pleasant Church of Christ, now Harlan Christian Church, located near the point where the Poor Fork and the Cumberland River join in Baxter. The church was founded by Reverend John Masters on July 19, 1908 with 25-30 members. Because of continued growth, the church soon moved to a new white frame building at its current location on the corner of First and Clover Streets in downtown Harlan. As membership grew, the current building was erected in 1921. With the boom of the coal industry, HCC grew to more than 400 members by 1933 and a new education addition was built; and several Christian churches were planted from HCC throughout Harlan County.

Over the years, the size of the church has ebbed and flowed but its faithfulness has always remained. Several HCC members have entered into full-time ministry including a former president and professor at Lexington Theological Seminary and the church has a history of love for God’s Word and support for foreign missions and other churches. Currently, HCC supports seminaries, local outreach ministries to the homeless and hungry and ministries for those in addiction recovery.

After nearly 2,000 years, HCC can trace its roots back to the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit empowered the first disciples to share the gospel with those who became the Church. Because of the faithfulness and sacrifice of those who came before us, HCC now exists to fulfill its mission to elevate Jesus, to engage the world, and to equip the body of Christ. Empowered by the same Holy Spirit, we’re inspired to face the challenges of today as we continue to take the gospel to the world.

Below you will find a video detailing the history of Harlan Christian Church, which we will continue to modify as we move forward!


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