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The Chillicothe Voice

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Robert Hentrich: The Man, The Ministry, The Mission

Aug 31, 2023 09:13AM ● By Sherry Killion Adams

The Man: Robert (Bob) Hentrich was born in 1954 in Norfolk Virginia while his father was away in the Navy. Upon his father’s return, the family moved to Mechanicsville, Iowa, and later to the Bettendorf area where Bob completed high school. He entered Lincoln Christian College in 1973 to pursue a career in Radio Broadcasting, but after two years, the college decided to drop its broadcasting class. It was then that Bob decided to switch his major to the ministry. Before graduating he wrote his final term paper, Creation vs Evolution which received a standing ovation. This was just one confirmation that he was called to preach.

While at college he met Angie Hamilton, a godly woman, that he would spend his life with. They married in 1975 while finishing college and Bob recalls earning $30 as a youth minister on the weekends. In 1978 he would become a full-time youth minister.

Bob and Angie had two children, Jonathan and Shannon, both of whom are in ministry. In 1982 he moved his family to Covington, Indiana to take a job as a full-time pastor. Later he took a staff position at a Bible College, but soon realized his place was in the pulpit ministering to God’s people.

In 1998, he saw that a small church in Chillicothe, Illinois was holding interviews for a lead pastor. After applying and talking with the elders, Bob knew this is where he wanted to be. He accepted the position at Chillicothe Christian Church. When Bob started at the church it had 42 members, now the church is thriving and growing exponentially and  has over 150 in its membership.

The Ministry: Bob began growing his ministry by getting out into the community. He wanted to get to know the people in and around the town and include them in what the church was doing. He began the event called “The Church Has Left the Building.” On that Sunday the church, (who are the people, not a building) would go out in the community and serve others. After compiling a list of needs, the congregation, including children, go to work doing all kinds of jobs like cleaning homes and yards, singing hymns at nursing homes, or painting and cleaning businesses. Sometimes it’s just spending time with people and praying. The name has now been changed to, “Serve Day” and takes place in October. It’s a truly wonderful experience to be able to help others.

Another community event is “Family Fun Day.” On this day they have a community service and afterward there is a meal, inflatables, and games, all at no charge. Everyone is welcome.

On the 4th of July, the church provides inflatables and popsicles at Three Sisters Park. Other community projects include Love In Action food pantry at the Assembly of God, Snackpac program at the Methodist Church, Crossword Cafe volunteers, sponsoring Christian films, and packing and distributing welcome bags to new residents for the Chamber.

After seeing all the community involvement of the church, the Chamber of Commerce asked Bob to sit on its board, which he readily accepted. This year the church was awarded the community award for its service.

The Mission: Throughout his years in ministry, Bob’s mindset was to serve others just as Jesus did. We are not to judge, but to love and help others whenever we can.

When asked what he thought his greatest accomplishment was, he replied, “Preaching the word of God and spreading the gospel wherever I go.” Bob has been on many mission trips along with the people in the church over the years. Guatemala—installing stoves and clean water systems, Mexico—doing all kinds of building projects, feeding the poor, and Haiti—building homes, and ministering to the people. Bob tells us the mission field can be right here at home, or in a faraway country.

At the end of October Bob will retire from Chillicothe Christian after 25 years of service and 48 years in ministry. On Saturday, October 28th at CCC from 1pm–4pm there will be a retirement party at the church to honor Bob and Angie. Sunday the 29th will be his last worship service in the auditorium at IVC. All are welcome.

When asked about his plans, he said, “I’ll be staying in Chillicothe and be spending more time with my family, and filling in as an interim minister on occasion. I will stay active in the community and keep up my many hobbies.” Bob works out daily, cycles competitively, cross-country skis, and is a St. Jude runner. He also collects classic rock music and high-fi equipment. He plays the trombone, bass guitar, and blues harp. There’s no doubt Bob will find something to occupy his time during his retirement years.

Filling the pulpit at CCC will be a wonderful new minister, Ryan Phelps. Ryan moved his family to Chillicothe in July and will be working at the church during a transitional three months. He will officially take over in November. We welcome Ryan with love and open arms.

When all is said and done we thank you, Bob. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”