First Christian Church of Valparaiso has been congregationally led since its inception. During the past 175 years, the congregation has employed three styles of ministerial guidance.
At its foundation in the early 1800s, church elders provided the spiritual guidance to the congregation. Elias Axe and Lewis Comer were called by God to spread the word of salvation in this undeveloped area of Indiana. Through prayers and inspiration, these men provided the church with the energy and support needed.
As more communities spread across Indiana and additional congregations of Christians joined with the movement, circuit-riding evangelists were seen in the community. These men brought their experience, wider readings, and regular contact with the wider Christian community.
Over time, more and more of them received seminary training. With time and increased needs in the congregation, resident ministers were hired to live in the community and provide daily support to the church leaders and directly to the members of the congregation.