Firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze at the Love, Faith and Praise Church at 70th and Stewart. Nobody was inside at the time.
The walls and the roof collapsed hours after the historic Englewood church went up in flames around 4:15 a.m.
Balls of fire were captured on cell phone video right after the blaze started. The pastor, Ronald Richardson, was called right away. He remained in disbelief well int daylight as he looked at what was left of his church.
"I cannot even believe I'm standing looking at this," he said.
Pastor Richardson has been pastor of the church for 10 years. He recently replaced the roof and had done lots of work to make it into a safe haven for kids.
Richardson and his daughter say they were in the process of adding more programs for neighborhood children.
"We planned a school and day care center. We had already started feeding them over the summer. It's just a lot of disbelief because there's nowhere to go now," said Patrice Bolden, Richardson's daughter.
Carolyn Jones, who lives in a third-floor apartment next door, said firefighters broke her windows to hose down the flames just inches from her kitchen.
"I am glad they were able to get it out. The fire was so high I thought it would spread to this building and actually burn this apartment," Jones said.
Firefighters have not identified the cause of the fire.