Throughout its history, College Park Church has been marked by God's continued faithfulness.
The church was born from ten families that met in the Holiday Inn on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Each week a different hotel room served as the nursery. In 1988 the growing congregation moved to a warehouse near 96th St. and Michigan Rd., where Sunday night services always closed by circling around the chairs, holding hands, and singing “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds” and “I Love You, Lord”.
When flying in formation, Canadian geese encourage one another to continue the journey with loud honks, and Pastor Kimber Kauffman would often use them as a sermon illustration. “Honk, honk, with me,” he would say to the growing church. “Let’s encourage one another to persevere, to keep following the Lord together.”
96th Street & Towne
In 1986, five acres of land at the corner of 96th St. and Towne Rd. were purchased for College Park by an anonymous donor. The first building was constructed in 1992. As the congregation continued to grow, God provided a total of 31 acres and the funding for worship sanctuary and children’s wing expansions.
To better utilize the undeveloped land at 96th St. and Towne Rd. and to provide an area focused on prayer, five men in the Active Adults group designed and created the prayer path. It began as a narrow path cut by a lawn tractor but was eventually mulched and widened, and an Active Adults group added color by planting more than 400 spring flowers. In time, boxes for prayer requests were installed at various locations, and picnic tables and benches were put in shady areas to provide places to read the Bible, pray and be alone with the Lord.
Preaching at College Park
God has faithfully nourished His church and sustained its people through the consistent expositional preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Over the decades, sermon series were preached from such books as I & II Samuel, Nehemiah, Hebrews, Colossians and Matthew.
Constructing a new building came with significant cost, and one way to save money was to forgo the traditional baptismal until a final auditorium could be built. A simple horse trough was a practical and portable alternative. Over the years of using the horse trough, 854 people publicly declared they would follow Jesus when they were immersed in its waters.
In 2008, Pastor Mark Vroegop became Lead Pastor and took the church through a series in Colossians called “The Core.” He exhorted the church that “Jesus is the center. He’s the image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation and sustainer of everything. He is the pre-eminent one.”
Investing in the Next Generation
To symbolize the importance of passing the faith to the next generation, College Park has carried the tradition of presenting batons at parent dedications for 27 years. As parents receive the baton, they promise to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Likewise, the church is reminded of its commitment to teach the next generation about God’s love and His plan for salvation.
Building Bridges of Grace
The 2008 and 2012 Christmas Offerings targeted the Brookside neighborhood of the near-east side of Indianapolis. Alongside strategic local ministry partners, College Park has a long-term and holistic commitment to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the community and build bridges of grace that can bear the weight of truth.
Fresh Encounter Services
In 2008, College Park began its tradition of monthly Fresh Encounter prayer services. Fresh Encounter services were based on the fundamental premise that the only enduring motive for prayer is that God is worthy to be sought. Hundreds have gathered to worship Jesus, pray for the needs of the hurting, and seek God’s face, not just His hand.
The Christmas Offering
As a tangible expression of our core value of extravagant grace, the Christmas offering was started in 1996. Each year, money from this offering goes to an intentional and strategic project that will “make a dent, not a dimple" in one of the most needy areas of the world. Since its first year, more than $5.5 million has been given to a variety of organizations proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ at home and abroad – demonstrating that “this is for that.”
Mission Expansion Project: "This is for That"
In the midst of the Great Recession, College Park once again found itself facing the challenges of growth and the opportunity to expand its mission. In seasons of over-crowding, attendees were encouraged that “gravel is godly” while they were also encouraged to "come early; sit close; and park far.” In response to the vision and need, over 1,100 families at College Park committed $15 million to fund the Mission Expansion Project, which included construction of a new worship facility and renovations of the older section of the building. The project was completed and commemorated on June 10, 2012.