College Park Church started with 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 1987, 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.”
As the church grew, Pastor Kimber Kauffman would often use the concept of geese flying in formation 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.”
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.
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.
As a tangible expression of our core value of extravagant grace, we started the tradition of the Christmas Offering. 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, almost $10 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.” Over this time period, College Park also started churches in New Palestine and Columbus, Indiana.
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.”
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 [parking] is godly” and to "come early, sit close, and park far.” In response to the vision and need, over 1,100 families at College Park committed 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.
As we look ahead to the future, the Elders and leaders of College Park are burdened by the great spiritual need in the metropolitan region of Indianapolis, where over 60% of the 1.5 million people have no affiliation to a church. College Park started its first multi-site campus in Fishers, Indiana in August 2015. Our second and third churches, College Park Castleton and College Park Greenwood, followed in 2017 and 2018. We are prayerfully pursuing a vision to raise a family of healthy churches in the Indy-metro region.