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 grew, God provided a total of 31 acres and the funding for worship sanctuary and children’s wing expansions.
To save money on the significant cost of expansion, the church decided to forgo building a traditional baptismal until a final auditorium could be built. A simple horse trough was a practical and portable alternative, and more than 800 were baptized in the trough during those years.
As a tangible expression of our Core Value of extravagant grace, we started the tradition of the Christmas Offering in 2008. The goal of the offering is to partner with an intentional, strategic project that will “make a dent, not a dimple." Since its first year, more than $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.”
In 2008, Pastor Mark Vroegop became Lead Pastor. In a series on Colossians called "The Core," Mark exhorted the church: “Jesus is the center. Jesus is 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 faced, once again, the challenge and opportunity of expanding mission. In seasons of overcrowding, 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 committed to fund the Mission Expansion Project, which included the 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 God continued to grow the depth and breadth of ministry at College Park, our elders and leaders were increasingly burdened by the great spiritual need in the metropolitan region of Indianapolis, where over 60 percent of the 1.5 million people have no affiliation to a church.
In response to that need, College Park launched the Next Door Mission strategy in 2015. This initiative includes church-planting, church adoption & revitalization, and assisting other churches.
In August 2015, we planted our first church in Fishers, Indiana, now called Pennington Park Church. Since then, the College Park Family of Churches has grown to include Castleton Community Church, College Park Greenwood, and One Fellowship Church.
We are prayerfully pursuing a vision to raise a family of healthy, gospel-preaching churches in the Indy-metro region.
God has continued to multiply the ministry of College Park as we seek after his will. The annual THINK Conference—which seeks to teach rich theology in clear, understandable ways—is giving a voice to relevant issues such as apologetics and racial diversity. The Christmas concert, another one of our favorite traditions, has also flourished. In 2018, more than 7,000 individuals came to celebrate the one story that ties all our stories together.
As the College Park Family of Churches has grown, so has the College Park Residency Program and its impact in our city and across the world.
Amidst the growth, the focus remains on Christ. If igniting a passion to follow Jesus is our goal, then keeping "the main one, the main thing" is our tactic. Whether we're hosting a conference, discipling a child, or preaching the Word, it's about him. We want to be a body of believers that lives in such a way that when people look at College Park, they think, "Surely, God is among them.”