INDIANAPOLIS (BP) — Out of a job and quickly running out of hope, Daniel Pfeiffer didn’t know where to turn. A neighbor had been after him for some time to join him at a new church, called The Pointe Community Church, which had started in nearby Fishers, Ind. He had attended once, enjoyed it, but couldn’t seem to make it a regular habit.
“I really found myself flailing and I reached out to Charlie Fehrman, the pastor [of The Pointe],” Pfieffer recounted. “He is such a giving person. He’s willing to spend time and energy. He truly lives like a Christian. He just gives, gives and gives. He helped me through that time.”
A few months later at a men’s Bible study at the church, the topic of heaven came up. Fehrman asked the men in attendance what chance they thought they had of getting into heaven percentage-wise. Pfieffer had to admit he thought the odds were about 50/50. That began a journey that eventually led him to commit his life to Jesus — a decision that has changed his life.
“The church has become my home,” Pfieffer said. “I love doing things within the church. I volunteer and give whatever it takes. I just do it because I want to help.”
While he admits he is far from perfect, Pfieffer said his newfound faith in Christ has given him more peace as he goes through life’s normal ups and downs. He reads his Bible regularly, talks to Fehrman often and tries to apply God’s Word to his life — all crucial as he continues to grow.
Stories like Pfieffer’s are like gold in this Indianapolis suburb. Just a half-hour from downtown Indianapolis, the people of Fishers are like those in many other big-city suburbs — wealthy, educated, busy and resistant to the Gospel. While it’s been consistently ranked as one of the most livable places in the United States, it’s also been a place where church plants often die.
Yet that’s changing. Southern Baptists now have three active church plants in Fishers — including The Pointe. And they’re growing. Two of these plants now have more than 100 most weeks. While the work in Fishers is far from done, in a community where churches grow slow — often painfully slow — it’s clear God is at work.
Fishers represents what the Send North America: Indianapolis coalition would like to see happen throughout metro Indianapolis. Consisting of local pastors and out-of-state Southern Baptist partners who want to help start churches in Indy, the coalition hopes to see 90 church planters — of varying ethnicities and backgrounds — join them in Indianapolis in the next five years to help reach the city with the Gospel.
Send North America is the North American Mission Board’s strategy for assisting and mobilizing churches and individuals in hands-on church planting. Through NAMB’s Send North America initiative, churches like The Pointe will benefit from partnering with established churches that can pray for them and work alongside them to reach their city for Christ.
Fehrman, a NAMB missionary, started The Pointe Community Church in Fishers in May 2009, looking specifically to impact the city’s “Boomburbs” with the Gospel. Among other characteristics, Boomburbs are typically busy, affluent young families. According to data provided to Fehrman by the North American Mission Board, the percentage of people who live within 10 miles of the church who fit that demographic are close to 10 times the national average.
In the six months since the church celebrated its two-year birthday last May, The Pointe has more than doubled in attendance — to nearly 90 per Sunday, fueled in part by a move to a more easy-to-find location.
“I think it has also been because of all the hard work we’ve done trying to find out who we were as a core, and identifying our strengths,” Fehrman said. “We’ve gelled as a core group and become friends in the ministry, not just people who go to church at the same address. I think that’s been a springboard God has used.”
Southern Baptist partners have been crucial in the new church’s growth as well. Several churches, including its sending congregation Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, have stepped up to help. Some have helped with resources; others have sent people. Some have sent both.
First Baptist Church in Henderson, Ky., for example, sent a team of students to help out at The Pointe last summer. The team participated in servant-evangelism projects throughout the area around the church, including hosting a “Summer Celebration” block party complete with inflatables and a cover band.
“That was a great introduction to our community — just to tell them, ‘Hey, we’re here,'” Fehrman said. The Pointe now plans to start its first church plant in September 2012 — not long after its third birthday.
Churches that want to partner with church plants like The Pointe through Send North America: Indianapolis can visit namb.net/indianapolis and click on the “mobilize me” button.
Tobin Perry is a writer for the North American Mission Board.