Founded in 1834, Traders Point Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, started out as a single-room building in a rural part of the area. It remained a small, country church until the 1970s, when it grew past 300 members. Now, the 180-year-old church is in its third physical location. Because it is situated right off busy Interstate 65, the church is able to reach more people than just those in the immediate surrounding community.
“We have people who drive here from a 50-mile radius, in every direction,” says Senior Pastor Aaron Brockett. “Reaching a wide group of people means greater ethnic and geographic diversity.”
In January 2016, the staff launched a second campus 15 miles away in Carmel, Indiana, and in January 2017, they’re planning to launch another site in downtown Indianapolis.
Though Traders Point draws large crowds, the church’s focus is not on attendance numbers but on its mission to clarify the gospel message, both in word and in action.
“We do that by bringing together the concepts of grace and truth because that intersection is a spot that a lot of people crave,” Brockett says.
Brockett says he believes the church’s growing numbers are due, in part, to the welcoming environment that guests expeirence the moment they step inside the door. It’s a “come as you are, dress as you are, be as you are” kind of vibe, which immediately puts newcomers at ease. Even the ministers dress down.
“We’re teaching truth and concepts with depth to it, but we’re doing it in jeans and a T-shirt so people feel comfortable,” Brockett says, adding that the church has put a lot of effort into making the guest experience pleasant, memorable and accommodating.
“It’s an intimidating thing to attend a new church,” Brockett says. “When people come for the first time, they’re looking for a reason not to return. And they do that from the second they enter the parking lot.”
Recognizing how difficult it can be for a single parent to navigate an expansive parking lot with multiple children in tow, the church reserves a whole block of parking spaces for single parents. Brockett’s team is also implementing a more streamlined method of children’s check-in, which allows parents to pre-register their kids online. This way, any parents who are running late won’t feel pressed for time when they arrive at church.
“We want to remove any necessary barriers that might keep people from Jesus,” says Brockett, who notes that the congregation regularly uses the axiom “humble and hungry,” recognizing that every one of us is a work in progress. “None of us has life all figured out, but we are hungry to learn more, to do more, and to be more.”
TRADERS POINT CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Lead Pastor: Aaron Brockett
Twitter: @AaronBrockett, @TradersPointCC
Affiliation: Independent Christian Churches
A 2016 OUTREACH 100 CHURCH
Growth in 2015: +992 (20%)