The worshipers at Discovery Church Colorado stand out from typical churchgoers, according to the staff.
“We have a lot of people who’ve been hurt,” says Christy King, children’s director. “They don’t feel like the average church person. They’ve gone through a divorce. They’re on medical marijuana. We have a lot of ex-pastors with a past—something [scandalous] happened at their old church. We have a lot of retired pastors.”
They find Discovery to be a “breath of fresh air” because no one judges them or disqualifies them from following Christ, she says.
Many come because of Lead Pastor Greg Lindsey’s testimony.
“I’ve crashed and burned,” he says. “My story is, I was a pastor and I had an affair. I’ve been very open about my story. When people hear me being willing to say I’ve failed, I blew it, they really feel that safety. They feel like they can belong.”
However, Lindsey’s testimony alone doesn’t account for the spike in Discovery’s growth in recent years. Executive Pastor Andrew Reichart also cites Lindsey’s skill as a communicator.
“His communication, teaching style and ability are part of that,” Reichart says. “It’s really been a place of acceptance no matter where people are in the journey. Greg exudes that. He communicates that every year.”
Colorado Springs, which Discovery calls home, includes an abundance of churches and Christian organizations. But the unchurched crowd remains “really skeptical,” Lindsey says.
That requires the church staff to provide reassurance and acceptance to newcomers. Reaching out to nonbelievers, the large numbers of military personnel who live in the area and residents from all income brackets has led to explosive growth at Discovery.
But the pastoral staff says keeping up with the growth poses challenges. They moved into a variety of locations to accommodate newcomers until last year when they found a 65,000-square-foot building that formerly housed a grocery store.
“We were able to buy it,” Reichart says, “but we’re still way understaffed. When summer is over, we’ll probably be at 2,000 people, but we’ve got a staff of 12 and only nine are full time. We’re really stretched thin.”
As the church has grown, financial resources wear thin as well. But Reichart points out that God helped Discovery find a lender to help with the purchase of its new property.
Having a permanent worship location allows the church to expand its outreach to members and nonmembers alike. The whole church works to make Discovery a welcome place, Lindsey says.
“You feel it from the moment you come in,” he declares. “There’s love and acceptance. People just feel it.”
DISCOVERY CHURCH COLORADO
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Senior Pastor: Greg Lindsey
A 2015 OUTREACH 100 CHURCH
Growth in 2014: +474 (46%)