One Life to Invest: One Life Church

Bret Nicholson: "It's the old thing: If you want to add, develop followers. To multiply, develop leaders. We try to give ownership with leadership.”

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One Life Church

A 2013 OUTREACH 100 CHURCH
#12 FASTEST-GROWING

John Long attended the launch of One Life Church in Henderson, Ky., in October 2010. He’s been an active member since, but until July 19, 2012, he was a daily-use narcotics addict. Through connecting with One Life leaders he determined a change was needed and quit using.

“I had so many people I could call on,” Long says. “I would pick up the phone or text, and One Life people would be there.”

Long recently performed the baptism of his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, who became a believer as a result of their relationship.

In August 2012, the church planted another campus in Evansville, Ind. Today, approximately 2,000 people attend the four services at the two sites.

Pastor Bret Nicholson humbly suggests a portion of the growth can be attributed to “the right place, at the right time, with the right people.”

“We did some things that have been done all over the country but hadn’t been done here yet,” Nicholson says. “There are a lot of de-churched people in the Midwest, and people checked us out that had not seen contemporary models of church—even things like a video screen or wearing jeans. In some ways we were just the first to arrive.”

In talking with Nicholson, however, one becomes aware that a large part of the church’s success has been due to exceptional leadership development.

“It’s the old thing: If you want to add, develop followers. To multiply, develop leaders,” Nicholson says. “We try to give ownership with leadership. We have six different worship teams with six different leaders. They own their teams, and they own what they do.”

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This model of ownership particularly shows up in a recent shift in One Life’s Life Group ministry.

“I examined our groups and saw your typical model—huddled in a living room, discussion, prayer and snacks to follow,” Life Group Director Austin Maxheimer says. “We are changing to a mission-centered experience.”