When Pastor Randy Spleth started Geist Christian Church 21 years ago, the small congregation of just 31 people couldn’t have envisioned what it would become two decades later.
With about 2,500 people attending services and special programs, Geist Christian ranks among the largest churches in the area, and the rapid growth shows no signs of slowing. Although the church just finished a 15,000-square-foot addition to its facility at 86th Street and Mud Creek Road, plans are underway for a North Campus to be built in Fishers.
“We were running out of build-able land,” Spleth said. “We went to a location where the growth is going on and a number of our members exist.”
For Spleth, there’s a little bit of deja vu when he looks at the 22-acre parcel surrounded by bean fields. When the church purchased its Mud Creek site in 1987, it too was a bean field.
The site of the church’s future North Campus sits on the northwest corner of 126th Street and Promise Road, just across the street from the new Fishers High School. It’s a perfect fit since much of the church’s growth is in youth ministry, Spleth said.
“We hope to become the hub of the area where people want to be every day and night of the week,” said Mark Briley, minister of youth and young adults.
Briley noted that the North Campus will offer more “hangout” space, including a gymnasium and other sports facilities. It will also allow expanded opportunities for the whole family, with more preschool and kindergarten programs, Spleth said.
The ultimate goal is not to create two separate congregations, but rather to offer more services and programs for the church community at both locations.
Fundraising for the new 25,000-to- 40,000-square-foot worship center will begin in the spring, with groundbreaking soon to follow, Spleth said. He hopes to be in the facility sometime in 2008.
When asked why his church has grown so rapidly, Spleth said he thinks people like the idea of worshipping in their community and with their neighbors.
“People are wanting their lives to be better, and making the community better,” he said.