Southeast’s Indiana Campus opened its doors on a sunny Easter Sunday in 2009.
“I remember when we broke ground at the Indiana Campus,” Southeast Pastor Dave Stone said. “I remember praying very vividly, asking God to do something that only He could do.”
Ten years after it opened, God is still doing great things at the Indiana Campus, which has an average weekly attendance of more than 3,000. Last weekend, the Indiana Campus celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The Indiana Campus was birthed out of Stone’s vision to build Southeast satellite campuses in other communities.
“It was in 2006 that Dave preached a sermon and said, ‘If people don’t come to us, we’ll go to them,’” Indiana Campus Pastor Eddie Johnson said. “There were about 900 people who were driving from Southern Indiana to the Blankenbaker Campus who said, ‘I want to help make that possible.’”
It wasn’t long until plans for a first satellite campus began to take shape.
Over the last 10 years, Southeast has become one church with many locations. God has allowed the church to grow and establish campuses in Indiana, Southwest Louisville, Crestwood, La Grange, Elizabethtown and Prospect.
God has done incredible things in Southern Indiana through the members, volunteers and staff at the Indiana Campus.
“The thing that I’m most proud of is that not only is this a place where anyone can come, anyone can ask questions and anyone can see their lives changed, and there are more than 1,100 baptisms that tell that story, but this is also a place where people can be equipped and sent out,” Johnson said. “Many of our staff have started at Southeast as volunteers. They’re second-career ministry people.”
“They didn’t plan to do this, but to see God raise them up and then use others to start new churches is really unique to the mission of this place.”
Indiana Campus members Mark and Betsy Downs remember writing Scriptures on the concrete sub-floor of the campus while it was still under construction.
Betsy was pregnant at the time.
“I remember writing Scripture on the floor right where the baptistry would be, but we had no idea what that would mean for our family at the time,” Betsy Downs said.
The Downses have two daughters, Becca, 9, and Chelsea, 7, who have both been coming to church with their parents since they were born.
“Becca has grown up with this campus,” Mark Downs said. “She has been in every room in the Children’s wing, and the Children’s Ministry staff and volunteers have become our extended family. They have invested in her literally since day one.”
Last September, just before her 9th birthday, Becca was baptized at the Indiana Campus in the baptistry right above the Scriptures her parents had written before she was born.
“I knew I wanted to be baptized because I love Jesus with all my heart and I want to live with Him forever someday,” Becca Downs said. “After I got baptized, I thought, ‘This is the best day of my life.’”
Over the years, the Downses have seen God work both in the Indiana Campus building and in the community.
Their daughters have been able to invite friends from school to events at the Indiana Campus who may not have been able to make the 45-minute drive from their hometown of Georgetown, Indiana, to the Blankenbaker Campus.
Mark’s brother, Jeff, invited his two high school best friends to church with him, where they both fell in love with Christ and were among the first people baptized at the Indiana Campus.
Betsy felt a call to ministry after her church family helped her and her family through a difficult time seven years ago.
“I had some complications when I was pregnant with Chelsea and ended up in the ICU,” Betsy Downs said. “It felt like the whole church was reaching out to help us in ways we never expected or felt we deserved. After seeing the way everyone served me and my family, I knew it was time for me to step up and serve others that way.”
Betsy left her job as a high school teacher to join Youth For Christ, a Southeast missions partner, and now ministers to high school students throughout Southern Indiana.
The Downses are just one of hundreds of families who have been impacted by the work God is doing at the Indiana Campus.
“Over the years, this campus has become a cross-section of the community it is in,” Mark Downs said. “I’ve seen people in church that I have known for years, and I never would have expected to see them in church. God has used this campus to make that possible for so many.”
Stone spoke during worship services Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, at the Indiana Campus.
“God has done a great work in this decade, but He’s not done with you yet. I can’t wait to see what God will do in the next decade,” Stone said. “He blew away our expectations in the last decade. So, my prayer is that with Eddie’s leadership and a capable staff, and with Kyle’s preaching and leadership of Southeast, that you all will continue to connect people to Jesus and one another all throughout the Indiana region.”