Carmel Assembly of God Church Displays a True Passion to Minister

Pastor Keith Trump of Carmel Assembly of God. (Photo by Jonathan Haag)

Originally founded in 2003, Carmel Assembly of God relocated to its current space at West Main Street and Old Meridian three years ago with a new mission and heartbeat, which was to display a true passion to minister to the residents of Carmel. Keith Trump, pastor of Carmel Assembly of God and lifelong resident of Carmel, sat down and shared his heart and his congregation’s mission in relation to the community of Carmel.

Pastor Trump shares that, “Our mission is summed up in receive, reflect, and redeem.” He explains further, “Receive everything scripture tells us, what we see in God’s Word, and reflect it in our lives; and if we do these things then He will accomplish His ultimate purpose of redeeming people.”

This mission is practically being lived out daily in the lives of those who attend Carmel Assembly of God. Each year the congregation hosts a back-to-school outreach for a local apartment complex. This outreach, Pastor Trump explains, is about meeting a very apparent need of a group of people while at the same time sharing the love of Jesus to the community. Carmel Assembly of God also hosts Easter and Halloween outreaches with the same mission.

Carmel Assembly of God gathers as a community every Sunday. At 9:30 a.m. there is a pre-service prayer and then at 10:30 a.m. their worship service begins. The children’s ministry meets during the worship service hour.

Beyond Sunday morning gatherings, members of Carmel Assembly of God gather together with other members that have similar interests and passions. Some of these groups study a book of the Bible or a specific topic while others choose a more laid back approach like organizing a men’s poker night or a women’s fitness class. The church also hosts a plethora of Wednesday night activities and classes that begin at 7:00 p.m. Call the church office for a complete schedule.

In all things that Carmel Assembly of God puts together they ultimately want to share the message of the hope they have. Pastor Trump sums up his heart by saying, “‘Churchianity’ is not Jesus. Carmel doesn’t need another church; it needs the real revelation of who Jesus is and understanding that God is really wanting to reveal Himself to this community.”

You can visit Carmel Assembly of God in person at 1009 West Main Street in Carmel, by phone at 317-569-9673 or online at

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Hazel Dell Christian Church Sets Deep Roots in Carmel

Pastor Mark Wright

Pastor Mark Wright at Hazel Dell Christian Church in Carmel.

The Hazel Dell Christian Church is indeed growing. Pastor Mark Wright, who has has been with the church for 22 years , is excited about what’s in store for his church’s future in Carmel and Hamilton County, especially as they open up their new childrens’ ministry facility and office expansion.

Pastor Wright explains, “Our mission is very simple. To help people come to know Jesus and live like Him everyday.” This mission is being lived out by a diverse group of people in a variety of ways.

Hazel Dell Christian Church is home to a phenomenal pre-school for members of the community. The ministry is committed to nurturing the whole child socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually. They provide a developmentally appropriate learning curriculum, including large and small muscle activities, kindergarten readiness, science, art, language, music, literature and Bible concepts/stories.

Among the other outreach groups that Hazel Dell Christian Church offers are ministry programs for health and wellness, leadership, mens’ studies, womens’ studies, seniors, singles, sports, a dynamic marriage class, and a new food pantry.

Perfectly summing up the heartbeat of the church, Pastor Wright wants those in Carmel and Hamilton County to know that “We love you, now let us prove it to you.”

Hazel Dell Christian Church meets at 8:00,9:30 and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Pastor Wright describes the worship style as a mix of traditional and contemporary. During the services, there are also adult Bible fellowships (Sunday School during all three services), Root 56 (5th and 6th grades during the 9:30 a.m.hour), student classes (7th through 12th grades during the 9:30 a.m. hour), and children’s programs (nursery through 4th grade during all three services).

The Church is located at 146th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway at 14501 Hazel Dell Parkway in Carmel. You can also visit them online at or by phone at 317-846-9828. For more information about enrolling your child in the Hazel Dell Christian Preschool, call the church office (listed above) or email

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Church Plant Incubator at the Aspen Group


Lynn Noe, Customer Relations Coordinator at the Aspen Group in Carmel.

As Carmel sees rapid growth in population we are seeing parallel growth in the number of churches moving into the area. Interestingly, most of these new churches will not build a new building but will meet in a school or other rented spaces. These types of churches are called “church plants.”

Several months ago, we profiled a church plant called itown church which meets in a local elementary school. Itown is just one example of several new church plants in Carmel.

One of the inherent issues of church plants is the lack of meeting space for church staff to hold meetings during the week. Many church plants are making use of local coffee shops and eateries to hold meetings, but what about when they need to hold confidential meetings or counseling sessions?

A local organization sought to fix those issues. The Aspen Group, an innovative church design and construction group with an office here in Carmel, recognized the need and sought to do something about it.

Lynn Noe, customer relations coordinator for the Aspen Group, has been the leader in this project and is starting to see her idea and hard work come to fruition.

Noe’s idea was to take unused space in their office and turn it into a modern “church plant incubator.” Her idea included turning the excess space into different meeting rooms so church plants could hold meetings or private counseling sessions with congregants in an environment that suits their needs.

President of the Aspen Group Ed Bahler.

President of the Aspen Group, Ed Bahler.

The church plant incubator includes several different spaces. The Fireside Room includes relaxed seating for four, a phone and a fireplace. The Scenic View Conference Room includes a conference table with seating for six, a phone and a whiteboard. The Collaboration Room includes a conference table with seating for twenty, a phone and a projector.

The Aspen Group provides these spaces at no cost and even includes Wifi and coffee! Noe and the Aspen Group ultimately want these spaces to be available for church planters who need a space on weekdays for meetings, counseling or just a quiet place to reflect.

The Aspen Group is located at 90 Executive Drive in Carmel. They can be found online at and on Twitter @Aspen_Group. If you are a church or nonprofit interested in more information or wanting to reserve a space, please contact Lynn Noe at 317-582-5100 ext. 129 or email her at

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Bethlehem Lutheran Church Named After the Earlier Name for Carmel

Pastor George Ferch

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Pastor George Ferch

Bethlehem Lutheran Church is a vibrant Christian fellowship located in the heart of Carmel. I recently had the opportunity to speak with the pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Reverend George Ferch, about the history, mission, and heart of this Carmel church.

This congregation has been long time members of the community of Carmel. Pastor Ferch shares a bit of their history, “The congregation was named after the earlier name of Carmel. Ten families from the area wanted to reach out into rapidly growing Hamilton County. A recent graduate of the seminary arrived in the summer of 1991 and began worship services in the old Carmel Library.” He continues, “As the congregation grew the members moved into an industrial park near downtown and then to Smokey Row Elementary near the site of their recently purchased property.” Bethlehem Lutheran Church has a commitment to the community of Carmel and that is evident by their willingness to remain and stay connected to the community.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Bethlehem Lutheran Church is more than just a building. The staff and members of Bethlehem have a deep conviction to “reach out to the souls of Carmel and surrounding communities without diminishing what God’s Word says about sin, and not compromising the good news that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.” This mission is played out in many ways. Pastor Ferch explains, “Bethlehem seeks to be a good neighbor and active member of the community. We support organizations like the Carmel Chamber of Commerce. Our members gather food and toys annually for a local charity. The congregation makes our building available for medical services such a flu shots and testing for various conditions.” It’s obvious that this community of believers is making a difference in Carmel.

One of the unique ministries of Bethlehem Lutheran Church is the Little Town of Bethlehem Early Childhood Ministry (LTOB). Pastor Ferch explains, “The five day a week preschool for two to four year olds includes Bible stories and educational activities. LTOB has touched many children and families over the last ten years.” LTOB is unique compared to other preschools in the area in regard to its size. It is a smaller preschool with a limit of twelve children a day. This allows personal attention from their teacher and her assistants. It also encourages the children to have closer interaction with new friends. They have enjoyed working with children from a large variety of ethnic backgrounds, and also have welcomed children with hearing and speech needs who have been served by community educational professionals. This works well in the smaller setting. For more information about LTOB, please visit

As the Holy Week approaches, Bethlehem Lutheran Church will be hosting Wednesday evening Lenten Worship at 7:00 p.m. for six weeks starting on March 9, Ash Wednesday. Bethlehem Lutheran Church invites individuals attending the service to a soup and salad supper at 6:15 p.m..

Pastor Ferch and the members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church are “ready to welcome you and your family with the love of Christ.” You can visit them online at or in person at 13225 Illinois Street in Carmel.

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A Fixture in the Carmel Community: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Father Richard Doerr

Father Richard Doerr of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Our Lady of Mount Carmel held its first Mass in 1955 with a congregation of about sixty families. Fast forward to today. With nearly 14,000 members Our Lady of Mount Carmel is striving to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of not only the residents of Carmel but the entire world. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Father Richard Doerr about the mission and heartbeat of this Carmel congregation.

Father Doerr states that the mission of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is to “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of time.” This mission, found in scripture, is lived out daily in the life of this church.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is first and foremost a Catholic Eucharistic community. Father Doerr explains what that entails, “We are known for our adherence to Catholic Church teaching as well as our fine liturgies thanks to our many liturgical ministers. We are obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church and I think are a very welcoming community. We also have a special chapel where men and women gather 24 hours a day and seven days a week to adore our Lord in prayer and contemplation.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

With over 14,000 members, a catholic school, and a food pantry, Our Lady of Mount Carmel has become an integral part of the Carmel community.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is also home to an outstanding school of nearly 700 students. The vision of the school is to be “a vibrant Catholic learning center where respect and responsibility are integral parts of the school culture.” The school also employs a wonderful staff that includes the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia. You may have seen the Sisters around the community in their traditional black and white habits.

The Matthew 25 Center, located on the property of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, seeks to provide free to low cost solutions to those struggling physically and financially. Father Doerr explains, “Many simply believe that poor people do not exist in our affluent community. Yet, particularly in today’s economy, there are many families that are in crisis. We serve them through our Matthew 25 Center for the Poor with a large food pantry that assists hundreds of families each month, countless emergency assistance programs, a school supplies drive, and several assistance programs throughout the year (Christmas, Thanksgiving etc.).”

As the new year starts, so do new classes. Father Doerr wants to inform the community that Our Lady of Mount Carmel is sponsoring a Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that starts on January 18 and meets every Tuesday through April 12 from 7-9 p.m. They also have an abundance of adult education programs such as a Bible study on St. Matthew that begins on January 6.

Beyond all of the programs and events that happen at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father Doerr desires that everyone in the community know that “God loves them abundantly and his Church is here to serve you and invite you into the ministry of Jesus Christ. When we reach out to others, then we find happiness that the world cannot give!”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is located at the intersection of 146th Street and Oak Ridge Road at 14598 Oak Ridge Road in Carmel. You can also visit them online at or contact the parish office by telephone at 317-846-3475.

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Carmel Christian Church

IMAG0459.jpg Carmel Christian Church opened its doors in 1958 after a group of Hamilton County residents desired to form a community of faith within the Disciples of Christ denomination. The church moved into its current location across from Carmel High School in 1981. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Daniel Gulden, senior minister of Carmel Christian Church, about the mission of the church and how they are impacting the world around them.

Reverend Gulden describes the mission of Carmel Christian Church as, “Growing disciples by connecting people to God and to one another.” He continues by saying, “We seek to connect people in real and meaningful ways with a loving and gracious God who desires wholeness for our lives. We also want people to form deep and life-giving relationships with one another.” Carmel Christian Church desires to be a place of welcome and hospitality to all who enter its doors.

Carmel Christian Church has a heart to serve the people of Carmel and Hamilton County. Reverend Gulden says, “We believe strongly in mission and community outreach. We are heavily involved in the yearly Hamilton County CROP Walk, ongoing help for the Damien Center, Habitat for Humanity, Centenary Food Pantry, Third Phase, after school tutoring at Carmel Elementary, and we offer mission trips for youth, adults and families.” Service is a vision for Carmel Christian Church. Reverend Gulden shared, “Our vision is that the church is called to be a ‘filling station’ where people are filled and equipped to go out into the community and the world to serve in the name of Jesus.”

Carmel Christian Church gathers on each Sunday morning at the following times:

The 8:30 a.m. worship service is a 30-minute meditative chapel service offering prayer, scripture, silence and communion.

The 10:30 a.m. worship service is a blended, traditional service usually lasting about one hour. It consists of prayer, scripture, hymns, an inspiring sermon and weekly communion.

Carmel Christian Church will have several special services this holiday season in which they invite the community to join them. Reverend Gulden says, “During the Advent season, our sermon series will be ‘A Prophet’s View of Christmas’ focusing on the words of the prophet Isaiah. Our Children’s Christmas Musical will be presented at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 12 and we will have a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6:00 p.m. on December 24.”

Reverend Gulden desires to tell everyone in Carmel that, “We invite you to a church where God’s grace is spoken and lived out. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper each week, and everyone regardless of background and religious experience is welcome to share in God’s love and grace through Jesus Christ at the table.”

Carmel Christian Church is located at 463 East Main Street in Carmel, directly across from Carmel High School. You can also visit them online at

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Relax and Enjoy the New itown Church

Dave and Kate Sumrall

Dave Sumrall, Pastor of itown church, and his wife Kate Sumrall. Photo Submitted by itown church

Relaxed, friendly, contemporary, and relevant are all words that describe one of the newest churches in Hamilton County. On August 15, 2010 itown church opened it’s doors to the community. On the first weekend alone they welcomed 340 people through their doors. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Dave Sumrall, pastor of itown church, about the start of itown and the mission of this community faith.

Sumrall explains that the mission of itown church is, “to reach people with the life-giving message of Jesus-Christ.” Sumrall continues by saying, “itown church is excited for the opportunity to help the people of Carmel and Hamilton County find purpose in life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We believe that we have been created by God to make a difference in the lives of people. We also believe that your life will never make sense until you find, develop and fulfill your purpose.” This mission is played out in the every day lives of those who attend itown church and also during their Sunday morning worship.

itown church launch from Dave Sumrall on Vimeo.

itown church meets at 10:30 AM and wants you to feel as comfortable as possible when you visit. When you arrive at itown you are warmly welcomed and offered free coffee. Dress code is not an issue when you come to itown, as they encourage you to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. For those with kids (Birth to 5th Grade), itown offers some amazingly creative and exciting programs that provide a strong foundation of faith to grow on. Online preregistration for your child is also available.

The worship and teaching time is incredibly contemporary and relevant. Their desire is to provide an atmosphere and service that helps you make the most of a relevant message. Sumrall shares, “We are excited about the two upcoming series for November and December. November: Confessions of a Pastor. December: Hope.” They welcome you to join them as they wrestle through these topics.

Sumrall wants everyone to know “God loves you more than you can imagine, and it’s never too late to become who you might have been.” This is the heartbeat of itown church and the message that they want to share, more than anything, with you.

itown church would be very excited to have you visit them in person on the border of Carmel and Fishers at Riverside School at 10910 Eller Road. They are also online at and you can follow them on twitter at welcome from Dave Sumrall on Vimeo.

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Grace Community Church on East 146th Street

Keith Carlson, Pastor of Outreach and Leadership Development

Keith Carlson, Pastor of Outreach and Leadership Development

Grace Community Church started in 1991. During the early days, Grace met in a leased warehouse where the Greyhound Pass Shopping Plaza is currently located. Ever since those first gatherings, Grace has grown rapidly and hasn’t looked back. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Keith Carlson, Pastor of Outreach and Leadership at Grace, about the impact Grace is having on the people in the City of Carmel, Hamilton County, and beyond.

The mission of Grace is “To love people into a responsive and maturing relationship with Jesus Christ, connect them into authentic, redemptive communities and launch them into God’s kingdom revolution.” This mission is being played out in very tangible ways not only within the walls of the church, but also outside of the walls.

Grace will be living out their mission on November 6-7. During these couple of days Grace will be holding their 2010 Weekend of Service. The Weekend of Service involves members of Grace going out into the community and serving people in need very practically. The Weekend of Service will feature nearly 3,500 members of Grace splitting into about 175 teams and going to nearly 100 locations to serve in various capacities. Some groups will be painting, others will be cleaning, while others will be collecting canned food. The main mission of the weekend is to serve and love others.

Exterior of Grace Community Church

Grace is focused on using their resources, whether that is their building or people, to serve and love others into a relationship with God. Carlson said, “I would challenge the people of Carmel to look beyond ourselves and our community to see how we can in turn be a blessing to the world.”

Grace, due to its location and size, has the ability to split the church into several different worship venues depending on the needs of individuals and families.

GraceMain is a worship experience that combines a wide variety of elements, including music, drama, media, and relevant, Biblical teaching to communicate the timeless message of hope and redemption. GraceMain gathers at 4:30 and 6:15 p.m. on Saturday evenings and 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the South Auditorium.

Sojourn is for those who are looking for a worship expression that allows for a small community feel with the advantages of a larger church body. Sojourn meets at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the North Auditorium.

Sanctuary provides a peaceful setting for reflection and adoration with a flexible liturgy that includes communion, ministering prayer and musical styles ranging from classical to contemporary. Sanctuary meets at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Grace Community Church encourages everyone in the community to check them out in person at 5504 East 146th Street in Noblesville, or online at

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Spreading the Good News at Carmel Lutheran Church

Pastor Daniel Schumm

Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship at Carmel Lutheran Church, Daniel Schumm.

In 1976, 130 individuals gathered together with the mission of spreading the good news of Christ to the community of Carmel. Years later, along with the addition of countless members, Carmel Lutheran Church has stuck to their mission of spreading the good news of Christ and serving the community of Carmel. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship Daniel Schumm about the mission and heartbeat of Carmel Lutheran Church.

Carmel Lutheran Church is a vibrant community of believers eager to serve our community not only physically, but also spiritually. Pastor Schumm describes the mission of Carmel Lutheran Church as, “reaching out, caring for, and building people toward maturity in Christ.” They accomplish this mission through personal relationships alongside ministries that help foster relationships. Described below are just a few of the many ministries that Carmel Lutheran Church offers.

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) is an international organization that meets locally in the facilities at Carmel Lutheran Church. The mission of MOPS in Carmel is to “provide a Christ-centered, caring ministry where friendships, creativity, and personal relationships with Jesus Christ can develop.” Moms of children ages six and under can take advantage of the MOPS ministry. MOPS meets during the Carmel Clay School year with both a day session and an evening session. The day MOPS meets 9-11:15 a.m. on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month. The evening MOPS meets from 7-9 p.m. on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month.

Exterior of Carmel Lutheran Church GriefShare is a seminar and support group for people that are grieving the loss of someone close. Each GriefShare meeting includes a video seminar by authors, counselors, speakers, and pastors whose expertise is in grief recovery. After the video seminar there is a small group discussion time. During the small group time you will be able to interact with others who are going through a recent loss, as well as being able to share your own story. The next GriefShare class will be Mondays from 7–8:30 p.m. from September 13 – December 6.

DivorceCare is a ministry for those who are going through divorce or separation. The class is a “special weekly support group and seminar conducted by people who understand what you are experiencing.” The class features a video seminar taught by renowned experts on divorce and recovery. After the video seminar there is time to discuss what was presented in the video as well as to share what is going on personally. Meeting at the same time as DivorceCare is DivorceCare for Kids. This support group is for kids ages 5 to 12 and allows kids to “heal from the hurt caused by separation or divorce of their parents.” Each of these groups meets Tuesdays from September 14 – December 7.

Blitz Indy is an annual event spearheaded by Melissa Luepke and David Reed. Blitz Indy devotes an entire day to multiple service projects in the community of Carmel and beyond. This year’s Blitz Indy included 520 members of Carmel Lutheran Church embarking on a variety of projects that included packaging 44,712 meals to be sent to Haiti in conjunction with the Kids Against Hunger organization. Other projects included working at the Ronald McDonald House, painting rooms at the Salvation Army Women’s Shelter, various grounds projects at Agape Therapeutic Riding Center, and meals prepared with Second Helpings. These were just a few of the many projects completed by Carmel Lutheran Church.

Carmel Lutheran Church has several worship times.

Saturday Schedule:

  • 5:00 p.m. Traditional Service in the Sanctuary.
  • 5:15 p.m. Contemporary Service in the Worship Center.

Sunday Schedule:

  • 8:00 a.m. Traditional Service in the Sanctuary.
  • 8:30 a.m. Contemporary Service in the Worship Center.
  • 9:30–10:20 a.m. Sunday School.
  • 10:35 a.m. Contemporary Service in the Worship Center.
  • 10:45 a.m. Traditional Service in the Sanctuary.

You can visit Carmel Lutheran Church in person at 4850 East Main Street, Carmel, Indiana 46033 or online at For more information about any of the ministries listed, please call the church office at 814-4252.

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King of Glory Lutheran Church

Pastor Paul Swartz

Pastor Paul Swartz with the King of Glory Lutheran Church.

King of Glory Lutheran Church, located at 106th Street and Keystone, is a vibrant community of believers living out there faith in the community of Carmel and beyond. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Pastor Paul Swartz to talk about the mission, the heartbeat, and future of King of Glory.

Pastor Swartz says that the mission of King of Glory is to be the, “The heart, hands, and voice of Christ.” King of Glory does not simply set up programs and expect people to walk into their doors. Pastor Swartz tells me that they equip the people of King of Glory to go out and to, “be the church.” In terms of being the church, members of King of Glory have gone out into the community on Mother’s Day and passed out roses to Mom’s. Other members have gone out to the Monon Trail and given out water to thirsty runners and cyclists. These are just a couple of the countless stories of members of King of Glory impacting our community.

The heartbeat of King of Glory is to serve the community and to show the love of God to everyone they come into contact with. Members of King of Glory understand that they are the hands and feet of Christ and that the church is not a building that people come to on Sunday mornings, but that the church is the people. When you step through the doors of King of Glory you get the sense from everyone you come into contact with that they love God and they love people. Pastor Swartz summed up the heartbeat of King of Glory when he told me his heart is to share with everyone that, “God loves you so much. Nothing that you do or have done can separate you from that love.”

The future of King of Glory is to be a “front porch” to Hamilton County. Pastor Swartz tells me that they hope to accomplish this in several different ways. King of Glory is located at the new 106th Street roundabout over Keystone which provides a large amount of traffic and visibility. At some point King of Glory hopes to create an actual front porch where walkers and cyclists can relax as they walk and ride around Carmel. Pastor Swartz emphasized to me that they are going to continue to live out their faith in the community and serve their neighbors.

King of Glory has several worship times:

  • Casual Worship service is at 5:01 p.m. on Saturday evenings. King of Glory touts this service as a, “come as you are, casual fit gathering with music, a message and Holy Communion.”
  • Classic Worship service is at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. This service is described as, “worship focusing on participation through the liturgy, hymns and corporate confession of our faith.”
  • Praise Worship service is at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. This service, “incorporates popular praise music in a less formal setting than our other two services and includes scripture readings, a message from the pastor and Holy Communion.”
  • Contemporary Worship service is at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

King of Glory describes this service as, “worship focusing on participation through the liturgy, hymns and corporate confession of our faith.”

King of Glory invites you to visit them at 2201 E. 106th Street Carmel, Indiana 46032 or online at

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Carmel Churches Serving the Community

Carmel Churches Serving the Community

A group from Northview Church serving Brookside Community Church in Downtown Indianapolis. (Photo submitted)

Over the past several months I’ve had the opportunity to profile many churches in Carmel and explain how they are impacting not only our city, but the cities surrounding us as well. If you were to ask any church in Carmel to make a list of core values, I would guarantee that service would be high on that list. So this month, instead of profiling just one church, I wanted to give you a big picture view when it comes to Carmel churches, specifically when it comes to serving the poor and under resourced in our city and the area surrounding us. With that being said, if you are a Carmel resident and have a desire to serve in our community may this article be an encouragement to you, or if you are a Carmel resident seeking help during a difficult time may this article be a resource for you to find help.

Here are a few examples of Carmel churches branching out and serving. Please understand as well that there are hundreds of additional opportunities available through various Carmel churches.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is located on the corner of 146th and Oak Ridge Road, has a resource called the Matthew 25 Center located on their property. The Matthew 25 Community Outreach Center is a multipurpose ministry that includes a food pantry as well as a free clinic. The Trinity Free Clinic provides “free medical, health, and dental support to the uninsured and low income residents of Hamilton County by using a volunteer professional staff.” For more information check out

Northview Church, located on the corner of Main Street and Hazel Dell Parkway, has not only partnered with local organizations like Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County and Agape Therapeutic Riding Center, they also have a partnership with an inner city church called Brookside Community Church in downtown Indianapolis. They are constantly collecting food and sending volunteers to help out at Brookside. To learn more check out

Grace Community Church, located on 146th Street near the Hazel Dell Parkway intersection, is also a very active church. Grace hosts a food drive every Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in their parking lot and at local grocery stores. All the donated food goes to Third Phase, which is Hamilton County’s largest food bank. Beyond the food drive, Grace sends many volunteers to the Shepherd Community Center on the east side of Indianapolis to tutor kids during the school year. To see more service opportunities check out

In my conversations and interviews, I can tell you that the Church, as a whole in Carmel, is very eager to serve. If you have a burning desire to serve those in your neighborhood, those in your city, those in the city a few miles down the road, or those on the other side of the world, visit (or check out a website) some local churches and get plugged in!

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Faith Apostolic Church

Faith Apostolic Church

Pastor Matthew Ball in front of Faith Apostolic Church.

Established back in 1979, Faith Apostolic Church has been a fixture in the city of Carmel. Faith Apostolic is in the midst of some exciting times in their history, as they have been experiencing a burst of growth in the past several years. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Pastor Matthew Ball about the mission of Faith Apostolic, both in the city of Carmel and beyond.

As you drive or walk onto the church’s campus you see a couple of different buildings. The older white building off of 116th Street was the original auditorium that held about 40 to 50 people. Pastor Ball tells me that this building was actually a dog kennel and garage before they renovated it! They quickly grew out of that cramped space and have been in a perpetual state of building expansion. Faith Apostolic loves Carmel and the people that reside here. Pastor Ball says their mission in relation to Carmel is, “We want to have a spiritual impact upon the city, and feel like we do a good job of connecting people to God.”

Pastor Ball tells me that their mission statement is, “First, connecting people to God, which is our primary objective. Second, connecting them to this local church. Third, connecting them to their purpose and mission in life.” Faith Apostolic accomplishes this mission through a variety of outlets.

Faith Apostolic Church Auditorium Locally, Faith Apostolic ministers to the homeless of Indianapolis by bringing supplies such as food and clothing to them, as well as busing them up to Sunday morning services where they are fed by a team of volunteers, and cared for spiritually through the worship service. Members of Faith Apostolic also volunteer at many other places in the area such as the O’Conner House, Wheeler Mission, and Big Brothers and Sisters of Indiana.

Beyond the local level, Faith Apostolic is ministering to and serving people all over the world. Pastor Ball says, “We are heavily involved in Cuba right now, as well as Haiti, Uganda, and India.” A team from Faith Apostolic served in Haiti recently. Pastor Ball said this about their experience, “We just returned a few months ago from the earthquake in Haiti. We were one of the first groups on the ground with supplies, even before the airports were open. We went through the Dominican Republic and bought $20,000 worth of supplies and actually drove them over to some of the people in Haiti.” Pastor Ball says they have a mission trip planned to go back to Haiti, as well as trips to India and Cuba planned for this summer.

When asked what one thing he wanted to share with everyone in Carmel, he said, “True satisfaction in life only comes through pursuing a relationship with God.” I can tell you through my conversation with Pastor Ball that this is what Faith Apostolic Church is all about.

Faith Apostolic Church encourages you to check them out in person on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. at 1212 E. 116th Street in Carmel (if you want to walk or bicycle, the church is located almost right off the Monon Trail at 116th Street). You can also visit them online at

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Northview Christian Life’s Grand Re-Opening

Pictured in photo (from left): S & B Construction William Cooper, Northview Church Lead Pastor Steve Poe, City of Carmel Mayor Brainard, building designer Lenzy Hendrix, and Carmel Chamber of Commerce Patty Steffen (Photo Submitted by Melody Carpenter)

On April 17, 2010 Northview Christian Life Church held their first official services in their beautiful new auditorium. I had the opportunity to check out the new auditorium and talk to the Lead Pastor of Northview, Steve Poe, during the Grand Opening Celebration.

Northview already has one of the biggest facilities in Carmel, so you may be asking yourself, as I did, why they built the new auditorium. According to Pastor Poe, “For the last 10 years we have been adding services to accommodate the increased attendance, but there finally came a point when we needed to have a bigger space. But we didn’t just want a bigger box; we felt like the space was way too important to only be concerned with how many people would fit inside. We wanted to make sure we were being sensitive to how the space would impact people spiritually as well as reinforce our values as a church.” He continued by saying, “Our mission statement here at Northview church is “Connecting people with God and connecting people with people. And therefore, we believe that creating environments that are inviting helps us to carry out that mission.”

The 51,000 square-foot auditorium has enough seats for 2,070 people. The intention of the design was not to give Northview the biggest auditorium in Hamilton County, but to provide a place to better serve the city and citizens of Carmel. Pastor Poe says, “The increased capacity will give us plenty of room to accommodate more of our friends and neighbors. The space is the largest venue in Hamilton County, so it will give us plenty of room to grow. Our heart has always been to invite the community onto our property.” Northview recently demonstrated how they are going to use the new facility to serve the community. Pastor Poe mentioned that over spring break they opened their doors all week and showed children’s movies for free. They had a few thousand parents and children take advantage of the experience.

Technology and innovation played a major role in the construction. Poe says, “People are very visual, which is why we use creative ways to communicate and strengthen our message with technology, music, the arts, sophisticated lighting and video. This is why we felt the state-of-the-art audio and video technology was an important part of the space. While some may come with the idea that church is boring, we want them to discover that’s not the case. We want them to discover that Christians are real people who laugh and have a good time together and appreciate excellence.”

As I stepped onto the Northview campus I felt an amazing level of excitement by the people and staff of Northview. When I asked Pastor Poe about how excited he was that the project was complete, he said, “For three and a half years we have been praying, dreaming, planning, preparing and working toward this building, so to see it finally completed is very thrilling.” He continued by saying, “And while it is exciting to have the space finished, we realize it’s just the beginning of the next chapter God has for us as a church. We want the people in this community to know that we genuinely do care about them. We want to be good neighbors. We’re being intentional about different ways we can reach out to the people in this community.”

Northview invites you to check them out either online at or in person at 12900 Hazel Dell Parkway in Carmel.

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Christ Community Church in Carmel

Christ Community Church's Pastor Tim Kirk and his wife Sally Kirk. (Photo courtesy of Tim Kirk)

Twenty years ago Pastor Tim Kirk and his wife Sally Kirk moved their family to Carmel to plant a network of churches for the Presbyterian Church in America. They started Christ Community Church (CCC) back in 1991. CCC first started meeting in the Clay Middle School cafeteria and then moved to their current location on 131st and Gray several years back. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Pastor Kirk about the mission of CCC and how that mission relates to the city of Carmel.

Pastor Kirk tells me that the mission of CCC is three-fold, “To exalt God’s glory, to equip God’s people, and to extend God’s Kingdom.” CCC is accomplishing this mission in a variety of ways, impacting everyone from young kids to the elderly and to those in the city of Carmel and those on the other side of the world. Pastor Kirk continues by saying, “As we approach our 20th anniversary, we are really trying to think through what it means to be a church not just in Carmel, but for Carmel.”

Pastor Kirk says that a burning desire of the CCC is to, “Serve the servers.” For example, they recently reached out to our Carmel Firefighters by bringing fresh baked cookies to one of the fire stations. They hope to do similar acts of service for our Carmel Police Officers and other “servers” in our community. To further drive home the point of serving the city of Carmel, Pastor Kirk asks the question, “If Christ Community ceased to exist today would it matter tomorrow?”

Beyond all of this CCC also has many other ministries. They offer Sunday school for the entire family (children-adults). For middle school and high school students, CCC offers a great youth program that involves retreats, and mission trips. CCC also is a hub for a robust college campus ministry called Campus Outreach (

Josh Christensen, an attendee of CCC, describes one of the most important characteristics of the church as a, “Body of believers approaching our human weaknesses with God’s honest truth, but gaining an understanding for the grace that heals our most painful imperfections.”

Lastly, Pastor Kirk wanted to share with the city of Carmel that, “We really do believe that the hope of the world is Jesus Christ and His gospel lived out through the local church and the lives each of the members.” CCC truly believes this and cannot wait to get to meet you and your family!

To learn more about Christ Community Church you can visit their website at or check them out in person at 4770 East 131st Street Carmel, Indiana 46033.

Christ Community Church in Carmel

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River Oaks Community Church Embraces Carmel, Technology

Pastor Dominic Francese, Bible in tow.

Over the past twenty years, River Oaks Community Church (ROCC) has provided an intimate setting for people from Carmel and beyond to gather as a community and worship. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Dominic Francese, Pastor of ROCC, about the mission and future of this particular body of believers.

Pastor Francese tells me that ROCC’s mission in relation to Carmel is to “provide followers of Jesus Christ an intimate setting for worshiping and serving God, in a way which a small church is especially well suited.” Part of this mission includes building a, “strong sense of small group community and strong friendships.” Neil Cox, a member of ROCC says, “ROCC is kind of the perfect size, so as we gather to worship and learn together, people can still feel comfortably ‘at home’, children and all.” Cox adds, “It’s a very caring place.”

Pastor Francese shoots a video spot for

Unique to ROCC is the calling to “bring the life of the church both on-site and online.” This calling involves bringing stories and sermons to the virtual world via video. Pastor Francese calls this new medium of reaching out the “Click and Mortar” church. These creative videos allow for a wide range of topics to be viewed and discussed. As well, ROCC has provided a series devoted to children, “Kid’s Corner.” Francese estimates that the addition of online small groups and interactive Bible studies will probably take at lease two years to come to fruition.

Beyond the small group community atmosphere and the uniqueness of becoming a “Click and Mortar” church, ROCC is a host site for Angel Food, a nationally known grocery assistance ministry. Angel Food provides food relief at a deeply discounted price for those in need. ROCC adds, “Anyone can receive the benefits of this ministry; there are no applications or qualifications.”

In addition to the Angel Food ministry, ROCC has partnered with Trinity Baptist Church located in Indianapolis to create outreach events. ROCC describes the intent of this partnership to “is for periodic ROCC-Trinity fun outings and meal fellowships to culminate in joint outreach work projects.”

Moving beyond Carmel and Indianapolis, ROCC sends a team to work in Nicaragua every year for 10-14 days. The purposes of these trips are to “help build schools, renovate orphanages, etc.”

These ministries listed are not just programs. They are the heartbeat and the passion of the people of ROCC. Cox says, “It’s pretty amazing how a church our size can be so impacting … whether through our neighborhood food program, our multicultural involvement with an inner-city church, and mission trips to Nicaragua, not to mention the church’s aggregate impact through so many online involvements.”

ROCC encourages you to hang out with them in person every Sunday at 10 AM. You can visit ROCC at 13200 Old Meridian Street Carmel, Indiana 46032 or visit them online at and

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Greek Orthodox Church Moves to Carmel

Rev. Anastasios Gounaris

Beginning in Indianapolis with several families in 1910, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church has grown to over 2000 members and on Christmas Eve 2008 held their first services in a newly constructed Byzantine Temple in Carmel. I recently had the opportunity to sit down in this truly beautiful structure and talk to the Reverend Anastasios Gounaris.

Reverend Gounaris tells me that they have owned the twenty acres of land at the corner of 106th Street and Shelbourne Road since the late 1990’s. The Reverend tells me that even before he had arrived at Holy Trinity Church there had been talk of relocating the Parish northward from Indianapolis. Reverend Gounaris shared, “The majority of our Parishioners had pretty much moved north from where the church was formally located,” he goes on to say, “There are not a plethora of Orthodox Churches in Indianapolis, we are in the position of having to go to or be closer to where many of our parishioners live.”

Photo by Jonathan Haag

Holy Trinity is still in the process of getting their feet firmly planted in Carmel, but they are grateful and excited to be a part of the city. They offer many events and resources to the community, most notably GreekFest.

The Holy Trinity Parish will be holding the 37th annual GreekFest this coming summer. GreekFest is a time that the community can come together and celebrate diversity and culture. GreekFest has added a rich cultural element to Central Indiana that for many years was lacking. Reverend Gounaris tells me, “It was really the Holy Trinity Greek Festival that was one of the early events in Central Indiana that opened people’s minds and palates to the whole idea of foreign cuisine.”

This summer’s GreekFest will be the second year it will have been held at their new Carmel location. Last year’s GreekFest was an overwhelming success with the location change, although some may remember traffic jams, long lines, and lack of parking. Reverend Gounaris says they have been working on the logistics of GreekFest so that these problems will be kept to a minimum. The Parish encourages the entire community to come out and celebrate the Greek culture with them at the 37th annual GreekFest this year and in the years to come.

As for the future of GreekFest in Carmel, Reverend Gounaris says, “In the future we definitely want to introduce more activities that are of a cultural nature. We have that now with the food and the dancing, but we’re looking into expanding those offerings so that we can bring in artists and artisans from Greece that do all kinds of things from pottery to weaving and traditional arts and crafts, so as to expand and broaden the range of things we offer to those coming here to the Festival.”

GreekFest is by far not the only thing Holy Trinity Church has to offer. Reverend Gounaris adds, “We welcome all people to not only sit in on our worship, but to participate in the increasing range of activities we are going to be offering in this Parish in the years to come.”

Holy Trinity invites everyone from all backgrounds to visit them. On Sunday’s they hold Morning Prayers at 8:15 a.m. and Divine Liturgy at 9:30 p.m., and on Wednesday’s, they hold Paraklesis, a supplication service to the Theotokos, at 6:30 p.m.

You can visit them at 3500 W. 106th Street Carmel, Indiana 46032 or online at

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Come as You Are to Lifepointe Church

Josh Riedy, Youth Minister, in Lifepointe Churchs auditorium.

Josh Riedy, Youth Minister, in Lifepointe Church's auditorium.

Lifepointe Church first came together on Easter Sunday in 2005. Meeting in a rather unconventional space, which happens to be an office complex called Hamilton Crossing, Lifepointe invites the community of Carmel through the doors to a gathering of a real casual faith. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Josh Riedy, Youth Minister at Lifepointe, about the role Lifepointe is playing to the residents of Carmel and beyond.

Riedy says that the mission of Lifepointe is to be “a place where people will find life through faith in Jesus.” When you sit down and examine this community of faith, you begin to understand that they are more about focusing on the individuals that walk through their doors, and the needs of those individuals, than they are about starting a program to bring the community to them.

Lifepointe meets in an office complex at Hamilton Crossing.

Lifepointe meets in an office complex at Hamilton Crossing.

Riedy explains Lifepointe in this way, “At Lifepointe we are real, we are casual, and we are a church.” He continues by saying, “The people at Lifepointe are real with each other. This isn’t a place to act like you have it all figured out. Lifepointe is casual. Come as you are and just get away from the craziness of life. Lastly, Lifepointe is a church. It is probably one of the friendliest places I have ever walked into. People really care about you here.”

This community of faith has also been actively involved in missions. Riedy tells me, “For the past 4 years, Lifepointe has partnered with International Impact Ministries to do a Vacation Bible School Mission trip in Jamaica.” He adds, “This coming February, a group from Lifepointe is heading back to Jamaica for a week of construction and service.”

Lifepointe also has many other ministries that the community can take advantage of. For the little kids, Lifepointe has a dynamic nursery, preschool, and grade school program on Sunday mornings. The older kids in the community can take advantage of mission trips and other fun events happening all throughout the year. The adults at Lifepointe can attend Sunday school classes, breakfasts, and conferences. Lifepointe also has a biblical and authentic counseling program available to those in the Lifepointe community.

To learn more about Lifepointe Church feel free to visit their website at or visit them in person at 12770 Hamilton Crossing Boulevard, Carmel, Indiana 46032.

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Northview Christian Life Church

K.Paul Maurer, Local and Global Outreach Pastor at Northview Christian Life Church sitting at Capstone Cafe which is in Northview.

K.Paul Maurer, Local and Global Outreach Pastor at Northview Christian Life Church sitting at Capstone Cafe which is in Northview.

Northview Christian Life Church began in 1980 with about thirty people meeting at Carmel Elementary School. Today, ministering to over 3,000 people weekly, Northview has its own property overlooking a sea of homes in Carmel. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with K. Paul Maurer, Local and Global Outreach Pastor of Northview, to talk about how the congregation is reaching out in love and service to the city of Carmel and beyond.

The mission of Northview is to connect people with God and to each other. The Good Neighbor Initiative is but one example of how the church truly lives up to its’ mission.

One of the many areas in Northview Christian Life Church where you can drop off healthy foods for the Brookside Community Church Food Pantry.

One of the many areas in Northview Christian Life Church where you can drop off healthy foods for the Brookside Community Church Food Pantry.

K.Paul Maurer describes the Good Neighbor Initiative as “a lifestyle of service that has become the heartbeat of our church.” Maurer further points out that,“We [Northview] consider the Good Neighbor Initiative as not just a program or an event, we consider it a part of who we are.” The Good Neighbor Initiative puts leadership of service projects into the hands of the members of Northview instead of just the pastors.

Rebekah Whiteman, a student and member of Northview, perhaps best describes the powerful impact of this interactive neighborhood outreach. Whiteman served at Brookside Community Church this summer. Brookside, located in Indianapolis, is a church plant of Northview. Whiteman said this about her work at Brookside, “I worked with the kids during the summer youth program. We did activities and along the way, our team would show the kids how to portray God’s love.” Regarding her own experiences, she said, “Working there has helped me better develop my patience. It has also helped me realize what God can do when we trust Him.”

Beyond the Good Neighbor Initiative, the people of Northview can be seen everywhere you look. They can be spotted at Carmel Fest handing out water or on Mother’s Day, passing out flowers at Merchant Square. Maybe your child runs cross country, in which case, Northview has their very own course on their property. Northview’s DNA is to be a good neighbor to the people of Carmel and beyond!

This community-oriented church has also partnered with organizations such as Agape Therapeutic Riding Center, Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana, Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County, Second Helpings, and Wheeler Mission Ministries. Northview sends volunteers to these philanthropic organizations to help in any way that they can.

For more information about Northview Christian Life Church, feel free to peruse their website at or visit them in person at 5535 East 131st Carmel, Indiana 46033.

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