Friday, March 25, 2005
Several years ago I was asked to assist the church in identifying sites for their new campus and I introduced the church to the land owners and assisted in the acquistion of nearly 100 acres of their land in Boone County on the church’s behalf. Leaving the Traders Point neighborhood was the church congregation’s last choice. Numerous sites were evaluated prior to the congregation and the Boone County Commissioners agreeing to the new location. And when the church faced the prospect of selling their existing campus, I was honored to be chosen by their leadership team to lead the marketing and negotiations to sell the facility.
Many of you will be concerned about the prospect of change and the transition from a neighbor you know well to a new neighbor. Through my interaction with the people of New Life I have been gratified and excited to see many remarkable similarities between our two churches and we arelooking forward to maintaining a church and school in this location. But sadly, I know that for many of my neighbors they will only see the differences. One of my prayers for our neighborhood is that we set aside our differences on this new neighbor and embrace them with the warmth and enthusiasm I have felt from my Traders Point neighbors since we moved here. If you have any questions or concerns, you may email me confidentially at email@example.com. Thanks!
“Church will buy Traders Point site
Congregation using mall space plans to move into departing church’s facilities next summer.
Youngsters had a Bible lesson Wednesday at New Life Worship Center in the former Lazarus store at Lafayette Square. The church hopes to raise $4.7 million to buy the Traders Point church property, 7860 Lafayette Road, by the time it moves in. — Adriane Jaeckle / The Star
New Life Worship Center
• Location: Lafayette Square Mall, northeast entrance, 3919 Lafayette Road
• Sunday services: 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
• Wednesday night Bible study: 7 p.m.
• Information: (317) 925-8067
About the church
• Membership: 2,900
• Affiliation: Nondenominational
• Current home: Worship Center, Lafayette Square Mall. Offices: 2740 Kessler Blvd., N. Drive.
• Future home: 7860 Lafayette Road, current home of Traders Point Christian Church
• Timetable for moving: Summer-fall 2006
• Notable: The church has a 90-member choir and a 10-member praise team. It plans to install a recording studio at its future home to attract big-name gospel artists. One of its members, Max Siegel, is president of gospel music producer Verity Records.
By Robert King
March 25, 2005
When New Life Worship Center moved into its current home at Lafayette Square Mall last year, the Rev. John Ramsey Sr. didn’t have to look far for a sermon topic.
He preached about Lazarus — the friend whom the Bible says Jesus raised from the dead. It also happened to be the name of the department store that once occupied the space the church was using.
Less than a year later, New Life Worship Center — which counts Colts coach Tony Dungy as a member — is planning to move again, this time to a home it can call its own.
New Life, a predominantly black church, has reached a deal to buy the Northwestside facilities of Traders Point Christian Church, a predominantly white church that’s moving to a site in Boone County.
The deal announced recently is making this a special Easter season for both congregations. But the shuffling will cost a lot of money for both churches.
Traders Point plans to spend $20 million on the church it will build near I-65 and Ind. 334. The church’s 2,000 members already have pledged $8.2 million to the cause.
New Life, a church that’s grown from 300 members to nearly 3,000 in three years, hopes to raise the $4.7 million it will cost to buy the Traders Point property at 7860 Lafayette Road by the time it moves in next summer. That’s in keeping with the church’s overall focus on the blessings that can come with financial freedom.
Ramsey, New Life’s pastor, says his church has never run a deficit since its beginnings in 2001 on Kessler Boulevard, where it opened with the help of Eastern Star Church.
One of the church’s cornerstone ministries uses a church member who runs a local credit union — and a team of accountants — to advise church members on how to reduce their personal debts.
And Ramsey, who is teaching a series on smart money management, says he and his staffers take a “corporate church” approach to running the ministry. They even employed a private public relations firm to trumpet the purchase of the Traders Point property.
“The Scripture talks about Jesus being about his father’s business. There is a business side to ministry,” Ramsey said.
Paying for the Traders Point property quickly is merely being consistent, he said.
“It’s practicing what we preach.”
Church members responded to the deal with $1 million in pledges.
Mary Posey, a 51-year-old grandmother who has been with the church since its inception, said Ramsey has often taught about how financial empowerment helps the work of the church.
“It’s hard to be in ministry if you are in debt. If the people are in debt and the church is in debt and God says move, it’s hard to go get money somewhere,” Posey said.
New Life has ministries in a variety of locations — prisons, women’s shelters, juvenile homes, apartment complexes and neighborhoods. But Ramsey said the phenomenal growth is based on something more than the church’s own efforts.
“I think evangelism helps us tremendously,” he said. “But I think God is doing something very special.”
Murieta Covington, a 38-year-old mother of three who lives on the Northwestside, found it hard to explain her church’s growth other than giving credit to God.
Ramsey is a good teacher who makes the Scriptures applicable to life, she said, but the family feeling at the church — its welcomeness, as she put it — is another essential ingredient.
“You really feel like part of a big family,” Covington said.
The move will offer a lot of things, but it will not mean additional worship space for New Life. In fact, New Life can fit more people into the renovated Lazarus store than Traders Point’s sanctuary will hold.
Still, the Traders Point property offers more office space, a sense of permanency and an opportunity to diversify New Life’s racial makeup in what’s considered a predominantly white part of the city.
“Every week, we have different cultures coming in,” Ramsey said, “but not to the degree we would like to see it.”
For Traders Point, which has been looking to move out of its cramped home for nearly a decade, the sale of its current home is a key milestone. But it isn’t likely to speed up the completion of the new church.
Even so, plans for Traders Point’s new church have evolved since a fund-raising drive that began in November with a special service at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Some reconfiguration of the building designs will enable Traders Point to increase its seating capacity to 2,600, up from the 1,400 originally planned. And church leaders have decided to commit 10 acres of the 90-acre site to the church’s school, Traders Point Christian Academy.
The school will make the jump to the new property as soon as its own separate fund-raising effort allows. When it does, New Life has hopes of starting its own school.
The church deal is unique in that New Life is scheduled to take ownership of the Traders Point property within a month. From there, Traders Point will lease the property it has called home since 1964 until the church’s new building is complete.
The Rev. Howard Brammer, senior minister at Traders Point, said the business dealings between the two congregations have been harmonious. And it is a relationship made more comfortable by the evangelistic focus the churches share.
“They’re very excited. We’re very excited. It’s a win-win situation for the kingdom.”
Call Star reporter Robert King at (317) 444-6089.”