The birth of a vision to plant a church resulted for Kerry Bowman while starting his D.Min studies at Fuller Seminary, CA where Rick Warren (also pursuing his D.Min at that time) stated to him “It is easier to give birth than to raise the dead”. Prior to God using Rick’s influence and hearing about the storied beginning of Saddleback Church, Kerry was primarily focused on church renewal/revival and had not considered starting a church.
January – April 1992
Eagle Alliance Church was born … basically beginning from scratch with “no people, no building, no money.” Sunday night, January 12, was the first informational meeting held at a Signature Inn on Indy’s west side – 73 friends and interested people attended, including Eric Simpson, who while traveling to work at Eli Lilly had heard a radio ad “Looking for something new in 1992?”.
During the formational early months, a core group of 30-40 committed to join Pastor Kerry, and his wife Melissa, on a weekly basis to envision the birth of a new church to reach the unchurched.
The first public service took place on April 5, 1992 when 188 people gathered to celebrate and worship in a month-to-month leased building at 73rd Street & Zionsville Rd. The new church began to average over 100 people per week during the summer and small groups were launched in the fall to enfold those interested into deeper biblical community and spiritual growth.
Eric Simpson would end up leaving the marketplace to become the first full-time staff pastor. Bill Bean became Eagle’s first worship pastor. Together the three leaders supported the growing new community of believers and seekers in the early years.
Eagle grew out of its current building and relocated to a rented 20,000 s.f. storefront along I-465 at the West 71st exit. Here, they soon began a second weekend worship service, added other staff and continued to build greater outreach to children, students and young adults/families. The church also began to build a heart for global missions with the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA).
Eagle had grown to over 400 people and a search for a permanent campus began with the desire to find an area promising regional access to Northwest Indianapolis. Eagle’s current property (SR 334 & I-65) was discovered – the initial purchase of 94 acres was proposed to the people of Eagle – while they realized it was further north than first anticipated, it “would position us well for the future metro growth.”
The Eagle family later joined together in a stewardship journey called “Time to Build” where the initial funds were committed to develop what would become the Anson campus in West Zionsville. This giving effort, combined with a substantial loan from the Alliance Development Fund (ADF), was a huge “step of faith” for a young church.
The master plan/concept for the building and campus would enable Eagle to be more than a church, but to also become a Community Center providing a significant resource/destination for the growing suburban area of the city.
May – July 2000
The church went mobile meeting for nine weeks in the Zionsville High School auditorium before moving into the new Eagle Center facility for opening day on July 5, 2000. Having landed in the new environment, God continued to grow the congregation as the mission of “reaching the unchurched and leading people to be growing followers of Christ” was enjoined by many with dependency on his Spirit. The abbreviated name “Eagle Church” began to be used.
Transitions in leadership brought Brad Bak to become the Worship & Arts Pastor of Eagle Church – joining staff after moving his family from Southern California. Today, Pastor Kerry, Pastor Eric and Pastor Brad serve the church as the senior level of pastoral leadership.
Through an extended time of reflection, prayer and strategic discussion, the Eagle staff was realigned to better focus on the two critical ministry initiatives of Spiritual Formation and Missional Living. In particular, Pastor Eric took over the primary teaching role of Eagle Church enabling Pastor Kerry to re-energize the missional outreach efforts of the body – “Bringing the Presence of Christ to Every Neighborhood in Northwest Indy … and Beyond”
Eighteen years after Eagle Church began, the first multi-site campus was started on Indy’s west side in Avon – “one church … two locations”. Today, both Eagle Church at Anson and Eagle Church at Avon, jointly minister to over 1000 regular attenders mobilizing them to fulfill God’s local, regional and global mission to reach all for Christ. Jesus is the author, sustainer and finisher of the vision.