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One Life Church | Our Story
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Our Story

The planning for One Life Church planting started getting aggressive in 2010 with a team from Bethel Temple Community Church in Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky who launched the new church planting organization called One Life Network, Inc.. After months of prayer and preparation, the first church site was secured and renovated in Henderson at an old Ben Franklin Store in Eastgate Shopping center at 1644 Second Street. After many hours of volunteer construction teams transforming the old building into a church with an auditorium, lobby, nursery/preschool rooms and a kid’s theatre…opening day was 10/10/10.

As with any new church plant opening day was anticipated with excitement, but appropriate caution as to how the community would accept and respond to a new church in town. The results were extraordinary. This modest venue of 500 seats was filled to overflowing with over 1000 adults and kids that were responding to the vision of a young church seeking to “help people far from God experience Jesus”.

But as the Henderson site added a second service and eventually a third service to accommodate the people coming in the doors, the core team at One Life Church always stayed connected to the idea of planting churches that plant churches.

In August of 2011, One Life Church merged with a young church plant on the West side of Evansville, Indiana meeting in a movie theatre called Discovery Church. Discovery closed their doors with the idea of a relaunch on Evansville’s west side as soon a new permanent building could be secured and renovated.

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After a lengthy search, One Life West was launched at 1301 West Lloyd Expressway on 8/19/2012 in the offices and warehouse of the old Sterling Brewery. Once again volunteers spent several months renovating and preparing this facility with a 500 seat auditorium, new lobby, nursery/preschool rooms and they used the old Rathskeller as a Kids Theatre on the lower level of this unique building.

And just like Henderson, the west side of Evansville responded to the vision of One Life West and they came to explore and connect to this new west side church. Over 1000 people showed up on opening day and with multiple services, the One Life Network of 2 locations is approaching 2000 people in the first two years of existence.

And the story goes on with site number 3. In summer of 2013, One Life reached an agreement to put the 3rd location in the east side of Evansville in the old Acros Center at 333 Plaza Drive. This building is strategically located between Lloyd E pressway, Green River Road and Burkhardt Road and just a short distance from Harrison High School making it at the heart of East Side activities. After several months of hard work by mostly volunteer labor, One Life opened One Life East on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2014. One Life was now 1 church in 3 locations. And again the community responded with over 1000 people on that first Sunday.

The first three years included worship events called “Because” at the Fine Arts Center in Henderson and at the Victory Theatre and the Centre in downtown Evansville. One Life also did Easter services in 2011 at the Victory Theatre. There have been over 300 people baptized and over 200 One Lifers have been involved in Global opportunities through short term mission trips.

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Cultural Communications is at the heart of the One Life Church strategy. Projects are media intense events that are at the heart of One Life’s passion to leverage artistic creativity to impact people far from God with the message of the gospel. Project Identity and Project Justice were presented in the first two years of One Life with the challenge to One Life attenders to bring their unchurched friends that needed a clear means of communication that spoke their language. Projects will be a regular part of One Life’s outreach to the community.

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Community Development has been a vital part of One Life since Engage was launched in early 2011 to impact a deserving neighborhood of Henderson using research staff from the University Southern Indiana to connect community leaders, church leaders and neighbors in working side by side to improve the quality of life in the East End area of town. Working in partnership with schools like South Heights and Jefferson  in Henderson and Delaware and Cedar Hall in Evansville, ongoing plans include mentoring, after school initiatives and home repairs to serve and improve the quality of life in the area. One Life West began developing relationships with city leaders and local leaders that were involved in Evansville’s Jacobsville neighborhood. In March of 2013 through what was called the “Engage Experience”, there were over 600 One Lifer’s deployed in Henderson’s East End and Evansville’s Jacobsville to serve on a Saturday at 3 schools, 4 parks, 6 homes and a day care center. Engage continues to grow and serve be a catalyst for collaboration and local neighborhood impact.

In 2014, One Life connected the Engage idea to a larger event called “City Serve” where several churches in Evansville and Henderson joined together to impact local parks, schools and neighborhoods.

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Life groups and Teams have were a part of One Life Church from the very beginning, but in 2013 there was a “Shift”. While spiritual growth and learning God’s word was and is always a priority there was a passion to leverage spiritual growth into missional action. With the launch of a book written by two One Lifer’s, Austin Maxheimer and Zach Below called “From Couch to Community”, One Life began the journey of having every group craft a mission statement that reflected the passions and giftedness of people within the groups. The series was called “Groupshift” and the exciting results have been groups moving from their living rooms into the halls of schools, serving projects in neighborhoods, connecting to global impact at new levels and beyond.

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As the strategy for building a great city continued to be at heart and core of the One Life strategic planning, in 2012 there was an ongoing partnership established with the New York Leadership Center and the connected work of Redeemer City to City in global church planting and the annual event called Movement Day. This connection to city movements led One LIfe Network to frame the overall ongoing work of One Life Church sites within the context of a 7 part City Movement strategy.  In 2013, One Life took 50 leaders to New York City for Movement Day where a team shared the “GroupShift” strategy in an Innovative Churches track and connected to church planters and leaders from around the world.

Fall of 2013 brought an exciting announcement that One Life Church was included in the nation’s top 100 fastest growing churches. The Outreach 100 is the annual study produced in collaboration with Lifeway Research and Outreach Magazine.

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In October of 2013, One Life launched MOVE. The idea of MOVE is a clear vision for local and global impact at increased levels with the growth of the three main sites in Henderson, West and East.

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With a vision for a church planting network thinking globally and acting locally, One Life Henderson, One Life West and One Life East  are the beginning of what we hope to be many church plants around the world. Additional sites are being planned in the tristate area surrounding Evansville and there are other opportunities being explored in global cities.

Helping people far from God experience Jesus is not just a vision plaque on the wall at One Life. It is at the core of everything we do.