Spring Creek Church

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Spring Creek Church
Country United States
Denomination Non-Denominational, Evangelical Christian
Website springcreekonline.com
Clergy
Senior pastor(s) Chip Bernhard

Spring Creek Church is a large, non-denominational, evangelical Christian church located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. The church is autonomous and independent of any denominational control. However, Spring Creek recognizes the benefits of cooperation with other churches in world missions, and in its national, state and local expressions. Spring Creek currently averages 1,500 people in attendance per week.

History[edit]

The church was founded in 1881 as Garfield Baptist Church, when a small group of Christians wanting to reach their English speaking community for Christ started a little mission church. The church's earliest days unfolded in a small, wooden-frame building on the corner of Second Street and Garfield Avenue in Milwaukee.

By 1951 a new building was added adjacent to the old one, housing the growing number of congregants. In 1964, continued growth mandated another move, this time to the suburb of Wauwatosa. In the decades to follow, a strong Bible school and a flourishing AWANA program reached and trained hundreds of children in Biblical studies. Involvement in worldwide missions also expanded to include dozens of families serving around the globe.

In 1987, William "Chip" Bernhard was installed as senior pastor. Under Pastor Bernhard, the 1990s were marked by significant growth and vision in the church to reach future generations. Once again outgrowing facilities, the church leadership began to earnestly study solutions. After consulting Dr. Lyle E. Schaller,[1] among other noted church growth consultants, Garfield Baptist embarked on yet another plan to relocate to 99 acres (400,000 m2) of land in Pewaukee. In October 1997, the church family made an historic drive down Capitol Drive to the new facility. In 2001, the congregation voted to change the name of the church to Spring Creek Church, which better reflected the new location and the church's desire to reach beyond its traditional Baptist roots.[2]

Also in 2001, Spring Creek completed the Building for the Harvest capital campaign and opened a new, $4.2 million, 850 seat worship center. In 2006, the church celebrated its 125th anniversary. After doubling attendance in the decade since moving to Pewaukee, in early 2008, construction began on the And 1 campaign, which included a $6 million expansion to the worship center (increasing capacity to nearly 2,000), a new foyer, bookstore and coffee bar, along with a new Christian education wing. The project was completed in January 2009.[3]

Chip Bernhard[edit]

Pastor Chip Bernhard graduated from Cedarville University in 1977 and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 1980. Bernhard started his pastoral ministry at Shawnee Baptist Church in Vincentown, New Jersey, where he served for seven years as an associate pastor. In 1987, he came to Spring Creek Church as the senior pastor.

Bernhard is currently a trustee at Cedarville University and is on the board of Shepherds Baptist Ministries, a care facility for the mentally disabled. He is married to Margie and they have three adult children: Kelly, Karl, and Ben. Pastor Bernhard enjoys sports, yard work, and has been a chaplain for the Milwaukee Bucks for several years.[4][5]

Land Use and Development[edit]

Over the years, Spring Creek has faced serious hurdles with regard to the planned use of their Pewaukee property. In December 2003, the church filed a lawsuit in Waukesha County Circuit Court to prevent the Wisconsin Energy Corporation from building an electrical substation on a portion of the property. Among the reasons for the suit, cited at the time, was the church's plan to build facilities for a day care and senior housing. The church assisted the energy company in locating a more suitable parcel of land, ending the legal battle.[6][7]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Distinguished Alum: Dr. Lyle E. Schaller". Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  2. ^ Heinen, Tom (August 6, 2005). "Churches, Just Without the Label". WashingtonPost.com/ Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  3. ^ http://www.springcreekonline.com/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=7505&sec_id=2950
  4. ^ springcreekonline.com
  5. ^ Bernhard quoted by Broussard, Chris (November 26, 2007). "Bucking The Weight". ESPN The Magazine.
  6. ^ Doege, David (January 29, 2004). "Utility plan may hinder church growth". JSOnline/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  7. ^ Doege, David (April 27, 2004). "Church, utility set to end legal battle". JSOnline/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

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