Statement of Faith
In the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired of God and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the word of God and the final authority in faith and conduct.
In one God, the Creator of all things and man, eternally existing in three Persons, in a threefold relationship; that of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
That Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and is God enfleshed, the God-man.
That man was created in the image of God, that he sinned, and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also the spiritual death which is separation from God. That Adam’s sin is imputed to the whole race of mankind, and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature and in case of those who reach the state of moral responsibility, become sinners before God in thought, word and deed.
That the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins (the sins of all men) according to the Scriptures as a substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are freely Justified and stand before God, accepted in the character and merit of Jesus Christ.
In the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, in His ascension into Heaven, and that in His present life, He is the Head of the Church, the Lord of the individual believer, the High Priest over the house of God and the Advocate of the family of God.
That all who by faith receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, are born again of the Holy Spirit, receive the Holy Spirit baptized into the Body of Christ.
That the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man consist only of the company of those who are born again and saved through faith in Jesus Christ.
In the bodily resurrection of the Just and the unjust; the everlasting blessedness of the saved and the everlasting punishment of the unsaved.
The Church by the Side of the Road opened its doors on August 10, 1952. The church name came from the song titled “The Church by the Side of the Road” written by Reverend W.C. Poole. The song is in recognition of his deep debt of gratitude for the wholesomeness which was a part of rural life. He noticed how different the lives were of the people who left their country homes for the city, and how they were able to resist most of the temptations a big city presented to them. Their families, school and church influenced their morals, and their country roots. When tested, they often displayed an evidence of being very strongly rooted in fundamental virtues and strong Christian beliefs with loyalty to God, family and neighborhood.
The founder and then Pastor, Willis R. Howard, was from the small town of Alfordsville, IN located in southern Indiana. His family, church, school and community were the cornerstones of his values that have guided him through his ministry. He attended Indiana Central College. The Lord led him to establish a church on the west side of Indianapolis, IN in the Ben Davis area. An Interdenominational Church was started at 6851 West Washington St. Willis was associated with other ministers, and together they formed the organization called “Community Church Fellowship”.
After about three years the church moved to 7011 W. Washington Street, and stayed there for nearly one year. Next the church moved to the pastor’s property at 1404 Western Drive, where he converted his garage into a church and built two smaller buildings, which were also used for the church. In 1962 the property at the corner of Seerly and High School Roads was purchased; it was previously owned by the Methodist Church. This is where the Bethel Methodist Church held services before they tore down their building to allow the State Highway Department to widen High School Road. They rebuilt the church and had only completed the basement of the new church when Bethel and Maywood Methodist merged together and relocated to Hanna Avenue. Our church purchased the basement church property. Many of the church members of the old Bethel Methodist church remained with our church once we moved into the basement. Our plan was to build a church over the basement once funds were available. Before this happened the grounds were purchased by the Airport Authority. We spent nearly 15 years holding service in the basement. The next move was to our present location at 10323 E. County Road 100 South in Avon.
In the beginning, attendance was low. We averaged eleven church members our first year of service, and we grew to fifteen our second year. By the third year we averaged 27 members. During the early years there was a Boy’s Club organization associated with the church, with as many as 35 boys in attendance each week. This was before the YMCA formed. Some of the men with the congregation helped the church with the boys and tremendous credit must be given to Homer Boone, Charles Bell, Russell Hopper and Earl Burkhead. The interest in missionary work came early in our ministry; interest through Lighthouse Mission of Indianapolis, IN was our first. We presently support several missionaries (see Suggested Links).
The history of the church is scattered with many surnames of loyal members. Many of these are connected by marriage through their maiden name while others are daughters and carry a different name through marriage. Located throughout the church are little plaques honoring many of our early church members. These plaques were placed in commemoration of a loved one, representing that family’s support and contribution toward the financing of the church building and construction funds. These plaques are located on the windowsills, church pews and various other locations within the church.
Pastor Howard, in our current church, baptized many of our members. Interesting to note, several members were baptized by him using another church’s baptismal, before this church was built. Pastor Howard has performed many marriages, some in the basement church as well as in our current location. Many couples have had their 50th anniversary celebration at the church.
The church has been blessed by the Lord with many faithful members through the years, who have given very willingly to the church. An Honor Roll plaque displayed in the foyer of the church sanctuary honors those who have served as loyal members. The church is bound together by a family of loyal believers, and Pastor Howard’s motto was a simple one: “No Book but the Bible. No Creed but Christ. No Law but Love.”
Willis stepped down as Pastor of the church due to health concerns in 2012. Over the course of several months, through prayer and consideration, the Board elected Willis’ great-nephew Lyndon Hopkins as the new Pastor. Lyndon, his wife Miranda and their son Aidan have been a joyful addition to our church family. Assistant Pastor Rick Wallace has remained in his position through the transition.
Pastor Howard passed away on January 9, 2013. His funeral service was led by Lyndon at the church, with Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer led by Reverend Don Foley. Pastor Howard is survived by his wife Peggy Howard, as well as several children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.