Illuminate Indy Leadership

Our goal as the Illuminate Indy Team is to serve and equip our church in carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ in Indy.
Here are some brief stories of who we are and how we got here.

Chad & Lindsay Garrison

Lead Pastors

Lindsay’s #MyWhyIndy
I first moved to Indianapolis when I was one. I grew up in the city until I graduated high school and left for college in Tennessee. It was 10 years later on my journey that I felt the Lord calling me back to the same city that gave me roots. Inspired by a small panel of church planters at the 2014 HD Conference, the Lord spoke to my heart, and I knew that we were meant to serve the city of Indianapolis.
I graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. I am passionate about seeing individuals, marriages and families restored and redeemed for God’s glory.

I’ve realized the call to church plant in Indianapolis was a call on our family, not just my husband and I, and it is just as much a part of my children’s stories as it will be mine. The Lord is before us, and He is making a way for us, faithfully providing all we need.

I’ve moved several times in my adult life and had many transitions, but this one was easy; it’s coming home.

Chad’s #MyWhyIndy
This was crazy. We had just sold our home in Rochester, IN and bought a new one. It was a fixer-upper, but we felt like we were beginning to put down roots and would be in it for the long haul in this small community. But God was moving, and soon we would be too. AGAIN.

It’s actually par for the course. My 15+ years in ministry have all been marked with a series of unexpected and unplanned stops. I can sincerely say that I never aspired to serve in any of the roles and capacities I have served in. I went to school for communications, specifically broadcasting and film. Yet, somehow I ended up back in my hometown of Las Vegas, NV working full-time at a Foursquare church that I had never attended previously, as the multimedia director.

It was on my first missions trip to Panama that I clearly heard the Lord say, “I called you to be a pastor—what are you waiting for?” I was ruined for anything else after that. Once I became licensed as a Foursquare minister, I soon became appointed youth pastor of the church. A couple years later, I would unexpectedly be asked to serve as Senior Pastor of a church in a town 60 miles outside of Vegas. After four years there, God was calling us to, and my wife Lindsay back, to serve as the NextGen Director of the Heartland District, and live specifically in Indiana. Once again I found myself in a place I never would have aspired to be, in a capacity I would never have dreamed of being.

Through another stirring that could only be Jesus, we felt compelled to explore planting a church in Indianapolis in early 2012. However, it just didn’t seem like the timing was right, and not long after deciding against it, God opened the door for us to move to Rochester, IN and serve part time at a church while I kept my NextGen Director role. We were finally set.

Then in the middle of 2014, I began to feel the moving of the Lord that I have only felt when He was about to move us geographically and ultimately vocationally. As much as I tried to stuff and move past this prodding, it began to truly become a holy discontent. It wasn’t that the work I was putting my hands to was not what God had called me to, it was that very simply, it was nearing completion. So there we were as a family; newly moved, and realizing our season in Rochester was done. The problem was, we didn’t know where or what “next” was. Then at our 2014 HDConference, Lindsay and I watched a small panel of church planters share, and even bring up the need to send more planters to the city of Indianapolis. As if lightning had hit us at the same time, we both looked at each other and knew exactly what we were supposed to do. As we moved forward in the process of prayer and relocation, our own children would confirm that this calling was just as much for them as it was us.

So “My Why Indy” is simple, because God called me here. I’ve learned that when He calls, even to the things I feel unprepared and unqualified for, I just need to follow through, confident that HE will take care of the details. It’s already been incredible to see how he’s not only drawn us to this city, for this purpose, but also our team members to serve with us! During this past year of living here, God has given me a real love for Indy. It is truly a beautiful city of beautiful people. But during this time He has also revealed the great pain, hopelessness and restlessness that those who don’t know Jesus, possess here.

In the 2010 census, in Indianapolis, nearly 58% of those who participated answered “None” to the question of religious adherence. This statistic staggers me almost every time I talk about it. It drives me to see it changed—not in a way that people are “converted” to Christianity, but rather they would become fully devoted disciples of Christ. That those who would claim “none”, would someday experience transformation that rescues, heals, restores hope and gives new purpose. One that can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ!

Sarah & Justin Baldwin

Associate & NextGen Pastor

Sarah’s #MyWhyIndy
My why Indy story starts in 2009. I dedicated my life to the Lord the summer after high school. I told the Lord that I wanted to live like Isaiah. When God asks, “who will go”, I want my response to always be, “Lord send me, I will go.”
This has led me many places! I want to live in intentional obedience to the Lord. This move however, has been different than all of my other adventures for the Lord before. This is the first time I’ve moved while being married. In addition to that, my husband and I were the youth leaders of some of the best kids I’ve ever encountered.

Life was great for us in Las Vegas, NV. We had friends, family, and an amazing ministry that was thriving. Everything was great. But God stirred our hearts. We were offered an opportunity to be a part of this church plant. We declined initially, but after further discussion and further prayer, we felt that God was calling us to take the largest step of faith either one of us have ever dared to do.
We believe whole-heartedly that God has called us out here to be a part of His plans, and we want to follow that call!

Justin’s #MyWhyIndy
My wife, Sarah, and I decided to come to Indy after a few opportunities to move to northern Indiana were offered to us. We knew God had a specific calling on our lives and knew He wanted us in ministry. After prayerfully considering the opportunities, we decided it wasn’t the right time for us to make the move across the country from Las Vegas, NV. Our answer to the previous offer was “no, but this is not a never, this is a not right now.”

When Sarah and I were first married I knew that one day we would be offered these opportunities to move to Indiana, so I told Sarah early on that I had no desire to move that far from home and from family and if we were to go I would have to be dragged kicking and screaming!

Not long after I told her that, God started working on my heart. I heard his voice, “your life is not your own.” I began praying that God would reveal his plan to me, or at least the next step for us in life and asked him to give me a heart for what His calling on my life was. We received a call one day from P.C. (Pastor Chad) who informed us that he would be moving from northern Indiana to Indianapolis to plant a church and wanted to extend an offer to us to be a part of the team.
Slowly but surely God gave me a heart to make the move across the country, to a city that I had never even been to before! He called us here to be a light to this city and walk out His will in our lives. I don’t know what exactly that looks like, but I know that God is faithful and He is doing something more awesome than I could ever imagine!

Michael Oberle

Associate Pastor

Michael’s #MyWhyIndy
Why did you move from California to Indianapolis? This is the question that I get asked a lot. If you would have told me that I was going to be living in the Midwest a few years ago, I would have laughed so hard, it would not have been funny. In order for me to explain why I chose to move to Indy I have to share about my time at Life Pacific College.

During my first year at Life Pacific College, I became an Ambassador for the Office of Admissions and basically what my role was then was to recruit people for the college which included traveling to summer and winter camps to represent my school. One of these camps was Camp Hickory in Illinois. I was excited to travel go to this camp and try and get people to know about Life Pacific College and what it had to offer. Little did I know that this opportunity was going to be the door into my future.

I met Chad Garrison at this camp. He was leading the camp interns and overseeing various different things of the camp. I had one specific conversation with him that grew into a journey of conversations to lead me to where I am today. He shared with me that he was encouraged by my leadership while being at camp and would love to have me come be a part of his church plant in Indianapolis. I put it on the back burner and thought that I would have other opportunities come for me and I sure did have some incredible opportunities, but they did not come through. All the opportunities became closed doors and this opportunity in Indianapolis was the only one the Lord kept open. So I began to pray specifically on potentially moving out here and I decided to come visit in January. As soon as I met the team, I was deeply connected with each one of them feeling as though I had known them for years and at that moment I knew that God was placing me here.
I did not choose Indianapolis as a last resort as it might sound, but God had ordained every conversation, thought, and experience to position me to be prepared to come out here to Indy and be a vessel for his kingdom. Now you’ve got a California boy moving to a Midwestern city, that is a difficult transition to make. However, God has graced me with such an incredible support team and friends to partner with in this season of my life and I KNOW I am called to be here and break down the walls of the religious culture and allow people to experience Jesus no matter where they are. WE are the church and WE must represent Jesus well and that is my heart and my hope is to reflect Jesus wherever I am. God is stirring up a hunger in Indianapolis and I am excited to be a part of God’s plan. So, why did I move from California to Indianapolis? I moved for Jesus to be made known to a lost city, broken, and in need of a Savior who loves them and wants relationship with them.

John & Karen Garrison

Associate Pastor & Children's Director

The Garrison’s #MyWhyIndy
Coming Soon!