GREENFIELD — It was a long commute to church on the west side of Indianapolis, but Jake Hughes and his wife were willing to make the drive. They were worshiping with family members, and they figured they’d be moving to the area soon themselves.

Then they found “the” house in Greenfield. Now that they were staying, they wanted to find a church here, too.

Hughes remembers one Sunday nearly four years ago when they visited Realife Church. One of the founders met them at the front door, said “hi” to them and remembered their names.

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That welcome impressed them, and so did the atmosphere of the church. Hughes said they liked its mission and felt they could really get support it.

Since then, several hundred more people have visited the church at 971 W. U.S. 40 and also decided to stay. The congregation has grown so large that church leaders are taking steps to make room. In the short team, that means adding services; in the long term, that means a move.

The church has purchased 17 acres at U.S. 40 and North County Road 525 West. In late January the church launched a two-year giving campaign, hoping to raise $3 million to build a building at the new site.

“Our vision is over the next three years to have a new church building that we’ll move into,” Hughes said.“We’re trying to ‘create a place that people love so they can experience a loving God,’” he added, quoting a slogan from the church’s Imagine giving campaign.

Right now the church is in the middle of a 21-day spiritual journey that includes prayer, devotional readings and — for those who choose to participate in this aspect — fasting. That focused phase began Feb. 12 and concludes March 5.

During weekend services March 4 and 5, those pledging money to the building campaign will turn in their pledge cards, and the total pledges will be announced in services two weeks later.

The church is making plans for a new building because “We’re just kind of busting at the seams,” said member Meghan Britt. “It’s a wonderful problem to have, but it’s just not holding the congregation anymore.”

The Rev. Adam Detamore, Realife’s lead pastor, said there were 45 cars on a recent Sunday parked in the grass next to the parking lot. Church members volunteering as parking attendants were trying to help drivers find parking spaces before the second Sunday morning service. But the lot was so full that a few drivers pulled out of the lot and left.

By the numbers

2007

year Realife Church began; services took place at Greenfield-Central High School

2008

year another church closed and the Indiana District of the Assemblies of God gave Realife the building at 971 W. U.S. 40

11,000

square feet in Realife’s current facility

27,000

square feet projected for a new facility

more than 1,200

number of salvations in Realife’s 10 years, according to a brochure for the Imagine giving campaign

$5.5 million

total cost of the building project; the church is working to raise $3 million to secure the financing for the rest

74,000

expected increase in the number of residents living within a 7.5-mile radius of the church when it moves

Source: Imagine booklet, Realife Church

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Anne Smith is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at annesmith@greenfieldreporter.com