Select “The Elkhart Vision Project”

Updated 1/16/2024

Our Vision

There is no doubt in our hearts and minds that God has called River Oaks back into the city of Elkhart to make fully-devoted followers of Jesus. As we have been obedient to that call, God has opened the door for us to purchase and renovate Central Christian Church to serve not only as the permanent home for River Oaks in Elkhart but as a ministry outpost for our local compassion efforts in the city. God’s provision and our generosity to commit to give above and beyond our general giving over the next three years will make our mission and vision in the city of Elkhart possible.

Project Information

Why is River Oaks in Elkhart leaving Elkhart High School East?
From the moment we launched River Oaks in Elkhart at the high school we knew we were on the clock. The school has a policy that prevents churches from using their facilities as long-term gathering spaces. Our lease would have expired last fall, but because of COVID it was extended to October 2022. The only way that lease can be extended is if we have plans in place to move to a new location in a relatively short period of time.

What is so appealing about Central Christian Church?
Central Christian Church is a beautiful, historic church that is worth investing in. At 25,000 square feet, this space is larger than we would have built had we decided to go with new construction and costs half of what new construction would have cost. This church puts us within a mile of most of our strategic ministry partners in the city while still being within a mile of the new River District development. We are excited about breathing new life back into this space for the glory of God.

Did we look at other options besides Central Christian?
Absolutely! From the moment we moved into the school, we’ve had different sub-committees of elders, deacons, staff, and lay-leaders searching for a permanent location for River Oaks in Elkhart. We have worked with a realtor to look at other properties, had conversations about renting space, looked at vacant property to purchase, and even build something new. After evaluating all of those options, we are certain that the purchase and renovation of Central Christian is where God is leading us.

What renovations are happening in the church?
It is our goal to breathe new life into this space by blending the more contemporary feel of River Oaks with the traditional beauty of the space. n addition to taking care of some deferred maintenance and modernizing some of the mechanical systems in the building, we will be focusing on enhancing the first impression of the space by opening up the original sanctuary to serve as a main lobby and gathering space; freshening up the kids’ space and bathrooms; and installing updated audio, visual, and lighting in the sanctuary without detracting from the traditional beauty of the space. We want the space to feel like River Oaks while honoring the legacy and history of Central Christian.

What ministry opportunities does this project make possible into the future?
Securing a permanent home for River Oaks in Elkhart is an important part of this project, and yet we know what happens on Sunday morning alone will not fulfill the mission and vision God has given us. This space will serve as a launch pad for our Community Groups throughout the city. Additionally, this space makes it possible to find opportunities to expand our influence in the Spanish-speaking community, help address 3rd-grade reading pass-rates in the city, and more. What God could do in and through this space is really exciting for our entire church family.

What is the total cost of this project?
The total cost of the project is $2.6 million. We are acquiring the entire property for $1 which allows all of our investment to go into renovating the space. Between money that has already been raised for this project during previous Christmas Projects and the initial commitments of our leadership team, we already have over $500,000 committed towards the project.

Is this project going to take us into debt?

No. We have made a commitment that we will only spend what funds have been committed towards this project. Because of that commitment we will scope the project to what is committed and will not do more work that what we can afford.

How can I give towards this project?
You can give towards the project by accessing the commitment form here. You can also access a physical commitment form in our lobby on Sunday mornings or in our office during the week. After filling out your physical commitment form, you can drop it in any of our offering boxes.

It is important that you make your commitment soon so we can appropriately scope the project towards the funds that are being committed.

We have also made it possible for you to make stock donations directly to the church. After filling out your commitment card, you can go here to securely setup your non-cash contribution.

How else can I get involved?

The most important way you can be involved in this project is through prayer.

  • Thank God for His provision and ask that once again He would provide.
  • Pray for the unity of our church family through this project.
  • Pray that God would continue to soften the hearts of the residents in the city of Elkhart that we are called to GO to with the message of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray that in all things God would be glorified and His Kingdom would be advanced.

Additionally, if you are a contractor and would like to contribute to this project through your business or skilled labor, contact us at office@riveroaks.org so we can get you in contact with our general contractor.

What if I have other questions?
Any additional questions or concerns can be directed to our church office (office@riveroaks.org).

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