We believe that God’s method of working His purpose in our lives and the lives of others is for us to live in His community. We seek to be His agency of true Biblical community and a testimony of that community in these different neighborhoods.


Not until you enter into a level of intimacy does what we really need come to the surface. At that point, God uses His people and His Word to work on us. When we listen and learn, we find out how God wants to use us. After we learn the needs of others, they will then be open to learning what God says.


True love is not giving someone something. But it is using what we learned to meet a need so that we can show the love of God. God’s love is what we all really need, despite what we might feel at the time. Our mission is to do the above to accomplish bringing people into a true relationship with a loving Father.


In January of 2022, the Indiana University Polis Center published a case study on the IMPACT Ministries of Mount Pleasant Christian Church.
The IMPACT ministry began as a closet-sized food pantry in the 1990s. It eventually moved into a nearby house in Greenwood that MPCC owned. In 2013, the ministry — the IMPACT Center — moved into a new, 15,000-square-foot building next to MPCC’s main campus in Greenwood. It now serves about 400 families each week.

In the early 2010s, the work of the IMPACT Center planted a seed in the mind of MPCC’s senior pastor, Chris Philbeck. He would often visit with the people who came for help with food and clothing. “I would go share from the scriptures and pray with them,” he says, “and I was amazed. I was struck by how big the need was and how open the people were.”

Those interactions left Philbeck convinced that the ministry could — and should — be replicated elsewhere, especially in low-income neighborhoods where people in need could go and find help. It left him with a key insight.

“I remember one day thinking — there’s no set model of what a church looks like anymore,” says Philbeck, “In the scriptures, there are some guidelines; I think about Acts 2:42, and how it says that they devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship and breaking of bread and prayer. And I felt like, if [those elements are present], you’ve got a church service, regardless of what it looks like. That caused me to reimagine what we were doing.”

Megachurches often become “multisite” churches, meaning they launch satellite congregations in other communities. There were roughly 200 multisite churches in the U.S. in 2001 when Philbeck became MPCC’s senior pastor. The trend exploded after the turn of the century as megachurches (defined as 2,000+ members) expanded their reach and footprint. By 2014, there were an estimated 8,000 multisite churches.

Philbeck had little interest in pursuing the multisite model as it is often implemented — i.e., by launching new sites in places that are nearly identical demographically to the neighborhood of the church’s main campus. “While there were some places where that was really effective, in a lot of places, instead of being fishers of men, it was just rearranging the fish tank,” he says.

In the near term, Philbeck decided instead to add half an hour of teaching and fellowship to the Center’s food and clothing distribution. In the longer term, Philbeck conceived and implemented the model that became the IMPACT Bethany, Fairfax and Old Southside congregations.

The model focuses on taking declining churches and/or located in low-income neighborhoods and providing them with resources to sustain and expand their programming. Instead of aiming to create a mirror image of the main campus, it looks to plant roots in places that are demographically a world apart from the home church’s neighborhood.

The IMPACT congregations share a three-part philosophy that Philbeck has articulated and emphasized from the very beginning: Live, Learn, and Love. That is, live in the community, learn its stories, and love its people.

Philbeck notes that it would have been easy to livestream the MPCC sermons in each of the IMPACT congregations. “But we’re talking about people who might be wary of a big church,” he says. “So, I believed we needed to have an incarnational approach on those campuses, and we needed to have pastors who could share the message themselves.”

The learning and loving elements of the philosophy follow from living and working among the people the churches serve. “By living here in the community, we best learn how to love the community,” says Pastor Jed Fuller of IMPACT Old Southside. “And the biggest part of learning is listening and not thinking that we know [everything]. Creating space for relationships to develop deepens the community and creates a stronger, more vibrant community.

“What happens is that people say, hey, I’m willing to live in a neighborhood like that. And then it’s hard to actually go past that. It’s hard not to just stay in your house. It’s hard to actually get to know people and to get involved. So, we want to create a vehicle for that.”

Much of the potential power of the IMPACT model lies in creating synergies.

The IMPACT Center, adjacent to the MPCC main campus, is a force multiplier for the entire ministry. It not only serves people at its Greenwood location (who come from all over Central Indiana) but coordinates with the three IMPACT churches, supplying them with food and clothes for their pantries. The IMPACT Center has its own pastor, Steve Saunders, as well as other staff. Roughly 150 MPCC volunteers help keep it running smoothly.

Meanwhile, the three congregations experiment with their own approaches to ministry in their own neighborhoods. Some of what works will be unique to a particular site and situation, but some of it will be replicable at other sites.

At IMPACT Old Southside, the freedom to experiment means it has “dinner church” on Sunday evenings. The service takes place around tables, over a meal prepared by the church.

IMPACT Old Southside is also using holiday traditions like Halloween trick-or-treating to experiment with planting roots in the neighborhood. Last fall, for example, instead of simply handing out candy at the church, it organized the “Great Candy Adventure.” Kids were provided a map marked with four homes. When they found the home, they got candy and a stamp on their map. If they brought the stamped map back to the church’s youth night the following week, they got a special prize.

“It created some energy and excitement,” says Fuller. “That’s a sign of vibrancy—kids out on the street, trick or treating on Halloween night. That’s a good sign of a healthy neighborhood. And I think that’s something our neighborhood hasn’t seen for a while. So, we were excited to be part of that. And neighbors said that next year, they want to be part of it.”

Broadly, all the churches are heavily invested in youth outreaches. Old Southside organizes a Saturday morning work program for boys, who earn credits for doing yard work and other low-skill jobs in the neighborhood. Then, they can then redeem the credits for Amazon purchases through the church. On Monday evenings, IMPACT Old Southside is open to middle-school and high-school students for a time of organized games. On Tuesdays, young people from a nearby homeless shelter come over to do laundry, eat a meal and play video games.

Meanwhile, Pastor Don Thie at IMPACT Bethany has developed close relationships with three nearby schools and some families living in the five apartment complexes within walking distance of the church. Bethany offers youth nights like those of IMPACT Old Southside.

IMPACT Fairfax, for its part, aims to help stabilize its neighborhood with its youth outreaches and by entering the local housing market. Members of MPCC have purchased three houses in the neighborhood so far. They rent two out below-market rates and volunteers from MPCC do the upkeep.

Another house, located behind IMPACT Fairfax, was a blighted and abandoned "drug house," according to Fillmore. The police were called there routinely, and people frequently overdosed. Now, it has been renovated and will be used by an organization called the Isaiah 1:17 Project, based on the biblical injunction to take up the cause of the fatherless. The project works with the Indiana Department of Children's Services to help children transitioning to foster homes. "We knew that God is in the business of restoration," Fillmore says. "A house used for death is going to be used for life."

The IMPACT ministry's model suggests that growth has more than one meaning for congregations of all faiths and denominations. Congregations often measure success in numbers and attendance. But creating connections, being a good neighbor, and moving beyond one's comfort zone are indicators of growth as well.

"Investing yourself in the lives of other people and having a greater understanding of who they are, where they are, and why they are where they are, has been eye-opening," Saunders says. "It's humbling in a lot of ways. Because there are things going into it, I thought I had figured out. And I couldn't have been further from the truth.

"It is affirming that people are people. We all have our own issues. And we can all relate to one another on some level. No matter our socio-economic cultural background, there's a commonality of people wanting to feel connected in some way. That's at the foundation of what we want to do."