Central Church has a history rooted in the migration of many who experienced severe persecution and death in Europe during the 16th century. The persecution of Anabaptists, re-baptizers (some Mennonite and Amish) came at the hands of Catholics and Protestant Reformers over issues of re-baptism and separation of church and state. Many took refuge in Alsace, France and later made their way to New York in the 1800’s by wooden ships and then to Allen County utilizing the Wabash Erie Canal. Many left the Amish tradition in 1924 and met with a Conservative Mennonite Church in Defiance, Ohio and later established the Cuba Mennonite Church near Harlan, Indiana.
It’s from the Cuba Mennonite Church in the 1960’s that Central Church and other Mennonite congregations began their churches. In January of 1969 Central began in Woodburn, Indiana, because several enthusiastic families had a vision to plant a church that would intentionally reach out to the spiritually lost with the love of God through Jesus Christ. By the spring of 1970, through much prayer, discernment, and vision for the future, a location was chosen and the new building was dedicated.
Since that early beginning, there has been tremendous growth, several building expansions (1978 a west wing, now the administrative area, 2002 classrooms and gym, 2015 the gathering space and now the gym expansion with a second entrance to the property off St. Joe Center Road).
To God be the glory for the spiritual growth, touching lives beyond our property through missions and the attendance from the early years of under 100, to a “non-denominational” church of 1,500 today. All three lead pastors in Central’s history, Wayne Goldsmith, Don Delagrange and Jeremy Helmuth, the current pastor, still serve this church family, along with committed staff, plus hundreds of faithful volunteers. We intend to move ahead into the future with humility, a passion to share Christ under the power of the Holy Spirit!