Lakeview Christian Church Draft

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Lakeview Christian Church: Then & Now

David Robinette

22nd of May, 2009

A vision, an action; what happens when the road less traveled is taken. This is how Lakeview was founded. In 1960, several families diverged from the woodwork of College Church and sparked a new idea. They saw a need in their community that needed to be fulfilled. South Marion was lacking an evangelical church that was impacting the community. So, these few families began meeting together to begin a new church focused on missions, ministry, and music. The families of Sigworth, Ott, MacIntyre, Clement’s, and Mason, found themselves as church plant pioneers to South Marion. This is where the Lakeview idea was born. Of course it wasn’t called that at the time, they didn’t even have a building, much less a pastor. They began meeting in their own homes until the vision had congealed enough to contact the Wesleyan denomination headquarters and request a Pastor for the fledgling church. The Reverend Eugene Cockrell was sent to be Lakeview’s first pastor.

In 1961, with money raised, and a vision being put into action, they surveyed the land where the church was to be built. The first site where it was to be built was how it got its’ name, Lakeview; it was to be built where present day Glendale Lake Estates currently exists. One problem though, the Marion airport wouldn’t allow such a tall building to be erected that close to the airstrip. Instead, they picked a place not but a fourth of a mile away (out of the airport’s wingspan), and began construction on the church; this is where the church resides today. Since people were few and money was tight, the men of the new church actually built the new church building with their own time, sweat, and hands. After a year or so, on the 29th of May, 1962, Lakeview Wesleyan Christian Church was finished, and so the growth began. In 1963 a new wing was added to accommodate the steadily growing church, and then in 1973-74 the built an entirely new sanctuary, the one that is in use today. (

The primary reason for the steady growth was that the church stayed true to their original vision. They became active in supporting missionaries in Marion and around the world. In fact, Lakeview church has been sending help to the country of Honduras through missionaries, money, clothing, and physical help for about 35 of its 50 years. Also within the last 3 years a new church plant has sprung up in Marion because on of its Youth Pastors’ felt led to start a church to reach the young and un-churched of Marion. The Reverend Matthew Trexler began “The River” church with very little support and it has grown very quickly.

Lakeview also carried on its tradition of music since the Reverend Cockrell was primarily a “song evangelist” at the time he came to Marion. He continued not only pastoring, and preaching, but leading singing and speaking around the community. He lead numerous outreaches to the community that were song filled and mission minded. The church has a long history of talented music leaders, such as IWU professor, Dr. Todd Guy and the multi-talented Brian McSee. Lakeview church’s choir regularly ministers to the nursing homes and the prisons of the area bringing a message of hope. In fact the well known musician, Bill Gaither wrote one of his most famous songs, “Because He Lives” in the sanctuary of Lakeview church.

The focus on the community is still strong as well. Besides the work of the choir, the church plants, the focus on helping the people of Marion continues to be in the forefront of the churches goals. Lakeview has a long history of going door to door throughout all of Marion to invite and inform and let people know about what Lakeview has to offer. They also have a bus ministry to bring in children from the inner city to take part in activities such as Sunday school, church, camps, retreats, and Vacation Bible School. Currently a huge community outreach focused on sports and cheerleading has been started known as “Upward” under the initial direction of Rev. Bob Burchell.

“Upward is a fun, reliable, passionate and encouraging sports experience for boys and girls, in K5 through sixth grade. Upward provides first class, organized and detailed sports programming in basketball, soccer, flag football and cheerleading. Unique aspects of Upward include an evaluation system that promotes equal and competitive teams as well as a substitution system which allows for equal playing time for all participants. Through Upward, children are exposed to quality coaching and sport development. Upward emphasizes character and integrity instead of a “win at all costs” mentality associated with today’s sports world.” (Upward website:, 2009)

The idea for a Christian school came from concerned parents Dr. Robert Jackson, Dr. Earl Jackson, and Pastor Eugene Cockrell; to serve a growing community with the need for a private school that would uphold high academic standards. There were no other private schools or alternatives to public education in Marion at that time with the exception of St. Paul’s Catholic school which was founded in 1909 (, 2009). The school opened in 1977 in the Lakeview church with one kindergarten class, and a combined first and second grade class. All in all, there were 28 students enrolled, and there were two teachers on staff. Only a year later, the enrollment had tripled to 86, and there were five teachers on staff. As the school continued to grow, upper grade levels were added, and more programs were offered, such as art, music and gym. Construction began in 1985 on land given to the Lakeview Life Center, and in January of the next year the high school moved to the new building. In the spring of ’87, the first graduating class emerged with eleven seniors. The growth of the middle and high school were needed alternatives for private education, as the Catholic school had to close their middle and high school in 1993 due to declining enrollment. Students who needed smaller class sizes, and a smaller student-teacher ratio excelled in this atmosphere since the student-teacher ratio is 17:1 (Lakeview Christian School brochure, 2009) and the Marion Community Schools are about 32:1.

Lakeview School has consistently outscored the Marion Community School system on ISTEP scores, graduation rates, SAT scores and percentages of students continuing on to college. 85.1 % of LCS students pass ISTEP Math and English ( as compared to the MCS rate of 65% or so. (guidance counselors brochure).

One of the most unique outreaches to the Marion community is the existence of the Life Center Counseling Agency. The Counseling center began as a service to the Marion community in 1977. (Lakeview news article 1977) There are other counseling centers in Marion, such as Cornerstone, a division of Grant-Blackford Mental Health, which has been in Grant County for 30 years ( The uniqueness of Life Center is that people and therapists are allowed to talk about God and spiritual issues which they often are not as free to do so in secular agencies. Life Center sees a wide variety of clients such as: individuals, couples, families, children and teenagers. They also offer psychological assessment services to diagnose ADHD, learning difficulties and personality disorders. Fees are based on a sliding scale based on the person’s income and they take insurance payments, this way everyone should have access to counseling services with a spiritual base. The Life Center is located on the grounds of the Lakeview church and school.

Music, ministries, a desire to make a difference; these were the dreams of Lakeview’s founding families; and in 1960 that dream took shape. It began with a small church, but it soon grew a need for a Christian school. This school officially opened in 1977, and along with it, the Life Counseling Center, a place to help families and individuals with spiritual issues and to diagnose psychological conditions. All in all, Lakeview Wesleyan Church, and Lakeview Christian school have provided an outreach to the community, while providing an alternative place of worship and a private school. Not to mention their work in the missions field or the continued benefits to families from the Life Center. Most recently, a new face has presented itself on Lakeview’s pulpit, Pastor Tim McClellan. Hopefully under his guidance, the church will continue to grow and reach out to the community it has immersed itself in.