Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
This is the story of our Faithful God and a people who have held unswervingly to the hope of Jesus Christ for 140 years.
The story of Spring Creek Church spans all the way back to the year 1875, when Dr. J.W. Griffith, then pastor of the First Baptist Church of Milwaukee, envisioned the start of a new English-speaking work on the north side of the city. Six years later, in 1882, that vision became a reality as the Fifth Baptist Church Society organized led by pastor W.J. Kermott, the church’s first pastor.
During the church dedication, Pastor Kermott (“Ker-MOTT”) gave a prayer which included these very words, “We humbly pray that this church, which has been planted and is being fostered by the missionary spirit, may always exercise a like spirit, and may it be proved the spiritual birthplace of many souls.”
This new church purchased a piece of property on the corner of Second Street and Garfield Avenue in Milwaukee and built a wooden frame building with a hand pumped organ, prominently located at the front of the sanctuary.
13 years later, the church voted to officially change the name to Garfield Avenue Baptist Church.
In 1948 under the leadership of Pastor William Kuhnle (“COON-ley”), the church launched a building project that would accommodate the growing congregation. They celebrated the grand opening of this new building on September 9th, 1951.
In 1957, God used the Stewards Sunday School class, now called the Kings Class, to start Shepherd’s home and school for developmentally disabled children in Union Grove, Wisconsin. Shepherd’s home has now become Shepherd’s College, the nation’s leading, fully accredited, post-secondary school designed specifically for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
In 1961, the church launched AWANA. AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed and provides Bible-based evangelism and discipleship for children. Today, Spring Creek has the longest consecutive running AWANA program in the world spanning over 60 years.
As God continued to bless, building facilities again became an issue. The church decided to make an historic move West and purchased a piece of property on Highway 100, just north of Capitol Drive. The building was constructed and in July of 1964, the church began meeting in their new home. In 1970, Pastor Edward Fuller was called to be the new pastor of Garfield Baptist, and he served faithfully for 16 years.
In 1987, God called a young pastor in New Jersey named Chip Bernhard, to lead this congregation. And a few months later, God called Tom Price from a chemical company in Philly to become the Administrative Pastor here at Garfield Baptist church.
Over the next decade, the church continued to grow and the facility again became increasingly inadequate for the needs of the church. After several years of exploring options, God provided 98 acres of land and an old boat showroom in Pewaukee for future expansion.
In October of 1997, the church family made another historic drive down Capitol Drive to the new facility. In October 2001, following 4 years of meeting in the gym, the church held a special grand opening service for the new sanctuary celebrating God's goodness and provisions.
Also in 2001, the church voted to add a new ministry name that better reflected the new location, and Garfield Baptist Church became Spring Creek Church.
With the opening of the new sanctuary, Spring Creek saw an opportunity to utilize the gym for greater ministry and launched the Upward Sports program in 2003. As of today, Spring Creek’s Upward Basketball and Soccer program has reached over 10,000 children in our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God poured out His blessing on Spring Creek Church, which experienced continued growth and a series of building projects to accommodate the people God was bringing. The church launched the AND1 campaign in 2008 to expand the sanctuary, foyer, and classroom space. The people sacrificially gave $6 million dollars and patiently navigated construction so that more people could come, worship Jesus, and hear the truth of God’s Word.
In 2018, the Love Makes Room campaign was completed to accomodate an overflowing kid's ministry. KidsCreek was officially opened with 30,000 square feet of kid-friendly space for families and kids to learn about the love Jesus has for them.
And today, like many times in our history, God continues to overflow our facility with people – this time – students. And again, the people of Spring Creek continue to see beyond themselves to a new generation that needs the Lord. And soon, a brand new space for students will rise up providing space to learn truth, experience love, and find joy in Jesus.
For the past 140 years
God has shown Himself faithful to this church. While the name, the buildings, the strategies and the pastors have changed, one thing has not – the commitment to teaching and living God’s Word. We pray, like Pastor Kermot did 140 years ago, that God will continue to use Spring Creek to be the birthplace of many souls, that people of all ages will find truth and love in this place, and that people will grow to know and love Jesus...because