About Onward Church

Our Vision

We believe that God has called us to focus on training Christians to obey Jesus—especially as it relates to disciple-making. We do this through teaching the Word, assembling as a community for worship, and keeping it simple in all aspects of our church. We welcome you to join us for our corporate worship and to get involved in one of our Life Groups.

Our Beliefs

We believe that the only hope of the human race is Jesus. Salvation is found only in Jesus through faith alone, and not by any of our own works. We believe that the Holy Bible has been given to us by God and is completely true and completely correct. It gives us all that we need in order to live the Christian life, and instructs us to grow as Christ’s disciples and then make disciples of others.

Our Team

Gary Stump

Gary Stump

Senior Pastor

Gary likes to say that he is way too old to play church. Gary describes Onward not as an “attractional” church, but a church committed to growth of both the church and individuals through disciple-making. Gary has been pastoring since 1989 and planted Onward Church in 2011.

>> Read Gary’s full bio and faith story.

Matt VanderWiele

Matt VanderWiele

Associate Pastor

Matt describes himself as a Christian educator, Bible teacher, associate pastor and adjunct professor… But he believes his real job is being a husband and Dad.  Those roles define him universally and passionately. Matt and his family live in Indianapolis.
Jerry Ackerman

Jerry Ackerman

Family Ministries Pastor

Jerry brings 20+ years of experience to Onward from student ministry and motivational speaking in schools throughout the country.  His desire to show how Jesus impacts student’s lives practically is a passion.  He resides in McCordsville, IN with his wife, Mitzi, and five children.

Go & Make Disciples


What to Expect

We understand that visiting a new church can be a little intimidating. But we promise that you won’t find a more welcoming group of people anywhere.  We’re family, and we’d love you to be part of it. We love Jesus, love each other, and we do our best to encourage each other to “love and good deeds.” (Heb 10:24). Here are the answers to some common questions.

Where do you meet?
Our worship gatherings are held at Conner Prairie in meeting rooms located on the second floor. You can park in the front parking lot and enter through the front doors of the main entrance. A member of our host team will direct you to our meeting room. An elevator is available. You could also choose to park in the lot on the right side of the main building and enter the building by the ramp on the side.
How should I dress?
Whether you prefer casual attire or choose to dress up in your “Sunday best”, you will fit right in here at Onward. We want you to feel welcome, to engage with others, and leave with the feeling that you were loved.
What is your worship style?
Our music is a mix of modern praise & worship songs and some familiar hymns. Our worship leaders desire to lead you in a spirit of worship and do not see themselves as performers for you to watch. We encourage everyone to participate in the singing and also in our time of sharing our highlights and challenges from the past week. We want you to feel welcomed and loved.
What about my kids?
Children’s programs are provided for all ages from nursery to fourth grade.
Still have questions? Email us!
Onward Together
“We’ve grown in our faith and met some amazing friends.” — Lindsay