Radiant Life is an Assemblies of God Church, planted in March 2007. It started long before that...in a Walmart.
Here is the story: In October 2006, John and Susan Utley were attending Pathway Assembly of God and decided to go by Wal-Mart after church to purchase groceries to cook a Sunday dinner. After that morning service, the last thing on anyone's mind was launching a church on the North Side of Elkhart, Indiana.
As they arrived at the CR6 Wal-mart, John and Susan walked through the doors and said the obligatory 'hello' to the door greeter.
Immediately, the Lord captured John's heart, stopping him in the front of the store. Susan asked, "Are you coming with me?" John replied, "no, I am going to stand here for a few minutes."
As he stood in the greeter area, he turned and watched as customers walked into the Wal-Mart. It was like a mosaic of nationalities...American's, Latino's, Europeans, African's...men in blue jeans and ladies in burkas. People speaking english, russian and spanish. Immediately, John sensed the Lord's strong leading to plant a church...right there....in Wal-Mart.
Who knew God could call someone in a Wal-Mart???
The feeling would not leave him, so John called his pastor and asked to discuss it with him. They met, and the pastor affirmed the call. All of John's spiritual advisors affirmed that call to plant a church in Elkhart, and the process to plant the church began.
Pathway provided funds and personnel to plant the church and in the late winter months, John began meeting with those individuals. The first few meetings were in a barn in Middlebury, and the name "Radiant Life" was chosen as the name of the new church plant. It would convey the principle of 'beginning with the end in mind" ...making our calling and vision clear...bringing men and women, boys and girls into the "radiant" life God called for in His Word.
The first 'barn" meeting was attended by 12 individuals. A location was not yet determined, but the name was chosen. After a great deal of searching, the Ramada Inn in Elkhart was chosen to be the launching location. Contracts were signed, signs were ordered, and plans were made to have two weeks of a 'soft opening' preparing for a launch in late March 2007. These two weeks enabled the set up and break down crew to work on establishing systems, and gave everyone a glimpse into what was missing and needed.