Our Story

This is the summary of how Great Lakes Church got started.

Want something more in-depth? Check out the 45 minute documentary below...


Pastor Dave & Rindy are part of a great church in Seattle, WA. They love it, but Dave is restless...


(MARCH) Dave says he's going to start a church in his hometown of Kenosha, WI... 

(APRIL) Dave’s brother Ricky is killed by a roadside bomb, while serving in Iraq. This is a turning point...

(AUGUST) The Nelsons, along with some friends, move to Kenosha to launch Great Lakes Church. Yep, Dave's still scared!

(OCTOBER) 174 people show up to the first preview service at Mahone Middle School in Kenosha.

...Umm, this is going better than we thought.


(FEBRUARY) 50,000 fliers are sent to the community advertising our grand opening series, "Thank God for Sex." The fliers were deemed offensive and Great Lakes Church was kicked out of the school district. Oops. That wasn't smart...

...at least a local bar and grill let us meet in their location for a week. Go Brat Stop!

Good news: Tinseltown Movie Theater said we could rent their facility for Sunday services (623 people showed up for the Grand Opening). Bad news: No free popcorn.


We started launching churches, sponsoring water projects in developing countries, and getting involved in our local communities. Guess what? It really is better to give than receive...


(JANUARY) 1,700+ people were showing up to Tinseltown every Sunday. It was chaos.

...So we decided to fix the chaos by doing three 45 minute services every Sunday morning. We didn't fix it. We continued to grow, but it felt like McChurch. Lame!

(SEPTEMBER) A second campus was launched at the Marcus Cinema Theater in Racine. A few hundred people started showing up. More good times!



(SEPTEMBER) We went back to offering only two Sunday morning services in Kenosha.

...and launched a "Weekends on Wednesday" service.

...and stopped passing the offering buckets at our services.

...and launched a care team.

There was lots of excitement and momentum.


(January) We launched a "new" website with an emphasis on resourcing people.

(May) We hosted our first ever prom, for kids with special needs! Check it out HERE.

(July) Our Racine Campus moved from Marcus Cinema to Gifford Elementary School.

(Summer and fall) We started holding worship experiences, including water baptism, at our Operations Center. Everything we do is portable!


(January) A couple hundred people sign up to participate in the "2015 Bible Challenge"! Check it out HERE.

(July) Racine campus found a new home at Memorial Hall!

(November) Purchased 24 acres of land to build a facility in Kenosha

Great Lakes Church - New Campus

Purchased a 60,000 sq ft building to be used as a permanent ministry facility for our Racine campus.

Great Lakes Church - New Racine Campus


(June) Launched Royal Family Kids Camp, in Kenosha, for children living in foster care.


(January-April) Our Kenosha campus moved from Tinseltown Theater… to Tremper High School… to the Racine Campus… back to Tremper High School… and then into a couple different buildings in the Kenosha Trade Park. Whew!

Great Lakes Church - MOVING AGAIN

Welcome to the story! We invite you to join us for the next few chapters, as our church journeys forward and the story continues to be written...