Church in Indianapolis (Mike Peters)

An alternative Christian community seeking a New Testament way of life beyond traditional worship structures.

The Church in Indianapolis, Indiana (CII), led by Mike Peters, emerged as a distinctive Christian group rejecting traditional organized religion to foster a communal form of worship. Founded on the principles of living out the New Testament teachings in a practical and communal way, CII attracted individuals seeking a more organic and shared religious experience. Early members, like Tim Szazynski, were drawn to the group by the promise of a church without walls, where worship and communal living were intertwined​​.

Initially, CII was not structured as a commune; families lived in their own apartments within the same complex, supporting one another financially and spiritually. They ate, prayed, and homeschooled their children together, fostering a tight-knit community that thrived on mutual aid and constant interaction​​.

Mike Peters, a central figure in the group, never held a formal job during the early days, according to former members. Instead, he managed Lordin Enterprises, a corporation that encompassed a variety of services. Despite this, questions lingered about his financial stability and contributions to the community. Peters was supported by external donations and contributions from within the group, raising no concerns initially among the members​​.

Over time, the group witnessed significant changes, including shifts in communal living practices and the emergence of a more defined leadership structure with Peters at the helm. What started as a collective with no clear hierarchy gradually transformed, with Peters and a select few gaining prominence and influence. This shift led to the establishment of an unspoken hierarchy, where Peters’ opinions became the final word on all matters concerning the group. This evolution reflected a departure from the initial ideals of equality and shared leadership​​.

Concerns grew as the group’s dynamics evolved, particularly around Peters’ financial transparency and the increasing stratification within the community. Allegations of control and manipulation surfaced, with former members citing a “togetherness doctrine” that enforced constant mutual oversight and a hierarchical structure that placed newer members at a disadvantage. These developments marked a significant shift from the group’s foundational principles of communal living and shared religious exploration​​.

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