Fairhaven Baptist Church was founded by Pastor Roger Voegtlin in 1970. Roger and Sharon Voegtlin both grew up in nearby Chicago, Illinois. As children, their families were reached through the ministry of Airport Baptist Church. During Roger’s early 20s, he began to attend Oak Forest Baptist Temple, under the leadership of Pastor Bill Schroeder. Pastor Schroeder’s preaching and love for the ministry were a positive influence for Christian service on Roger. Under his leadership, Roger felt called into the ministry. Sharon came right alongside and gave herself to the Lord as well. They were married in 1967 and immediately left for ministry training at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. While Roger was a student, he was able to pastor a country church on the weekends.
After graduation, Roger was called to be an assistant pastor in Pennsylvania. When he arrived, the pastor left, and Roger became the interim pastor. In early 1970, Pastor Schroeder contacted Roger about possibly starting a church in the small town of Chesterton, Indiana. There was a family in Chesterton who wanted to help start a Bible-believing church in their town. God had prepared Roger for a small town by sending him to South Carolina and then to rural Pennsylvania.
The church’s first service was in October of 1970 and had 14 people in attendance. Camp Fairhaven (now called Camp Advance) was started in 1972 as a place where young people can enjoy the outdoors, swimming, canoeing, and sports, all while being in a Christian environment. A couple years later, the people of Fairhaven Baptist Church felt led to start a Christian school. The Christian school gave the parents of our community another option. They could have great education for their children, all while knowing that their education would be Bible-based.
Over the years, Fairhaven continued to grow, but in 1975, a court case that ended in victory for the church in 1976, caused the baby church to struggle. The church members determined not to give up and trusted God by following Him in soulwinning and prayer.
God blessed in a mighty way. Church attendance grew for several years by hundreds. In 1977, God led our members to start a Bible college which would train only those who felt led into full-time Christian work. Through the many years of training, God has called numerous people into the ministry and has given Fairhaven Baptist Church the opportunity to train others to trust God by following Him.
In 2013, Pastor Roger Voegtlin stepped down from the pastorate, and the church called its youth pastor, Steve Damron to become their pastor.
Our church has a wide variety of members. There are members in our church who started attending that very first year and there are members who just started coming within the past year. Young and old alike have a place here at Fairhaven.
After 51 years of being in Chesterton, God has given our church a Biblical stability in doctrine and practice. We, as a church, are committed to lifting Christ to be supreme in our families, church, and community. We are grateful to the Lord for the beautiful facilities He has given us and pray they can be used to bring honor to His name.