Woven into the story of Blackhawk is a constant thread of passionate and committed Christ-followers who sacrifice time and resources to respond to what God is doing. There is a consistent commitment to care for those in need, to reach all generations with the message of Christ and to work together to accomplish God’s purposes in Madison and the world.
It began in a living room
Blackhawk was founded in 1965 when a small group from Bethany Evangelical Free Church on the near east side decided to plant a church further west. After meeting in a home for almost two years, they purchased a small building on Blackhawk Avenue (thus the origin of the name). Nineteen people signed the original charter.
A church on the move
Under the leadership of several faithful pastors and many committed lay people significant growth occurred over the next 20 years. In 1986 the church relocated to Whitney Way on the near west side of Madison. In this location many people joined the welcoming congregation.
In 1994 Pastor Chris Dolson became the senior pastor. The church had grown to about 300 regular attendees and continued to build a strong community with a heart to reach others with the truth and compassion of Christ. Under Chris’s leadership the vision “Building a Community to Reach a Community” was initiated by the elders.
The church began to grow in ministry impact and in size. In 1997 the Whitney Way facility was expanded to three times its original size to accommodate the growing ministries. During the next 10 years innovative planning helped the church continue to make room for more people and more ministry. Not wanting to effectively “close the doors” new service times were added as well as video and offsite venues. A building meant to accommodate a congregation of about 600 grew to a Sunday attendance of over 3,000 by 2007.
On the move
In 2000, in response to the continued growth, the congregation supported a proposal from the elders to “relocate as one church to one location that has room for continued growth.” A team was formed to find a site. Ground was broken on Brader Way in the spring of 2006 and the building was completed in fall 2007.
The story continues
With a new home-base for ministry on Brader Way, Blackhawk continues to be committed to building a community that follows Christ in order to reach a community that desperately needs him.
One church – several sites
In fall 2010 Blackhawk Downtown opened at the Majestic Theatre, beginning our adventure as one church in multiple locations. Blackhawk Downtown has since moved to the Upper House. In spring 2013 Blackhawk Fitchburg began meeting at Savanna Oaks Middle School.
Our commitment to our mission continues as we grow in Christ, love one another, and together serve our city and partnerships in various places throughout the world.
We invite you to join the story God is telling through Blackhawk.