This Sunday Church of the Suncoast celebrates it's 1-year birthday! On April 2nd, 2006 we officially launched the Suncoast with 67 people packed into a tiny day care right next to what was then open cow pasture (now it's an entire shopping center with a Super Target). We plugged along in the day care that spring and summer waiting on the first school in our area to be finished. We then had a Grand Opening with 163 people in attendance! We backed that up with 153 for our first Christmas Eve service and so far in 2007 we have been averaging 95 on Sundays. As you can see we are still counting! And this is the number that I am most proud of. 31 people in the past year have indicated they took their first step with God here at the Suncoast! That blows me away when I stop and think about it. 31 people making a decision for Christ in one year is something you can't put a price tag on or really put into words how huge that is. It makes all the nervousness, and uncertainty, and sacrifice, and sleepless Saturday nights worth it as a church planter to look back on how God used this place in just its first year. My prayer has been that 1,000 people would take that first step as a result of this church. At the time that seemed like an impossible dream. Now it seems like maybe my God was too small.
I don't get to brag on these people enough but here is a quick list of all the people that have played a role in turning the dream of the Suncoast into a reality: My wife Cheryl (no way I could have done this without you, thanks for enduring this first year), my parents, Andre and Ryan, the Blatz, the Dreschers, Jeanne (you guys were a great launch team, I don't know how we did it but we did), all of the new volunteers since we started, our staff, Hal Mayer (thanks for pushing me, but always believing in me), the crew from Suncoast Church of Tampa Bay for lending us some people during the previews, Paul Wirth, Erik Brookins, Stan Coleman, Karen Brooks (and the whole South Palm staff), Church at the Springs, all the fill in worship leaders, all the people that gave and prayed from across the state, and thank you to the Discovery Point staff and the Oakstead Elementary staff for allowing us to use your place to start this church.