In the summer of 2010...
Jeff and Kathy Smith of Archbold, OH, had planned a vacation to Florida with their three children. There was time for one afternoon to be spent on the island of Key West. While walking on the Mallory Square waterfront there, Jeff heard God speak to him. The message was simple: “I can do my work here.” Jeff wasn’t sure of the implications of the message, and waited several months to even share it with Kathy. He and Kathy then began to pray about this together.
In the meantime…
Michael and Rebecca Zehr of Wauseon, OH, were contemplating their future. They made a decision in January 2011 that they would relocate sometime after their youngest child graduated from high school in May of 2013. They had left the details of that move open-ended, and decided to pray about them in the coming months.
Jeff and Michael were pastors in the same area for many years, and had become accountability partners during that time. Jeff mentioned to Michael that he felt God might be calling them to plant a church in Key West. This came soon after Michael and Rebecca’s decision to relocate, so as couples we decided to begin meeting to talk and pray over this possibility. We also attended two church-planting seminars together.
In May 2012 the Smiths and the Zehrs traveled to Key West together to further discern and pray about God’s call to plant a church there. We enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the city. We were amazed at how easily those who were established residents would share their stories with us when they found we were willing to listen. Most of all, we realized how little people know of God’s love for them and His desire to be at work around them.
Marco Guete and Andrew Bodden, from Southeast Mennonite Conference, made the long trips with their families from Sarasota and Miami to meet with us. We learned of their passion for God and His Kingdom, their extensive experience in the area of church planting, and their eagerness to partner with us in this venture. The call was complete. We began making plans to move forward together.
OUR CHURCH BACKGROUND
We take a non-traditional approach to church--our relationship with Christ is at the forefront, rather than our denominational history.
The Mennonite church is a rather small, international denominational group. As an Anabaptist group, we have a history dating back to the Protestant Reformation. The Smiths and Zehrs are all lifelong Mennonites and are part of Southeast Mennonite Conference, which is affiliated with LMC.
Southeast Mennonite Conference
Southeast Mennonite Conference is a multi-ethnic group for churches in Florida and nearby states, affiliated with LMC.
LMC (known formerly as Lancaster Mennonite Conference) is an expanding fellowship of Anabaptist congregations proclaiming Christ to all peoples. Find out more.