Horizon West: Vision and Partnerships

by: Anissa Smith | June 2, 2018

On a typical Sunday afternoon, most of us are recovering from a hearty lunch at our favorite restaurant. But in a rural pocket of west Orange County, dozens of cars line the street in a neighborhood that looks more like Hobbiton than central Florida suburbia. Evergreen forests sprawl between houses, some of which have been here for decades. Others are brand new.

Aromas of fried chicken, homemade casseroles, and brownies drift in the air. But this is not your typical church potluck. It’s the beginning of another Horizon West gathering.

Horizon West is the area of west Orange County south of Winter Garden and north of Disney. Housing developments are springing up rapidly. It is one of the fastest growing areas of state.

The vision for a campus in west Orange County was born several years ago in the hearts of our church staff. And since Pastor David expressed the vision last year, we have shared monthly gatherings like this one in homes and meeting places across the Horizon West region.

As everyone piles food on their plates, we gather at long tables. Some faces are familiar. Many we meet for the first time. But there is one thing in common at each gathering: a spirit of unity and excitement to see the ministry at First Baptist expand to this area of Central Florida! We join hearts and voices in worship and listen to Pastor Chris Ogden who will shepherd this campus, speak from his heart about the planning and anticipation that is happening between these meetings.

While the location for this campus is not yet determined, two key goals are being cultivated during this season: vision and partnerships.

The vision of the campus is to spread the love of Jesus and His Gospel to the Horizon West region by creating a new campus of First Orlando that shares identical DNA and constitutes an integral role of the Gospel movement in this region.

Furthermore, Pastor Chris has begun to form connections with leaders in the area- from Commissioner Betsy Vanderley to several local pastors. Everyone he has met is enthusiastically welcoming First Baptist as a partner in the local ministry of this region. What a blessing to see God’s work already in this area!

With Acts 1:8 as our mission, we move forward with great anticipation. We lean into Jesus’ calling to be salt and light to the ends of the Earth. To bring His presence and His heart to this corner of Orlando.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” (Eph 3. 20-21)

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