Horizon West resident Brandt Leich’s desire to plant a church began a couple of years ago, but now the surrounding area is seeing the fruit of his team’s labor.
Life Church Horizon West opened its doors to the community on Jan. 15, with an official grand opening on Feb. 5. It meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at Bay Lake Elementary.
Leich, Life Church’s lead pastor, was a worship pastor in Missouri for five years, but he said God really began working in his heart and changing it to focus on something else — planting a church.
“We started praying and when God confirmed this is what He wanted us to do we started looking at where this church plant should be,” Leich said. “We did lots of demographic studies and really ended up settling on this area right here. The prospectives of growth are through the roof, and there’s only a few other churches here for a whole lot of people.”
Leich and his family relocated from Missouri to Summerport Village in June 2016, along with friend Blaine Anderson — the life groups and discipleship pastor — and his family. Once in the area, they began searching for a place to meet, settling on Bay Lake Elementary after meeting with the principal and Orange County Public Schools.
“We all parachuted in; none of us (has) roots here,” Leich said. “We’re just intentional everywhere we go. There were 11 of us who moved to the area, and we’ve gone from not knowing anyone to seeing God bring people into our lives who are catching on to the vision. They’ve gone from being acquaintances to being people God uses to build His church.”
But planting a church isn’t easy. As a “portable church,” everything must be stored in a trailer and toted to and from the school each Sunday. Set-up begins early, and everything must be taken down by noon, when it’s time to lock the doors again.
The team worked out the main worship service but has also had to put together a worship team, nursery area, programs for children and teenagers and small groups for adults. Then there’s nailing down a system for following up with attendees and ensuring no one feels ignored.
“I like to think that when people walk in the doors, they encounter Jesus,” said Staci Leich, Brandt’s wife and the worship leader. “A lot of the work is building relationships and having people in our homes. This area offers a lot of community events, and when we first moved here, we’ve sponsored and attended events. It’s a lot of networking and word of mouth.”
“We want this to be the church where people find their fit and then we can empower them in their passions.” — Blaine Anderson, Life Church small group discipleship pastor
Thus far, the church is up to anywhere from 70 to 80 attendees each week, and it’s been a diverse group — young people, families and people from all walks of life.
“The opportunities God has given us to be able to minister to people in need that just needed someone to talk to (are incredible),” Anderson said. “We want this to be the church where people find their fit and then we can empower them in their passions.”
Brandt Leich hopes that the Horizon West community will find Life Church to be a friendly, loving environment, a safe place to find and follow Jesus. He added that many times, people see churches as wanting to get something from people, but Life Church’s mission is to invest in people.
“No matter who you are or what your background is, we want them to feel welcome and at home. In the process, no matter what your past is or what you’ve done, we want to point them to Jesus,” Brandt Leich said. “Whether we grow fast or slow, I want this church to be whatever God wants it to be. I want it to be effective in our community, about being known and making Jesus known.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].