In November 1985, a handful of families gathered together in a young pastor’s living room with the God-given dream of building a church that would bless the central Brevard County community. About a year-and-a-half later, they had grown to one hundred-twenty adults and children, and had purchased the 13,000 square foot Merritt Twin Cinema building. Through hard work and determination, the young congregation was able to transform the vandalized twin theaters into a 275-seat auditorium on one side and a children’s auditorium on the other. They held their first church service in 1987.
Just over a decade later, East Coast Christian Center had outgrown its facility. Even with multiple adult services and make-shift classrooms for children, we were in desperate need of more space. Under the leadership of Senior Pastor Dan Stallbaum, we tore down the wall that separated the adult and children’s auditoriums and made one 600-seat auditorium. Soon after that project came the opportunity to purchase the 25,000-square-foot Merritt Office Complex, which was transformed into the East Coast Community Care Center.
The newly remodeled sanctuary was completed in 1999. The new Care Center building was a perfect solution; there was plenty of room for the children, as well as East Coast Christian Academy daycare and preschool. The business offices of the church soon were moved to the Care Center, which made room for a new prayer room on the second floor of the auditorium building. Every department in the church was experiencing steady growth.
In 2005, an adjacent property with a 6,000-square-foot building became available and we purchased it with future expansion in mind. With three Sunday morning services nearing capacity and the children’s ministry setting new attendance records, it was time to lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes. In February 2007, we launched our first-ever capital stewardship campaign, a two-year venture Breaking Barriers, Building Dreams.
The spring of 2007 saw the unveiling of the 250-seat Avenue Worship Center, with additional office space, two nurseries, and a café. In August of 2007, we introduced a brand new Sunday morning service in this venue. Running simultaneously with our live 10 a.m. service in our main auditorium, the AWC Sunday morning service features an acoustic worship style and a video presentation of the sermon message.
We ushered in 2008 with the installation of a state-of-the-art video sign, spreading the good news of the Gospel to all those commuters who make the 40,000 trips per day past our campus. We are now hard at work on plans to update the Parkway Worship Center and the Care Center buildings so that we are able to serve our community more effectively. By the end of this two-year campaign, our goal is to retire our existing mortgage and direct that money towards expanding ministry opportunities both locally and globally.
We have been truly blessed in the past twenty years. The dream of that handful of families has become a reality. Now, we stand at the threshold of even greater dreams. Yesterday’s barriers have become the platforms upon which our God-given dreams are being built!