Begun as a missions outreach in 1952, First Assembly DeLand is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and the tenacity of godly men and women. On at least two occasions, the church was given up for dead. Yet out of the ashes of despair, God has raised up a congregation that is making a difference in reaching a city for Him.
In its first forty years of existence, the church met in at least nine different locations. In 1965, the church was able to purchase land on Hill Avenue (across from DeLand High School)
A period of significant growth occurred from 1979- 1985. Eventually the Hill Avenue church was sold and the congregation moved to temporary locations initially at the Hilton Hotel (now the Holiday Inn), then to DeLand Middle School, and finally to the “Dome Building” at the airport in DeLand Industrial Park. Property was secured on International Speedway Boulevard and on Easter Sunday 1992, the “wandering” congregation had its first service in that building.
In September of 1992, Pastor Michael Modica accepted the call to pastor the struggling congregation. Driven by a vision to reach DeLand with the redemptive message of Christ’s love. Pastor Modica launched a series of strategic initiatives with the intention of bringing unity to the body of Christ. Men and Women were urged to look beyond themselves to a city needing Jesus Christ.
Men and Women were urged to look beyond themselves to a city needing Jesus Christ. And the plans to share that message were bold and unconventional. They included things like:
Pastor’s Luncheons – First Assembly DeLand launched the first luncheon to bring pastors within the city together in 1993
Project Light – In 1993, in an effort to minister to the needy, Project Light began!
Call to Prayer – In 1994, the first city wide Call to Prayer occurred, bringing God’s people and area pastors throughout the city together to seek God’s guidance in how to most effectively reach our city.
Emergency Response – The wildfires in Volusia County in 1998 provided opportunity for the congregation of First Assembly DeLand to care for those who experienced loss by providing clothing and food. Since then, First Assembly DeLand has created a disaster team that is often a first responder to the needs and tragedies throughout the country.
Campus Outreach – First Assembly DeLand has been strategically involved in establishing a campus ministry at Stetson University and is involved in a variety of outreach ministries to young people on high school and middle school campuses.
Shine Florida – In 2001, the prayer outreach “Shine Florida” was launched and quickly found root in other cities throughout the I-4 corridor and was broadcast throughout North America.
Foreign Missions – First Assembly has been supporting and engaging missionaries around the world. Today, the church supports over 200 missionaries in as many as 200 countries around the world, and has committed 30% of its annual operating budget to reach the world with the message of the Gospel!
First Assembly DeLand is characterized as a congregation with a heart for God and a passion for people! While the church’s mission is “caring for individuals and strengthening families” its vision is “to make it hard to go to hell from DeLand!”
The heart of a congregation listening to God has led to great victories. Among those victories have been some financial milestones:
1994 – A 20 year mortgage on the Speedway property was paid in full – 18 years in advance!
1995 – The church moved into a new building at the Speedway Campus
1996 – The older part of the Speedway Campus building was renovated
1997 – An extension facility was purchased on Greensdairy Road, without incurring debt.
1998 – Property was purchased on Kepler Road and paid within 1 year
2005 – Mortgage on Speedway Campus building paid in full, 12 years early!
In 2005, a process begun to develop the Kepler Road property as a result of paying off our mortgage in full. Expanding programs and a passion to reach out to our growing community created strains on the Speedway facility.
In an effort to exercise diligence in the stewardship God has granted us, the leadership team at First Assembly DeLand engaged Building God’s Way, a national firm that builds and designs cost-effective facilities that are both beautiful and functional in enabling congregations to minister to their communities.
In June of 2008, we broke ground on the Kepler Campus and the exciting construction process of our new building began. Throughout the process, God has once again proven faithful by pouring out miracles of provision from our own hands. And on January 31st, 2010 First Assembly DeLand opened the doors of the Kepler Campus building for its Grand Opening and Dedication service.
God has done and is doing exciting things! As we continue on this journey of seeking His desires, we continue to love and bless Him, our city and our community.