In January of 1992, while sitting in a service, God gave the vision to Pastor Mark to start a Calvary Chapel in Melbourne. Three months later, in March, we started the church with no money. We arranged to rent a room that would hold 75 people, but on the Thursday before opening weekend, the reservation fell through. God directed Pastor Mark to call the Hilton to ask to rent a ballroom. Through a series of God-ordained details, we were able to rent the ballroom, as well as two rooms for the kids and nursery. That opening weekend, we had 100 people that wouldn't have fit in the reserved room that fell through. Without faith, it's impossible to please God. Through these steps of faith, we learned that stepping out pleases God.
In 1993, we were having to move around a lot because of shows that were often held at the Hilton. We had offices down the street from a Seventh Day Adventist church. They had just finished building a brand new sanctuary. God opened the door for us to come in and share the building with them from 1993-1994. During this time, we continued growing and went from one to two services.
As we continued to grow, we had to find a larger space to hold our services. God opened the door in 1995 for us to rent space at Meadowlane Elementary. It came with all the tearing down and setting up of renting a space, but God continued to grow His church. Nearing 500 people, it was at this time Pastor Mark stopped working in pharmacy and went full time in ministry.
We looked at 30 pieces of property before God directed us to the cow pasture across the street from Meadowlane Elementary School. In 1995, Pastor Mark talked with the land owner to negotiate purchasing 10 acres of land. The owner wanted to sell us 20, but after negotiations, sold us the 10 acres. Four months later, we had to go back and ask to buy the additional 10. The land owner sold it to us at the original price. In 1996, we broke ground, and in 1997 we moved into our own building in Melbourne.
When we saw that there were so many kids in need of a Christian education, we stepped out in faith to open a school. In 2007, we expanded the school building, and now have 500 students enrolled. God continues to bless this ministry and open new doors into the community.
As we continued to grow, we built a new sanctuary that could be the home of lives restored and changed by Jesus. As a bonus, the sanctuary is the largest auditorium space in Brevard County, which has provided so many opportunities to serve our community.
The idea of a video campus was a new concept, but we stepped out in faith where God was leading. We had many families come visit from Viera, but because of the distance didn't return regularly. So instead of continuing to make the people come to us, we brought church to them and opened our first video campus at the Viera High School. We started by first asking everyone who lived in the Viera area to pray about attending that campus. So 200 families moved from attending the Melbourne campus to attend the campus in their backyard.
God continued to grow us beyond Brevard County as we started our second video campus in Sebastian. First meeting at Sebastian River High School, God continued to use this new campus to reach more people for Christ.
After 2 years of meeting in the High School, we needed to find a new home. Working with the Viera Company, we broke ground in 2008. We had been assigned a different piece of land, but one week before signing, the owner changed the property to where we are now, right near the school and the stadium. God was behind it all, and we continue to grow.
As the church continued to grow, we needed to find more space for all of the kids; so a new expansion was in order. We reached out to the congregation to help us build this building debt-free, and because of everyone's generosity, we were able to do just that.
God again began opening doors, allowing us to begin holding services at the Central Florida Reception Center each week. God continues to change lives every week.
God orchestrated big changes in Sebastian through a friendship between pastors. After 10 years at the High School, we were able to move into the United Church of Sebastian to share their building. They have an early service on Sunday mornings, and we hold our 10:45 service and other services throughout the week. God continues to bring our churches together and grow our Calvary family.