We exist to follow and fulfill God’s purpose and plan.
Our purpose is to make disciples: new ones, better ones.
“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Galatians 6.9
What an incredible promise! This is a verse that has been supplying strength to my heart for the past ten years while serving as your pastor. This year was a very powerful and vivid reminder that there is always a harvest for the one who refuses to quit! Our 10th year was our best year yet! We have seen new records set for the number of people saved, baptized, discipled, and plugged into ministry here at Lakeside. We are reaping a harvest!
We are providing this report to you as a way to capture God’s amazing work in our church in this past year. As you read, rejoice with us as we all celebrate the faithfulness of God in fulfilling all of His promises. From the inspiring testimonies to the incredible reach of our church across the world to touch people with the gospel, you’re sure to be encouraged in your faith. Caroline and I are completely humbled by the opportunity to serve as your pastors and would like to personally thank all those who played a part in making 2017 so great.
We could not do any of this without you! We are looking forward to even greater things as we step into the new year. Believe with us!
Our best days are still ahead.
Jason & Caroline Hitte
In February of 2014, I was probably going through the hardest time of my life. I had recently started going to Lakeside and my marriage was on the wrong path; it was going straight down the drain. My wife and I were trying to work things out ourselves in our own way. We got to the point where we were taking turns spending nights at each of our parents’ homes, so we did not have to be under the same roof. We drove to church separately and attended service angry. Then, we discovered that we were going to have our first child. Instead of this good news making things better, our marriage got worse.
The enemy loves to twist things and confuse us when we are weak. It probably did not help that at that time I did not believe in God either. I thought I knew all about religion, as I was raised Catholic. I did not know it then but what I needed was Jesus. I am so thankful that God lead us to Lakeside where I could hear exactly what I needed to hear. Not religion, but a place where I could hear about God’s unmerited love and mercy, which was exactly what my wife and I needed.
Lakeside is the place where I felt welcome even when I did not believe. It’s a place where it’s okay to not be perfect. What I needed was a relationship with the Creator himself and Lakeside helped me to realize that. It is awesome how God has turned our marriage around. Thank you, Lakeside, for being the light we desperately needed and being there for us when we needed it most.
Before finding the Lakeside Church I was living in darkness. I was not a people person and I didn’t like anyone in my personal space. Holding a conversation was not something I enjoyed doing. I attended several churches but never had the desire to serve or attend anything except Sunday services.
My first Lakeside experience was overwhelming. Everyone was loving and happy that my daughter and I were there. Out of nowhere, this gentleman came up to me and gave me a hug and asked our names. He asked if it was our first visit and gave us a warm welcome. My initial thought was; run, this is not for you. But my daughter, Jazmine, was too excited because there was a children’s church just for her.
When I went into the sanctuary and was observing the worship service and the people, I looked up at the stage and to my surprise, the gentleman that greeted us earlier introduced himself as Pastor Jason. I was shocked and amazed that the pastor would care enough to take the time to personally greet us. That’s something that I’ve never experienced before.
The message that he delivered that Sunday spoke directly to me and I realized that darkness was not where God wanted me to be. That was two years ago. Now I not only attend Sunday service, but I also serve, attend a small group, and I too am now a HUGGER. Thank you, Pastor Jason and Lakeside, for helping me out of the darkness, and helping Jazmine and I to learn to let our light shine.
I started attending Lakeside in November 2014, my senior year of high school. I first went to the student ministry, then began to attend Sunday services to learn more about who Jesus was. During this time, I was an atheist involved in ridiculous behaviors that were damaging to myself.
After a few months of attending Lakeside, I realized that I needed a Savior and that Jesus is Lord. On February 1st, 2015, I gave my life to Christ and from there sought to know Him more and more. I began to serve in various ministries at Lakeside and became more connected to the church. I now knew what it meant to have a church family.
As I began to get more connected, studied the Bible, and sought wisdom, I gained a better understanding of what it meant to follow Christ. I don’t get everything right all the time, but I realize that I am to live for Him and to shine the light He has given me. I’m learning what it means to live in freedom.
Fast forward three years from the day I was saved and here I am; a new life that’s been dramatically changed. I know that I am a new creation because of Christ Jesus and am grateful for the church family God has put into my life. I’m ready to continue to give God my best at Lakeside in the years to come!
2017 was a year of tremendous outreach activity beyond our walls. We were able to impact places near and far with the Gospel by helping launch new churches; providing medical care; disaster relief; new home construction for pastors, and building latrines in remote villages. We thank God for the opportunity to partner with some amazing organizations. Whether someone said “Yes, I will go,” or they said “Yes, I will give,” we were blessed to make a lasting difference in the lives of many domestically and internationally.
1 Kansas City, MO – Freedom Church
2 Port Orange, FL – Jesus Church
3 Gatlinburg, TN – Area Fires
4 Houston, TX – Hurricane Irma // Samaritan’s Purse
5 Haiti – School repairs after hurricane // Unforsaken Ministries
6 Dominican Republic – Grace Covenant International
7 Puerto Rico – Hurricane Maria
8 Nicaragua – Construction of home for local pastor
9 Nepal – YWAM (Youth With a Mission)
10 Papua New Guinea & Panama – YWAM (Youth With a Mission)
Pastor Robin Murillo, Nicaragua
The Lakeside Church is a mission-minded church. We partner with several American missionaries to support them in their work to share the love and Word of Jesus throughout the world. In 2017, we also partnered with Pastor Robin Murillo of Masaya, Nicaragua. We directly taught and provided him and several other pastors and leaders with discipleship materials, who in turn are using this to disciple their congregations.
We seek not only to provide spiritual tools and support, we believe in tangibly partnering with faithful missionaries, pastors, and organizations to help meet their needs. Through the generosity of the Lakeside Church, we were able to fund and build a new house for Pastor Robin and his family. Pastor Robin has a call from God to plant churches in his country but his family’s living conditions did not appropriately support his accomplishing this endeavor. This new home with modern amenities provides them the comfort of proper living conditions so that they can focus on fulfilling the purpose and plan that God has called them to.
Enlarge the House!
“Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
For you will soon be bursting at the seams…”
Lakeside is a growing church that is determined to follow and fulfill God’s purpose and therefore we take seriously His mandate to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. As we strive to be faithful, God is adding to our numbers, those who are hungry for more of Him. As a result, we are at, or close to capacity in several areas of ministry. To make room for even more, we’ve added a 3rd worship experience and are considering adding a 4th evening service later this year.
To further accommodate our growth, God has provided us with a tremendous opportunity, so we are in contract to purchase 9.2 acres of prime real estate on Highway 50 here in Oakland, Florida. This will enable us to increase our influence within the community and region and be more effective stewards with the resources God is trusting us with, as well as provide us with a permanent home.
In November 2017, we launched NO | LIMITS, a 24-month stewardship drive to raise the necessary capital to make this vision a reality. We anticipate that we will close on this real estate transaction by the end of April 2018. Thanks to everyone who is helping to make this happen!
In order to reach this city with the Gospel of Jesus, we can’t think small. We must take bold steps, abandon the reasonable, embrace the ridiculous and watch God move.