Christ Community began conceptually with Trinity Presbyterian Church's vision to see the city of Lakeland changed by the power of the gospel. Their vision was to plant many new churches whose presence and work would affect the entire landscape of Lakeland. We are one of those churches. In the fall of 2004, Lyle Caswell, pastor of Christ Community, began meeting with 11 families to pray, plan and train for starting a new church. Highland City Elementary graciously allowed us to use their facilities, so we started regular Sunday evening meetings on January 16, 2005. Since that time we have seen God do some amazing things. From the forming of ministry teams and the provision of a worship leader, to the inception of our community groups, God has been working.
We continue to pray and work towards change both socially and spiritually in Lakeland. As a part of our ongoing vision, we also want to plant new churches whose presence and work will affect the entire landscape of Lakeland. There are currently 160,000 people in the surrounding Lakeland area who do not regularly attend church. This number could easily double over the next 20 years, so the need has never been greater for more churches to be planted.
In 2012, the Lord provided the ability for us to purchase our current property on South Florida Avenue. We began meeting there in the Spring of 2013. We are thankful for our current facilities because we see them as an opportunity to reach out and love our neighbors.
Lyle Caswell, Pastor
Lyle and his family have lived in Lakeland since 2003. He is a transplant from Georgia and has had a heart for church planting since graduating from seminary in 1996. Lyle's first introduction to Lakeland was through his wife, Luchrysta, who grew up in Lakeland. When they were looking for a place to plant a church, the community of Lakeland was a perfect place for the Caswells to relocate. They have four children: Jack, Mary Fran, Ethan and Gretchen.
Dax Gibson, Associate Pastor
Dax and Michelle and their three children, Knox, Karis and Kase moved to Lakeland, Florida in August of 2008. In 2013 Dax and Michelle adopted two little girls from Nicaragua, Katy and Khloe. Dax is serving as the associate pastor at Christ Community and primarily oversees the growth and development of our community groups. The Gibsons have lived in both Charlotte, NC and Birmingham, AL. Dax spent five years working in the construction industry before starting at Beeson Divinity School (Birmingham, AL) in 2005 and moving toward a pastoral vocation. While finishing seminary, Dax taught Bible at the Westminster School at Oak Mountain (Birmingham, AL).
Jeremy Kemp, Director of Student Ministries
Jeremy, his wife Sarah, and son, Corban are new additions to the Lakeland community. Jeremy and Sarah grew up in Roswell, Georgia where they were high school sweethearts and married in 2008. After graduating from UGA Jeremy worked for three years at Perimeter Church (Duluth, GA) in the High School Ministry Department. Jeremy is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.
Chuck Anderson, Administrator
Chuck grew up in Lakeland and graduated from Lakeland Christian in 2002. After graduating from the University of Florida (BA, 2005), he sensed a call to pastoral ministry and began studies at Southern Seminary (Louisville, KY). He completed seminary in 2011, after which he returned to Lakeland and joined Christ Community. He is currently under care of the Southwest Florida Presbytery (PCA).