PALM-AIRE — For many years, Palm-Aire resident Steve Coad wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted for his life — let alone what God wanted for it.
He did know he was strong in his Christian faith. Finally, he found his calling as a pastor. And last weekend, he and his wife, Kristin, held their first service as Oasis Church at Braden River Elementary School.
“It’s like having a baby,” Kristin Coad said of the upstart. “You don’t know what it’s going to be like, but you love it already.”
The Coads spent five years working with youth at Suncoast Cathedral in St. Petersburg as associate pastors, before accepting an invitation from Evangel Temple of Jacksonville in 2006 to become lead pastors of a new satellite campus in Middleburg.
Because Steve Coad grew up as the child of missionaries, primarily in the Dominican Republic, he and Kristin always assumed they would go into the mission field. But their experience in Middleburg gave new direction to their lives.
“I had never thought about doing anything like that,” Steve Coad said of being a lead pastor. “When I went up there, I realized how much I enjoyed pastoring.”
And after five years at Evangel Temple, the Coads realized a need in the East County and moved to the area to open Oasis.
“We had anything you could ever want,” Steve Coad said, listing off a steady income, a house and friends as reasons to stay in Middleburg. “To walk away from that to plant a church was very scary.”
The couple moved to Palm-Aire in January and since then has been working to develop a leadership team, build relationships and lay groundwork for the ministries.
“We have a big heart for the un-churched and the uncommitted,” Steve Coad said, noting only 12% of the area’s population has a church home. “Whenever I had an issue with Christianity, it was always about the church and Christians, not Jesus.
“(But I realized) people are people,” he said. “Christians are simply just people who have been forgiven. They don’t have their act together, but they’re trying to follow Jesus. We’re all going to make mistakes, and that’s why we need Jesus.”
Services are held at 10:30 a.m. Sundays, at Braden River Elementary School, 6125 River Club Blvd. Dress is casual, and childcare is available.
For more information on Oasis Church, visit www.oasischurch.ag.
Contact Pam Eubanks at email@example.com.
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