Worship Center began with 30 people gathering for the first time on March 20, 1977, at the Sheraton Conestoga Hotel. Though we came from different backgrounds and traditions, we had a desire to worship God freely and to see Him change people's lives in this region.
This group began to grow, and the need for a pastor quickly became evident. Sam and Sherlyn Smucker was invited to pastor the congregation, and after graduation from RHEMA Bible Training Center in May 1977, they trusted God and stepped into this role.
In 1978, the congregation relocated to the Lititz Recreation Center. It quickly filled to capacity, and a second service was added. Shortly thereafter, Worship Center purchased a 10-acre farm on New Holland Pike and dedicated it to the Lord in an open-air service. During this service, the church family gave sacrificially and creatively to this purchase. A farmhouse on the property was relocated, and construction began on the first structure - LCCS's current auditorium/gymnasium. Modular units were also purchased to house children's ministry. The facilities were dedicated to the Lord on February 1, 1981.
That September, Living Word Academy opened its doors to 80 students, grades K-6. A grade was added each year after that until it became a full K-12 school. In 2010, LWA merged with Lancaster Christian School to become Lancaster County Christian School, utilizing Worship Center's original facility.
In 1982, Worship Center purchased an additional eight acres of land, and a new expansion project began with a groundbreaking ceremony. The west wing was constructed for children's ministry and additional classrooms. By 1985, the east wing was added to the facilities. Construction on the three-floor front lobby section began in 1986 and was completed the following year. Another building project Worship Center completed was in 1997 with the addition on the south end of the structure, housing classrooms and the school lobby.
In 1998, God opened the door for us to purchase the 94-acre horse farm to our south and a 20-acre parcel of land to our west.
All this was taking place because God was adding to our numbers and increasing our capacity to minister, to love, and to reach people. New ministries were birthed where people would experience God and discover His plan for their lives. The mandate to reach the whole world was realized and pursued; small groups were established and became our method of relationship building and pastoral care; and Bible schools, weekend classes, and support ministries continued to connect people to the heart of God.
In 2010, WC completed and moved into its current 106,000 square-foot church facility. Ministries are constantly changing with the ebb and flow of today's culture, but the message of the Gospel of Jesus is timeless and unchanging.
In 2017, we celebrated 40 years of ministry as a church. What began in 1977 as a small gathering has grown to over 4,000. We honor and recognize with humility God's faithfulness to continue His work in and through us. We also are thanking Him for the faithfulness of the thousands who have invested countless hours of service dedicated to those God has called us to reach.
That year marked another milestone for us, as our founding pastor, Sam Smucker, and his wife completed their 40-year tenure as our lead pastor couple. We recognize their love and unwavering commitment toward God's mission and the people of this church. Their hearts have built a firm foundation of commitment to God's Word, faith in God's purpose for our lives, a value of growing together in authentic community, and a mandate to reach the world for Jesus.
The transfer of leadership took place during two special services June 11 as Pastor Sam, the Leadership Team, representatives from the Board of Directors, and others installed Matt and Kelly Mylin as the new lead pastor couple of Worship Center. With a new leader at the helm, one thing is for certain: Worship Center will continue its mission to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus and help them find their purpose in Him.
Worship Center continues to reach people like never before. One phrase that many are becoming familiar with is, "No mess, no harvest." As we engage people where they are at, we get to be a part of leading them into a growing relationship with Jesus and helping them find their purpose in him!