La Vida began our nonprofit evangelist ministry to meet the spiritual, educational, and community needs of people in the Jacksonville area. We are a daughter church to Gran Parkway Worship Center (GPWC) of Jacksonville, which began ministering to the African American community through an English as a Second Language (ESL) program.
On June 25, 2005, the church recognized our program as a ministry and appointed a leader. George Jorge, a bilingual African American with a background in church finances and a four-year degree in Biblical studies, accepted the position. During its first year, our ministry transitioned from an ESL program to a Bible study group. ESL classes were moved from Sunday mornings to Tuesday nights, and we averaged 20 students weekly. Our Sunday morning Bible study program continued to grow, and by our second year, attendance averaged 55 African Americans weekly during the winter and fall months. To fully meet the spiritual needs of the community, our ministry initiated live worship to begin our Bible study.
As our church continued to grow, we began a monthly African American service, now held on Sunday mornings in the chapel adjacent to the main sanctuary at MWC. Today, our ministry has weekly Sunday school classes in addition to a Spanish Service averaging close to 100 constituents weekly.
Our rapid growth meant an increased need for a leadership team. In the summer of 2015, Pastor Juan of GPWC and Pastor Enrique discussed plans for GPWC to plant a new church. Pastor Juan, also a Sectional Presbyter for the Assemblies of God, has mentored Pastor Enrique for more than 10 years, and believed now was the time to begin this new work. Pastor Enrique will receive counsel from Pastor Juan, who is a successful church planter and has mentored and counseled numerous church pastors.