On Sunday, March 3, Bay Life Church of Brandon celebrated 25 years with a unified service and anniversary picnic. A total of 1,546 people were in attendance, and the service featured worship pastors from both past and present for a time of worship and teaching from Pastor Mark Saunders.

Leading up to the event, Bay Life’s Facebook page was seasoned with posts featuring personal stories of how lives had been changed at Bay Life.

“Celebrating 25 years as a church was special in ways I hadn’t expected,” said Pastor Mark Saunders. “Sure, there were the stories of ‘humble beginnings’ and ‘grassroots growth,’ but I was marked most by the significant changes that occurred in individual cases. Over and over again in the days leading up to our celebration, people posted on social media their personal stories of how God had used His church called Bay Life to alter the course of their lives forever.”

Pastor Saunders stressed that Bay Life Church is not a building or location, but the church is its people. At Bay Life, this family of followers, who affectionately call themselves Lifers, seek to love, serve and share Jesus Christ.

Speaking about Bay Life’s impact, Pastor Saunders said, “Marriages were saved, addictions were overcome, minds were renewed, all by the power of Jesus and the love of His saints.” He continued, “I am grateful that God has used us over our first 25 years to draw so many into faith. As we look to our future, I pray for more—more life change, more church campuses, more people responding to and then sharing the good news.”

In addition to the support rendered within the body of believers through its life groups, children and youth ministry, counseling and such, Bay Life also makes an impact on both its surrounding community and abroad. From local missions like Feed the Bay, which originated at Bay Life, to global missions in Uganda and Africa, the church seeks to help those in need while spreading the good news.

Stephen Stough, communications director at Bay Life, added, “A few of the things I loved was that my sons, now 19 and 13, could hear about the faithfulness of God to His people and be here to witness firsthand how God moves in His time and for His purposes for His glory.”

The programs mentioned above and missions are only a sampling of the areas where Bay Life serves. An in-depth list and more information can be found at www.baylife.org. Service times are Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 9 and 10:45 a.m. Bay Life is located at 1017 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon.

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.