In 1980, Pastor John Lloyd responded to God’s call to leave his ministry in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, stepping out in faith to move to Florida. Countryside Christian Center began with Pastor John and seven people in a living room. It wasn’t long before they would need a new place to meet, as the fellowship quickly grew to 50 people.
In 1982, Countryside moved to the Kapok Tree Restaurant (now Sam Ash Music store) on McMullen Booth Road. God was using Pastor John in a new and exciting way. His passion for the Lord and the gospel created an atmosphere that allowed God to work in people’s lives, and provided opportunities for groundbreaking ministry in the Tampa Bay area. People responded, and the church soon grew to 200. In an unusual move, the Lord led Countryside to the 12th floor of the 1100 Building in downtown Clearwater where it became our church home for the next four years. Would anyone attend church on the 12th floor of an office building? We grew to 800!
In 1986, under the direction of Pastor John, our congregation purchased twelve acres and built our first sanctuary, now our Youth Center, which seats approximately 1200. Because of Pastor John’s dynamic ministry, three short years later our church would need to purchase an additional twelve acres to build our Educational Building, which is now home to our school, Countryside Christian Academy.
Pastor John saw a deep need for discipleship in the church. He developed Countryside Christian Training Center (CCTC) to disciple, train, raise up, and send out the body of Christ. Under this ministry, hundreds of people were raised up as pastors, leaders, missionaries, and church staff. Graduates of this training center have gone on to pastor and lead churches all throughout the Tampa Bay area that are still growing and having an impact on our community.
All throughout the 1990′s and 2000′s, incredible things were happening with our local ministry, but Pastor John also had a heart and a vision for foreign missions. Over the years, the missions department founded by Pastor John has given millions of dollars to missionaries all over the world, turning Countryside Christian Center into an international ministry.
All of this growth and global impact would not have been possible without Pastor John’s dedication to personal and corporate prayer. It was through prayer and seeking God’s will that Pastor John and his leadership team decided to move forward with plans to build a new worship center that would seat 2500. In June 2009, we held our first service in our new worship center. This facility has allowed us to minister to thousands of people on a weekly basis.
The foundation laid by our founding pastor has brought us to where we are today. We are so grateful for him and his dedication to the cause of Christ. We look forward to a future of greater things.