JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A church that moved into an abandoned Walmart held its first Easter services, Sunday.
It began with one service held inside another church.
"One service became two; two services became three," explains Lead Pastor Joby Martin.
When the Church of Eleven-22 opened its doors in September, nearly 2,500 people showed up. Now, just six months later the church expects more than 6,000 in attendance for its Easter services.
"We have absolutely doubled in size. What started as a service is now a full-fledged church," says Eleven 22 Communications Director, Lisa Bowden
"It's a God thing. We're not this good. It's totally God," says church member, Chad Voiselle.
Voiselle volunteers at the church and says he's amazed at how quickly the congregation has grown.
"I still can't grasp it. It's like if you think of a trillion dollars and you can never grasp that concept, I can't grasp the fact that 6,000 people are going to come here to be a part of church that I'm a part of."
However, the rapid growth has forced the church to make some accommodations.
"We have special parking for our Serve Staff and regular staff that is off-site and we have a trolley service running from those special off-site places," explains Bowden.
"We have brought in special rooms, portables, for our children to have Sunday school in."
But the church says it's not about the numbers.
Kim Wygle started attending the church when it launched back in September. She says not only has it changed her life, she's watched it change others.
"We are seeing marriages healed, addictions broken, we are seeing emotional healing, we are seeing people come to Christ and find him, and not just find eternal solution and eternal salvation but find healing and find a new life that they didn't even know was possible," Wygle says.
"To watch that is intoxicating. It is just the joy of my life to witness that."
The church says there's still about 20,000 square feet of unused space in the building that it can use to expand.
For more information on the church or its services go to www.coe22.com.
First Coast News