Why Not here?

Could God change the world through a small town near the wilderness? He’s done it before—at Bethany beyond the Jordan (John 1:28). So why not in the community of Umatilla, Florida? Calvary Chapel of the Lakes has been praying for Jesus to come and rescue many from sin, bondage, and death, just like He did then. God has instructed us to pray BIG for Him to transform lives, and therefore, we believe that our Lord is up to something big here. 

Back in 2012, God blessed us with property that far outsizes our number of people: 2 chapels, an educational facility, and a parsonage on nearly 7 acres, for just dozens of saints. All for a monthly mortgage that was about 1/4th of what we were paying in rent at a store front. 

All along, our prayer has been "Lord, glorify Yourself here. Fill this place with those who know you, and those who don't yet," We believe He's still answering that prayer.

But without death, there is no resurrection.

Instead of a growing church, there have been times it felt like we were a dying church. 

  • We sent some of our hardest working saints to plant an awesome church in Belleview, FL.
  • Fewer folks joining us, and even fewer youth and children.
  • Then, Covid hit and forced us to online streaming for a few months.

But all along, the faithful few have been praying "Fill this place, and use this property with those who know you, and those who don't yet. But we trust You even in the valley of the shadow of death."

Now, it's beginning to feel a lot like resurrection. New folks are visiting nearly every week. Some of them are staying. The old chapel is being resurrected physically, with new Air conditioning, and beautifying, thanks to Amy and Andrew Sellers. And just perhaps, we'll have children visiting every Sunday for Amy's KidHop.

To be clear, we're not quite sure what God is up to, but we're up for the adventure!

About Us...

Simply put, we are an unusual congregation. We are servants, seniors, corporate types and Star Wars geeks. Our Sunday attendance averages 50-75. Most of our congregation is over the age of 40. While we are an older congregation, we are in no way a “set in our ways and longing for the old days” Body of Believers. We love trying new and creative outreaches to engage our community with the Love and Gospel of Jesus. 

About our Community

Welcome to Central Florida! While most folks hear that and think “DISNEY!” we’d also like to introduce you to Small Town America. Umatilla is a quiet country town in the northern part of Lake County, Florida (so named because of the hundreds of lakes throughout the county). 

While the population of Umatilla (city limits) is about 3,900, the area we serve extends to several towns within a 20 minute drive, totaling upwards of 50,000 people. Of particular note is what’s called The Golden Triangle, which is the three towns of Tavares, Eustis, and Mount Dora. Our church body is made up of residents of all four towns.  

While our community is idyllic at first glance, physical and spiritual needs abound.  Through our Food Pantry and Diaper ministries, we have discovered that much physical need surrounds us.

We have found great spiritual need as well. The idea that "I'm American, so therefore I'm a Christian as well" is prevalent.  Some have been burned by the church and walked away.  Others see no reason to attend church ( ie. Crossfit provides community, so why not do that instead?).  Our community, just like the rest of our country, needs the life giving, chain breaking Gospel of Jesus Christ to come and bring dead people to life!

About our property

Calvary Chapel of the Lakes (CCOTL) sits just off the main road through town on 7 beautiful acres.  Our 39,000 square foot property includes a sanctuary/fellowship hall, educational wing, a house, and a historic chapel.  God graciously allowed us to purchase the property for a ridiculously low price. We are so thankful for all that He has given us!  Our heart is to utilize the property as much as possible and as often as possible for the Kingdom. Currently our property is a functioning Church and Food Pantry, but there’s room for so much more!   Do you have any ideas of ways that we can leverage our facility for the Gospel? A community space? A coffee shop? A soup kitchen? We would love to hear them!

About our Youth

We have 8-10 middle and high school students. The young women focus on reading Scripture during the week, training themselves to consider its meaning and life application before gathering to discuss how God is speaking to them. The young men and their fathers meet weekly for an Apologetics class. Our youth serve in our food pantry, children’s ministry, worship team, and A/V team, and have recently begun their own worship team.

So, what do you think?

Are you interested? 

Here's a Job Description you can print.

And here's a printed, more detailed version of this Interest Inquiry.

Email your resume and any questions to ccotlyouth@gmail.com.

We would love to tell you more about the role and our vision.