HISTORY OF MARANATHA BAPTIST CHURCH
On March 26, 1976 a group of 20 people, residents of MARANATHA VILLAGE, met in the village office to consider starting a church. The first services occurred on October 31, 1976 with a morning attendance of 33 and 38 in the evening. After the adoption of the Church Covenant, Articles of Faith and Constituton, 47 charter members officially become MARANATHA BAPTIST CHURCH on December 1, 1976. Later, a recognition council acted "...to acknowledge Maranatha Baptist Church as an independent Baptist Church". The church was subsequently received into the Sunshine Baptist Fellowship and the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (www.garbc.org).
Maranatha Baptist Church has maintained a deep love for missions and missionaries. A current annual missions budget of $183,000 supports 74 missionaries and agencies. In 1978 the church helped establish Spring Lake Baptist Church, and in 1984 helped to start the Sebring Baptist Tabernacle in Sebring (now Bethany Baptist Church of Avon Park.) Outreach continues in many other ways: Mailbox Ministries, Spanish Bible classes, services at area care centers, jail services, pulpit supply, tract writing and distribution, Sunday preaching in local communities, Spanish Literature production, musical concerts, and service on various mission boards.
In the summer of 2000, the church voted to reopen the "Sunshine Lodge" an assisted-living facility formerly operated by Maranatha Village, renaming it as "Maranatha Manor." People rallied generously with time, labor and gifts to fulfill this vision.
Today our folk represent a rich mix of backgrounds, occupations and professions. All have served the Lord with distinction either in secular jobs and through local churches or in full time Christian service. Those who have been in full time service include missionaries, pastors, pastors' wives, educators, chaplains, and mission board administrators.
A motto that reflects the personality of Maranatha Baptist Church is: "Helping one another 'til Jesus comes!" It expresses the spontaneous loving care and selfless service regularly showered upon one another, as well as the joyful anticipation of the sound of the trumpet that will accompany our entrance into the presence of the Lord!