Hope Community Church moves back to where its heart is

Michael Smith

Converge Content Specialist

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Don and Barb Winters planted Hope Community Church in Wildwood, Florida, in February 2017, meeting at Wildwood Elementary School.

In January 2018, the Converge Southeast congregation moved to a funeral home/life event center in The Villages. At the time it was a good move, but this January Hope Community decided to find a place back in Wildwood. They wanted to shake the stigma of meeting in a funeral home, as well as shed The Villages address and reconnect with the Wildwood community.

Don said, “God has laid upon our hearts a particular passion for the people of Wildwood. This move puts us back where our heart is.”

Hope Community celebrated its first service in its new location March 31. A first-time guest indicated he was interested in beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Transportation is an issue for some people in the Wildwood community, Don said, and the new location is more accessible for them. Additionally, the new space is available to the church family 24/7, not just on Sunday mornings. Within days of the church signing its new lease, a church member asked to hold a funeral reception at the building. Don said it was a blessing to be able to accommodate his need.

“It’s a great feeling to drive up and see our permanent sign outside the building. It’s in a prominent location, and we hope to serve the community better through the facilities available to us,” Don said. “It’s not really about a building but discovering what gives us the best opportunity to share the hope of the gospel in the community.”


Michael Smith, Converge Content Specialist

Michael Smith serves as Converge’s content specialist. He has nearly two decades in the newspaper publishing industry. Michael worked as a copy editor and designer for the Tampa Tribune for more than a dozen years, and has also been a member of the editorial staff of Florida Baptist Witness and other publications across the Southeast.

Additional articles by Michael Smith