New beginnings and a fresh start was the theme for a Panama City Beach church as they re-opened their doors under a new name and new leadership. Georgia Mega Church First Baptist Woodstock has made it's home in the facilities of the former First Baptist Church Panama City Beach.
The church faced hardship for nearly three years. It began construction on a new building in 2010, but the contractor was murdered at the construction site. Plus, financial hardships lead the church to reach out to Georgia-based First Baptist Woodstock.
Perhaps a sign from above and just weeks after an arrest in the case, the church was sold. Pastor Rick Young is moving his family from Atlanta to Panama City Beach to lead the new satellite campus.
More than 700 people attended the new services on Sunday. The sanctuary was packed, and ushers had to find places for some to sit. It was a welcome sight for Pastor Young and the congregation.
"I'm sure it was a shock to some of their members who were here. Most of them are so excited about everyone who is here," said Young.
While Etoi Moore, who's been a member of the former church, said, "it was unbelievable for me. I said two services, 9:30 and 11:00, get real. I just can't imagine us filling up the church for both services."
Sunday's services were also just a glimpse of what's to come. "Our worship is going to be awesome. We'll love for them to come to that, and number two, is our preschool and children. We want to make that strong," said Young.
The unfinished building on Back Beach Road will soon be a place of worship. Pastor Young said they'll finish construction this summer and hopefully move locations around Labor Day.