Issue 1

The Villages Campus Newsletter – Issue 1

Hey everyone! This is Jacob Sylvia, Campus Pastor of The Villages campus. You are receiving our FIRST ever issue of our Campus Newsletter. This newsletter will be sent out quarterly to all members and regular attenders, but for this first month I will be sending it out weekly for four weeks due to how much I would like to share with you all.

What I hope to accomplish through this quarterly newsletter is simple: communication! As our campus is unique with many seasonal members, many taking vacations (I only slightly resent you for those) and just the overall craziness of life, I know our previous form of communication through what is said on the stage and the Welcome Guides is simply not enough. My hope is this will not only ensure all members and regular attenders know where we’ve been and where we’re headed at The Villages campus, but also that we may celebrate our many blessings through how you serve and give. I’m sure the layout of this email will be ever-evolving but the goal will remain the same: to celebrate what God has done through our campus and to communicate all upcoming events, changes and updates as we continue to grow.

What Has Happened in the Past Year?

Campus Growth

  • We’ve seen over 300 first-time guests and drastically improved our follow up system both on the weekend and during the week with guests
  • We have had 62 people commit their lives to Christ!
  • We have baptized over 30 people in the past year, including 9 spontaneous baptisms where we saw students and adults jump into the waters fully clothed to publicly declare their faith
  • Our year end attendance has increased by over 20%, from an average of 320 per week to just under 400 per week
  • In the past 8 months, our student ministry has grown from 3 students to just under 60 students per week, with our best night’s attendance of 76!

·      Renovations

  • We turned the room to create more space for our rapid growth (the best problem to have), which added approximately 65 more seats to our auditorium
  • New chairs. This not only made our seating much more comfortable, but also allowed us to create wider rows, comfortably seating more people and improving the acoustics in the room (as the previous seats were vinyl causing harsh reverberations)
  • Updated A/V equipment which improves our lighting system, giving us more control, no more flickering issues, and gave our room a much more balanced EQ during worship

·      Campus Work Day

  • On Saturday, February 25 we had over 75 people show up ready to sweat as you all worked to improve our campus.
  • We took out three massive trees/hedges which opened up a clear line of site between our building and the Springsville Clubhouse
  • Cut and shaped the canopies of all trees and bushes on our property
  • Removed the rose bushes from in front of the Springsville house and replaced with mulch, which provides a much cleaner and safer environment for our kids
  • Purged all the junk we had accumulated in the past five years in the auditorium, closets, the Springsville Clubhouse and garage
  • Did a deep clean of every room in both buildings, including the cafe utility closet, infant and toddler spaces and the garage
  • Reorganized all our supplies in every space and room
  • Shared an amazing meal together provided by Cindy Smedley, whose spiritual gift is cooking

Volunteers and Leadership Pipeline

  • Our total number of volunteers has more than tripled in the past year as we have gone from many serving every week to a system of only needing to serve once a month. This created 4x the amount of serving opportunities, allowing many others to step up and step in, taking ownership and serving God by serving others with excellence
  • Our Leadership Pipeline is now installed, growing and evolving for the best. In short, the Leadership Pipeline is a system we use across all three campuses to invest in leaders. The system includes competency training modules to best equip, grow and invest in our volunteer Team Members, Team Leaders, Coaches, Coordinators and Staff
  • We have over 30 volunteer Team Members who have gone through our Leadership Pipeline to become Team Leaders, and even currently have 2 leaders who have gone through our Pipeline, going all the way from Team Members to Staff level
  • If you have questions about the Leadership Pipeline and the vision for raising up leaders in our community, I would love to sit down and speak with you! It takes time to unpack all that it entails, so if you have interest in it, please let me know so we can set up a time together!

New Staff

  • Ross Hubanks- Student Creative Director
  • Ross is the Student Creative Director during the week and serves with excellence as he leads our worship and tech teams at The Villages campus. Ross and his wife Emma bring a level of organization, care and focus to our campus worship experience like none other and have become great friends of my family along the way.


  • Trudy Nelson- Campus Pastor Assistant
  • I knew Trudy was something special when I saw her “working” our lobby with her blue clipboard in hand, offering serving opportunities to any and every person, and doing a killer job of it! Trudy’s role as my assistant includes (but no where even remotely close to limited to) overseeing volunteer recruitment, communication between all of our campus Coaches and Coordinators, managing my appointments and calendar and basically keeping my crazy butt organized. Trudy is a true blessing to our campus and my family.
  • Rick Mitzelfelt- Campus Coordinator
  • Rick serves tirelessly, putting in two full eight-hour days a week devoted to raising up leaders at our campus. Rick oversees Iron Men, implementing and updating our Leadership Pipeline, organizing on-campus events and managing our database. Rick’s background in engineering brings a level of detail and execution to our campus in a way that impacts the lives and eternities of everyone who steps foot onto The Villages campus.

  • Student Intern Program
  • Marissa Forhan and Cabe Langford are our student interns. They spend Wednesdays with our staff at the Ocala campus, attending Huddle, our weekly all-staff meeting. They then meet with Bryan Roe, our Student Pastor, for leadership development and series planning. They both oversee and organize all student volunteers, plan and build the service flow for our services at Encounter, recruit students to serve on the weekends, plan any and all student events, and simply jump in wherever needed.
  • The Dollar Club
  • The Villages campus has raised over $8,000 for The Dollar Club! The impact we have had, not only in our communities but across the United States, has literally reached over a million people! People may have gripes or well-founded complaints about religion and churches, but no one can argue the impact we make for the better when we live like Jesus. The Dollar Club has been a tangible way to see the power of one when we all work together to serve those in need.


A lot has changed in the past year! Personally, this has been the most challenging and rewarding year of my life getting to serve alongside all of you week in and week out. I have never loved a job more and I wake up energized and excited to see how God is going to keep blessing our campus and community in The Villages.

I know for a fact the best is yet to come, but I also know we need to reflect on the blessings God has bestowed on our campus in the past year. The blessings are cause for celebration because our God is a mighty God!

Don’t unsubscribe from this email and let me tell you why! Next week, I’ll be sending the next installment of our newsletter covering what is happening in the next few months at our campus. You do NOT want to miss this email as I unpack a detailed update on Raise the BAR, where we are on the next phase of our building expansion and details of our Small Group Launch Party in the fall!

If you are a current Small Group Leader or are interested in becoming a Small Group Leader to lead a 6-week study in the fall, please attend our 11am service this weekend! I’ll be sharing the plan for Small Groups at our campus and answering any and all questions for leaders.

If you have any questions, comments or simply want to say thank you for this awesome newsletter, don’t hesitate to email me! See you all this weekend!

In Christ,

Jacob Sylvia