Pastor LaVoy Newton will celebrate his 25th anniversary at Lighthouse Church of God Sunday. Bishop Mike Sloan of Oasis World Outreach in Zephyrhills, Florida, will be the guest speaker.
LaVoy started his ministry under Sloan.
LaVoy was called to the Lighthouse Church of God when it was the South Whitney Street Church of God, located at 861 S. Whitney St.
The evangelism director for the Church of God in Florida at the time was Arnold Godwin.
Godwin called LaVoy while he was the youth pastor at the Palatka Church of God and told him, “There are no people, no money and the building had been vandalized and shut down for six months, but we feel like you’re the man for the job.”
Previously, LaVoy felt like God was asking him to pastor in St. Augustine, and this seemed to be the opportunity that he was waiting for.
The first Sunday, there were four people in attendance, not including LaVoy and his family that brought the total to seven.
Times were tough at first, as LaVoy worked two jobs while pastoring the church in order to support his young family.
LaVoy started reaching out to the surrounding community by knocking on doors. This led him to the doorstep of Roy Yelvington.
Yelvington and his wife, Laura, along with a few of their adult children, would begin attending Lighthouse Church of God.
Yelvington, a minister himself, would soon be called as the assistant pastor at Lighthouse Church of God, a role he served in until August 2013.
LaVoy also reached out to Flagler Village, now called Woodlawn Terrace. Soon after, the church purchased a bus that began running on Wednesday nights. This ministry is still ongoing today.
One of the most influential decisions LaVoy made was to start Beacon of Hope Christian School in 1999.
Once the decision was made, the South Whitney Street building had to be prepped. It was completed just prior to the school opening after Labor Day 1999.
The school had humble beginnings, starting with 18 students and grades kindergarten through second grade.
Adding a grade each year, Beacon of Hope graduated seven seniors in its first class in 2010.
Subsequently, they have graduated 74 students to date.
To accommodate the ministry expansion, the church relocated to 1230 Kings Estate Road before the 2003-04 school year.
LaVoy has taken many mission trips to countries such as India, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Zimbabwe, among others.
He has also written a book titled, “War in the Heavens,” published in 2013 by Derek Press.
The book can be purchased on amazon.com or at Lighthouse Church of God for $15.
Immediately following the the 25th anniversary service, the church will host a potluck dinner.
The community is invited to attend this special celebration for LaVoy.
Lighthouse Church of God is at 1230 Kings Estate Road.