The Orlando World Outreach Center, a non-denominational church headed by pastor and former NFL player Tim Johnson, has found a new home.
Previously located in a rented building at 741 N. Mills Ave., the church is now moving to the former Christian Family Worship Center property at 4365 Kennedy Ave., in unincorporated Orange County. The Outreach Center paid $2.65 million for 19.67 acres and an assembly building on site, according to a deed signed April 26 and recorded May 2.
The World Outreach Center will make major renovations to the 20,033-square-foot building to accommodate its growing congregation and plans to expand its offerings to children, parents and college students, who are often treated to a free meal.
"When you own your own place, you don't have the logistical challenges of having to schedule things and accommodate other entities in the building," Johnson told GrowthSpotter on Thursday. "We were renting. That's not been a bad thing but it is limiting because we wanted to be able to once a month feed all the college kids."
Built in 1987, the Kennedy Avenue church will get a new roof, new interior finishes, commercial kitchen equipment, replacement of the heating and air conditioning system and an audio-visual system, according to county building permit applications filed by general contractor COSCO & Associates, a Christian design/build company based in Crestview and led by president Tim Songster.
COSCO specializes in building churches. Songster could not be reached for comment, but Johnson said COSCO would be hiring local labor for the renovations, which begin next week.
The renovated church will give World Outreach Center more space for the multiple programs it offers to parishioners, Johnson said.
"We will be able to have a Wednesday service with our youth having their own space," Johnson said. "We'll be able to have marriage and family parenting seminars. And there is plenty of parking. Parking was a problem (at the old church)."
Johnson, a graduate of Sarasota High School, was an All-American defensive lineman at Penn State and played for the Nittany Lions 1986 National Championship team. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and played there for three years before moving to the Washington Redskins. He played on the Redskins Super Bowl XXVI (January 1992) team, and was named the 1993 "Redskin of the Year." He ended his career in 1996 with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Before coming to Orlando in 2007, Johnson was associate pastor and senior pastor at Bethel World Outreach Church in Nashville.