New Life Lutheran Church History

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Psalm 127:1

Sebring has long been a winter destination for many northerners, including many members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). It is the perfect place to retire, but as of 1990 there were no WELS churches within a two hour drive.
The WELS was contacted to try to resolve the problem, but it was decided that a WELS church would not be supported in the area. The members sought assistance from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), the smaller sister synod of the WELS, through Pastor Ken Mellon, an ELS missionary in Lakeland.
The members met with the ELS Board for Home Missions and at their May meeting the Board decided to call a missionary to the Sebring area. The call was extended to and accepted by Rev. Joel Willitz, who moved to the area in October 1990. Usually the exploratory process can be a long one, but with the help of God the first service of New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church was held at Sun ‘N Lake Elementary School on November 18, 1990.
On April 2, 1992 the church council decided to recommend the purchase of over 2 acres on Hammock Road for the church and 1 lot for the parsonage. The land was purchased in July of that same year. They broke ground for the parsonage in September and then a month later on October 28, 1992 for New Life Lutheran Church.
Pastor Willitz moved into the parsonage with his family in December and the dedication of New Life Lutheran Church was held on April 18, 1993. Much of the work, from cabinetry to roofing to carpentry to painting to landscaping, was done by members to keep the cost down. It took only 30 months from the time Pastor Willitz arrived to the time members were worshiping in their own church.
Pastor Willitz received a call to Georgia and moved from the Sebring area in October 1995. Rev. Richard Fyffe accepted the call extended to him and arrived in June 1996, serving until the end of March 2008. In that time frame many people became members and friends, both year round and seasonal, and have made New Life Lutheran Church their church home. Many of the improvements now seen at the church were also done. During this time much outreach was done in our local community and for the community of Christians.

Following Pastor Fyffe’s departure Rev. Brian Klebig accepted the call extended to him and was ordained on July 06, 2008. In 2012, Pastor Klebig received a call to teach at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN. In order to prepare for this position, he moved to Orlando to further his education. Pastor Klebig served New Life through August 2012.

After Pastor Klebig accepted his new call, the congregation called Rev. Luke Willitz, the son of Joel Willitz, to serve as the new pastor.  Pastor Willitz was ordained on September 02, 2012.

Repaying the mortgage on March 22, 2009 and celebrating our 25th Anniversary on December 6, 2015 are only some of the latest in a string of blessings that God has showered on New Life since its foundation. From the steeple being donated the day we began the fund drive for one, to the pews being donated when money for building ran out, to the rapid founding of the church, to finally ending our mortgage and celebrating a milestone anniversary, God’s grace has been evident in the existence of New Life. As Christians, we continue to anticipate great things from our Lord in the future as we strive to accomplish His will on earth.