If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Our Church Heritage

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

New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church has been serving the people of Highlands County since 1990.  We are a confessional Lutheran congregation dedicated to proclaiming the good news of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life in Jesus Christ.

All people are guilty of sin and sin has brought pain, suffering, and death into the world.  Jesus Christ, however, lived a perfectly righteous life, suffered and died in our place for our sins, and rose victoriously from the grave.  Through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Spirit works and sustains in our hearts faith in Jesus Christ.  By faith, we receive the benefits provided by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord.

Jesus Christ has the power to do what nothing else can: to give you New Life.  In this world, we enjoy new life as the Holy Spirit moves us to serve the Lord by serving one another.  In the world to come we will enjoy new life eternally in the presence of our God.

Sebring has long been a winter destination for many northerners, including many members of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) and 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 recommended 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. 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.

In 2018 Pastor Jonathan Madson was called to serve the congregation. In 2024 a new roof was added and a new sign was contracted.

As Christians, we continue to anticipate great things from our Lord in the future as we strive to accomplish His will on earth.

Pastors who have served:

Rev. Joel Willitz 1990-1995
Rev. Richard Fyffe 1996-2008
Rev. Brian Klebig 2008-2012
Rev. Luke Willitz 2012-2018
Rev. Jonathan Madson  2018-Present