MANATEE — Kingdom Life Christian Church of Bradenton was only two months old when it hosted “Planting the Seed of the Kingdom in the Hearts of Farmworkers,” an outreach event at Taylor and Fulton Packing House in Palmetto.
Perhaps that philosophy of “swing for the fences at every at opportunity” comes from Kingdom Life’s Brooklyn-born senior pastor, The Rev. Don Sturiano.
“I’ve never been a lukewarm guy,” Sturiano said. “I believe that you do everything in life 100 percent, and, most of all, you do the things for God 100 percent.”
The church didn’t have even one member who spoke Spanish during that first outreach in 2006, although the primary language of the roughly 150 farmworkers who attended was Spanish.
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It didn’t matter, Sturiano said.
There was communication of the heart and the migrant workers appreciated the bags of clothes, toys and other necessities, the pastor added.
Now Kingdom Life Christian is taking another bold step.
The nondenominational congregation, which has grown from four members to roughly 100 members since 2006, recently signed a five-year lease to rent the 16,000-square-foot former Badcock Furniture building at 825 Ninth St. W.
Instead of just meeting a few hours every Sunday, as the church has been doing at Renaissance on 9th senior center at 1816 Ninth St. W., Kingdom Life Christian is planning to have every day access at its new location beginning in mid-September.
The church’s pastors, Sturiano and Bill Straitwell, hope the congregation will grow even larger, attracted by a church format that includes numerous outreach programs.
Kingdom Life Christian begins every service with 45 minutes or so of praise, which can take many forms.
“We might take turns praying or praising Him,” Straitwell said. “People just call out his name, praising Him on high, honoring Him.”
Roughly 25 minutes of praise music follows, led by a praise and worship team.
Then, Sturiano gives a message.
“He preaches and teaches,” Straitwell said of Sturiano.
Before the service is finished, the pastors call people forward who need healing.
“Lots of wonderful and miraculous things happen,” Straitwell said. “I’m just glad we can serve the community and I am glad we are located in the inner city where there is poverty and so much need.”
Although the farmworker program is taking a hiatus for now, in the coming months, this church that started in Sturiano’s living room with Sturiano, his wife, Trish, and Bill and Jacquie Straitwell, will be gearing up for Honor the Badge.
The way it works is that the church raises money to be able to present a $25 Toys R Us gift certificate to an inner city child at Christmas.
Members of the Bradenton Police Department, where Sturiano is chaplain, take the kids shopping for their gifts.
“We hope that the children can learn that the police officer is their friend,” Sturiano said. “As they get older, if someone tries to recruit them into a gang or if they are swayed to go down a path of bad choices, we hope this little memory seed can pull them in another direction.”
This Christmas will mark the third Honor the Badge event.
A new outreach coming is called Godly Business Solutions.
In this outreach, Sturiano will offer workshops on how to run a business with Bible-based principles, how to market and advertise in a Godly way and how to dress and conduct yourself in an interview.
The workshops also will focus on how to treat employees with caring and respect but still be able to discipline when needed.
There will also be life skills and parenting outreach programs, all scripture-based, Sturiano said.
“The Badcock Building will be utilized as a tool to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry and act as an embassy of heaven in the city of Bradenton and the region,” Sturiano said.
Straitwell puts it another way.
“We believe that God put each one of us on earth for a purpose and we want to serve that purpose,” Straitwell said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.
Kingdom Life Christian Church
Address: 1816 Ninth St. W., Bradenton Denomination: Nondenominational Pastor’s name: Don Sturiano Service time: 10:30 a.m. Sunday Phone: (941) 776-0220 or 773-1556 E-mail: email@example.com Website: http://www.kingdomlifechristianchurch.org