Despite the pandemic, an Assemblies of God church launched less than two years ago in the Florida panhandle is preparing to expand to a second location.
Formally launched 18 months ago by Michael and Jamie Janetis, Oceans Church in Destin is drawing more than 200 adherents per week and is preparing to become a multisite congregation.
“God is doing something special at Oceans,” says Mike E. McCrary, director of strategic partnerships for the AG’s Church Multiplication Network (CMN). “I am not surprised, because Michael and Jamie are experienced and seasoned leaders.”
McCrary met the couple three years ago at their CMN Launch training. In 2018, the husband and wife along with their three children moved to Destin. Janetis previously served as worship pastor for five years at The Waters Church in Sartell, Minnesota.
“There is no textbook for church planting, but they had the right parent church, support and leadership to make it happen,” McCrary says. Oceans went on to become a Matching Fund church.
“We simply showed up and trusted God,” says Janetis, 45. “We made sure that our live streaming was really solid for a new church. We couldn’t have done it without an incredible team behind us.” He credits Marcus Paden, Oceans’ tech lead, and Ben Van Hapren, who oversees the church’s audio team.
John Cates, 23, and his wife, Maya, started attending Oceans during the pandemic in 2020 because of good reports about the church from friends.
“One thing that stood out to us from the first moment we started attending was the authenticity of the community,” Cates says. “We were blown away by the kindness and joy-filled environment of the church.”
Janell Phillips, 36, and her husband, Ashley, have been attending Oceans with their three boys.
“Through the lockdown came a major explosion of people needing community and connection,” Phillips says. “Oceans makes people feel at home.”
Janetis says the congregation plans to launch its second location in January 2022. It will be pastored by Damian and Nancy McCrink, who planted River City Church 9 years ago in St. Charles, Illinois.
“The Lord gave us clear direction on this second location for Oceans through multiple sources of prophetic confirmation,” says Janetis, noting that the site will be 30 minutes east of the Destin campus. “We want to connect more people with Jesus. If there has ever been a time in our world where more life-giving churches are needed, it’s now.”