by Kelli Carmack
Garrett Hamblen never intended to become a pastor — in fact, he went to school in his home state of Indiana for his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Business at Indiana State University, graduating in 2012.
Everything was all set up for 23-year-old Hamblen to enter the business world, but right before he graduated, his father committed suicide.
“When I lost my dad, I was really numb to love and life. But God rescued me,” says Hamblen.
Hamblen explains that God rescued him when he moved to Florida in 2014 to be with his brother, who was working at a Christian men’s drug and alcohol program. During this time, Hamblen felt led by God to go into church leadership, and served in several pastoral roles.
For a while, things were amazing for Hamblen. In 2018, he met his now-wife, Katherine, when speaking at a church in Tampa. Fast forward two years later, and the couple was married in March 2020.
And then, just a week into their honeymoon, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic struck. “When we got back, the world was completely different,” said Hamblen.
While still trying to get used to this new world, two months after the onset of the pandemic, Hamblen lost his job. Scared and unsure of his future in the ministry world, God found a way to speak to Hamblen through his family and friends.
“So many of my loved ones kept throwing out the idea of me starting my own church,” he explains.
So, Hamblen and his wife went to a church-planning training session, and in that moment, the couple knew they had to pursue this calling from God. And thus, Spark Church was born.
Inspired by the phrase “just one spark away,” Spark Church’s goal is to ignite real life change throughout the community. Outreach is one way they are achieving this.
Hamblen and his team enjoy going out into the local communities to share love and hope. Whether it’s going to community block parties, hitting up the local park, or working with nonprofits, Spark Church is here to make a difference in Pasco County.
Seeing lives change is the most rewarding part of being a pastor, says Hamblen.
“We see people who are being abused, cheated on, who recently got fired… they’re in these tragic moments in their lives, and have nobody. We want to be that somebody for them,” says Hamblen.
Spark Church services are held every Sunday at 10 a.m., at the movie theater at The Grove at Wesley Chapel.
Hamblen finds it exciting to have his church located in such a booming area. “We’ve got a big heart for this area,” he said.
The church’s first service was held March 21, and Hamblen is already receiving great feedback.
“Some of the families that have come to our service have told me they’ve been waiting for a different type of church, and they found it here,” says Hamblen.
Something unique that Spark Church offers during its Sunday service is a wristband station. If you choose a green wristband, you are open to physical contact, such as a hug or high-five. If you are more restrained, there is a yellow wristband, and if you do not want any physical contact, you choose a red one. This is just one of the many ways Spark Church implements COVID-friendly practices.
The church also offers a kid’s ministry for children up to fifth grade. Through learning Bible stories, songs and participating in engaging group activities, Spark Church helps spread the word of God to youngsters. All Spark Kids adult team members pass background checks, and safety protocols are in place so parents don’t need to worry while they are in their Sunday service.
Hamblen’s main goal for Spark Church in its first year is to develop life groups this fall. These will be eight-week semesters that provide opportunities to connect with other believers. He also plans to open up a ministry school, which will focus on preparing people who are looking to get into the ministry career path.
If you haven’t been to church in a while, or have never been at all, Hamblen encourages you to check out Spark Church.
“What’s the harm in trying? You might find your new family,” says Hamblen.
Spark Church • https://www.sparkpasco.com •765-894-1583