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New Day Church hopes to serve growing Pasco community

By Sarah Whitman, Times Columnist
Published: March 6, 2018
Pastor Justin Setzer, wife Christa, with children Cariss and Judah. Courtesy Pastor Justin Setzer

It’s a new day for Justin Setzer.

For seven years, Setzer led Impact Church of Keystone, a dwindling congregation he was hired to re-energize. But the church struggled to grow at its Tarpon Springs Road location.

Despite efforts from dedicated staff, Impact failed to attract the young families Setzer felt called to reach and ultimately shut its doors.

On Feb. 25, Setzer and his wife, Christa, launched New Day Church at 18500 Crossings Blvd., across from the Suncoast Parkway.

Setzer, 36, hopes to reach the developing areas of West Pasco, where new homes continue to pop up in nearby Bexley and Starkey Ranch.

Once a troubled teen, Setzer accepted Christianity at age 17, and by 25, he began a ministry career. He owns a leadership training business in Odessa, where he lives.

I spoke to the pastor about starting fresh.

Q: What inspired you to leave Impact and start anew?

Impact was located in a stagnant area. I started coming to the Starbucks here and saw how this area is growing. God made it very clear this area is where we are supposed to be. I spent the summer just praying about the calling I felt to launch a church here and raise up the next generation of Christ followers.

Q: Why call it New Day?

Our church mission is: New purpose. New vision. New day. New day just really stuck with me. There are 50 people from Impact who decided to come with us to make this church happen. Impact was an older church that was originally someone else’s vision. This is our vision.

Q: What do you want to accomplish with New Day Church?

Our emphasis is on evangelism, on equipping people with spiritual and leadership tools to share the Gospel. We’ve told staff we will have to make sacrifices, to give up things we love for things we love more. Like the worship team, a member may want to sing or play every week. Instead, so more people have a chance to participate, one member will sing one week, someone else the next. We’re also going to place a big emphasis on kids ministry and empowering parents to take the lead in their children’s spiritual lives. We want to reach the community.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a pastor?

My style is definitely evangelistic. I am more reach than raise. I am better at reaching people for Christ than sitting with believers analyzing one piece of scripture. My sarcasm can get me in trouble. When I speak, I am pretty passionate. Sometimes I talk too fast. But I preach from the Bible.

I try to make it practical for today. I preach to people who already believe to lift them up and make them leaders. I want to start a leadership academy at the church. I don’t believe one person at a church is called to do everything. We are establishing small groups. The goal is to teach believers to be a light in the community.