WESLEY CHAPEL — David West, a Dade City pastor and more recently the executive director of the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce, has decided to return to ministry.
West, 52, resigned his chamber job, which he took last year, to start a new church in Wesley Chapel. He has been gathering families and working to establish the Church of Christ at Wesley Chapel. Services are planned to begin Jan. 23 at Lil' Campers Academy.
West said he resigned from the chamber job because he needs more flexibility to start the new church. However, he is looking for a second job, as the church is a volunteer position.
"I still need a day job," he said. "Just not an executive job."
West said he also has resigned as pastor of his Dade City church, though he is still meeting with the members there during the transition. He said he has seen Wesley Chapel's rapid growth over the past decade and prayed that a Church of Christ would eventually open there.
"I didn't realize I was going to be the one to do it," he said. West said about 35 people so far have expressed interested in starting a church. Most were driving to the Church of Christ in Tampa. Church of Christ also has congregations in Dade City, Zephyrhills, Lutz and Land O'Lakes, he said. Individual churches are autonomous; there is no denominational hierarchy. The church is best known for its a cappella singing in worship. Leaders seek to recreate the original New Testament church and point out that the New Testament does not mention any musical worship aside from singing.
West has worked previously as editor for the East Pasco Business Focus, executive director of Keep Pasco Beautiful, community relations manager for the Tampa Tribune, and business assistance specialist for the Pasco County Health Department. He also serves on the boards of the Dade City, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills chambers of commerce, as well as numerous nonprofit organizations, including heavy involvement with the Rotary Club of Dade City.
West and his wife, Vickie, have three children and four grandchildren.
"The chamber appreciates all of David's efforts while in this position and wishes him the best of luck with his new church," the board said in a statement released Monday. A search committee has been formed to find a new executive director.
West isn't the only chamber leader to leave a post recently. Nita Beckwith was dismissed from the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce late last year for undisclosed reasons. The board recently replaced her with John G. Moors, the retired director of the Tampa Convention Center, who worked as its administrator from 2000 to 2010.