WEEKI WACHEE — When pastor Allen Sabo asked God a few months ago to provide his growing Christ the King Full Gospel Worship Center with a new facility — furnished with everything needed to conduct services — he didn't know the answer would come so quickly.
"It was out of the clear blue one day," Sabo said. "I was just sitting here in the office praying, 'Lord, you know we need a bigger facility.' It wasn't more than a couple of hours later that I got a phone call from a gentleman I used to know three or four years ago. He said, 'The Lord put you on my heart.' He asked if I was still looking for a church."
The man was the Rev. Ray Favichia. He wanted to know whether Sabo would be interested in purchasing the building that had been housed Heaven's Gate Christian Fellowship on Lykes Street in Weeki Wachee.
Sabo was interested, but he and the church board had looked at other facilities previously. They'd either been too expensive or needed a lot of renovation.
Keeping that in mind, Sabo's prayer had been specific.
"We want to leave here and walk into the next building that you have for us and that building be ready to worship you already, with everything in place," he had prayed. "You know our finances. You know we can't buy everything that we need right away, so we need a place that's ready-made."
Favichia's church consisted of two buildings joined by a breezeway on 3 acres. One building housed a fellowship hall with a large kitchen, a pastor's office, a secretary's office, five classrooms and a conference room.
The other building housed a sanctuary that had everything in place, including enough seating for about 220 people, with room for more than 50 additional chairs.
That would work well for Sabo's congregation, which had grown to nearly 100 adults and children.
"This is good, but how much of this stays here?" Sabo recalled asking Favichia when he visited the site.
"He said, 'Everything stays here,'" Sabo said. "When he told me that, I got chills because that was just what I had asked the Lord."
There was one hitch. Sabo had signed a new lease for the building his church had been using in Spring Hill. So, the church decided to make the move to the new building in Weeki Wachee and continue paying rent on the other building until it could be rented by someone else.
"A few weeks ago, I had a gentleman walk in my office," Sabo said. "He said, 'I see you have a sign out there, office for rent.' He took a look around and asked if the whole space was for rent. Then he introduced himself to me as pastor Jose Oliveras. His church was looking for a building."
Oliveras, who pastors I.C.M. Iglesia Refugio de Salvación, needed a building by Oct. 1 — the same date Sabo's church will be moving to its new facility.
"It was just something that was definitely God ordained," Sabo said. "When we think we've been blessed with one thing, there's another thing bigger right around the corner. God moved us from a barn to where we are now into our new facility, all in less than three years."
To introduce the church to its new community, Christ the King will host a free "Let's Get Acquainted" barbecue from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 6.
There will be hot dogs and soda, inflatables and face painting for children, live music and information about the church. The King's Closet also will be available with clothing for those in need.
"I want people to come out and see the church and to make them feel just like our slogan: At Christ the King You're Not Just Part of a Church, You're Part of a Family," Sabo said. "I'd like the community to feel part of the family. We want to be there for them and be able to meet their needs as long as the Lord provides for us."