SPRING HILL — Christian Life Assembly of God Church is all about outreach — to the community and to the world.
"The key focus of what we are as a church, and what we believe as a church body, is to continue to spread the life of Christ out to the community everywhere we go by way of meeting the needs of our community," said the Rev. John Hensel, the church's pastor.
In its efforts to meet those needs, the church has sponsored community philanthropic programs such as Operation Backpack, which distributes backpacks to needy schoolchildren each year.
"We have been a part of facilitating the baccalaureate services at the high schools and work with the West Hernando Ministerial Association to put on community events such as the Easter sunrise service, the Good Friday service and the Thanksgiving service," Hensel said.
The church helps with food distribution to the needy and shares with other ministries in helping with food and entertainment for the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Jerome Brown Community Center in Brooksville each year.
Christian Life has held outdoor concerts for youth, along with a Splish Splash Festival in March, a Kid's Krusade in August and a Harvest Fest in October.
As a presbyter for the denomination, Hensel works with the district men's ministry.
On an international level, the church has performed missions work in the Bahamas, Alaska, China and Cuba, and it supports missionaries around the world.
Today, in another gesture to reach outward, the church is hosting gospel singer Rita Springer in concert at 7 p.m. as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.
"We want to celebrate our 20th year with the entire community," Hensel said, "so we thought we would put on a concert and invite the community to come. It's kind of a little gift to the community to help us celebrate."
There is a $10 cost for tickets, but Hensel noted that the church is covering most of the concert expense.
Springer, who recorded her first CD, Love Covers, in the mid 1990s, now has several recordings. She began a Word, Worship and Prayer women's conference several years ago and currently trains worship leaders at her school in North Carolina.
Springer will also be singing at the church denomination's Ladies Fall Breakaway this weekend.
"We're very excited to have her come," Hensel said. "I enjoy her music, and I look forward to that worship experience with her."
The church will also have a special service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday to recall its history.
Springer will lead the worship for that service and, along with a message by Hensel, there will be acknowledgment of the contributions of the church's charter members.
"We have about seven of the original members, and they will be recognized," Hensel said.
There will also be a video presentation with photographs to take members down "memory lane."
"We're going to celebrate those years," Hensel said. "We'll bring in the founding pastor, the interim pastor's wife, and then there will be a number of other folks that have been a part of the ministry of the church over the years."
The Rev. Jim Canon started Christian Life in 1990 in a storefront across Cortez Boulevard from the current location north of the intersection of Cortez and Mariner boulevards. He pastored the church for its first nine years and has come from his current pastorate in North Carolina to reunite with the church for the weekend.
The Rev. Hubert Wilder, who pastored the church for two years before Hensel took the helm nine years ago, has died and will be represented by his wife, Sherry.
Hensel said the church began with 15 people at its first service. The congregation now numbers 250 and serves all age groups.
"We've got a good mix," Hensel said. "It fits our ministry philosophy. We consider ourselves a church family, and we want to make sure we have ministry for every age group — from the youngest to the very oldest and all of us in the middle."
Church ministries include the ROCK Youth Church for youths ages 12 to 18 and Royal Explorers for ages 4 to 11 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and Sunday school for all ages at 9:30 a.m., morning worship and B.L.A.S.T. Zone Kids Church at 10:30 a.m., and an evening service at 6 p.m. Sundays. A nursery is provided for every service.
"My hope for the weekend is that we will be able to celebrate together the victories that the Lord has given us over the past 20 years and honor the foundation that was laid by those that went before us," Hensel said. "But at the same time, project out, with our celebration, that God's going to help us do far greater things in the years yet to come."