“I started coming to Lakeland in 2001 when it was in the movie theater.” Steve cocks his head to the side as he reflects on the beginning of his journey with Lakeland, a slight smile on his face. “Some of my favorite memories are when we first started here. Pulling trailers…”

His voice trails off and he glances at Tracie. “I’m going to cry more than you,” he says with a bashful laugh. When he looks back at Marta the smile remains, but his voice has quieted to a gruff murmur as he recalls someone who played a very important role both in his life and his walk with God.

“That’s something I got to do with my dad and it was really special. We got to grow in faith. It was really neat and the camaraderie between the small groups, they really opened me up spiritually. That’s really where the whole fire started with me, spiritually. It was the defining moment of me and what Lakeland was to me and still is.”

When prompted about the individuals and small groups of people Steve has gotten to know at Lakeland through the years he leans forward, his passion for his church family evident in his speech.


“There’s this family, a group of people that know everything about you and I can turn to them at any point in my life. They walk with me, pray with me, men that aren’t fake about their lives. I know these men and that’s different. That’s my thing with Lakeland, it’s always been that way. We’re getting bigger, but we’re still that way when you look for it. There’s real people here and that’s what Lakeland is to me.”

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”  Colossians 3:16

About My Stories

Every month Pastor Marta Gillilan and members of the Lakeland Social Media Team interview an individual, couple or family. From struggles in faith to joyful events, Lakelanders are sharing their stories through the “Humans of Lakeland” blog series. Get to know the people who call Lakeland home.