It all started with a dream.
Several Christians in the Countryside-Palm Harbor area, early in 1983, dreamed of planting a new church in their rapidly growing neighborhood. Later that year, one family offered its home, where 20 pioneering individuals met to formalize plans for a new congregation.
..Then a funeral chapel.
Bouchard-McCullough’s little funeral chapel between Curlew & Tampa Roads on U.S. 19, became the first home. On January 22, 1984, a total of 78 people (63 adults and 15 children) agreed to be a part of this new church family ... to become known as Harborside.
..Then a school.
Palm Harbor Middle School became the worship center just four months later as we outgrew the funeral chapel. Every Sunday this young church set up for services in the school cafeteria and then dismantled their meager belongings. By 1985, attendance prompted a property search that led to five acres on S. R. 580 in Safety Harbor.
..Then a horse barn.
An aging horse barn on the five acres was dramatically transformed into an attractive chapel, seating 150 people. By 1987, attendances nearing 200 signaled the need for a separate education building.
..Then a complete church complex.
The congregation, nearing 400, welcomed a “real church” in 1993, with a 600-seat auditorium, gymnasium, classrooms, nursery rooms, and office space added to the education building. Within two years attendances surged to more than 700, and within another two years had leaped to more than 1200. In four short years Harborside had surpassed its growth projections and five acres.
..Then back to a school.
Selling our facility in September 1998, we moved once again into a school - Countryside High School - with ample parking and auditorium seating. Classrooms, nursery facilities and fellowship areas provided space to breathe, while set-up and take-down tasks provide exercise for many ambitious workers. Early in 2000, as the congregation awaited the purchase of 40 acres, an oasis for students (an empty Eckerd Drug store) was discovered on U.S. 19 at Tampa Road. The Grind provided inviting space for activities for our students and those in the community.
..And now, 40 acres.
We still find it a little hard to believe that we were able to purchase 40 acres of virgin land in the heart of Safety Harbor’s residential area. And we again had a dream. The dream has been realized...worshiping each week in an awesome 58,000-square-foot facility which God provided. God is good...all the time!