The church in Orlando (Download Report as PDF)
The church in Orlando began in 1987 with about 25 saints. Presently about 100 saints are active in the church life in Orlando. (The phone list comprises over 150 saints.) Roughly 80% of the increase over the years has come from saints moving from other places due to jobs or other personal considerations. The remaining 20% of the growth has come from the Orlando community, both from gaining unbelievers through the gospel and from gaining believers who are drawn by the truth and the practice of the church life.
The weekly meetings of the church include the Lord’s table, prophesying meetings, prayer meetings, small group meetings, ministry meetings, and college meetings. There are four main areas where the saints meet currently:
- Apopka, a small community northwest of Orlando, where the church-owned meeting hall is
- Kissimmee, a community south of Orlando where a large number of Spanish-speaking saints are meeting as a district
- Oviedo/East Orlando,the area near the campus of UCF
There are prayer, small group, and ministry meetings in these four areas. The college meeting rotates between Longwood and the UCF area. Because of Orlando’s position as the top tourist destination in the country, there are visiting saints in the Lord’s Day meetings nearly every week.
The Orlando meeting hall is in the suburb of Apopka. It was acquired in 1991. It has a seating capacity of about 100. It is approximately 45 minutes away from the UCF campus. The brothers in Orlando are actively looking for a meeting place in the UCF area.
The Kissimmee area has around 50 saints. There are many home meetings and once a month the saints in Kissimmee meet together with all the saints in Orlando. We have seen a large increase of Spanish speaking saints, including some who have moved from Puerto Rico in the hurricane diaspora.
The current make-up of the church in Orlando is 40% English-speaking, 40% Bilingual Spanish/English and 20 % Asian.
Location, Climate, and Health
Orlando is located in the center of the state of Florida, the third most populous state in the country. The state of Florida, the most southeast of all the states, is home to about 23 million Floridians. Over 2.5 million, or over 10% of all Floridians, live in the metropolitan Orlando area. There are presently 10 churches in Florida. From Orlando, driving times to the other localities in the state are: Tampa— 1:30; Gainesville—2:00; Jacksonville— 2:30; Sebring—3:00; Tallahassee— 4:00; Ft. Myers—4:00; Boca Raton, Ft Lauderdale & Miami—4:00.
Orlando has consistently warm, sunny weather. The summer months are hot and humid. Fall, winter, and spring are very pleasant with average highs in the 70s and 80s, and average lows in the 50s and 60s. Average yearly rainfall is over 50 inches, and there are about 80 days per year with some rainfall.
The Orlando area healthcare system is robust, easily accessible, and well-regarded. Three Orlando hospitals were named by Leapfrog as 2019 top hospitals in the US: 2 general hospitals are named out of 37, and one pediatric hospital out of 19 so-designated.
Orlando has a city population of 285,000, while metropolitan Orlando has a population of roughly 2.6 million. It is the most visited city in the US, receiving 75 million visitors last year. An estimated 6 million of those visitors were from other countries. Demographics for the Orlando metropolitan area are: white—42%; Hispanic—29%; black—16%; Asian—4%; mixed or other—9%. The number of Orlandoans of Puerto Rican descent is now over 330,000. Orlando has the largest Puerto Rican and fastest-growing population in Florida with a cultural impact similar to that of Cuban Americans in South Florida.
Although Orlando is the top tourist destination in the country, its economy has diversified greatly from the tourism and hospitality industry. Other industries in Orlando include: military, defense, aerospace; the modeling, simulation and training industry; the Central Florida Research Park; and bio-tech and life sciences. The major employers in the area include:
- Walt Disney World
- UCF and Valencia State College
- Orange County Public Schools
- Various Health Care Systems and the Lake Nona Medical City
- Central Florida Research Park, adjacent to UCF, the seventh largest in the United States by number of employees, including companies such a Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Siemens, etc.
- Oracle and Electronic Arts
- Kennedy Space Center, which has several commuter options
Florida has no state income tax on wages earned in the state. The property tax on real estate is typically around 1.2%. Florida’scostoflivingisslightlybelowthenationalaverage. https://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator.
Orlando has two international airports. Orlando International Airport (MCO) handled 47,696,627 passengers in 2018, making it the busiest airport in the state of Florida and the tenth-busiest airport in the United States. It is modern and well equipped for both domestic and international flights. Orlando Sanford International Airport is located in the suburb of Sanford, and is the hub for Allegiant.
There is a light rail system that is being expanded in the area. The bus system currently has 88 routes. Nevertheless, the main mode of transportation in and around Orlando is car. The street and highway system is extensive and is regularly being improved. Although traffic can be heavy at times, local Orlandoans are adept at navigating traffic flows. A beltway around the city is nearing completion. Interstate 4 runs through Orlando and connects I-95 and I-75.
Orlando is a culturally diverse and rich city, with attractions and venues for all kinds of interests. Among other things, the city offers the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orlando Science Center, a performing arts center, the Kennedy Space Center, several professional sports teams, and of course, the numerous world-renowned amusement parks and resorts. In addition, there is an abundance of trails for walking, jogging, and bicycling. There are bodies of water for canoeing, kayaking, and boating. There are state parks within an easy drive that accommodate day activities as well as overnight camping. There is no shortage of things to do in Orlando!
University of Central Florida (UCF) - Orlando is home to the largest university in the United States,(UCF), with a current enrollment is 68,571 students. UCF is attended primarily by typical young Floridians. In-state students represent 91% of the enrollment. The university has a medical school with a beautiful new campus in the vicinity of the Lake Nona Medical City. UCF is unlike most schools of its size in that it is surrounded by housing communities that are family oriented. This makes finding a home near the campus rather easy. Our experience with Bible distributions at UCF is that the response from the students has been overwhelming at times. In light of this situation at UCF, we are strongly burdened for the Lord to raise up a campus team.
Valencia College - 47,841 students are enrolled at this 4-year state college Seminole State College - 4-year college; 29,879 student enrollment Full Sail University - Private 4-year university; 18,605 student enrollment Rollins College - Private liberal arts college; 3,278 enrollment
Public schools. Since there is no mandatory bussing in the area, the schools generally reflect the areas they are in. The schools are well-regarded in the areas that saints would be encouraged to look for housing. There are also a number of magnet schools in the Orlando area that rank well in the State of Florida.
- Seminole county ranked the 4th best in Florida, and has 10 magnet programs
- Orange County ranked 23rd in Florida, and has 8 magnet programs
- Both counties have dual enrollment programs for High school Juniors and Seniors. Florida offers the Florida Bright Futures Scholarships for students graduating from high school with a 3.5 GPA or better.
Private schools. There are several private schools in Orlando. Many of them are characterized as preparatory schools. At present, none of the saints have children in private schools in Orlando.
Homeschooling. Florida has a fully accredited home school program. There are a few families in the church in Orlando that are home-schooling their children.
Surrounding UCF there are several excellent neighborhoods with very low crime rates and excellent schools, including Winter Springs, Waterford Lakes and Oviedo. Oviedo is listed in the top places for families to live in the US. As the attached map indicates, there are several clusters of saints in the Orlando area. Saints moving to Orlando would be encouraged to look in one of these neighborhoods, particularly those near UCF. As in everything in the church life, fellowship is essential. Typical of most larger US cities, there are certain areas in Orlando which have high crime rates and should be avoided. The median home prices surrounding UCF range from $230,00 just north of the campus to $320,000 on the southern side.Orlando Reports