When John and Sula Skiles vacationed in Destin in July 2012, they had no intention of ever starting a church — anywhere.
They were comfortable serving as executive associate pastors at Solid Rock Family Church in Jefferson City, Mo.
But as God will do, He changes plans.
“We both felt the Lord speaking to us separately and stirring a passion for the people of the Destin area while on vacation,” Sula told the Log. “We both knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was calling us to this area.”
When the couple returned home, John's father, Sr. Pastor Joe Skiles at SRFC, knew about their desire to start a new church. SRFC had planted three churches in the United States and a few abroad.
“The Lord had already spoken to him,” Sula said.
After a year of preparation, going through church planter training with Affiliated Related Churches, they passed becoming an ARC church. Solid Rock Family Church sent the couple off with a commissioning service of love, prayers, blessings and financial support.
In one of the biggest leaps of faith in their lives, the Skiles moved to Fort Walton Beach with their two small children in July 2013.
The Skiles said their desire for those who attend Impact Life Church will be to experience God, freedom, growth and purpose. The church will meet at 10 a.m. Sundays at the Destin Community Center beginning March 2.
“You can expect a friendly atmosphere, engaging teaching and exciting music,” said Sula. “With a worship experience of 70 minutes, we think church should be fun and impacting, that you should enjoy it and find relevant life change each time you attend.”
The inter-denominational church believes that the Bible is the inspirational Word of God, an historical and prophetic living document in which the old and new testaments are the truth for all matters of life.
The couple is excited about being a part of what God is doing through the churches in Destin and looks forward to working with the other congregations.
“We believe it’s a team effort and we are glad to be a part of it,” Sula said. “We are honored to be a part of the Destin Week of Blessings and serve on the team alongside the other pastors, Christian business owners and leaders of the area.”
Impact Life Church and its volunteers, prior to starting the church, have been seen in the community at the Destin and Fort Walton Beach Christmas parades, Fort Walton Beach Dog Daze, the Winter Guest Fest and the Fall Festival at the Destin Community Center.
During December, they gave away warm clothes, food and useful items to the homeless.
“We are in this community to stay and we look forward to serving in every way that we can to connect with and bless everyone we meet,” said Sula.
Their next event is a free community “Pirates Treasure Egg Hunt” from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. April 19 at Marler Park on Okaloosa Island, behind the Emerald Coast Convention Center.
“ILC is an experience people just have to try for themselves,” she said. “We are all about loving God, loving people, loving our community and having fun while doing it.”