Parishioners come out for Blessing of the Building at New Life Church

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Surrounded by open beams and rafters, more than 200 people came out for the Blessing of the Building on Aug. 7 for New Life Church. 

New Life Church, led by Pastors Shawn and Holly Baker, is in the process of building a new facility located at 238 Moll Drive in Santa Rosa Beach near Helen McCall Park. 

New Life Church will be moving to Moll Road in Santa Rosa Beach at the start of the new year. They currently meet on Geronimo in Miramar Beach.

The church began about five years ago in the Baker’s home in Santa Rosa Beach and quickly grew and moved into two renovated warehouses on North Geronimo Street in Miramar Beach where they currently meet. 

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And now the church is on the move again with the building of a 32,000-square-foot building on Moll Road. 

Pastor Shawn Baker speaks a word of blessing over the new facility and the congregation in Santa Rosa Beach at a Blessing of the Building service.

“Tonight, is a miracle moment,” said Pastor Shawn Baker. “Tonight is 48 months of radical faith coming to fruition, is what tonight is.”

The church family gathered in what will be the new sanctuary for a time of praise and worship before actually leaving their mark on the walls prior to drywall going up. 

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“Tonight, is a night of blessing. It’s a night of proclamation,” Shawn Baker said. 

Each person in attendance was given a Sharpie to write a message of encouragement, scripture, blessing or dedication on the open interior walls and beams of the church. 

There were food trucks on hand for those who attended the Blessing of the Building service at the new site for New Life Church in Santa Rosa Beach.

“As the Bible says, this would be written for a generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord," Shawn Baker said. “What is being written on these walls tonight is going to speak into the future generations … that’s what tonight is about.”

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People were encouraged to go throughout the facility. 

“We’ve never done this before … it’s a neat experience,” said Randy Hinesley who attends New Life and lives in Mary Esther. 

The people brought lawn and beach chairs to sit in for the Blessing of the Building at the site for the New Life Church.

“This is just an absolutely fabulous church. We’ve never found a church like this,” Hinesley said as he wrote on the structure. 

“We’ll cherish the memory for sure … just being here and remembering it all … and all the praises and promises that God promises for us,” said Tammra Hinesley. 

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People wondered throughout the facility writing scriptures and declarations. 

Dee Chernicky, a member of New Life, found her way to what will be the media room in the new facility. 

New Life Church Worship Arts Pastor Jenelle Martin led the people gathered in a few worship and praise songs at the Blessing of the Building.

“This is amazing that I am part of a move of God, not just for a city, not just for a nation, but for a world,” Chernicky said. “This is the media room and God commissions us; he tells us to go into all the world and preach the gospel.”

Chernicky said it’s not just about “our city” but “all the cities.” 

“We’re declaring it by putting it on the walls,” she said. 

Liz Nieves, executive administrative assistant at New Life Church, writes in Spanish on the structure.

Pastor Baker was overwhelmed by the turnout for the event. 

“I did not anticipate hundreds of people coming for just a building blessing,” he said. “But this is what it looks like when we put all three services together. It’s just beautiful. It’s great and bad at the same time.

“The great news is we had a great crowd. The not-so-great news is we’re already full in the new building,” Shawn Baker added.

There was a floor plan posted at the entrance for all to see how the new facility for New Life Church is being planned.

New Life Church currently has three services in their facility on Geronimo Street in Miramar Beach, at 8:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays and then 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. 

When completed, the new worship facility will be state of the art. The exterior will be comprised of stucco and Jerusalem stone, blending the ancient and modern worlds. 

People wrote words of encouragement and scriptures on the walls, beams and open structures of the new facility on Moll Road in Santa Rosa Beach.

Shawn Baker explained the entire facility is being built with strategic Biblical inspiration throughout the entire complex, from an outdoor fountain and baptismal to a chandelier in the shape of a burning bush from the book of Exodus in the foyer. 

Upon completion, the church will offer a community-wide open house. The plans are to be in the facility by January of 2023.