South Walton Hope Lutheran Church started in 1998 with help from Grace Lutheran and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. A very small group of people who faithfully followed Jesus, Hope moved around in the early years and was in more than 15 locations. No matter where they gathered, they focused on Christ and loving and caring for people. On Easter of 2003 Hope started its first worship on the Beach at Ed Walline Beach. They continued to meet in the summer and became a year-round service. After years of interim Pastors, Hope called Pastor Jason Scheler to be their first full-time Pastor 2009. By God’s grace, the Hope family continues to grow from a small group of 12 to averaging 200 worshippers a weekend. The Easter Beach services have more than 2000 that attend.
The heartbeat of Hope is to be the light of Christ to South Walton and beyond by providing a simple way to connect to Jesus, His family, and His mission. In 2015, Hope officially dedicated its current building. The Hope family shined brighter and brighter as it extended Christ’s love into the community. In the spring of 2018, Hope was asked to start a worship experience at Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar. At Christmas of 2018, Hope added a new worship experience on Inlet Beach. Once again, a small group of people made a new beginning as an expansion of Hope on the Beach’s ministry, and we are hopeful in what God is going to do in this new location. In January of 2019, Hope added a Vicar, Jacob Scheler, through a distance learning program in which he is studying to become an ordained pastor. In 2020, Hope was again asked to start another worship experience at Seascape Resort on the beach in the evening. Hope is also excited to have expanded its online worship presence to live streaming on Facebook, YouTube, and on our Website.
Since COVID-19, Hope on the Beach Church has adjusted to worshiping outside in the Gulley Amphitheatre at Gulf Place, at the 98 Church Campus, and on the beach in Seascape beside Whale’s Tale. By God’s grace we will continue to add other venues where people live, work, and play. Hope aims to help people make new beginnings in their relationship with Christ and His Church, lasting friendships where we grow deeper together in Christ and with each other, and a difference together united we serve to share the great love of Christ.