God’s House Orlando reaching entertainers with the gospel

Michael Smith

Converge Content Specialist

  • Evangelism

Home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld and numerous other attractions, Central Florida is one of the world’s premier tourist destinations. It is filled with entertainment industry workers who have no relationship with God and have never heard about his love for them.

But two industry veterans are uniquely equipped to share this message with them. Sammy and Shannon Pawlak planted God’s House Orlando in 2003 with the goal of reaching the Central Florida entertainment community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

They know they have to be creative to reach a creative audience. Closing the church’s doors on a Sunday morning in December and going out into the community to present a free Christmas concert has helped them form life-changing relationships.

God’s House held its 14th annual Christmas Jam December 9. More than 300 people gathered at BB King’s Blues Club in Orlando to see two performances featuring award-winning singers and a cappella groups. Pawlak also shared a message about the gift we have in Jesus.

Sammy says Christmas Jam is aimed at people who are more comfortable attending a concert than a church service. He says God has used the event to bring many families to God’s House and individuals to Christ through the years.

Like Ashley Sanchez and Gustavo Rodriguez.

Pawlak was singing for Mannheim Steamroller at Universal Studios in 2008 when he met Ashley. The pastor invited her to perform at that year’s Christmas Jam. Ashley and her husband, Jon, both loved the event, started attending God’s House and began to grow as disciples.

They were leaders in the church for several years before Jon took a job as a firefighter in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they are serving in a local church.

On another occasion, Pawlak invited Gustavo, a musician who had just graduated from high school, to play at Christmas Jam. He had never gone to church and didn’t believe in God.

Little by little, Gustavo experienced God’s presence while playing at God’s House. He experienced in worship what he’d never experienced playing on any other stage. After three years, Gustavo committed his heart to Christ and was baptized. Now he leads God’s House’s youth band.

Pawlak says churches shouldn’t wait for lost people to come to them.

“If we want to be effective to reach and win the lost, we have to go where they are, learn what they need and offer what we have,” he said.

“Sometimes, I think we can be so ‘saved’ in our thinking, that we forget where we were when Christ reached us. Every church has a unique vision and is fully equipped to reach the field to which they’ve been called.”


Michael Smith, Converge Content Specialist

Michael Smith serves as Converge’s content specialist. He has nearly two decades in the newspaper publishing industry. Michael worked as a copy editor and designer for the Tampa Tribune for more than a dozen years, and has also been a member of the editorial staff of Florida Baptist Witness and other publications across the Southeast.

Additional articles by Michael Smith