Volunteer Spotlight: Real Life SODO Church
God is crazy about you. This is the message that Real Life Church is communicating through their four locations across the Orlando area. Real Life Church believes that God is absolutely in love with each and every individual, and it is the church’s privilege to express that love to everyone they meet. The Real Life SODO (South Of Downtown Orlando) campus has done this exceptionally well through their outreach into the local community. They have been volunteering at the Christian Service Center consistently since August 2012. At least once a month, a team from Real Life SODO comes out and serves lunch through our Daily Bread program at our Downtown Orlando campus in Parramore. Even during the pandemic, they never had to give up a volunteer shift. If volunteer numbers were low, Real Life staff members would come and serve to make sure enough volunteers were provided.
Dorothy Eunson, who has been leading volunteer groups since they began, says that serving with the Christian Service Center is “part of what we do to love our neighbors.” She believes that “it's a blessing to us to help alongside the other folks at Christian Service Center who work so hard to aid our community.”
Real Life Church teaches that God has given each of us gifts to show His love on earth. As Romans 12:6b states, "If our gift is... to serve, we should serve." In addition to serving with the Christian Service Center, Real Life SODO engages with the Orlando community through Street Cleanups, community events with the local districts, food drives, toy drives, and by serving other local churches. Even more, Real Life will be opening a local Hope Center here in Orlando soon. Pastor Matt Sanders describes the Hope Center as a way to “create better lives for those who live in Central Florida through free food, job placement, free professional counseling, and many other ways.”
Real Life Church was established in Clermont, FL in the early 2000s and the SODO campus began in 2015. The values and mission of the SODO campus reflect the core beliefs of Real Life. The church is focused on helping real people find real faith, and through this process, experiencing changed lives. Beyond the Orlando community, Real Life also supports churches globally in Myanmar and India. Real Life Church has locations in Clermont, East Orlando, Mount Dora, and of course, SODO. Additionally, Vida Real (a Spanish service) is offered at the Clermont campus. We are so thankful for our continued partnership with Real Life. Loriann Lamothe, a staff member of Real Life SODO, says it best, “One person or church can't change the world, but when we come together as a community with the same goal to love and serve those who need a little extra care and attention. That will change the world.”
To learn more about Real Life and their new Hope Center, visit their website at real.life.