Take a look back at where your life was just one year ago — or even a decade, for that matter — and we’re sure you’ll agree that time flies. For Rick VanWagner, a decision at the young age of 5 to follow God has led to decades of faithful service to his community. From his first involvement in the ministry in 1980 to the founding of Family Christian Center (FCC) in 1993, Rick VanWagner has been eternally appreciative of the gift God gave him. In this article, we’ll explore Rick VanWagner’s contributions to the community through FCC, which he founded and is the pastor of.
On Oct. 15, 1993, FCC was incorporated as a church in Florida. In February of 1999, FCC was able to purchase 34 acres of prime real estate along U.S. Route 27 in Clermont, Lake County, with no money down. An early landmark in the long story of FCC was the Sept. 29, 2002 service, as it was the first service in the new sanctuary and drew 150 people in attendance. One month later, FCC added another church service with three more to come over the next 12 months as a way to accommodate for growth. Although they couldn’t have known it then, FCC would mark its first service in the new 1,410-seat sanctuary nine years later on Sept. 18, 2011. In the spring of2003, FCC’s first-ever Saturday Easter egg hunt was held; the event has grown to now involve some 10,000 participants looking for 80,000 eggs. The August 2004 founding of FCC’s pre-school program for infants through 4 year olds was another landmark, as it laid the groundwork for yet-to-be-opened Family Christian Center School.
By May 2005, FCC would add new modular buildings so they could accommodate for 1,400 people attending 11 services. The January 2009 expansion to FCC’s school included 12 classrooms and space for Florida’s state-funded voluntary pre-kindergarten program. By August 2010, Family Christian Center School would be the largest voluntary pre-kindergarten program provider in Lake County, Florida. That same month, Family Christian Center School (FCCS) would open for children up to 3rd grade. Exactly one year later, eight modular classrooms for students in 4th through 11th grade would be added. In August 2012, 12th grade classes would become an option at FCCS, thus filling every need a Clermont or Lake County parent could have regarding primary education. During the period that FCCS was expanding, FCC under Pastor Rick VanWagner’s guidance would open a food pantry in September 2010 that provides 70,000 pounds of food annually to families in transition. The “Snacks in a Sack” program, which provides food for more than 1,100 Lake County children each week, would be rolled out in March 2011. And last but hardly least, the amazing facility that is the SkyZone trampoline park franchise was opened to the community in June 2011. This novel attraction is open to both FCCS students and the public and has served as the site for many a birthday party for local children. It’s that type of service to the community that Rick VanWagner set out to provide.