Life Community Church (LCC) began as a vision to plant a different kind of church in the Columbus, Ohio area. In Summer of 1995, Tom and Marcia Bennardo and their daughter Lauren moved to Hilliard, a northwest suburb of Columbus to start that church from scratch.
They knew no one in the area, and began by talking to people about what it would be like to see that kind of church. Two college students who had been part of the Bennardo’s youth group at The Chapel in Akron, Ohio—Justin King and Steve Hyatt—came to town that first summer to help make the initial contacts. After several months of contact work and personal outreach, in Fall of 1995 the first cell group was formed. Outreach continued toward people who did not go to church, or who might have attended at one time but had become disillusioned, burned, or wounded along the way.
Leaders emerged, numbers of people came to faith in Christ, the church baptized people at the local pool and hotel pools on several occasions, and the cell group expanded into two, three, and then four groups. To move toward the launch of public Sunday services, Dan and Lara Burmeister were invited to town several times that fall, and Dan led combined worship once a month through the winter. Dan Burmeister officially joined the staff as Pastor of Music, Worship, and Programming at the start of ‘97, and plans were set in motion to birth the church officially in the fall of 1997.
Larry and Tina Ely were added to the team in July of 1997, raising their own support to serve as youth directors. Since most of the church body were either young parents or not parents, there were no teenagers with whom to start a youth group. They started from scratch and began reaching teens in the area with the gospel.
The church officially opened its doors to the public on September 7, 1997, distributing a color brochure to over 35,000 households in the Columbus area and emphasizing outreach to the unchurched. Over the next few years, steady growth continued as people came to personal faith in Christ and more leaders and cell groups were established. Ministry expanded in areas like children’s groups, the LCC Worship Band, Drama Team, and other ministries through cell groups.
In 2002, through a series of remarkable events, the church secured the former Sutherland’s lumber site on Cemetery Road. After extensive negotiations with the city and major renovations, LCC opened its permanent facility at 4400 Cemetery Road in June, 2004.
Still further growth in both numbers and resources led to J.R. Kennedy joining the full-time pastoral staff in the summer of 2005 as Pastor of Children’s Ministries, enabling LCC to expand and develop the fastest-growing area of the church.
Rick and Sheila Tawney were welcomed to the staff in January of 2009, as Pastor of Cell Groups and Director of Support Ministries respectively. Later that year, the church brought on Bradley Reith to lead a church plant out of LCC. After forming a core group from among the church body, Catalyst Community Church officially birthed in 2010, and has seen success reaching people in the northwest corridor of the greater Columbus area.
LCC continues to expand and grow, guiding a new generation of spiritually thirsty people toward the life-altering message of Jesus Christ. As growth continues, the plan is to continue expanding through church-planting efforts to reach the Columbus metro area and beyond.