Our Story

How it all started...

In the spring of 2014, Paul & Linda Linzey sensed that the Lord wanted them to do something different for church.  Paul was a former pastor and a retired military chaplain. Linda was a literature and humanities professor at Southeastern University.  As they talked and prayed together, it became clear that the Lord was asking them to start a new church.  So, in March of that year, they started meeting in their own living room for church—just the two of them.  Within a month, two people from SEU joined them.  On Mother's Day,  Craig & Marcia Posey agreed to help start the new church with Craig serving as treasurer.

By July 2014, Paul had filled out paperwork with the Peninsular Florida District of the Assemblies of God, requesting authorization to plant a new church. He then met with the sectional presbyter and his advisory committee in August. By September, Section and District officials approved the first church plant in Section 11 in more than 25 years.

In October 2014, Paul asked Ricardo Alvelo from Southeastern to be part of the planning team.  On Saturday night, November 22, 2014, Paul & Linda, Craig & Marcia, Ricardo, and three other couples met to talk, pray, plan, organize, and come up with a name for the church. And thus, Friendship Church was born.

Finding a building...

By January 2015, there were about twenty people meeting in the Linzey home, so they started looking for other places to meet. They met briefly at the Imperial Swan Hotel on Sunday mornings.

Shortly thereafter, they prayerfully selected the small building in the Shoppes at Hallam, at the corner of Hallam Drive and Cleveland Heights Boulevard, as a permanent location. They began meeting in the new building in May 2016.

New Leadership...

By September 2016, Paul and Linda realized that the they had completed the role that the Lord had in mind for starting the new church.  Paul found Nick Mathes through a mutual friend.  Nick felt the call of God on his life to be a pastor, and was interested in planting a church. Paul called Nick, who agreed to meet.

After a month or so of prayer and discussion with his wife, Nick  agreed to preach on a Sunday morning in October 2016. By that time, it was clear that the Lord had chosen Rev. Nick Mathes to be the new lead pastor of Friendship Church.

On November 6, 2016, Nick and Kandyn Mathes and family celebrated their first Sunday as the new pastors of Friendship Church.  They brought with them a heart for the community and a down to earth approach to ministry both within the church and outside of the church.  

Nick and Kandyn found more than a congregation to lead - they found a family.  Friendship has become a community of believers who welcome everyone, no matter your walk of life, where you will be accepted, cared for, and loved.

New Location...

As Mulberry natives, Nick and Kandyn have always had a heart for the people of Mulberry.  Nearing the end of their lease at the Shoppes at Hallam, they began to prayerfully search for the next location for Friendship Church.  Although Friendship Church loves the Lakeland area, God has prepared hearts and paved the way for Friendship to move to a building with rich history in Mulberry.

After touring several facilities in the Lakeland and Mulberry area, doors began to open for Friendship Church to rent a building owned by the City of Mulberry.  Originally the building was home to First Assembly  Mulberry before it was bought by Badcock Furniture.  Once Badcock donated the building to the City of Mulberry, it became a community center for non-profit organizations.  While it still houses a few of those non-profit organizations, Friendship Church brings new programs and opportunities to the Mulberry neighborhood while working in tandem with the other occupants.