March Stories

Baptism: The Velez Family
Michelle Velez was connected to Salty Church through Salty Family Services in October 2022. She was about to face the reality of being a single mother with four children but was committed to trusting God wholeheartedly with the next steps He laid out for her and her family. When Michelle learned about “I’ll Go,” her “yes” didn’t come easy. 

“Placing full trust at the beginning of the “I’ll Go” journey did not come easy as we were, and still are, what I consider financially unstable. I’ve been a cheerful giver for 8 years, but at this time in our lives, it was definitely a tough decision to make,” Michelle said. “Needless to say, God showed up. Just like he always does.” 

Around the same time, Michelle was given a promotion at work, allowing her to be more present in her children’s lives and experience a little more financial freedom as a single parent. 

“The amount that I’ve been able to contribute was the exact amount that was placed in my heart to commit at the beginning of ‘I’ll Go’ and the difference of what was awarded to me in my new position at work,” Michelle said. “It was very clear to me He paved the way. Without questioning it, I sent my contribution amount on a weekly basis, and it’s been the same ever since.”

But her story of life change doesn’t end there. On January 1, 2024, Michelle and three of her children accepted Jesus into their hearts and made the decision to be baptized. Michelle now serves on the worship team at our New Smyrna Beach campus, attends a women’s small group, and serves with Salty Students. 

“Our lives are far from perfect, but we know and trust His ways are better.” Michelle said. “Our lives have been forever changed, and His grace surely is enough.”

Baptism is an outward declaration of an inward change. If you have been considering baptism, our next baptism celebration is on Easter Sunday, following our Sunrise services across all campuses. To learn more or to sign up, you can check out
Salty People Serve: The Bernaths
Bill & Darla Bernath moved to the area in the fall of 2021, but the move was no coincidence. Two years earlier, while Bill and Darla were still living in North Carolina, Bill’s brother Ron moved to Palm Coast to live with a friend and get back on his feet after some life and health challenges. That is when Ron discovered Salty Church.

“I knew God was working in Ron’s life as he shared with me about the “preacher” who taught at Salty. Ron said this guy made a lot more sense than anything he had heard in the past,” Bill said. “It was good to hear this from him, as we had been discussing the Lord for some time.”

About two weeks after Ron relocated to Florida, he had a major heart attack and passed away. When it came to organizing the memorial service, Ron’s friend recommended Derrick Shirley with Salty to deliver an impactful message.

“It was a challenging time for our family, but after Ron passed and I was sorting through his belongings, I found some notes he had written where he was making peace with Jesus. He had been asking for forgiveness and had given his heart to God,” Bill said. “This was such an answer to many prayers for him! This brought me so much comfort to know I would surely see him again.”

Following Ron’s passing and throughout the next couple of years, Bill and Darla traveled to Palm Coast and visited Salty a few times. Darla felt that she had heard God say this was the church where he wanted their family to be. But Bill wasn’t aware of that thought and had no plans to ever move to Florida. They were happy living in North Carolina and were well-established there for 26 years with lifelong friendships, their children and grandson living there.

But in time, God changed Bill’s heart and opened doors for the Bernaths to move to Bunnell in October 2021. Following their move, Bill and Darla were greeted by an abundance of kindness and acceptance from their new neighbors and new church family at Salty. That, plus the style of teaching offered by Salty, made Bill and Darla feel like this transition was a breath of fresh air.

Bill and Darla decided to “sit and soak.” They attended Discover Salty and Making Sense of Your Worth classes. They also got plugged into a small group that met over breakfast in between services on Sunday mornings.

“All along in our church journey, we have learned that small groups are the foundation of a solid church. They allow people to gather and be real with one another, support each other, and build each other up in the faith. This has been our experience with Deb and Len in this beautiful group,” said Bill. “God gave us an enjoyable year of respite. He gave us a year of calm before the storms that were going to hit the following year.”

In June 2022, some of the most difficult trials of Bill and Darla’s lives hit them hard. Darla’s mother suffered a paralyzing stroke, and her sister received several stage 4 cancer diagnoses only a few days after they moved their daughter down to live with them. On top of caring for Darla’s mother and sister, Darla’s brother John died after battling a 15-year sickness. They also took in Darla’s sister’s puppy to care for and housetrain. And in the middle of caring for her mother and sister, Darla’s cousin passed away from cancer on New Year's Day. Then, Bill’s father passed away in March 2023.

But despite it all, the Lord remained a beacon of hope for Bill and Darla. Throughout every trial, Bill and Darla were committed to sharing the love they felt at Salty with others, including Darla’s sister, Christine, who, after years of church hurt, found redemption and a newfound love for the Lord before her passing in August 2023.  

“We had experienced several major crises, lost family members, and taken on a whole lot of additional responsibilities and financial weights,” Bill said. “But God knew what we needed during and after these great losses and transfers of new responsibilities. He brought us closer to himself and into a closer community relationship with the Salty family. This gave us the love and support we needed at this time.”

Bill and Darla are thankful that they were actively involved in a supportive church throughout it all. They currently serve on our worship and production teams – Darla at our Sunrise service and Bill at the Ormond campus.  

Because of their faithfulness to serve, Bill and Darla play a role in impacting the lives of each person who walks through the doors of Salty every weekend. And if you serve at Salty, too, we want to thank you for your commitment to the mission to Rescue and Empower disciples for Jesus.

If you currently serve or are looking for a way to get plugged into serving here at Salty, Easter Sunday is a great opportunity to jump right in! Easter is a highly attended service across all our campuses, including our Sunrise services, and we need your help to make the experience memorable for all our guests. If you’d like to learn more about how you can get involved in serving, let us know here!
Sunrise Highlight: The Wetzels
It was over a decade ago when Tom & Becky Wetzel’s search for a “home away from home” landed them in love with Ormond Beach. Upon retirement, Montana natives Tom & Becky began traveling around Florida to find their next home when the beauty of the Ormond Beach area matched with the ocean, kayaking, and fishing culture drew them in. But to this day, the Wetzels believe it was really the Lord drawing them to find their “church home away from home” in Salty Church that kept them here. 

Shortly after making the move from three minutes outside the Canadian border to our little beach town, Tom & Becky met a couple on the beach who introduced them to Salty Church. 

“We love the sunrise services at the Granada Approach and often sneak over to the church building for a second round of Salty on Sundays,” Tom & Becky said.

The Wetzels credit small groups for providing the “interactive teaching we need” and the lifelong friendships they’ve developed. They’ve even been challenged to identify the “One” in their lives that they are uniquely equipped to share Jesus with, and more recently, have been changed with financial generosity through the “I’ll Go” initiative.

“The Lord spoke to the two of us to accept that challenge both in our personal ministry and in our financial giving.  With the advice of our accountant, we found that we could contribute to the ministry through our IRAs and avoid the tax ramifications, said the Wetzels. “It is better to give now with a warm, open hand – demanding nothing in return – rather than waiting for the reading of the will.”

Tom & Becky believe that everyone has some sort of gift that they can present to the Lord through “I’ll Go” and that generosity truly does change everything. 

Thank you to Tom & Becky Wetzel for your continued generosity and faithfulness to the mission to Rescue and Empower disciples for Jesus. 

If you’re like the Wetzel’s and love the Sunrise services at Salty, or you’ve been wanting to try one out, we have the perfect opportunity for you coming up on Easter Sunday! All of our campuses will be hosting an Easter Sunrise service that you’re invited to check out. For times and locations, head to

November Stories

Life Change: J's Story
In 2022, J was fleeing a toxic living situation and was worried about his toddler-aged daughter still living in that environment. That was when he found Salty. He met with a campus pastor and began sharing a bit of his story, including past traumas and addictions that still haunted him. He was struggling with his faith, had a lot of doubts about God, and had many fears about his life.

Then, he decided to start serving at Salty. J says he admittedly started serving with selfish motives.

“Service is the most effective antidepressant I’ve ever tried,” he said.

However, as he began to relinquish many areas of his life over to God, Jesus changed his perspective, and J’s motives began to fulfill something much deeper – identity.

J recalls how other churches he has been to wouldn’t let him serve because he was a smoker. Salty was different. And through prayer, dedication, faith, and Jesus’ healing, J has been tobacco-free for over 5 months (something that he hadn’t been able to accomplish since 1984).

Today, J faithfully serves on the noon service’s cafe team. He has attended many Salty events, like Making Sense of Your Worth and Financial Peace University. He also regularly shares his story of faith with others.

J’s story is one of the many that illustrates that when we step out in faith, God can change our hearts and transform our lives for the better. He doesn’t promise it will always be easy, but He promises that He will always be by our side. And it’s because of your generosity that life change is possible here at Salty. Thank you!
Baptisms: Vanessa's Story
Vanessa and her family moved to Flagler County so Vanessa could attend the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind, where she is now a senior. They began attending Salty in October 2020. She has been talking to her parents about wanting to get baptized for a little while now, but Vanessa has some challenges that make an ocean baptism difficult. So, we started working on some other options.

After a few ideas fell through, Salty found a local church that would allow us to use their baptistry for Vanessa’s baptism. We were able to baptize Vanessa on October 29th. Vanessa was determined not to let her challenges get in the way of making a declaration of faith and love for Jesus. Those who know Vanessa say that the joy of the Lord shines through her in everything she says and does.

Including Vanessa’s baptism, 239 people have been baptized at Salty this year! That’s 239 lives changed and hearts transformed. And it’s all made possible because of your generosity that changes everything.
Groups: Danielle's Story
You’ve likely heard it said before at Salty, but we believe “We’re Better Together.” It’s one of our core values! One individual living out that value is Danielle.

Danielle moved to Ormond to attend Daytona State. She began attending Salty in September 2022 and started serving on the production team shortly after. She joined a small group in October 2022 and started attending and serving at Salty Young Adults.

“When I first moved to Ormond, I didn’t really know anyone in the area. I started going to a college and quickly found a friend group there, but knew that I needed to find a group that could encourage me spiritually and one that shared similar values,” Danielle said. “I felt an instant connection at Salty, especially with the small group I joined.”

And that small group has grown to do more than meet together weekly to talk about Jesus – they do life together.

Danielle and her group have a group message where they keep each other updated, share how they can pray for one another, and plan hangouts throughout the month. The group has gone kayaking, played mini golf, enjoyed beach days, met up for lunch after church, and attended Salty Young Adults together. They also serve in their community together, including through church events like Trunk or Treat, First Fridays in Flagler, and beach cleanups. Most members in the group even serve on a volunteer team on the weekends at their campus, like Danielle!

“My relationships have grown deeper, and I love doing life with my group,” Danielle said. “It has been super refreshing each week to be a part of a small group and come together to study God’s Word. I’m forever grateful to Fran and Joe Hasson for their passion for discipling and their gift of hospitality in welcoming us into their home.”

As of November 2023, around 826 people are engaged in groups at Salty across all campuses, and at the last Salty Young Adults gathering, 79 people were in attendance. Thanks to your I’ll Go generosity, we are truly able to live out our value: “We’re Better Together.”

September Stories

Life Change @ Salty
This summer, we went through a teaching series called “Summer Stories.” This series was all about the power of our personal stories and the impact they can have on the lives of others. We talked about the role God plays in our stories. 

And with that, we invited you to share your story with us by writing a few words on a poster – on one side, words reflecting your life before Jesus, and on the other side, words reflecting your life with Jesus. We received hundreds of shared stories. In fact, over 400 people across all campuses shared their stories with us and with one another. And we were able to share some of those stories in a powerful video. Check it out here. Our stories are not only a testament to how good God is, but they are also a powerful resource to share the love of God with others. 

In addition to the life change that happens through our stories, we have seen life change happen through baptism. Many individuals made the decision to get baptized this year. As of Sept. 2023, 180 people have been baptized! That’s 180 lives changed and hearts transformed. And with a baptism weekend on the horizon, we are excited to continue celebrating those who take that incredible step of faith. And it’s all made possible because of your generosity that changes everything.
Salty People Serve: Chris & Marty's Story
This past August, 180 attended our Serve Event, where we equipped current and potential volunteers with tools and resources to impact those they encounter every weekend. Following the Serve Event, we welcomed 20 new volunteers to a team across all campuses! That’s 20 new people who said “I’ll Go” to the impactful value of “Salty People Serve.”

One couple who lives out our “Salty People Serve” value nearly every weekend is Chris & Marty. They have been serving on the guest services team at our Ormond campus for just under 3 years. Chris says his favorite part about serving is meeting and getting to know so many new people, especially those he serves alongside of.

“I serve as an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself, a part of what God is doing in the world,” said Chris, “and as an expression of my love for Him and those He is seeking to save.”

Chris serves as a team leader for the greeters, and his wife Marty serves in the cafe. Marty says she likes getting to know the people she serves with, feeling like a team, and belonging to Salty. She enjoys greeting all the Salty folks with a warm welcome as they get a donut or cup of coffee. 

“I serve because I enjoy helping others,” Marty said. “The bonus is that I have a team of people to share in the ‘work’ and to pray with and for each other as we grow in our relationship with God. I don’t just come to church. I am a part of God’s work here in Ormond Beach, and I love it!”

Thank you, Chris and Marty, for faithfully serving all these years and for paving the way for new volunteers to grow alongside you both. And thank you, Salty Church, for your continued generosity and for saying “I’ll Go” to serving our church and community. 
Groups: Margaret's Story
We’re better together! And one story of living out that truth is Margaret. Margaret started going to Salty in 2022 and started her faith journey by attending a couple of helpful classes, including Discover Salty, Starting Point and Making Sense of Your Worth. In April 2022, she made the decision to get baptized! From there, she decided she wanted to start a group and join a serve team. 

The group she formed now meets weekly at her house, and they do more than just meet – they do life together. 

“The best part about having a group is the joy of caring for others,” said Margaret. “Our group creates a sense of belonging and sisterhood in a safe, non-judgmental environment where we all reap the benefits of friendship, support, encouragement, and spiritual growth. You can feel and see God at work in all of us. It comes down to a basic commandment of Jesus: love one another.”

In addition to Margaret’s step into leading a group, others at Salty have taken a similar step to either join or lead a group. Across all campuses, over 190 people attended our Group Connect event and showed interest in joining a group. Additionally, our group leader numbers have grown by 51 leaders just this year. In total, there are about 683 Salty people engaged in groups. Thank you for helping to make that possible through your faithful giving!  

June Stories

Easter Baptisms
This past Easter weekend at Salty was incredible! While the weather delayed some baptisms, we still celebrated 54 baptisms across all campuses. One of those lives changed was Noah. After experiencing the loss of his dad, Noah moved from Pittsburgh to Florida and started working at a local hospital. He went to Discover Salty, started serving in SaltyKids, and attended Salty Young Adults. And he made the decision to get baptized. Noah is now faithfully serving and playing an integral role in the life change happening here at Salty thanks to your I'll Go generosity.
Salty Family Services
Salty Family Services has had an amazing start to the year, and your I’ll Go generosity has contributed to the 156 families and 350 children helped in 2023 alone. One of those families was a local single mother who reached out for financial support. Salty Family Services financially assisted her and helped her fine-tune her budget. An SFS mentor encouraged her to find additional employment and shared ideas on growing the business she started. We also guided her through past emotional hardships and prayed with her often. In the short time that she was mentored by SFS, she has been able to save money, gain personal confidence, and see her business grow!
We’re better together! And Groups are a great way to live out that truth. One group from our NSB campus launched during Wednesday Nights at Salty as part of the I’ll Go kickoff. Since then, this group has said, “I’ll Go” to whatever comes their way. They have attended multiple serve events together with the NSB campus, including Earth Day cleanup and Coastal Choices landscaping. Thank you to this NSB group for serving our community, faithfully living out the "I'll Go" mindset, and being a prime example of our "Better Together" value!