You’ll be hard-pressed to find a churchgoer who carries a Bible to Church at the Springs on Sundays—and lead pastor Ron Sylvia doesn’t mind.
At “the Springs,” as it’s known—a multisite church based in Ocala, Fla.—most of its 3,000 or so members follow along during services with the YouVersion Bible app on their phones. Up front, Sylvia teaches from an iPad. Toss in contemporary-rock worship music, state-of-the-art LED screens, and Text to Give software (to simplify tithing), and it’s not difficult to see how the
pastor has cultivated such a following. “I don’t want people to step into a time warp to meet God,” Sylvia says. “The message will never change, but the method must. And our method is our delivery system.”
The 57-year-old pastor, a self-professed lover of numbers and technology, was studying for a bachelor’s degree in accounting when he entered the church ministry at age 21. What followed was two decades of trial and experimentation as Sylvia—moved by “a clear calling to start a contemporary church”—founded Church at the Springs in 1994.