(Photo: Twitter/Randy White)
The electricity is back on at Without Walls Central Church in Lakeland, Fla., after months of abandonment.
Bishop Randy White, who leads Without Walls International Church in Tampa, and a team of church members cleaned up the Lakeland facility last week with the hope of restoring the ministry there.
"[W]e cleaned up the facilities at Without Walls Central in Lakeland, FL. We repaired doors and windows, and I am so happy to let you know that today we turned the electric back on. I am believing for a revival to hit Central Florida!" White said in an email to the church last Friday.
The Lakeland church (which seats 9,000) has been closed since last August and the electricity was disconnected because of missed payments, according to a report last year by The Ledger. At that time, White had told The Ledger that the property was either going to be sold or go into foreclosure.
Without Walls International had bought the property, formerly Carpenter's Home Church, in 2005 as it was experiencing fast growth. But the church began to struggle in 2007. The founders of Without Walls, Randy and Paula White, divorced; the couple was among six televangelists being probed by the Senate for possible misuse of their nonprofit status; and some of the church staff turned on the Whites and went to the media with their complaints, accusing the couple of focusing on money and fame.
Debt began to pile and the congregation began to shrink. Randy White resigned in 2009. Paula White led the church for the past three years until 2012, when she was named to succeed Zachery Tims as pastor of New Destiny Christian Center near Orlando. Tims was found dead last year in a New York City hotel.
Randy White returned to the pulpit of the Tampa megachurch in June to help his ex-wife lead the church while she continues to preach at New Destiny.
No announcement has been made as to whether Paula White is still on staff at Without Walls.
In the weeks that he's been preaching at Without Walls, Randy White has announced that the church's debt was being reduced and that they plan to build a new sanctuary in Tampa with the money earned from a piece of property that is being sold.
He also stated that he plans to rebuild and restore the megachurch and its campus in Lakeland and bring revival to the surrounding cities.
"What we're doing is trying to go forward with Lakeland and this church and we're asking everyone to get behind the vision," White said in a sermon this month.