A group of six families agreed to plant an Evangelical Free Church in eastern Lancaster County with Keith Rohrer as pastor. On July 18, 1993, 63 people showed up for the Keystone’s first public service held in the bar at the Dutch Town & Country Banquet facility in Vintage, PA. Representatives from mother church Lancaster Evangelical Free Church were on hand and praying. A year later the fledgling church had a Sunday school, a youth ministry, a singles ministry, and a small group ministry.
Keystone bought the former Paradise Baptist Church building and property for $250,000.
The church added a second worship service as well as a second pastor. From within the church, Keith Sensenig, was hired as part time youth pastor. He joined the staff fulltime one year later.
Already looking for land for a future expansion, the church added a third worship service in 2000 to create more space. But after 6 months various unexpected problems brought the third service to an end, raising new questions about how to handle growth.
Member Charlie Walter was hired from within the congregation as Pastor of Discipleship to oversee cell groups and Christian Education. He remains on staff today as Shepherding Pastor. The same year the auditorium was air-conditioned and given a much-needed facelift. But no additional seats were added and space challenges could not be ignored.
Keystone launched “The Gate”, a video venue held offsite. For nine years this additional service met at 2 different sites before returning to the church’s fellowship hall. Its final service was held in May 2013. In 2003, a group of members began to meet and pray about possibly planting a new church in Chester County. However, after 9 months of work and prayer the group concluded God was saying, “Not now.” In August, 2003, Andy Sparks was hired from within the church to serve as the children’s ministry director. In that and other capacities he served faithfully until July, 2014
After Youth Pastor Keith Sensenig resigned, Brandon Fisher was hired from within the church as the new Youth Pastor.
After an exasperating and seemingly fruitless search for land, the church bought ten acres located across Pequea Drive. The $775,000 purchase brought the church’s holdings on that side of the road to eleven acres. Within 2 years the land was paid for. A capital campaign was launched in 2010 and in the summer of 2012 Keystone broke ground on a $3.7 million, 33,000 square foot ministry center that was completed in April 2013.
Kyle Kauffman had an internship at Keystone for his Lancaster Bible College requirements and he was hired as youth pastor. Brooke Lantz was hired as the Children’s Director, and Andrew McClean was hired as the interim Director of Worship Arts Youth Pastor Brandon became Lead Pastor Brandon to oversee staff, finances and the overall direction of the church. He assumed some of Pastor Keith and Pastor Charlie’s duties to allow them to more fully focus on their strengths such as preaching (KR) and counseling (CW). Under the Elders, these three pastors serve as a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to work on big picture issues whether they be opportunities to exploit, or problems to solve. This restructuring has positioned Keystone for a robust and healthy future.
Keystone has had its share of disappointments and failures, but also seen dozens of people come to Christ, over 100 people baptized, 90 children & their parents dedicated to the Lord, 90 short term mission trips dispatched to the world, sinning Christians repent, people leave the bench to minister, and many people hear and live out the truth of the gospel.