In 1997, Sanctuary of Praise Ministries was founded by Pastor J. L. McKnight with a 30-member congregation situated in one of the city’s southwest, historically crime-ridden communities. 

Almost 9 years later, Sanctuary of Praise Ministries has become one of Orlando’s most progressive churches.  Sanctuary of Praise is a multiracial congregation of more than 2,000 members, now located at 5600 Westgate Drive on 32 acres of prime commercial property, just 3 miles north of Universal Studios.  In January 2007, God catapulted the ministry into a 6-month construction marathon, resulting in the June 2007 completion and celebration of its new sanctuary.  Sanctuary of Praise presently owns more than 90,000 square feet of multiple building spaces, including three worship facilities in prime locations in west Orlando, with the ministry’s commercial properties totaling 38 acres.  Sanctuary of Praise stand firm on a foundation of commitment in caring for the Central Florida community. 

The Sanctuary of Praise is consistently seen serving in the distribution of food to neighborhoods throughout Orlando, Clermont, Eatonville, Sanford, Winter Garden, and Apopka; feeding more than 10,000 families in 2005 alone, funded solely from the ministry’s outreach program.  The ministry’s food and clothing banks provide assistance to an average of 700 families each month, and has been declared central Florida’s number one, none grant-funded food distribution center by Second Harvest Food Bank.  In 2005, compassion’s call provoked Sanctuary of Praise to donate over $125,000 in goods and monetary gifts to hurricane victims in the Gulf States, as well as in Florida.  The ministry’s humanitarian endeavors reach beyond the shores of the United States to support missions in Jamaica, Nassau Bahamas, Freeport Bahamas, Africa, Trinidad, and Haiti, with the provision of food, clothing, housing, orphanages, education, medical assistance and other goods and services.

The church consistently participates in evangelical and practical outreach efforts to prison inmates throughout Florida, including revivals and crusades inside prison and correctional facilities located in Orlando, Coleman, Lowell, Bushnell, and Starke.  Inmates from the Coleman facility have participated for 3 consecutive years in the annual “I Did It In The Name Of Love” Relationship Conference founded by Pastor McKnight in 2003, co-hosted annually by Jonathan L. McKnight Ministries (the evangelistic ministry founded by Pastor McKnight) and Sanctuary of Praise.  Jonathan L. McKnight Ministries also facilitates radio broadcasts where Pastor McKnight can be heard ministering daily throughout Florida, North Carolina and New York.