Rummage: Praying for a continued emphasis on Miami

Stephen Rummage, right, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in the Tampa area, talks with FBW Executive Editor Kevin Bumgarner.Stephen Rummage, lead pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church and president of the Florida Baptist State Convention, recently talked with me about the importance of reaching Miami with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As part of a wide-ranging interview, I asked Pastor Rummage several questions about Miami, including why he thought more Florida Baptist churches hadn’t tried to connect with it as a SEND City.

“I think there’s always a tendency to go further or elsewhere rather than looking at immediate opportunities to share the Gospel or immediate places to minister,” he responded. “And I think that’s a natural thing that happens. I think that’s almost inevitable. But I do think we’ve got a really great chance in the days to come to see some things happen.”

He said he has great hope that the Convention’s efforts to build a more concentrated Miami outreach effort starting with this year’s State Convention in that city will help build important momentum for continued evangelistic efforts.

“Because we’re having the meeting in the city itself, we’ve got leading churches that will be participating in significant ways as part of that meeting,” Pastor Rummage said. “And I think there will be some things that we’ll do surrounding the Convention to reach people in the city of Miami for the Gospel.

“So I think that will be an opportunity to highlight the work that’s needed there to reach Miami with the Gospel. And then I think—and I’m praying—that that will be the beginning of further emphasis in the city of Miami.”

This digital content will not be repeated in our June print edition, but that issue will include an edited version of Pastor Rummage’s thoughts on a range of other topics as part of our regular “Behind the Pulpit” feature.

A video of our conversation also will appear on later this month. You can go now to the Witness’ YouTube channel at to see videos of Sam Rainer, pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church; Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola; Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater; Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church outside of Tampa; and, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor

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