Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville wasn’t looking for Epoch Church to become a Chets campus, but Darren Sullivan, missions and church planting pastor at Chets, said they wanted to leave the door open for God to work.
So when circumstances presented the two churches with just such an opportunity, they have decided to see what God wants despite the fact that the timing isn’t perfect from a resource standpoint. Chets just opened its North Jacksonville campus in January, and has sent out more than 500 people in the last three years.
David Mechoso, worship leader for Epoch Church, isn’t surprised that Chets Creek has become a part of Epoch’s story in such a big way.
“Chets has always been a supporter of Epoch, rooting for us as a church plant,” Mechoso said. “Now here they are again in our story, doing something wonderful with us.”
The Epoch campus was once the home of Terry Road Baptist Church on Jacksonville’s south side, but that congregation had been disbanded for several years. Terry Road leadership gifted the 7-acre campus to Epoch about a year and a half ago when they found out that Epoch had outgrown their storefront meeting space.
Just a few months after moving in, Epoch lost its pastor and church leaders were unsure they would have the financial resources to hire a new one. That, coupled with the need for some of the buildings to be renovated or repaired, made Epoch’s way forward a little unclear.
Yet church leaders pressed on, waiting for God.
Sullivan said the Terry Road area where Epoch is located was already on Chets’ radar as somewhere they wanted to plant a church because of its diversity. And with several international congregations already meeting on Epoch’s campus, Sullivan believes the church will be uniquely positioned to have a big Gospel impact on the community.
Sullivan will remain on staff in his current position as missions and church planting pastor and add to his responsibilities “transition pastor” for the new campus with the possibility of becoming the campus pastor at a later date. For now, Sullivan is providing pastoral leadership as the transition begins, starting with areas such as finances, strategy, vision casting and children’s ministry. The hope is for Epoch to become a full-blown Chets Creek campus—the Jacksonville-based church’s fourth—next January.
Sullivan credits the leadership of Epoch for staying the course and remaining strong through periods of uncertainty, and he is excited to partner with them to see what God will do as a result of their faithfulness.
Nicole Kalil is the Jacksonville-based reporter for the Florida Baptist Witness, the official news source of the Florida Baptist State Convention. She can be reached by phone at 904.596.3169 or via email at nicole.kalil@goFBW.com