Florida Baptists focus on what really matters
Nov 21, 2012
By FLBaptist STAFF

ORLANDO (FBC)-In the 151st annual meeting of the Florida Baptist Convention, four short videos highlighted how Florida Baptists are focusing on what really matters in four priority areas: church planting, evangelism, biblical stewardship and compassionate ministries.

Church Planting

Pastor Charles Jones can offer a personal testimony on what a difference two years can make. Just two years ago, Jones served as a bivocational youth pastor at an established church and enjoyed a secure banking career. 

“I was more than comfortable, but God had a different secret plan that I didn’t know about. That’s what I love about the Master,” he said.

Burdened that the church was not reaching younger, multicultural families, Jones, through a partnership with Greater Orlando Baptist Association and the Florida Baptist Convention, launched New Covenant Fellowship Bible Baptist Church on Palm Sunday 2011. 

Today, at only about 18 months old, the church plant, which meets at Freedom Middle School in Orlando, has grown to about 300 people, representing about a dozen nationalities. 

“What matters to God is seeing the entire world ... being reached with the love, compassion and goodness of salvation of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,” Jones said.

REPORTS John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Convention, goes over his notes before the SBOM report. FBC photo
In addition to church planting, Florida Baptists also come alongside established congregations to help them catch a fresh vision for the mission and ministry needs in changing neighborhoods.  

Evangelism

In the past year Florida Baptist churches baptized almost 32,000 new believers in Jesus Christ. 

In Miami’s crime-ridden Overtown neighborhood, Willie Williams, pastor of Greater Mercy Missionary Baptist Church, stands behind the chair, cutting hair and sharing the Gospel. Lives are being changed.

“We have the smallest church with the biggest heart, and we reach out to the people like no other church around here does,” said Pastor Williams.

Cross Brand Church in Williston focuses on reaching cowboys with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“There’s a big group of cowboys here still not reached, but they are not going to stay unreachable because the Lord can do anything,” said pastor Billy Keith.

After the cowboys gather for worship and Bible study on Sundays, they scatter back out to the farms and ranches nearby, taking the good news to the lost and hurting.

“We’re going to be missionaries in our own backyards,” said Keith.

Miami’s Turning Point Church is focused on meeting “the needs of the community, whether they’re Hispanic, Latin, Anglo, African American, [or] Asian,” said Pastor Jorge Rodriguez.

The multicultural church has offered a summer camp program, attracting many unchurched families.

The summer camp program is “a way to show love. We want to present Jesus our Savior, and that’s why we love you,” said pastor Noel Lozano.    

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