“He is alive!” was the simple message on a jumbotron raised in a sea of colored light. The bad weather did nothing to deter or dampen the enthusiasm of 9,500 people who came together for a day of celebration, worship, evangelism and vision at Christ Fellowship’s first multi-campus event, CF United.
“We are not giving up on this city,” said Pastor Rick Blackwood during his Whatever It Takes sermon. “Christ loves Miami. I love Miami. You love Miami. And because this church has a ‘whatever it takes’ resolve, thousands of people are coming to know Christ.”
More than 130 people in Miami-Dade County dedicated their lives to Christ.
Worship was extended while streams of people made their way down the stairs of the arena to profess faith in Jesus.
Waiting patiently at the bottom of the stage was Blackwood with his Bible in hand and a big smile on his face, ready to greet each person.
This love for Miami and “whatever it takes” resolve has provided momentum and blessing for the church’s rapid growth, they have said.
In the last decade, CF has opened six new campuses and is now aggressively pursuing 15 additional church plants that will not bear the CF name. CF members are actively inviting friends, coworkers and neighbors to church and volunteering in record numbers to help the under-resourced and hurting in one of the most “unchurched” cities in America.
In fact, CF is not just talking to guests about doing whatever it takes to reach 100,000 for Christ by the year 2020, they are taking a proactive role in raising up new leaders and equipping them.
There is an intentional effort by the church to help guests get connected to community by joining a Small Group, learning about church membership and baptism, and ministering through volunteer service.
Just one week after CF United, the church kicked off Love Miami, a week long, bi-annual event where all 8,000 active members are encouraged to participate in volunteer opportunities to serve the hurting and under-resourced in Miami-Dade.
During Love Miami, the church partnered with secular organizations such as local CBS affiliate’s charity arm called Neighbors 4 Neighbors, local schools, hospitals and the office of a state representative so they could have an opportunity to share the Gospel with a group of people the church may not traditionally reach.
Volunteers also participated in opportunities with a global hunger partner, Feed My Starving Children, in an effort to pack 200,000 prepared meals to ship overseas to feed starving children.
It is this intentionality about inviting the community to participate during events like Love Miami and CF United that make CF special in Miami. Even despite the outreach and rapid growth of the church, Pastor Blackwood is careful to make sure that the attention and credit is not given to CF, but remains where it really belongs—on Jesus..
“It’s not about CF. It’s about Jesus. Let’s just get people to Christ. He will do the rest. He can rescue them. He can save their marriages and repair their families,” Blackwood said. “Only He can give them everlasting life.”
For more about Christ Fellowship Church in Miami-Dade, or to check out the CF United sermon, visit cfmiami.org.
Aimee Artilles is with the fellowship arts and communications department at Christ Fellowship Church in Miami-Dade.
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