Florida Baptists respond to the Great Commission
Nov 29, 2011
By MARGARET DEMPSEY-COLSON
Florida Baptist Convention

Related Coverage:

2011 FBSC Annual Meeting

CORAL SPRINGS (FBC)—In the 150th annual meeting of the Florida Baptist Convention, four 10-minute videos highlighted how Florida Baptists are responding to the Great Commission in four priority areas: church planting, evangelism, biblical stewardship and compassionate ministries. The videos featured churches and organizations that have locked arms with and received support from the Florida Baptist Convention to accomplish their mission.

Church Planting

In the past decade Florida Baptists have helped local churches and associations to plant more than 10,000 new churches.

Cross Brand Church in Williston focuses on reaching cowboys with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Led by pastor Billy Keith, the church has baptized 64 new believers in a horse trough since its beginning about five years ago and, with financial help from the Maguire State Mission Offering, has recently purchased property for a permanent place of worship and ministry.

Iglesia Bautista Resurreccion in Deltona reaches out to Hispanics in a county where approximately one in three people is a Spanish-speaking immigrant. The congregation, led by pastor Jorge Amaro, has developed a strong core group of members and has recently purchased a 3.5 acre tract of land for a permanent place of witness and ministry. The congregation is currently composed primarily of multinational first-generation Hispanics who speak fluent Spanish, but Amaro has a passion to reach second and third generation Hispanics in the community.

Heartland Church in central Florida, has set out to reach people with “no concept of how to have a life ordered around God,” according to pastor Don Maiden. The congregation is part of a cluster of four church plants in Polk County with a common vision and shared resources. Such a church-starting approach is the “wave of the future,” explained Maiden.

In addition to church planting, Florida Baptists also come alongside older congregations to help them maintain a thriving Christian witness and ministry.

More than 65 years ago, a group of Florida Baptists banded together to begin Miami Springs Baptist Church in a growing area of South Florida. However, changing demographics in the 1970s contributed to an uncertain future for the once-thriving church. Now a partnership between the Florida Baptist Convention, Miami Baptist Association and Riverside Baptist Church is breathing new life in the historic church as it reaches out to young professionals and families moving into the community. 

Evangelism

In the past decade Florida Baptist churches have baptized more than 400,000 new believers in Jesus Christ.

At FaithBridge Church in Jacksonville, church members are taught to look at their lives as “one large mission trip,” according to pastor Paul White. Church member and former wrestler Rick Reed not only shares his faith on once-a-year mission trips but also does so every day at work and also equips other believers to share their faith.

FaithRiders, established in 2002 at First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, is focused on sharing the Gospel with hundreds of thousands of lost motorcyclists all over the country. Every spring in Daytona for Bike Week, FaithRiders offer a drawing for a free motorcycle, which brings bikers into a tent where they hear Christian testimonies. This past year, nearly 200 FaithRiders shared their faith and 426 people made professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

Related Coverage:

2011 FBSC Annual Meeting

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