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MIDDLEBURG (FBC)—Bryan Kallum of Middleburg was raised in a Florida Baptist church but in his adult years, he “veered off the path.” After the birth of his first child, a yearning to raise his family in a “better environment” led him to First Baptist Church.
Soon he realized his inner longing was not for the good a church could offer his family, but salvation through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Now First Baptist Middleburg is “absolutely the core of our being,” Kallum said. He, his wife, who had no church background of her own, and their three children have all accepted Christ and were baptized by their pastor Alan Floyd.
Since Floyd arrived at First Baptist Church of Middleburg nearly 13 years ago, the church has stirred the baptismal waters more than 100 times each year, with as many as 200 new Christians in 2010.
First Baptist Church was a 100-year old medium sized church of about 400 people in attendance in a rural town 30 miles southwest of Jacksonville when Pastor Floyd arrived.
“It was traditional, program driven and committee led,” he said.
That is not the church it is today, he explained. “With much prayer, strategic thinking, and planning the church began to shift to a church that is culturally relevant and missional in purpose.”
A dozen years later, the church averages 1,800 people in worship on two campuses.
But transitioning the church took time and intentionality, he said.
When he was called to the church, Floyd found a congregation evenly divided when the previous pastor left after three months of duress.
Floyd led church members through a time of unity, healing and forgiveness by encouraging them as family—“a family of friends,” a moniker they still use today. “Families may disagree, but you treat them with respect and love,” he told them. Business meetings became “family nights.”
After that first year, he “slowly and intentionally” began to shift focus to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, and developed what he calls their DNA “C3”—connect to God, connect to others, and connect to a lost world.
To more effectively connect to God, greater emphasis and intentionality was placed on worship and planning between the worship leader and pastor.
Connecting to others was accomplished in Sunday School and small groups to build relationships, he noted, and encouraging church members to invite their friends.
As the congregation connected with the lost world, “we became intentional about evangelism,” Floyd said. The church prayed for God to give them 100 souls every year, and still today holds outreach every Tuesday night, assigning small groups specific days to participate.
Several years ago, the church tackled the concept of contemporary worship for the century-old traditional church. A contemporary “Café Service,” was created as “overflow” worship for teens and drew 75 in attendance at first. Soon attendance doubled and within four years grew to 600 each week. It now is the fastest growing service and accounts for the largest number of baptisms.
Recently First Middleburg was called upon by a sister church in the association to help with the declining attendance and financial issues. The community and culture of the entire area changed while the church had not, Floyd explained.
Then this past March, the church was re-launched as a secondary campus of First Baptist with a new name “CrossPointe Church.” The sponsoring church sent 100 of its members to help the struggling church. Floyd travels each Sunday to lead one of two worship services held there. As a result, attendance at the smaller church has increased from 50 to 300 in only a few months.
With that, the energetic Floyd preaches four sermons in two locations each Sunday morning. “I am a shepherd, I love hanging out with people. A shepherd smells like his sheep. That’s my goal.”
As part of the series “All In: Religious Consumer of Committed Follower” the pastor preached a message on baptism, “Wear the Jersey,” to encourage believers to identify themselves as Christ followers. As a result, 70 persons were baptized in the waters of nearby Kingsley Lake during the church’s annual picnic. Another 20 were baptized in later weeks.
When Floyd arrived at Middleburg, he learned that only one person had ever participated in a mission trip. Dismayed by this, the church regularly began encouraging members to find places of service that mirrored their own interests.
This year more than 100 people will travel throughout the world. Members have taken mission trips to Brazil, Chile, Russia, South America as well as several U.S. states.
Located on a grassy knoll in Middleburg, after 13 years, Floyd now sees the renewed congregation “as the lighthouse of Clay County. God put us on this hill to be a lighthouse.”
In October, Floyd was called to serve as pastor of Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., a congregation that has been in decline in recent years.
Reflecting on the new transition for his pastor, Kallum expressed the sentiments of others. “Alan guided our church through tough times and major growth. He has been our shepherd. We believe the Lord will bless us and Cottage Hill.”
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