Thank you for your support of the Florida Church Planting Network.
2019 has been a great year for our network so far. Our goal has been to initiate three new church planting projects each year. However, this year, because of the generosity and outward-focus of our Network churches, we have been able to increase. Pablo Torres is planting a Spanish-speaking church out of University Presbyterian in Orlando. Donny St. Germain is planting among the growing Haitian population in Central Florida. In the next few months, Kevin Bigelow will plant out of Christ Church Jacksonville, targeting Jacksonville and Duval beaches. And Ben Harris is also planning to launch City Church in Palm Bay. Beyond these new churches, there are another 6 plants at various stages that we are supporting as a Network. You can read the updates from these planters by clicking on the links below. I hope you will take the time to read and pray for them. Then maybe send an email or a text to encourage them. As I’m with planters more and more, I’m reminded how hard and lonely the work is.
FCPN continues to thrive financially. So far in 2019, we are running a surplus which has allowed us to expand our support of church planting by: 1) sponsoring summer church planting internships in local churches for Seminary students interested in church planting in the future, and 2) supporting Parakaleo in their ministry to church planting spouses. Both of these should help our church planting efforts in the future. So, thank you again for your generous support.
We are already looking towards 2020. There is only one current apprenticeship that we anticipate becoming a plant in 2020. That means that we are currently in recruiting mode. The greatest need at the moment is for opportunities to place apprentices and planters. We will be holding vision gatherings surrounding each of the fall meetings of the presbyteries that make up the Network to talk about a 3-year strategy for planting in each region. I will also be at all four presbytery meetings to report in more detail on the work of the Network. If you would like to be a part of these vision gatherings, please let me know and I will make sure you get an invite. If you or your church would be interested apprenticing a man for church planting, or if you have plans to plant (either now or in the future), please send me an email or give me a call.
This really is an amazing work we get to partner together in. 1,000 people a day are moving into our Florida. The need is great. What a thrill to see the gospel growing and bearing fruit all over our state. I hope you’re encouraged as you read these updates from the frontlines.
Drew Bennett | Executive Director
GREATER HOPE CHURCH
MULBERRY | Stan McMahan
Launched: December 2017
We’re grateful for what’s going on in Mulberry! God is continuing to bring new people and raise up leaders at Greater Hope Church. We’ve added new Community Groups recently and are working on at least a couple more (we have 4 of the needed 6). Community Kids (upper elementary) and Community Students (middle and high school) have started meeting, too. Our first men’s and women’s retreats were great—good times for building friendships and discussing how the gospel can make Greater Hope a church that changes our community. We’re continuing to pray for the growing group that attends on Sunday mornings, at our Community Groups, and in Bible studies—for conversions, discipleship, and a desire to truly belong to the church.
This Summer, I’d like to get some needed rest with my family and invest in the new believers and leaders God is raising up in our church. For Greater Hope, I’d like our summer series in Titus to get people thinking and praying about how they can be fruitful for Christ at church, in their personal lives, and in our city.
GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH
LAKELAND | Jeremy Kemp
Launched: January 2018
We are looking forward to the slower pace of the summer at Good Shepherd Church. This not only allows us the chance to rest and recuperate from the busy season of ministry since our first birthday as a church in January, but also to intentionally use the summer towards our primary focus right now: Gathering. Summer in Lakeland means vacations, pool parties, and lots of time for rest and recreation. We plan to take advantage of this culture and schedule parties and activities throughout the summer that allow our people to grow in friendship with each other and invite others into those friendships. Please pray for my personal evangelism efforts this summer as I invite my neighbors into a Bible study at my home. Also pray for our church, that we would rest in Jesus, grow as friends, and be so amazed at his grace that we couldn’t help but share it with others. Pray that these efforts would result in 4 new families being welcomed in by the fall.
GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH
NORTH LAKELAND | Josh Floyd
Launched: September 2018
Things are going well at Grace Community Church on the northside of Lakeland. We launched just over 7 months ago and there is still a very sweet spirit in the church plant. We meet in the Sleepy Hill Elementary School cafeteria and we have been averaging 54 people in weekly attendance from Jan-Mar in 2018. And over the past 6 weeks our average attendance has risen to 64 people (in large part because of Easter and Mother's Day). We recently had our first New Member class which was well attended (25 adults) and we had our best attended outreach event (Easter EGGstravanganza 80-90 people on Palm Sunday after church). We are seeing new faces each Sunday and we are very encouraged with the steady numerical growth.
One goal for me personally is that I would continue to delight in the Lord. I know that the joy of the Lord is my strength (Neh 8:10). But I can functionally live like a completed sermon, more people coming to the church or someone liking me is my strength. Church planting continues to expose my idols of people-pleasing and wanting to be in control. I am continually having to repent of these and finding my true identity and satisfaction in Christ alone. Please keep me in your prayers that my true delight and joy would be in Jesus alone.
One goal for the church plant would be that internal giving would increase. Although our numbers are increasing, our financial giving is not increasing. We are excited that we are attracting baby Christians, maybe Christians and unbelievers but they are not tithing or giving financially. We are wanting to be around $10k a month of internal giving and we are around $5k a month. Please pray that as I preach on generosity, as we have our first church wide vision casting / budget meeting in the next month or so and as we continue to talk about tithing in our new member classes that the Lord would first bring people to himself and secondly stir their hearts to give generously.
PONTE VEDRA | James Brignac
Launched: SEPTEMBER 2016
As we look forward to the summer month it’s always good to look back on God’s faithfulness to Waypoint over the last several months. There are two particular things that stand out about our recent ministry. The first is we continue to see people that have little to no exposure to the gospel attending our Sunday service and Bible studies. We recently had a family that has started to attend after their son got connected to our youth ministry. We have been praying that God would open doors to connect with unbelievers and we’ve seen that prayer answered. The second really exciting aspect of Waypoint’s ministry is our recent men’s retreat. We went on a weekend campout and had 18 men join us for our retreat with the theme Renewed and Refreshed by the Spirit. During the course of the weekend we had a sunrise service on the beach, a couple of our members led seminars, and many relationships were formed. Our hope is that this will be a spring board for spiritual growth and deeper relationships among our men.
Over the past few months we have seen significant growth in our youth and men’s ministry and look forward to seeing what God will do in the lives of our people. The goal we have going forward is to begin one or two new community groups as we go through the summer and into the fall. We are planning to train couples in the church to effectively lead these new groups and believe that it is one of the essential aspects of our growth (both spiritual and numerical). We continue to see that most of our shepherding and discipleship is coming out of our existing groups and we want to develop this ministry going forward. Our hope is to have 75% of our members and regular attenders connected to a group as we enter the fall.
One of the realities that has continued to be at the forefront of my mind is that church planting is tough. Due to that reason I have seen the need to surround myself with more church planters that can offer insight, accountability, and encouragement. It has been my goal to widen this circle of men and I look forward to building relationships with the various planters that are in the surrounding area. My hope is to build a solid network of relationships that will be beneficial as we progress through all the various phases of the church planting process. I recently discovered that there is a church planters group in Jacksonville and plan to connect with this group going forward.
Pray that God will continue opening doors to invite friends, neighbors, and co-workers to participate in the various ministries of Waypoint.
Pray that God will raise up more leaders for our new community groups and for our existing groups to grow.
Pray for more open doors to meet the practical needs of our community that will in turn open doors for more gospel ministry.
CHRIST SATISFIES CHURCH
TAMPA | Jimbo Mullen
Launched: MAY 2018
This month marks the one-year anniversary of Christ Satisfies Presbyterian Church! The church has been meeting in the College Hill community of Tampa weekly since May 20, 2018. We are planning to celebrate this milestone with a community meal this Sunday, May 19th. The service reverted to its original start time of 4:24 pm on Sunday afternoons after the springtime change. We continue to have a consistent group of 20-25 people attend weekly with about 5-8 of them members of the College Hill community. In March, CSPC welcomed its first members! Darnard & Deana Winborn along with their 6 children became joined the church. In addition to welcoming the family as members, each of their children were baptized on the same Sunday afternoon. Darnard continues to serve at the church assisting with prayer from the pulpit, Scripture reading and delivering the children’s message. In April, CSPC held an Easter Bag outreach to children and families in the community on Easter Sunday. We continue to look for office space for Jimbo to use in the community. We are thankful to those who continue to support the church through their prayers, presence and support.
Weekly we average 20-25 attendees. We continue to have a consistent group of 5-8 people from the community attend the CSPC worship service along with 1 family who has been attending since mid-summer though they do not live in the College Hill neighborhood.
This family, Darnard & Deana Winborn and their six children became the first members of CSPC in March. The children were all baptized at the time of membership.
Jimbo continues to work in one-on-one discipleship with 2-3 men in who consistently attend CSPC.
One of these men, Darnard Winborn, is really growing in the faith and in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. He is participating in a Leader Development class offered weekly by Westminster Presbyterian Church pastor, Wes Holland.
We continue to look for office space in the College Hill community. The possibility of using a residential property for office space has been ruled out. Jimbo and Pastor Wes are working to meet with another pastor in the community to determine if it will be feasible for CSPC to lease space from one of this church’s properties for CSPC.
In April, CSM in partnership with CSPC held an Easter Bag outreach on Easter Sunday. Children and families were invited to the service and Easter Bags were distributed afterwards. The bags included gospel tracts, a Bible activity book & pencils, Scripture bracelets and some treats. We were able to give out 48 bags to children and families in the College Hill community.
God is blessing CSPC with consistency in attendance. Though things are moving slowly that is to be expected since this work is a scratch church plant in a hard & difficult community.
BERAKAH COMMUNITY CHURCH
DAVENPORT | Dony St. Germain
Launched: Fall 2018
Thank God for what He is doing through Berakah Community Church. We are in the process of training leaders for small group development. Our goal is to see 30 people train in order to lead our small groups ministry. This will serve as a mean to develop a strong discipleship and prayer ministry.
Continue to pray with us to identify another place to rent in order to start worship on Sunday morning. We praise the lord that we were able to purchase a bus to help us with the youth and women ministry. We are also praying that we will be able to purchase a land near the High Way 27 in a near future. Our goal and vision it to build a steel building where we can have all of our services. This will help the church to become a vital based church within the community.
I am working on a plan to train officers so that we will become a particular church by December 2020.
LA VINA - UPC HISPANIC CHURCH
ORLANDO | Pablo Torres
Launched: April 2018
We just celebrated our first anniversary at La Viña and there is much for which we can rejoice. We praise God because:
Our average attendance is growing (we had nearly 40 people this past week) · We have a committed core-group of 25 adults and 4 kids (8 nationalities)
We have 2 active small groups
We’ve had 9 conversions thus far
We recently connected with 10 new adults (and 25 kids) through an outreach event
We expect to connect with new families by hosting a free summer ESL class
We’re increasing our connections with Hispanic UCF students There is much to celebrate! We are slowly growing and getting more and more involved in the community. We clearly see God’s hand and blessings.
Personal goal: Keep my eyes on the hope of God's provision
Plant goal: Complete our budget for the third year. And get an attendance of 50 people.