When Memphis hip-hop artist Corey Sanders and his wife, Robin, moved across the country to plant a church in West Homestead, they were often asked, “Why would you move to Homestead when we’re trying to leave?”

“God spoke and we came,” said Sanders, lead pastor and church planter of The Movement Christian Church, a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, gospel-centered church. “It wasn’t an accident.”

But the question reflects the desperation many long-time residents feel in this agricultural-driven town located south of Miami. West Homestead is a community filled with poverty, broken homes, fatherless children and a sense of hopelessness, the church planter explained.

“We want to be a beacon of hope that is light to the community.” he added. “God has equipped us with what we need to go into this community and proclaim the truth of God’s Word and let them know, ‘God loves you.’”

“Hope is found in the family of God.”

“Our goal is to invest in this community and be a part of revitalization in the urban context by planting a gospel-centered church. We are serious about our convictions, the Great Commission and our passion to reach the unreached and underserved people.”

The church meets in a local community center for worship each Sunday and throughout the week sponsors activities for members to build relationships with adults and children, alike.

The Sanders use their creative talents in an after-school program to teach classes in hip-hop, break-dance, creative writing, theater and photography.

“Not only do we engage with guys playing basketball and families on the playground, but we also get to have baptisms in the city pool,” said Sanders. “On a Sunday morning or a Sunday afternoon, people are actually there in the pool and get to witness this church baptizing people. It’s beautiful.”

Sanders is one of six church planters featured in Florida Baptists’ 2017 State Mission Offering emphasis, “Send South Florida,” which will allocate 100 percent of the proceeds toward mission initiatives in South Florida. These church planters are dedicated to reaching Florida’s highest populated and least churched region with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“We need people to come and help us for the long haul,” Sanders said. “When you’re sending people out on mission all over the world, how about sending people to come build up a church plant that needs structure to proclaim the truth of God’s gospel and to tell this community, ‘He’s concerned about you’?”

By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention, August 8, 2017