Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, invited church planters from all six regions of the state to the Baptist building in Jacksonville for a first-ever fellowship and network meeting.

“We are very blessed in Florida that God is raising up tremendous pastors for church planting,” Green said.

Florida Baptist church planters hear from NAMB president Kevin Ezell.

Planters arrived on Tuesday night to enjoy dinner and a time of getting to know one another. Afterward, Green led discussions with the planters on processes for funding and leadership development, best practices and other issues that the planters are dealing with in their specific contexts.

This meeting is the first of what will come to be regular church planter network meetings.

James Peoples, NAMB’s Send City Missionary for South Florida, was also in attendance and shared about some of the efforts being made with the Send South Florida initiative as well as NAMB resources currently available to church planters and sending churches.

Green said the meeting was “extremely encouraging” as planters were able to listen to each other’s planting journeys and share ideas and practical advice.

Sherard Burns, lead pastor of Renewing Life Church in Miami, said he found the meeting encouraging as well. He said the information shared about the different processes in place to assist church planters was particularly helpful.

On Wednesday, the planters participated in Zoom calls with Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission.

“To hear from Kevin Ezell and Russell Moore was incredibly insightful regarding church and civic leadership,” Burns said.

Planters heard from ERLC president Russell Moore.

Several FBC Catalysts attended the meeting and were heartened by the discussions that took place. East Region Catalyst Craig Culbreth said meetings like this help planters know that they are not alone and gives them the opportunity to develop relationships with other planters as well as FBC staff.

“Relationships matter,” he said.

Patrick Coats, Black Multicultural Catalyst, said he was grateful for Green’s leadership and for demonstrating to planters that the FBC is right beside them.

“I was really encouraged to hear the stories of how God is using men from different ages, missional convictions, cultural backgrounds, and passions to push back darkness,” Coats said. “This was a great time of listening, learning, clarity, and fellowship.”

Green said he is impressed with the level of dedication Florida Baptist planters have for their congregations and communities and is pleased to be able to bring them together for events such as this.

“I am challenged by the depth of commitment and sacrifice being made by these men and their families,” he said. “I am thankful for their faithfulness in the Gospel ministry.”

Cam  Triggs launched Grace Alive Church in 2017. He said the meeting of church planters from all over Florida was inspiring.

“Dr. Green’s vision to unify this strategic mission force is amazing,” Triggs said. “I look forward to more momentum for Kingdom advancement through partnerships like this.”

Green plans to bring the planters back again in the fall.

“I’m looking forward to our next gatherings to discuss strategies and best practices for healthy pastoral leadership and church planting,” he said.

By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, June 6, 2018