Challenge 2025 Gathering to focus on evangelism
ORLANDO–Florida Baptists will come together for the Challenge 2025 Gathering Feb. 28 at First Baptist Church in Orlando to celebrate evangelistic victories statewide and to strengthen evangelistic fervor and commitment.
“Challenge 2025 has brought clarity and unity of mission for Florida Baptists,” said Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention.
‘Florida Baptists are pacesetters in the Southern Baptist Convention in evangelism. The leadership of our pastors continues to lead us forward to reach Florida for Christ.’
“The focus of this year’s gathering is evangelism. The goal of Florida Baptist churches in Challenge 2025 is 30,000 reported baptisms per year. Florida Baptists are pacesetters in the Southern Baptist Convention in evangelism. The leadership of our pastors continues to lead us forward to reach Florida for Christ.”
Nathan Schneider, Florida Baptists’ lead catalyst for next generation ministries, will lead a panel discussion featuring three next generation leaders from various contexts and regions of Florida.
“We are going to focus on the unique challenges and opportunities of reaching the next generation in Florida,” he said.
Florida is home to more than 22 million people, with more than four million under the age of 18, Schneider said. Additionally, there are more than one million students at Florida universities and colleges.
“Reaching the next generation is a priority from a biblical perspective and a critical piece to kingdom advancement. The majority of Christians come to faith before the age of 15, and the vast majority before the age of 18,” Schneider said.
Panelists for the next generation discussion are: Jonathan Cruz, youth pastor at Elevate Church in Miami Lakes; Chris Bacon, next generation pastor at First Orlando; and Bruce Roberts, next generation pastor at Bell Shoals Church in Brandon.
“They will each speak of their own contexts and the unique ways they’ve been reaching the next generation,” Schneider said.
In addition to a biblical message from Green, three Florida Baptist pastors will challenge attendees. Alan Brumback, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, will speak on evangelistic church culture. Jimmy Scroggins, senior pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, will bring a message on personal evangelism. Jeff Robinson, lead pastor of Grace Fellowship in West Palm Beach, will explore the role of apologetics in evangelistic outreach.
Speaking to why apologetics is an effective way to reach people with the gospel, Robinson said, “The tone of gentleness and respect calms the emotions so that compelling reasons can reach the intellect. Indiscriminately dropping what we self-assuredly label as ‘truth bombs’ without the accompanying spirit of gentleness and respect may get us a high view count on a YouTube clip or two, but it will be largely ineffective in making disciples or persuading our opponents.”
All Christians, he believes, can share the gospel from the perspective of an apologist.
“You don’t need a bowtie, bifocals, big words or a big degree to give a respectful and reasoned defense of the gospel. Plus, we’ve been mandated to do it. At Challenge 2025, we’ll learn to apply a variety of tools within the tent of biblical Christianity.”
Attendees will also gather for regional breakout sessions.
This year’s 2025 event is the third time Florida Baptist church leaders have gathered to equip one another in reaching their churches’ Challenge 2025 goals. The 2022 gathering drew close to 1,000 pastors and leaders from across the state.
Green launched a five-year vision for Florida Baptists during the 2019 Florida Baptist State Convention annual meeting in Orlando. Challenge 2025 is designed to spur Florida Baptists to attain a new level of commitment to reach Florida with the gospel.
Green’s vision established annual benchmarks for the state’s combined churches: 75 new church plants; 100 revitalized churches; 30,000 baptisms; 12,000 mission engagements; $33 million in Cooperative Program gifts; and $1 million in Maguire State Mission Offering gifts for church planting.
“It is exciting that we have already exceeded many of the six challenges of this initiative,” said Green.
“The Challenge 2025 Gathering brings us together on mission across Florida. We will experience powerful worship, anointed preaching, impactful breakouts and great fellowship,” he said.
The schedule for the one-day event is:
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30-10:50 a.m. Session 1
- Reaching the Next Generation Panel: Nathan Schneider
- Reaching Through Evangelistic Church Culture: Alan Brumback
- Reaching Through Personal Evangelism: Jimmy Scroggins
11:00-12:15 p.m. Regional Breakouts
12:15-12:50 p.m. Lunch
1:00-2:45p.m. Session 2
- Reaching Through Apologetics: Jeff Robinson
- Reaching Our State: Tommy Green
Cost to attend the meeting is $30 for individual registration and $120 for registration of all pastors and key leaders from one church.
To register, click here.