Editor’s Note: Dawson Zhang is one of the featured church planters in 2023 Maguire State Mission Offering resources. The statewide 2023 offering goal of $820,000 is earmarked to help reach the 15.8 million Florida residents who do not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, with 100% of all receipts designated to help launch church plants in the state.
Since that time the young church has continued its gospel outreach, primarily focusing on Mandarin-speaking individuals from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Southeast Asia.
“Our goal is to build relationships and attract seekers to the Pensacola Chinese Baptist Church,” said Zhang.
Reflecting on the launch of Pensacola Chinese Baptist Church, Zhang said, “I think it is the Lord’s guidance and blessing for a church-planting ministry in Florida. There are many mission fields from north to south, from west to east in the Sunshine State.”
More co-laborers have become involved in outreach ministry to the Chinese population, resulting in the need for a larger Sunday school classroom. Through the ministry, four new believers were baptized in June.
Brian Nall, executive director of Pensacola Bay Baptist Association, said, “The Chinese community is an under-reached segment of our community. We are deeply grateful for Pastor Dawson and are excited to serve Pensacola Chinese Baptist Church as they advance the kingdom of God in our area.”
Hillcrest Baptist Church has assisted with a room for Bible study on Saturday mornings, and Olive Baptist Church provides a Sunday morning classroom and a chapel area for Sunday evening service. One challenge the church plant has faced is the gap between Sunday school on Sunday morning and worship on Sunday evening. “Some people will not want to come back after a long break during the day, and others are older and limited with regards to driving in the evenings,” said Zhang.
While very grateful for the spaces provided to them, the church is praying for a place to have meeting times without the large gap during the day.
The funds received will provide the church with more opportunities to connect with the community and share the gospel through outreach events such as monthly meals to welcome newcomers and build relationships. Additionally, Zhang plans to invite other preachers to share God’s word with the congregation.
Other portions of the funds will help Zhang travel from Montgomery, Alabama, to Pensacola each week. He currently pastors a church plant in Alabama and drives to Florida each week to pastor the Pensacola church. His goal is to eventually pass the torch in Montgomery and move with his family to Pensacola.