Christ Centered Church in North Miami celebrated its 5th birthday on Sunday Feb. 3rd by giving away gifts and challenging others to do the same.
“It’s our birthday but we’re giving away the gifts,” said pastor Derek Allen as he opened up service. “We want you to be challenged to go out and double what we’re doing here today in honor of our birthday.”
The church plant meets at the Florida International University Biscayne Bay campus and is working to reach their North Miami community through local partnerships like the one they share with nearby David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center.
“Five years is a momentous time for a new church,” said Al Fernandez, southeast regional catalyst of the Florida Baptist Convention. “Research indicates that if [your church plant] makes it five years you will survive and thrive. The Allens have demonstrated a stick-to-it-ness by coming to an unfamiliar territory that has now become familiar.”
Gideon Ape, pastor of Christ Fellowship’s Downtown campus and one of Allen’s first friends in Miami, prayed giving thanks for Christ Centered’s first five years and asking God to continue to use the church in the North Miami community in the next five years.
Jennifer Albertini and her husband Leroy have been attending the church since October 2017. “I hope we continue to reach the North Miami community and continue to disciple others…It has been great to grow here.”
Throughout the service, Allen and his wife, Lindsay, gave away Bibles, books, a hat, a water bottle and everyone received a gift bag as they headed out. At the end of the service Allen invited everyone to “take a ‘you’ve-been-gifted-card’, do a random act of kindness during the week and give the person the card…We can be generous because the Lord has been generous to us.” The card includes the church’s information and a short message that reads: “Please accept this gift as a representation of God’s love for you. We give because Jesus has so freely given to us. God Bless You!”
At the end of the service Allen introduced a short video interview between himself and pastor Mark Rodriguez of Love Unlimited church which will launch Feb. 10th in Little Havana. Following the video Allen let everyone know that the tithes and offerings collected on their birthday would go as a gift towards Love Unlimited saying “we have been where they are.”
By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, February 4, 2019