PANAMA CITY BEACH–In his first three months as lead pastor, Dr. Ethan Jago welcomed 17 new members and baptized 10 new believers at 5 Bridges Church in Panama City Beach.
By following Paul’s teaching in Philippians 2:3, to think less of ourselves and put the other person first, Jago said that when church members do this, they will become united in the truth of Scripture and grow together as a church family.
As 2023 begins, the church is focusing on Acts 2:42-47 style discipleship through home groups located around Bay County. Home groups, hosted by church members, provide additional opportunities for members to connect throughout the week and make an impact in their local neighborhoods.
“We, as a church, focus on three significant items as demonstrated in the first-century church: being devoted to the word of God, being united in what we believe, and being obedient to the revealed will of God as seen in Scripture,” Jago said.
The multi-generational church has a unique position on Highway 98, in the heart of a tourist town, where 30,000 vehicles pass by daily. The church welcomes families vacationing for extended periods from all across the country. Short-term attendees are met with the gospel message and can then incorporate intentional discipleship into the communities where they live.
Another unique aspect of the tourist town church is that other pastors visit while on vacation. The church welcomes the opportunity to edify and encourage those pastors and their families during a sabbatical or vacation.
Pastor Jago joined the church in September 2022 and quickly had opportunity to share the gospel with nearly 300 people during the October fall festival event. On Sunday mornings, he teaches verse-by-verse expository sermons, and Wednesday nights his focus is on teaching systematic theology and apologetics.
“The goal is to equip the saints for the work of ministry and provide the necessary tools for Christians to become Christ followers who know what the Bible says and have the ability to teach and train others” said Jago.
Jago served in the U.S. Air Force as a highly trained survival, evasion, resistance and sscape (SERE) specialist for 15 years and later ministered in young adult ministry at other churches, including Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, prior to becoming the lead pastor at 5 Bridges. He strives to live Coram Deo, in the presence of God, he said.
Pastor Jago is supported by his wife, Dianne, who is an integral part of the ministry as she manages all of the church communication and social media and also assists with the new members class and young adult ministry.