The Engage Luncheon on Tuesday following the second session of the Florida Baptist State Convention brought 25 pastors together for a time of encouragement and fellowship. They came from as far north as Pensacola and as far south as the Florida Keys.
Myles Dowdy, missions and ministries lead catalyst, opened the lunch by blessing the food and thanking the pastors for their ministry and their churches.
Rebecca Johnston, daughter of church and community catalyst Marc Johnston, said that the luncheon was an opportunity to “give these pastors that serve in similar ministries an opportunity to be encouraged and inspired and to build partnerships.” Marc could not be present due to a loss in the family.
Eddy Fredryk, pastor of Driftwood Church in Jensen Beach, shared how Driftwood began after he started focusing on God rather than on how he thought church was supposed to be done. “We started by meeting at the beach under a beach umbrella,” he said.
Driftwood, he explained, is 25 percent people who live in the area three to six months out of the year, 25 percent who come for one or two weeks multiple times during the year, another 25 percent are people who wandered in who didn’t know Christ, and the last 25 percent are locals. “Our vision is simple – help each other see life from God’s perspective.”
Shawn Critser pastors Beach Baptist Church in Fort Myers. His area of ministry is also made up heavily of tourists and snowbirds. He shared that when he came to pastor Beach Baptist there were only 7 members. The rest were snowbirds. The church, he said, only held services when the snowbirds were in town. He changed things by getting the church involved in the community as a way to reach locals.
“We met locals and engaged them and we loved on snowbirds to the point where they looked forward to coming back as soon as they were gone,” he said. Beach Baptist has a simple approach to ministry: “meet the need and then tell them the Gospel.”
Steve Loy, pastor of Spruce Creek Baptist Church in Port Orange, also shared that in his context he had to find ways to make the church accessible to the community. It started by lending the building to the community for meetings and meeting needs wherever they could. Now they are well known among locals who see them as a positive and friendly influence.
By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, November 13, 2018