Florida Baptist State Convention – Closing Session

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Arley DeJesus, pastor of Church Family of God, opened up the last session of the FBSC with a prayer in Portuguese.

Left to Right: Newly Elected Officers: Randy Huckabee, Recording Secretary, Ralph Alderman, Jr. , Second Vice President, Erik Cummings, President, Mike Wiggins, First Vice President

Green recognized and thanked the 2018 FBSC officers. He also welcomed the 2019 officers to the stage so messengers and visitors might meet the new group to which Cummings and Wiggins were elected earlier in the day.

Rummage shared that registration of messengers and visitors stood just over 1200.

Chip Luter, campus pastor of Idlewild at the Springs in Tampa

The first biblical message of the session was preached by Chip Luter out of Mathew 16:13. Luter, campus pastor of Idlewild at the Springs in Tampa, listed five characteristics of the church.

  1. The church has an anchor in Christ. “He built his house on the rock and he is the rock.”
  2. The church is an assembly. “We are better together than we are separate…don’t let petty things separate the assembly.”
  3. The church has assurance. “Even the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
  4. The church has access. “People who are far from the Kingdom can come close to the Kingdom because of the church.”
  5. The church has authority. “Jesus grants the church authority, the collective and the individual. The same authority He granted his disciples when He sent them out.”

Green pulled five church planters up to the stage for a Right Beside You presentation about the One Family Beach Baptisms that took place earlier this year.

Left to Right: Jerome Symonette, Sherard Burns, Noel Lozano, Alberto Ocaña, Chris Hudson
  • Chris Hudson, pastor of Miami Shores Baptist Church, said that participating in the One Family event was a beautiful fulfillment of God’s people coming together.
  • Alberto Ocaña, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Northside, said that he saw the commitment to sharing the Gospel come alive.
  • For Noel Lozano, pastor of Turning Point Baptist, the One Family event brought the churches closer together like the first church in the Bible.
  • From Renewing Life Baptist Church, pastor Sherard Burns said that through One Family he saw the church put Christ above culture.
  • Finally, Jerome Symonette, pastor of Restoring Grace Baptist Church, found that One Family made him more sensitive to other cultures.

Jay Strack, president and founder of Student Life University in Orlando, closed out the 2018 Florida Baptist State Convention with a message that echoed the Convention theme ‘Faithful.’

Strack started by saying he owed a great debt of gratitude to Florida Baptists because it was in the state of Florida that he was called to the ministry and was licensed and ordained for ministry.

Strack said he has been overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness to him over the years. Coming out of a background of alcohol and drug use, abuse and abandonment, Strack said he was 17 years old the first time he learned of God’s love and faithfulness to him.

“At first thought the message of Jesus was too good to be true and then I thought it was too good to keep to myself,” he said.

Strack described himself as someone who had never finished anything he started before he met Jesus. He was afraid that he would not be able to be faithful enough to God to keep his sobriety and not mess up the wonderful things God had brought into his life after he was saved.

“God is so faithful he can break any curse – he changed me and then I had the privilege of leading my father to the Lord,” he said.

“So many come to Florida looking for hope and a new life but the truth of the goodness of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will give it to them.”

Strack ended by encouraging pastors to be faithful to fulfill their ministries and do the work of an evangelist.

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