VIERA—Giving wings to faith by instilling a passion for people to meet Jesus provides purpose to the mission of Church at Viera.
“It’s not about staying static,” shared Carrie Thompson, the church’s director of Impact. “Serving locally or globally is an essential part of our discipleship and sanctification process and integral to growing our faith.”
Church at Viera was planted in 1987 as Suntree Baptist Chapel in Melbourne. When Mark Ragsdale was called as pastor in 1992, he found a new, thriving master planned community called Viera and led the congregation to relaunch and change its name to Church at Viera. The community located on Florida’s Space Coast continues to be a much sought after, rapidly growing collection of neighborhoods in central Brevard County.
In 2007 the congregation moved to its current facility in Viera on 30 acres of property located at the intersection of Wickham Road and Stadium Parkway. The church regularly has 2,000 in attendance and baptizes more than 100 new believers each year.
Joining the staff almost two years ago, Thompson began offering a quarterly “Flight Day,” a Saturday of mission opportunities in partnership with various local ministries in diverse areas of the county. The day of missions encourages families to serve together, as well as small groups such as middle school and high school students.
During the February Flight Day, more than 450 people registered to participate at 19 ministry sites “to specifically love on our community, encourage our partners, cheer them on, help them do their job, make their lives easier,” said the Impact director. It allows “our people to give their faith flight.”
Ministry sites included Endeavor Elementary in Cocoa, where a team of children helped clean up the campus, construct a green house, and prayerwalk the school, stopping at various stations around the building. Another team helped spruce up a local park, planting new landscaping and painting benches.
Other ministries included hosting and serving a pancake breakfast at a Rockledge apartment complex that featured a free car wash for residents.
A group of 20 high school girls served during Flight Day at Pregnancy Resources, a crisis pregnancy center in Melbourne. Led by a chaplain, the girls participated in a prayer tour where they learned how that center provides a safe place for expectant moms to process their pregnancy.
“The girls felt empowered by uniting in prayer,” said Thompson, “and it was an opportunity for them to see how God uses prayer to lay the foundation for others to do ministry in their roles at that center.”
“Compassion is the language of the heart that people need to hear first,” said Pastor Ragsdale. “Our Flight Days give us those opportunities to share our love in Jesus’ name.”
According to Thompson, one of the most encouraging aspects about these international trips is that “our people become aware that other folks do not have the same access to the gospel that we have here.”
As a result, participants develop a passion to support missionaries on the field, strengthen their leadership skills and encourage others to make a commitment to service locally or globally.
Returning home, these teams realize that they have the same potential in their county to serve and build bridges to people. “It doesn’t matter if they are 20 minutes away or 2,000 miles away, they realize, ‘I should do both,’” said Thompson.