LEHIGH ACRES–Originally from a small community in southeast Haiti, Daniel Garcon has seen areas that desperately need the gospel – and he believes southwest Florida is one of them.
After accepting a call to ministry in 2005 and realizing the importance and need for training, Garcon began church planting training with the Florida Baptist Convention and immediately fell in love with the southwest Florida region.
However, after serving at a church in Naples, the young man left the Sunshine State to spend a few years in Boston with his family.
“While I was in Boston, I knew exactly where God wanted me to be,” said Garcon. “I loved Boston, but I knew God was calling me to do a great work for Him in Florida.”
Describing himself as “having joy only when doing God’s will,” Garcon knew his burning desire to begin a new, fresh work in southwest Florida was not going to burn out anytime soon. He returned to Florida in 2018 and immediately began serving Haitian churches in the region.
Convinced that God only needs a few faithful and willing hearts to do the work of ministry, Garcon and nine others planted Christ Center Fellowship of Lehigh Acres in June 2019 while going from house to house.
The congregation has a heart to reach the growing Haitian community in Lehigh Acres, a small town located 20 miles east of Ft. Myers. It seeks to be a “Christ-centered church” that is all about “teaching God’s Word and making disciples,” Garcon said.
To teach his members the importance of prayer as a spiritual discipline, Garcon has dedicated time to sharing the biblical mandate for prayer and how to spend more time in intentional prayer. Christ Center Fellowship gathers as a church family every Friday evening for an intimate time of corporate prayer.
“We spend much of our time praying for individuals and families in our church and have seen radical life change,” Garcon said. “Prayer is for our sanctification.”
Perhaps the most distinguishing mark of the church plant is a longing to reach the lost and unchurched in the community. Not wanting to limit its ministry, the church offers both Creole and English-speaking services in a storefront they now rent in the center of town. The church also plans on mailing gospel tracks and information to homes throughout their community and plan, what the pastor calls, an “evangelism explosion.”
Garcon, who serves bivocationally, intends to partner alongside other local churches in making personal phone calls and using old fashioned door-to-door evangelism methods to witness and share the gospel across the community.
“We are going to keep recruiting people to come to know Christ until He comes back,” Garcon said.
Garcon is careful not to be “ministry heavy, but servant driven.” With a goal not to have ministries for the sake of having ministries, the church has focused on a streamline approach to simply encourage members to serve when and where the need arises.
“We don’t want to have various ministries for the purpose of having a lot of ministries,” he said. “We must see a great need for that ministry.”
Now with more than 20 in attendance, Garcon’s next steps are to encourage and equip his members to serve. Garcon has encouraged existing members to serve and attend the church’s weekly prayer ministry, small groups, new members class and the praise and worship team.
“We have seen such a transformation in the church and the lives of the people,” he said. “Their testimony has confirmed to me that we can make an impact in our community.”
John Voltaire, Florida Baptists’ Haitian church catalyst, commended Garcon for his desire to reach his community. “Pastor Garcon loves the Lord and has a heart for ministry,” he said.
Garcon has a passion for Florida Baptist churches to cooperate and point a lost and dying world to the life they can find through placing their hope and trust in Jesus. He serves on the Church Relations Team for the Royal Palm Association.
“I believe local churches need to be united,” he said. “Local churches need to reach as many people as we can, while we can. Let’s get busy for the Lord, let’s get to work!”