Editor’s Note: Joel Joseph is one of the featured church planters in 2023 Maguire State Mission Offering resources. The statewide 2023 offering goal of $820,000 is earmarked to help reach the 15.8 million Florida residents who do not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, with 100% of all receipts designated to help launch church plants in the state.
OAKLAND PARK–In the heart of Oakland Park, a small yet vibrant church is making a big impact on its community. New Visions Community Church, led by pastor Joel Joseph, has become a beacon of hope and unity for many, with a story that embodies perseverance, faith and the power of a higher calling.
Joseph, the seventh child of a devout Christian family, was instilled with the belief that “God is never late.” This fundamental belief guided him throughout his life, from his humble beginnings to becoming a licensed electrician when he arrived in the United States in 1986. His journey took a transformative turn when he became involved with a local Baptist church shortly after arriving in the United States.
From the moment he stepped into the church, Joseph said he poured his heart and soul into serving. He started as a Sunday school teacher, gradually moving through various roles, from bus driver to Sunday school superintendent. Within the walls of this church, he met his wife, and together they raised four daughters while actively participating in the congregation.
As time went on, Joseph’s dedication led him to become the youth pastor and oversee the construction of the very church building where he ministered. “Nothing will stand in the way of me serving the Lord to my full capacity,” he often remarked, a sentiment that would soon be put to the test.
Nothing will stand in the way of me serving the Lord to my full capacity.
When a couple, previously connected to the church, reached out to him to lead the viewing of their late husband, Joseph faced a difficult decision. Despite being warned by his pastor that doing so could lead to his expulsion, he chose compassion and attended the viewing. This decision led to a confrontation, culminating in a heart-wrenching departure from the church he had faithfully served for years.
Despite the pain of this separation, Joseph’s unwavering faith remained his guiding light. Seeking a new direction, he reached out to the North American Mission Board, which led to an unexpected opportunity. In a matter of months, Joseph became a church planter endorsed by NAMB, embarking on a new chapter of his spiritual journey.
“God’s will became clear to me in a way I couldn’t have anticipated,” Joseph reflected. This newfound clarity led him to plant New Visions Community Church in August 2020. The church quickly gathered a diverse congregation of 95 individuals, ranging from first- to second- generation Haitians, aged 4 to 85.
New Visions Community Church not only holds regular services but also serves as a haven for the community’s most vulnerable. Recognizing the pressing need for food security, safe shelter, and transportation, the church initiated a feeding operation, distributing meals and groceries to those in need. With Publix graciously donating food and resources, the church has seen its community impact continue to grow.
However, challenges persist. Pastor Joseph humbly asks for prayers as he seeks a location to expand the feeding operation, striving to reach even greater heights of service to the community.
As New Visions Community Church continues to thrive, it stands as an example of how far Florida Baptist gifts to the Maguire State Mission Offering can go.
To everyone who thinks the “ministry of giving,” is too hard, Joseph said, “Where you’re at, you cannot do everything. But by reaching out, by giving, by donating, as a team, we can make a difference in the whole world.”