FLORAL CITY—Years ago, two Florida Baptist pastors became acquainted and began to cultivate a relationship. The two pastors serve churches 125 miles apart, but the miles between them have proven no obstacle to their shared kingdom focus. Fast forward to the summer of 2023, and the two pastors partnered and encouraged one another in a unique church-to-church mission trip.
Looking for a local mission trip opportunity for his church members, Mike Sellers, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Floral City, thought of his friend, Sam Letson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Arcadia.
“While looking for a mission trip opportunity to engage our church in locally, God again crossed my path with Pastor Letson,” Sellers said. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity to be on mission and help a sister church in need.”
“We have been commissioned to reach a lost and dying world, but it is hard to focus on that kingdom goal while staring at a building that has been wrecked by a hurricane,” Sellers said.
As Pastor Sellers headed to Arcadia in August with his nine-member mission team, many of whom had never been on a mission trip previously, he said his desire for the trip was to accomplish two things—come right beside a sister church and help that church reach people. And the partnership between the two churches did just that.
During the seven-day mission trip, the two churches hit the ground running to help prepare the Arcadia facilities for the upcoming school year by assembling desks and preschool playhouses and by deep-cleaning the building and windows. By the end of the week, the churches shifted focus to the community by assembling and delivering more than 6,000 door-hanging bags equipped with church flyers and gospel presentations. The First Baptist Floral City mission team also worked at a local food bank packing house, served at an associational mission’s house to provide cooked meals to the community, and also repaired fences and toilets.
‘Memories of kingdom partnership’
We can do more together than we can apart. As we all collectively work for the kingdom, it encourages our hearts when others come alongside us in our time of need.
Reflecting on the mission trip, Sellers recognized that the community of Arcadia wasn’t the only one impacted. The pastor believes that the mission trip has provided his mission team members with “memories of kingdom partnership that will last a lifetime,” he said. From God rallying a ten-year-old to those in their mid-forties, Sellers said, “God ordained a task for each team member to bring his or her gifting and personality to the success of the trip.”
“Unity of purpose gave the team something to strive for that may have been out of several of their comfort zones, but ministry happened in the face of hardship like only August temps in Florida can bring,” he said. “It was refreshing to meet up each morning for Bible study and prayer before going out for the day.”
“We are blessed to be a part of a family of churches that seeks to win the lost while looking out for one another,” he said. “It was a privilege to serve First Baptist Arcadia, and to be honest, we came out with a bigger blessing because the church welcomed and loved on us with big and generous hearts.”
Doing ‘more together’
Sellers reiterated his gratefulness to be part of a family of churches that continually cheer each other on for the purpose of building the kingdom and encouraging one another in times of need.
“We can do more together than we can apart. As we all collectively work for the kingdom, it encourages our hearts when others come alongside us in our time of need,” Sellers said.
With a desire to win the lost, Sellers is leading the people of First Baptist Floral City to make missions their heartbeat, which fuels the congregation’s unity and brings a “renewed energy” to evangelistic fervor.
“God is changing the heart of the people to be community-minded through their maturing spiritual walk. We are seeing a more unified congregation come together to accomplish the goal of winning the lost. This year has brought renewed energy for the kingdom goal we have been given as we have baptized 16 already this year. We can’t wait for what God will do through us next as we seek to serve our community through mission opportunities like this one,” Sellers said.
Sellers is calling on his church and all Florida Baptist churches to look for ways to serve other Florida Baptist churches and the lost.
“Your church can be a blessing,” he said. “Look for opportunities for God to send you on mission!”