On Sunday June 24, after the worship service, more than 50 church members met over pizza to talk about Grace Church. The plant is a partnership between Providence Road, the North American Mission Board and the Florida Baptist Convention.”
“The Send South Florida vision of church planting continues to move forward,” said Tommy Green, executive-director treasurer of the FBC. “We are excited to partner with Providence Road Baptist as they plant Grace Miami Church in Miami Shores.”
He also added that the churches that participated in the Maguire State Mission Offering “are partners in this exciting opportunity” since the State Board of Missions voted to allow all monies received for the state offering to go to the Send South Florida initiative.
Pastor Jose Abella cited some alarming statistics that all pointed to a great “need for a healthy, Gospel-centered church in South Florida,” he said. According to Abella, only 4 percent of people living in South Florida attend an evangelical church.
Since its beginnings, Providence Road has been serious about planting “like-minded, Gospel-centered churches.” Grace Church is Providence Road’s second church plant.
A midsize church, the pastoral leadership of Providence Road is not worried about a dip in attendance if members move over to help launch Grace Church.
“It’s not about getting big and fat as a church… church planting keeps the church with an outward focus, it stretches us and matures us,” Abella said.
Church planter Eric Bancroft will be leading Grace Church. Bancroft has lived all around the country, including Minnesota, Colorado, South Carolina, Florida, California, and Indiana. He has been married for 21 years to wife Danelle and together they have three boys aged 14,15 and 17.
During the meeting Bancroft asked Providence Road to help in one of four ways. As prayer and people ambassadors, short-term volunteers, mid-term partner, or long-term member. Prayer and people ambassadors would lift up the plant in prayer and leverage relationships to help in basic needs like finding equipment and resources. Short-term volunteers would make day commitments to provide meals and help team members transition into Miami. Mid-term partners would commit to help for a few months with design, décor, and set up and tear down duties, for example. Long-term members would transfer full-time to the new plant and commit to “stay in your city to reach your city with the Gospel.”
Youth pastor Jesse Crowley reminded the church that “Eric and his family are not the ones doing this; we are all doing this.”
There were questions from members about who Bancroft and the core team would be accountable to, who would train new leaders and what is known about the Miami Shores community where the plant will be.
Bancroft is accountable to two groups. The first is a team of three pastors, one of which is Abella. The second team is made up of all the Providence Road pastors. Abella used the example of the church finance role to explain how training would be done. Grace Church’s treasurer will shadow Providence Road’s treasurer for a period of time before taking sole responsibility for the position. Bancroft thanked NAMB for providing in-depth community assessments of Miami Shores, helping Grace Church’s core team identify the biggest needs in that community.
Alex Comesañas, member connections pastor, closed in prayer with a reminder from Abella that “we need to understand the Lord has called us to plant.”
By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, June 25, 2018