Christ Fellowship Boynton Beach recently made an unconventional move to its new location in the Boynton Beach Mall. Originally meeting at Boynton Beach High School with about 850 people, Campus Pastor Dave Simile said, “We needed a permanent location and this space became available that was centrally located near public transportation lines and was less than 1.2 miles away from their original location.”
Timing the opening with Easter weekend created a lot of excitement, and Christ Fellowship Boynton Beach had more than 4,500 visitors during three services Easter morning, making use of six overflow rooms. “We all were surprised by the response,” said Simile. Three months since opening, weekend attendance has settled in at about 2,400 people, which is almost three times the number who attended services when they met at the high school.
But Simile is quick to caution that it is not just about the numbers. “Every number has a name and every name has a story. It is really more about the marriages that are being restored and the students who have turned their lives around. We want to be known not by the size of our name but by the size of our heart.”
Moving a church into the anchor space once occupied by Dillards was a unique move, but Poonam Patel, director of marketing and business development for the Boynton Beach Mall, said “Bringing in a church like Christ Fellowship was a clear and simple decision. Not only are we expanding our community, but we are also finding ways to meet the needs of our customers.”
One way those needs are being met is through a new coffee shop. Restore Coffee Roasters is the face of Christ Fellowship to those walking the mall. Providing a bridge from the mall to the church, Restore Coffee Roasters is not overtly Christian. They don’t even advertise their service times. “It is intentionally non-confrontational,” said Simile. “We want people to receive a good cup of coffee and then maybe they’ll receive Christ.”
Providing free internet, plenty of seating and power outlets, Restore Coffee Roasters also has a larger room with a big screen TV. The room can be partitioned off and is available for meetings on a reservation basis. The coffee shop is there for use by people in the mall, said Simile.
The Boynton Beach campus is one of six locations for the non-denominational church, which broadcasts its message from Lead Pastor Todd Mullins at the Palm Beach Gardens church to additional campuses at Royal Palm Beach, Stuart and CityPlace. There is also a Christ Fellowship in New York City. Altogether, Christ Fellowship is considered the 15th largest church by membership in America.
“It is the vision of Todd and Julie Mullins to bring radical transformation to our community,” said Simile. “There are 1.2 million people in Palm Beach County who do not have a relationship with Jesus. We are called to make Jesus famous.”
With a heart for the community, Christ Fellowship is planning several outreach initiatives this fall. Starting in August they are hosting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to help people experience financial freedom. They are partnering with St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church during their Back to School Health Fair on August 2 and by helping single moms and dads through Pathways to Prosperity, a program that provides education and social services.
“We also continue to have a great partnership with the high school,” said Similie, who noticed “the students are the ones who have hung on.” During a tour of the 127-square foot facility, Simile pointed out the colorful play area complete with a climbing tree for the children, noting that more than half their space is dedicated to children. “If you reach a child you reach the heart of the family,” said Simile. Showing the 900 seat auditorium, Simile said they have had to move up their plans to push out the back walls of the auditorium to increase its capacity to 1,400 seats in the near future. Currently occupying the first floor of the space, Simile said they have the ability to expand to the second floor in Phase 2 of their build out.
For now, the church is accommodating its rapid growth by offering three services at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. on Sundays.
Dave and his wife Rhonda have been a part of the Christ Fellowship family since April of 2009. With over 12 years of full-time ministry experience, their heart’s desire is to see everyone walk in the divine destiny that God has prepared for them (Eph. 2:10).