Eikon – The Image of the Invisible God

EikonEvery Wednesday night, hundreds of college and career aged young people gather in Fort Lauderdale for a time of amazing worship, engaging teaching and rich fellowship around God’s word. The ministry is called Eikon, and is Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale (CCFL)’s initiative to impact the young adult community in South Florida with the life-changing power of the gospel.

The next generation
CCFL’s senior pastor, Bob Coy, has always had a heart to reach the next generation. In line with Calvary Chapel’s “Jesus Movement” roots, Coy and the CCFL leadership have always offered a relaxed atmosphere and come-as-you-are feel in order to make church welcoming for people of all ages and stages of life. In 2008, CCFL launched Eikon to specifically extend that welcome and focus to college and post-college young adults. Pastor Billy Venezia, the leader of the Eikon ministry, shares, “If it wasn’t for the burden and the passion that both Jesus and our senior pastor have for the next generation, this wouldn’t be happening.”

Eikon exists “to find and reflect the image of the invisible God.” This mission is accomplished through a threefold approach of connecting people to God, people to people, and people to outreach, all of which are seen in scripture as essential relationships in the life of the believer. While Eikon typically draws a crowd of 500 plus at their Wednesday night gatherings, Venezia reflects, “As Pastor Bob has always said, ‘focus on the quality and God will focus on the quantity.’ We seek to present worship and the Word with excellence, and allow God to do the rest.”

The ministry of Eikon is not limited to the church-service style gathering held each week in Fort Lauderdale. Eikon has also been developing their “Calvary FAU” ministry over the last few years. What started as a Wednesday afternoon outdoor Bible study at the Florida Atlantic University campus has grown into a vibrant ministry that includes a well-attended Tuesday night study, in addition to an on-campus office that is open to all FAU students five days a week. This same model has been replicated at Broward College, with a vision to expand to Nova University in the near future.

But Eikon’s focus is not limited to the college student. Venezia shares, “It is really important to have the post-college professional as a part of the community as well. Those at the upper end of our age group bring invaluable life experience and wisdom to the table that those fresh out of high school can really draw and learn from.”

Additionally, Eikon’s community is not limited to those who regularly attend CCFL church services. Venezia shares that there are attendees from more than 20 different churches and denominations at Eikon on any given Wednesday night. He says, “Our heart is to be a connecting point for young people to fellowship in the gospel no matter what church they call home.”

Reaching out
In addition to the cutting-edge Wednesday night gathering, outreach efforts are an integral part of Eikon’s ministry. Venezia shares, “Outreach and missions are like an incubator for setting Christians on fire.” This year, the ministry is sending Eikon-specific missions teams to Peru, Liberia and the Bahamas to share the love of Jesus. Locally, Eikon has a flash mob ministry that performs powerful and engaging outreaches at events all around South Florida.

Just last month, on May 22, the ministry held a true out-of-the-box outreach event at Revolution Live in downtown Fort Lauderdale. While Revolution is typically used a bar and concert venue where locals gather to party, Eikon transformed it into a full-blown church for a few hours that Wednesday night. Eikon volunteers handed out flyers for weeks leading up to the event, and the turnout exceeded expectations. While Venezia realizes that the approach was unconventional, he knew it was what God was calling Eikon to do. He shares, “So many times we want the world to come to the church, but in scripture we see Jesus going to the world. The bottom line is that people need to hear the gospel, and we felt called to go outside of the confines of the conventional church to bring it to them.”

Vision for the future
Looking ahead, Venezia and his team are committed to staying on mission to connect people to God, people to people and people to outreach. Focusing on the people to people component, the hope is to see at least 50% of Eikon attendees involved in a community group. Venezia’s ministry assistant, Adam Calabrese says, “Sharing life together is where you’re really going to find connection, growth and discipleship happen. We don’t just want to be a gathering that people come to on a Wednesday night. We want to be a community where deep relationships are built around the common goal of glorifying God together.”
Eikon also hopes to be a sending ministry for people in the 18-33 age group to get involved in local, national and international missions and outreach. Venezia adds, “Just as we see Jesus commission the disciples to go into Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth, we are praying for the same model here at Eikon. We are ministering to people who are in the phase of life where they can literally follow God’s call anywhere with abandon, and we love to see that take place.”

Renowned Christian evangelist Billy Graham once said, “Can you see God? You haven’t seen him? I’ve never seen the wind. I see the effects of the wind, but I’ve never seen the wind. There’s a mystery to it.” And so it is with Eikon – “the image of the invisible God” – although God cannot be seen as a physical presence in the Eikon ministry, the effects of the work of his spirit are clearly and powerfully visible. If you are within the 18-33 age group, and are seeking a passionate place to love, grow, serve and live out the gospel in a real and practical way, be sure to check out Eikon.

Visit myeikon.com, facebook.com/myeikon, or twitter.com/ccfleikon for more information on how to get involved with Eikon.

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