I firmly believe revival is coming to South Florida.
However, it will not come as it has in the past. Cultural forces once aligned in a way that allowed us to have one gifted evangelist present an anointed message to thousands of people who all willingly gathered in one place because Christianity was culturally approved. Today, we see that our culture is fractured more than ever. We once had a Christian mindset that believed that the church was good and helpful. Today, we have a deeply pluralistic society. One of the fastest growing demographics is the nons: people who do not identify with any religious affiliation. With these cultural changes, the effectiveness of single-event ministries producing multitudinous conversions is becoming increasingly more difficult because getting truly unsaved and unchurched people to these events is unlikely.
So, how will a revival come to South Florida? The answer lies within the people of God (the Church) in South Florida; we must take seriously Jesus’ model of discipleship.
Jesus preached to the thousands but spent the majority of his time with only twelve. Of those twelve, he was closest to three: John, Peter and James. As we read through the Gospels, we cannot help but see that Jesus had a method for church growth. His method invested substantial time with a select few so that they could become mature disciples. These disciples were both able to live their private lives according to the Gospel and were equally equipped to then share the Gospel with others. Jesus did not neglect the crowds, but He did not trust the future of the Kingdom of God to them. He entrusted the future of the Kingdom to his handpicked yet seemingly rag-tag group of seemingly unqualified men.
Many local churches have incredible teaching ministries. We, like Jesus, are not neglecting the crowds. But we have lost the day-to-day life-on-life discipleship with a few that was so important to Jesus. The life of Jesus suggests that it takes more than a once-a-week monologue to help people grow and become reproducing disciples. It takes a life-on-life discipleship relationship to produce the type of dedicated, motivated, equipped, Gospel-centered disciples the church in American needs right now.
Discipleship groups are life-on-life; discipleship groups are not curriculum-on-life. Our people don’t need more content, they need more Godly men and women in their lives. We need to demonstrate how to share our faith with the skeptics, how to love the marginalized, how to speak up against injustice, and how to confront self-righteous people. The adage, “more is caught than taught,” comes to mind.
Explorers and guides
As I disciple those God has placed in my life, I am always looking for tools that might promote and help me disciple more effectively. As 2021 came to a close, Church United provided me what I believe to be an effective platform through their digital evangelistic efforts, powered by Gloo. As a church movement, we are seeking to connect those outside the church who have questions about Jesus with people inside the church who can love them, pray for them, seek to answer questions they may have about Jesus and share the hope of the Gospel with them. We call those outside the church who are seeking explorers. In my church, we made the decision to have our discipleship group members become a guide and take on at least one explorer every two months. I have found the benefits of this opportunity to be extraordinary for our people.
Initially, we encountered many fears about our ability to answer questions, concern over what to say to the explorers, and doubts about how to share our faith when it was obvious that each explorer would be different. This has provided opportunities for those of us who disciple to walk alongside our guides and help them respond to the questions they encounter. When presented with a difficult situation or explorer, we pray together and then open God’s Word so that we might see what God says about that situation. I get to help the guides examine their own hearts, learn about what Scriptures say, and show them how to engage their specific explorer. Gloo has been an incredible discipleship tool for us. It helps our church “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.”
For revival to come to South Florida, we need thousands within the church awakened to the need that lies just outside the doors of our churches. We need thousands who are not only aware, but passionate and equipped to share the love of Jesus. Revival will not come through one preacher and a large event. It will come when the beautiful Bride of Christ is awakened to the ministry Jesus called her to thousands of years ago: to make disciples.
Michael Veitz is the Lead Pastor of New River Fellowship in Fort Lauderdale and an active participant in Church United. Church United works with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit churchunitedfl.com
Read more articles by Church United at: goodnewsfl.org/author/edwincopeland/