From the very beginning, the vision of Church United was beyond any one church, key leader or organization. In order to see South Florida become known as a place of faith, hope and love it will take a movement of the Church, united together for the sake of Kingdom mission. We believe as more and more people are awakened to faith in Jesus, the narrative of our neighborhoods, workplaces and cities will begin to change.
Just a little over two years into our Vision 2023 journey, one thing has become abundantly clear: this isn’t pastors united, church staff united or ministry leaders united, this is CHURCH United. If you’re reading this and have placed your faith in Jesus, this story – this vision for South Florida – is about you, includes you and will never be realized without you.
This last month, Craig Springer who serves as the Executive Director of Alpha in the USA, spoke at both the Broward and Palm Beach Church United gatherings. He reinforced the idea that an evangelistic move of God in a city happens when God’s people come together in unity and begin to view themselves as vital role players in growing God’s Kingdom in their neighborhoods, workplaces and living rooms.
Perhaps for far too long many of us have had an unspoken contract with our pastors and church staff that went something like this: I’ll invite my friends to church and it’s your job to seal the deal. This thinking has placed the majority of the burden for evangelism onto the pastor and the Sunday morning experience and away from God’s people in the pews. Don’t get me wrong, the pastors and church staff members of your church should be evangelistic leaders, but are in no way the solo evangelism strategy for growing God’s Kingdom. In fact, given our post-church, post-Christian environment here in South Florida, the majority of our unsaved friends, neighbors and coworkers are much more open to a conversation about faith than they are to attending a Sunday morning church service.
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Evangelism in South Florida must include proclamation AND conversation, explanation AND experience, all while shifting the evangelistic burden toward all of God’s people and not solely the pastor.
If I had to sum up my formal theological training on evangelism and apologetics, I would quote the old RadioShack slogan, “You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.” I was trained that I needed to have a response to everyone’s deep, existential questions about life. However, while there is a role for explanation, there is also a deep need for experience. While there is most certainly a deep need for the strong and bold proclamation of the gospel on Sunday mornings, there is also a need for conversations that seek to build bridges towards community and fostering an environment of belonging before believing.
Romans 1:16 reminds us that the gospel is the POWER of God for the salvation of those who believe. The gospel is not the power of our words, the winsomeness of our answers or the skill of the orator, but the power of God himself. The Holy Spirit is the one who illuminates the human heart towards God and is the one who does the saving; our job is to create an environment that demonstrates the heart of God and realities of his Kingdom. Acts 1:8 drives this idea home as it tells us that each and every follower of Jesus Christ “will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to ends of the earth.” Christian, YOU have been equipped with the power of God and are Christ’s witnesses here in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works 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 churchunited.city