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Mission to the Cities and China—an Overview of Florida Conference Evangelism in 2014

posted on July 08, 2014, under Church, Conference by

by Abel Paulín

This year, Florida Conference embarked upon an emphasis of returning to our purpose as a missionary agency. The goal is to foster evangelism and church planting in this territory and promote overseas missions.

Embracing these aspects, Florida Conference launched a five-year Mission to the Cities initiative. This program targets five urban areas: Miami, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Naples, North Florida, and Central Florida. At the same time, the Conference is raising funds for an overseas mission effort to support 130 national missionaries planting churches in China.

China Church Planters

With increased prosperity in China and diminishing religious oppression, this is an opportune time to share the gospel and the Adventist message. It is the goal of Florida Conference to raise support for 130 Chinese workers who are trained and prepared to reach their people. Through June 1, churches, schools, and individuals had raised $80,000 to enable 53 church planters to enter and work in a city in China for one year.

Impact Miami 2014

Alejandro Bullón preached, Steve Green sang, and 1,050 people responded to the Sabbath morning appeal. (Photo: Freddy Fernandez)

Alejandro Bullón preached, Steve Green sang, and 1,050 people responded to the Sabbath morning appeal. (Photo: Freddy Fernandez)

More than a dozen events are scheduled during 2014 as part of the Mission to the Cities—Miami initiative. The first major program in February combined evangelistic fervor with the health message.

More than 1,000 people benefited from free health screenings. (Photo: Freddy Fernandez)

More than 1,000 people benefited from free health screenings. (Photo: Freddy Fernandez)

Nearly 5,000 church members and their community friends joined in a Sabbath of preaching and celebration. Held at Miami Airport Convention Center, the day featured Evangelist Alejandro Bullón. During the closing appeal, 1,050 individuals responded.

The following day, 4,000 people attended Total Health Expo for health lectures, gifts, information, and screenings from 107 exhibitors.

The program culminated with 30 reaping meetings held across Miami-Dade County, resulting in nearly 200 baptisms.

Evangelistic Series

Avon Park Spanish—Conference Hispanic Evangelist Rolando de los Ríos conducted Happy Destiny, an evangelistic series at Avon Park Spanish Church. The close of the series resulted in six baptisms, and many others are studying the Bible as they prepare for a weekend of reaping meetings.

Bonita Springs—Evangelist Lester Pratt preached a bilingual evangelistic series for Bonita Springs Church which holds services in English and Spanish. At the culmination of the series, Lay Pastor Juan Tuya baptized three people.

Bill Waters, speaking during his Cocoa meetings, has served as a pastor and evangelist for 44 years. (Photo: Mike Suchora)

Bill Waters, speaking during his Cocoa meetings, has served as a pastor and evangelist for 44 years. (Photo: Mike Suchora)

Cocoa—Evangelists Bill and Sunshine Waters held a five-weekend evangelistic meeting at Cocoa Church with 11 baptisms. Six other interests are attending and are on the verge of making their decision to become a part of the church.

Florida Institute of Lay Evangelists—As part of the 2014 evangelism project, Conference Hispanic Evangelist Rolando de los Ríos, in collaboration with Allan Machado, Vice President for Spanish-language Ministries, and Abel Paulín, Conference Evangelism Coordinator, organized the Florida Institute of Lay Evangelists. There are 275 students registered for the class from different parts of Florida.

North Tampa—Lay Evangelist Jesús Tirado visited North Tampa Spanish Company. He trained church members in personal evangelism, visited their friends, gave Bible studies, led a baptismal class, taught prophecy seminars, and preached an evangelistic series that resulted in 13 baptisms.

Church Evangelism

Orange Cove CREATION Health Seminars—In the Jacksonville area, Orange Cove Pastor André Van Heerden had conducted CREATION Health series at Fleming Island YMCA. This Florida Hospital program impressed YMCA leadership, and they requested to partner with Van Heerden in their health programs.

Palatka Church at the Putnam County Fair—Reversing their initial decision, Putnam County Fair officials allowed Palatka Church to sign people up with Discover Bible School. One hundred fifteen people enrolled in the study program, and two individuals received a Bible for the first time.

West Palm Beach—West Palm Beach First Church Pastor Stephen Stewart led members through the book, 40 Days of Prayer and Devotion. Afterward, the church conducted its third annual Seasons of Power evangelistic series. Keith Albury Jr., a pastor from South Bahamas Conference, conducted the series which resulted in 20 baptisms.

Evangelism in the Media

A Key Encounter on the radio—A Key Encounter now operates radio station WHNJ, Whole Health ‘N Joyful news: Christ IS coming! This 24/7 station is an outgrowth of the tourist attraction, A Key Encounter, which operated in Key West for more than 17 years.

Bethel Haitian of Orlando radio broadcast—Bethel Haitian Church sponsors a weekly radio program for the community whose primary language is Kreyòl. The program, heard Sundays on Radio Tropicale from 3:00-4:00 p.m., was a key ingredient contributing to 42 baptisms.

As a result of North Lake Church's WGTT-FM broadcasts, Sandra and David Yandoh, right, began Bible studies and were baptized. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

As a result of North Lake Church’s WGTT-FM broadcasts, Sandra and David Yandoh, right, began Bible studies and were baptized. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Radio Station at North Lake—Operated from North Lake Church, this low-power FM station covers a 25-mile radius. While many nearby communities consider the station their church, several listeners visited one of the five Adventist churches in the area and were subsequently baptized.

Radio Station at Port St. Lucie—Eternal Hope Radio is owned and operated by Midport Church. WEHR broadcasts the Three Angels’ Messages 24/7 along the Treasure Coast to a potential listening audience of more than 200,000 at a cost of 2.5¢ per person each month.

Revelation Seminars on TV at Cape Coral—A professionally recorded Revelation Seminar series received an introduction and closing to make it suitable for television. These programs have aired on Christian television in Punta Gorda during the past several months with a potential viewing audience of 1.5 million. After each program, staff members answer phone calls requesting literature and prayer.

Evangelist Rolando de los Ríos produces a weekly radio program, Revelacíon, which has resulted in many baptisms. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Evangelist Rolando de los Ríos produces a weekly radio program, Revelacíon, which has resulted in many baptisms. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Revelación Spanish Radio Program—For 11 years, Rolando de los Ríos has directed and produced Revelación, a 30-minute weekly radio program. Heard on stations throughout Florida and worldwide through the internet, de los Ríos has cultivated a faithful audience. The broadcast has resulted in many baptisms.

South Orlando on the radio—Broadcast every Sunday night, Pastor Dan Forbes hosts the Families by Design radio program. It gives the community an opportunity to see the church as one that cares about their families’ needs and challenges while offering expert advice from guests.

Tampa Spanish on the radio—Pastor Andres Portes is the speaker for Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn), the weekly radio program produced by Tampa Spanish Church. The director, Margarita Ramirez, and her team distribute hundreds of copies of the program on CD. Many individuals have joined the church during the 15 years of programming.

Evangelism through Church Planting

LifeSpring in Wesley Chapel—LifeSpring is a new church plant at Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel in a high-growth section of the greater Tampa area. Seeking to minister to secular-postmodern people, Lifespring’s vision is “making passionate Christ-followers as we gather with God, grow with others, and go to serve,” says Anthony WagenerSmith, church planter.

Charter members of Lighthouse Community Mission Group were welcomed by members of Florida Living Church which sponsors the new congregation. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

Charter members of Lighthouse Community Mission Group were welcomed by members of Florida Living Church which sponsors the new congregation. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

Lighthouse Community in Altamonte Springs—This energetic group of different ages loves to live the gospel. They target the unchurched and the urban community with events for kids such as field days with games and free food. Once a month, they take lunches to the homeless and spend time listening, talking, and praying with them. The members of this church plant are now preparing to plant another church in the form of a youth center in a tough neighborhood of Orlando.

SRQ Sarasota—Using the three-letter airport code for its name, SRQ Sarasota grew from a home setting to leasing a store front. The relocation enabled more effective community service in an area near three college campuses in the city. This downtown Sarasota church combines new methodology with solid Adventist theology.

How We Grew in 2013

Florida Conference membership now exceeds 62,450. A renewed evangelistic emphasis this past year contributed to growth through 2,684 baptisms and professions of faith. We celebrate these additions and thank God for the collective work of our churches under the leadership of our pastors and evangelists.


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