Exponential Pre-Conference Workshop | East Orlando Project Update
Brad Zachritz on Being "Sent" | Prayer Needs

FCP News & Updates: December 2018
FCP Exponential Pre-Conference Event:
Thriving as a Church-Planting Leader
FCP is offering a Pre-Conference Workshop at Exponential 2019: March 4-7 at First Baptist Church of Orlando. For ticket information, contact Andy Glass at ag171819@gmail.com.

Overcoming challenges and set-backs can turn church planting into a game of survival. Often the cost is the mission or shattered souls of the leaders. This track will equip church planting leaders not just to survive but thrive in their work.

Thriving in Mission:  One of the keys to thriving in a church plant is staying on mission, but too often we sell out the mission to simply survive. This session will equip attendees with a simple disciple-making strategy that will keep a leader's focus on making disciple-makers. Robbie O'Brien (Lead Pastor and Planter, Salty Church, Ormond Beach FL)

Surviving Church Planting Torpedoes That Will Sink Your Soul: This panel will share stories of surviving unbelievable challenges in planting and will help attendees deal with issues that not only could destroy the church but ultimately the souls of those leading. Brad Zachritz (Lead Pastor and Planter of Shift Church, Gainesville FL), Gonzalo Venegas (Lead Pastor, My Father's House, Holland MI), Scott Clevenger (Lead Pastor, Connection Point Church, Pensacola FL), Robbie O'Brien (Lead Pastor and Planter, Salty Church, Ormond Beach FL)

Developing Thriving Leaders Around You: How to develop healthy Elder Teams as a protection for the soul-care of the church and its leaders. Greg Marksberry (Lead Pastor and Planter of Thrive Church, Orlando FL & Executive Director of Florida Church Partners)

Caring for Your Soul: A church plant may not excel without skillful leadership, but a leader's ministry will surely fail, and may even be destroyed, without integrity. Nothing demands more from a Christian leader than rigorously leading himself and caring for his own soul. Alan Ahlgrim (Planted Rocky Mountain Christian Church, Boulder CO)

Check out the Exponential website to sign up.

New Plant in East Orlando

Among the fastest-growing cities in the country, the city of Orlando boasts tremendous influence across the state and around the nation. Imagine if the church could leverage that influence for the Kingdom of God. Adam and Karissa Parks are humbled and overjoyed that God has called them to plant a church to reach the city! 

Adam and Karissa are launching Eastside Christian Church in the Fall of 2019 with a heart and vision to plant churches in communities and neighborhoods around the city of Orlando. They are excited to share what God is doing in their hearts with the city they love, leading others to experience immeasurably more by inviting them to exchange the common for the holy!

For more information or to connect with Adam, email adamparks@gmail.com.
In our last newsletter, Jeff Swearingen, Lead Pastor and Planter of Crosspoint Christian Church (Cape Coral, Florida), wrote about sending a staff member to plant a church in Gainesville, Florida. Keep reading to see how that experience changed the church planter, his family and the Kingdom...
By Brad Zachritz,  FCP Church Planter 

In 2013, I experienced being discontent for the first time since I became a Pastor. On the surface it didn't make much sense; the youth ministry that I was leading was the healthiest it had been and Crosspoint had just moved into a permanent facility. I don't know if it was something I ate, or if God was doing something new. 

I went to meet with Jeff Swearingen, the lead pastor at Crosspoint, to share how I was feeling and to seek advice for what to do. I really thought I might be reaching the end of my days in ministry. That's when Jeff said to me, 'I think you should consider planting a church.'

Time out. That was the advice? Is this a nice way of saying, 'You should start your job search'? I felt like it was the Christian way to say, 'You're fired' (in your best Trump voice). But, like any good Christian would, my response was, 'I'll pray about that.'

I went home and told my wife, Abby, who was pregnant with our 4th child, and she said, 'Never bring that up again.' That was when I started to pray, asking if this was what God was stirring in me. God started to reveal to both Abby and I that we were supposed to plant a church, and He started to give us a heart for the city of Gainesville.

Talk about risk-taking. Here we were, living a comfortable life, great ministry, beautiful home in Southwest Florida, and now we were preparing to move to a new city where we know no one. Sounds fun, right? Talk about stretching your faith.

But this is what following Jesus looks like; taking God sized risks to see His Kingdom come. My prayer is that more churches, more pastors, would be willing to follow Jesus into the uncomfortable. Shift will always be a place that is willing to take risks to reach more people for God's kingdom.

Because we know the fruit. Crosspoint was willing to risk losing a staff member and because we were willing to step out in faith to see God do something new, God's Kingdom wins. Not only has Shift Church been established and thriving in Gainesville, but this past year Shift became a sending church. We celebrated sending out our first staff member to plant a church in Wisconsin.

We can't wait to see what God will do next as we are willing to take more God-sized risks.

Please pray for the Clevengers as they make connections in Pensacola and for the successful launch of Connection Point Church in the spring of 2019. Connect with them at www.ConnectionPointPensacola.com. Pray for the Parks as they work to plant Eastside Christian Church in the Fall of 2019. Also, please ask God to raise up church planters and open doors for new churches throughout the state, including these four growing areas of focus:
  • West Palm Beach Area
  • Tampa Area
  • Sarasota's Emergent Growth Area
  • Kissimmee's Emergent Growth Area
Church Planters Needed!

Florida is our nation's 3rd largest state and a destination place for the world. From world-class cities to burgeoning suburbs, there is need for new churches. The Sunshine State needs you to help bring the light! Do you know someone who may be interested in planting a church in Florida? Maybe someone from your church or on your church staff? If so, encourage them to check out our website at www.floridachurchpartners.org .

The Florida Church Partners Vision

Florida Church Partners wants to help our churches reach 1% of Florida's population over the next two decades through church-multiplication. Reaching an estimated quarter-million people is no small challenge. But through the partnership of generous churches and visionary church leaders, we believe this is a challenge God will meet. After all, it's His heart!