Just as every church has reworked schedules, revisited priorities, and shifted to do ministry well following the shutdown precipitated by the pandemic, so too has our Jacksonville Baptist Association and the Expand Team.
Our Expand Team continues to focus on the ongoing work of church planting in the Jacksonville area. Yet, more than just simply working to get more church planters in our city, we are focused on equipping and enabling legacy churches to become strategic partners and sending churches as well. In conjunction with Send Network Florida (NAMB and the Florida Baptist Convention) we have completed two 2021 church planting cohorts. The cohort includes eleven sessions of instruction and collaborative study over a period of twenty-two weeks. The expansive work of our association and team has led us to work with planters and sending churches throughout the state and not just in the Jacksonville area.
Our cohorts included planters who have completed assessment with the Send Network and have sending churches focused on continued relationships for long-term health. New church plants in Yulee, Palm Coast, Palatka, and as far south as Tampa, Venice, and Bradenton have been through our JBA Expand Team cohorts. We also have new churches launching in our city and nearby counties. Some are launching in the fall while others are looking to spring 2022.
The blessing of our network allows us to connect relationally beyond the cohort training sessions. JBA planters who have completed assessment and cohort training are:
- Gam Maran (Burmese Church) – sending church Chets Creek Church
- Hector Rivera (Hispanic Church) – sending church Mandarin Baptist church
- Curtis Haynes (The Lord is My Shepherd Church) – sending church FBC Orange Park,
- Daniel Helms (The Branch Community Church in Palatka) – sending church FBC Plant City
- Ryan Jorgenson (Salvation Church in St Johns) – sending church Highpoint Church, Napierville, IL with numerous JBA churches as partners
Most recently, members of our church planting family and Expand Team have launched the Jacksonville Church Planters Network. The relationships built during cohorts are vital and yet, when the cohort ends, it is easy for these relationships to wane. Our planters network is a grass-roots effort launched by planters for planters and sending church pastors. Our desire is to fuel this group throughout the year, moving more toward relationship building and strengthening rather than programmatic events.