In July of 2016, I announced a conviction to you of six directional statements that we as a church body adopted to more fully align our church vision with the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the last command left to His church by our Lord Jesus Christ in the days following His resurrection from the dead.
These six statements became the document that we used to realign the direction of our church over the following five years through 2020. Some of the statements concerned the redirection of funds, and most of them focused on a vision was external and not internal. In other words, Advance 2020 was a mission statement that called and still calls our church to serve and to pour ourselves out to push back the darkness in our community, state, nation, and the world.
We have proven again the truth of the Word of God that we lose what we attempt to keep and keep what we are willing to release. As of this date, we are twenty-two (22) months away from the end of our set timeline to accomplish the six vision statements that make up Advance 2020.
1). To have 2020 in worship attendance by the end of 2020.To this date, we are showing continuing growth but, as we thought might be happening soon, we have quickly exhausted worship and Bible study space. Steps are being taken to add additional worship service options ON CAMPUS. We have learned that attendance fluctuates greatly due to busy schedules and Sunday activities outside of church. While normal Sunday attendance still registers at 12-1300 per week, actual lives touched per month is probably higher. Our total church membership is over 4200 at the present time. But in addition to new growth, this item also involves our determination to deepen our commitment to making disciples in our church as well as beyond. This aspect of our ministry is growing and developing as well.
2). To start two new campus sites located in the new growth corridors around us. This part of the plan is essential for our ministry to be a part of the new neighborhoods and new communities growing rapidly around us. Our focus so far has been locating a property in the Silverleaf plantation to our south which will ultimately bring 11,000 new homes to the area. New campuses will be important to our overall growth strategy. They will reflect the demographic of the new area, and hopefully be in place before many of the new homes and businesses have moved there.
3). To participate in twenty new church planting partnerships in St Johns, Jacksonville, Florida, North America, Haiti and Cuba. We are currently partnering with eleven new churches. Recently we have begun a planting partnership with approximately thirty new churches in New York and New Jersey. Find out more info about these church plant partners at ADVANCE 20/20 Church Plant Partnerships
4). Along with the new church plants, we also want to participate in twenty church revitalization projects in Jacksonville and throughout the state of Florida. While we have currently been involved with three church revitalizations, these prove to be challenging on a number of levels. Partly, the church has to be receptive for these processes to begin. We are exploring some revitalization work with churches impacted by Hurricane Michael on the west coast of Florida. We feel confident that reaching this goal is possible.
5). To maintain at least 20% of our overall budget offering devoted to reaching the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This number captures not only our offerings thru Cooperative Program, State Missions offerings, the Jacksonville Association and special missions offerings for International and North American missions. We have achieved and continue to maintain this level of missions giving. It’s means that twenty (20) % of our total contributions given to the church will be designated for missions that will help us make Jesus known throughout the nations.
6). To establish a ministry of recovery, healing, enrichment and mental and emotional health called THE COVE. The Cove will be a ministry that encompasses counseling, recovery, crisis intervention, and other ministries that will be offered to our community. The Cove Center will be located in the present Annex north section. Build-out on this will hopefully be completed by the fall of 2019. One centerpiece ministry of the Cove will be Celebrate Recovery. Training is currently underway for leaders in this ministry.
These six items encompass our Advance 2020 plan. Within the next year we will begin talking about “what’s next” after 2020 has come and gone. Fruit Cove has many fruitful years before us as we keep our eyes on the Kingdom of God and seek His righteousness. God is good. We believe He has great things in store as we walk together by faith and follow Him in obedience!