During the January term at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF), BCF Theology Division Chair Richard Elligson typically leads a team of students to assist with church planting efforts somewhere in the state of Florida. This year, January 8-14, Elligson took students Wilberdo Antoine, Hugo Garcia, Billy Harrison, Hannah Hodge, Maison Fulton, and Cher Moo to Miami, where the team worked with three church planters, two Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM’s), two private Christian schools, and the Florida Baptist Children’s Home (One More Child); all for a singular purpose: to advance the work of Christ. “After being hampered by the pandemic for the last few years, it was great to reconnect with our Florida Baptist partners and get back to work,” stated Elligson. And according Elligson, work they did! Their days were filled with everything from yardwork, to furniture assembly, to painting. Added to that was new church promotion, evangelism, relationship building, and connecting with local college students. “The variety of activities and projects added to the adventure,” commented BCF Junior Hugo Garcia, a Ministry Studies major. “Everyone came away thinking, ‘Wow…there’s a lot more to church planting than we thought.’” The cultural mix also added to the adventure. “Two team members were bi-lingual and another was tri-lingual,” Elligson explained. “And in an international city like Miami, that’s incredibly helpful.” Garcia, a Spanish speaker, agreed, “Everywhere we went, I had the opportunity to use my native Spanish. That really helped me to see how God can use every gift and talent we have for His glory.”
Mixed throughout the schedule were designated teaching times as well as opportunities to share God’s word. After painting a room at one Christian school, the group was invited to return the following morning and lead devotional time for the students. “We were given a whole hour where we were in charge,” explained BCF Freshman Cher Moo, a Missions major. “The teachers were helpful, but it was up to us to fill the time. What a great opportunity we had!” Later, the team was asked to speak at another school, this time approximately 80 middle-schoolers. That took the form of a round-table discussion with the theme of “Making Good Choices.” For BCF Senior Missions major Billy Harrison, that was the highlight of the week. “The round table discussion was amazing,” Harrison said. “We used Joshua 24:15 as our theme verse, and tied in how choosing to serve Christ is an intentional decision that should guide all the other decisions we make. Those kids were sharp and engaged, and you could tell the discussion made an impact on them.”
“In projects like this, everyone wins,” Elligson said. “Our students got hands-on experience in real missions work, our church planters and ministry partners got the benefit of some much-needed help from energetic college students, and the people of Miami received quality ministry from a group of BCF’s best, all in the name of Jesus. It can’t get much better than that.”
For more information on our missions degree at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF), call 850.328.2660 or visit our website at www.baptistcollege.edu.