A New Work
When God called Abraham to follow Him on a journey that would ultimately form the people of God and change the entire course of history - it was a new thing. When Gabriel told Mary that she would be giving birth to Jesus and, “He would save the people from their sins” - it was a new thing. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost and the church was empowered to be in mission - it was a new thing. For over 2,000 years, God has moved through His church to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ - I believe God is inviting us to join Him in a new thing in Jacksonville, FL!
Jacksonville is the largest city in the USA by landmass and is the 12th largest city overall. It is:
- concentrated (with a population density that is 179% greater than the rest of FL)
- young (the median age is 35)
- racially diverse (59% white, 30% black, 5% Asian, and 6% other)
- eclectic (strong in sports, music, and the arts)
- and perhaps most importantly - Jacksonville is ready for a network of fresh, new gospel-centered churches
We will seek to exalt Christ through being a multi-ethnic, multi-generational church which feels like family and embodies worship, prayer, biblical exposition, the sacraments, mercy and justice, and a sincere love for God, one another, and the city.
Rev. Michael Smith is 47 years old and has been married to Kristyn, for over 20 years. They have 2 sons - Cade (18), a freshman at Brooklyn College and Rider (13) a 7th grader at a local middle school. Michael has served as a pastor for over 17 years in California and New York City and he holds a Masters Degree in Biology from the University of Saint Joseph and a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies (with Greek and Hebrew) from Reformed Theological Seminary NYC where he graduated with the very first cohort at that campus. In addition to his work in ministry, Michael has been an adjunct Biology professor for over 8 years, a professional model for over 20 years, and is a licensed personal trainer.
- Establish a city people (inward) - we will equip the saints for the work of the ministry through our worship services (vibrant music, word, sacrament, life stories), community groups, discipleship groups and other gatherings which will form our people into the family and reflection of God.
- Establish a city presence - we will strive to be quickly known as a church that is “city-friendly”: sharing common concerns, seeking common solutions, celebrating our common culture. Remaining faithful to our biblical convictions, we will disallow historic, non-gospel barriers between the church and secular people (race, gender issues, etc.).
- Engage the city’s culture - we will aggressively seek to reflect the diversity of our city’s ethnic and social culture. We will speak the gospel “to” and “through” the culture. We will enjoy and celebrate the richness of life in Jacksonville and seek to add to it.
- Encourage more city churches - we will allocate monies for the specific purpose of starting more churches in the city of Jacksonville, the state of Florida, and the world. We will actively recruit and train church planters who share our vision and who are called to urban church planting.
- Prayer support - When one reads the book of Acts, the connection between the expansion of the church with the prayers of the saints and the power of the Spirit becomes quickly evident. If All Souls Church is to gain any ground for the kingdom in Jacksonville and beyond, it will due to the grace and power of God and the prayers of the saints. If you would be willing to pray for our church plant, please email Michael and he will add you to our prayer support list and provide regular updates.
- Financial support - Like prayer, generosity was a cornerstone of the early church and still is. Our goal is to raise enough capital to cover our entire budget for a total of 3 years.
A Word From Tim Keller
Dear Friends: I am glad to write this letter of recommendation for Michael Smith. Michael was in the first cohort of students to go through the M.A. in Biblical Studies we now offer in New York City in partnership with Reformed Theological Seminary, as well as going through our City Ministry Program in which I teach preaching, pastoral ministry, and urban mission. Over three years I had Michael as a ministry student in ten courses and intensives. I got to know him very well as a keen student of theology both believed and practiced. I’ve evaluated his preaching and evaluated his ministry projects—all done with excellence. Michael brings a great variety of life and church experiences to his ministry today, and that is one of his great strengths. Professionally, Michael knows from the inside the very secular world of fashion, one filled with idols of sex, money, and power. He has functioned as a believer in that world for years. He also has had many years of ministry experience in California before beginning his theological training in in New York and working at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. This breadth of experience across different urban North American cultures and theological traditions serves him well. He combines the strengths of a number of ministry models in his preaching, pastoring, and leading. I strongly recommend him for church and ministry leadership positions, especially in New York City. I hope we can keep him here as part of what God is doing here in the City.
To give directly follow the link below
Address to: Presbytery of Florida
Mail to: The Jax Project c/o River City Church
267 E. Highbanks Rd.
DeBary, FL 32713
In the memo please write JacksonVille Church Plant