Jimmy Scroggins is lead pastor of Family Church in South Florida. He is dedicated to building families in South Florida through a network of neighborhood churches that help people in their community discover and pursue God’s design.
Scroggins will be the keynote speaker at this year’s N.C. Baptist Disciple-Making Conference on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point.
Scroggins took some time to answer the following questions related to his ministry, leadership, vision, evangelism, church culture and what he plans to share at the conference.
Tell us about your ministry and the story of Family Church in South Florida.
I became the pastor of Family Church in 2008. It wasn’t long before God opened the door for us to launch a second campus and then a third and a fourth. Now we have 12 churches in nine buildings and have worship in three languages. Our vision is to take the gospel to every resident in every neighborhood in South Florida. We are mission-focused on building families by helping them discover and pursue God’s design. God is using us to change South Florida one life, one family and one neighborhood at a time.
Your ministry at Family Church could be described as a revitalization situation. What are some of the challenges you have faced, particularly early in your tenure at what was then First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach?
When I came to be the pastor at Family Church – then First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach – they had been without a pastor for five years. During that time many faithful people served our church and prayed for our church. Without a clear leader and a clear vision, however, attendance had dwindled, and the church was struggling financially.
We had to make some difficult decisions in the early days to right-size the staff, right-size our ministries and begin to make a path forward. My initial goal was to revitalize the Sunday morning worship experience. In order to do this, we had to stop doing some ministries and refocus on Sunday. We also made the decision to sell what was known as The Chapel by the Lake. This was a difficult and contentious decision, but once the church voted to sell the property, we were able to take that money and jump-start our own revitalization.
People may not know that you developed the “3 Circles” tool for engaging in gospel conversations soon after you arrived at Family Church. What’s the story behind how the “3 Circles” was developed?
I came to South Florida from Louisville, Ky., where I was a teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church and the dean of Boyce College. Kentucky is the buckle of the Bible Belt, and our church was full of young college and seminary students. My wife, Kristin, and I enjoyed leading Preparing for Marriage classes and helping young couples prepare for a life together.
When we came to West Palm Beach, we decided that we would plug in by doing the same thing. We advertised our Preparing for Marriage class in the bulletin, and it filled up almost immediately. When we got to the class, however, we experienced culture shock. The class was full of people in their 30s, most of whom were living together and had his kids, her kids, and their kids.
We realized that we weren’t in Kentucky anymore, and all of our materials that were made for young Christian kids with very little life experience weren’t going to meet these people where they were in life. Many of them weren’t even believers in Jesus and they had a worldview that was radically different from ours. I realized that I needed to come up with a way to talk to them about life and the gospel before we could get to marriage. So that week in my office I started to work on a conversation guide that could explain life according to God’s design. It is from there that the “3 Circles” came to be.
The beauty of “3 Circles” is that it is a resource that is simple, conversational and reproducible. (The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina uses it in our Gospel Conversations trainings). How have you seen God use the “3 Circles” at Family Church and across the Southern Baptist Convention at large?
We have many, many stories of God using the “3 Circles” to help people recover and pursue His design. If you go to Twitter and search #3circles, you will find many of those stories.
Our focus as N.C. Baptists is on impacting lostness through disciple-making. How does Family Church perpetuate a culture of disciple-making and multiplication?
I always say that culture is mediated through leadership over time. When it comes to building an evangelistic church culture, it’s pastors and church leaders who need to set the culture, speak the culture, model the culture and stay the course. Building a true culture of evangelism takes time – not days, weeks or months but years and even decades.
There are at least 10 ways church leaders can build a more evangelistic church culture: focused prayer, choose a gospeling tool, train people to use the tool, engage with people who are far from God, emphasize rapid obedience, coordinate philosophy and strategy, create a way to have bottleneck conversations with people who attend your church, involve students and kids, collect stories and celebrate stories. I can unpack these more when I am with you.
We’re excited that you will be joining us at the 2020 Disciple-Making Conference. What do you hope to share, and what do you hope attendees will take away from the event?
I hope that pastors and church staffs will catch a vision for how they can reach their communities with the gospel. There is no “one size fits all” approach. We need to cultivate people who have a passion for a place (and) for a people group and equip them to do the work of the ministry in order to build up the body of Christ.
by BSCNC Communications / Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
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