Florida Baptist Witness
The expository preaching and teaching of God’s word, a simple approach to congregational worship, fellowship and prayer best describe the four pillars of Genesis Church in Vero Beach, Florida.
Genesis Church began in 2015 when 30 people gathered for Bible study in a local restaurant. As word spread, the group grew and when needing more space, relocated to a funeral home.
Then 18 months ago they moved once again, this time renting space in the church building of another local congregation.
“We are a discipleship-based church,” said Derrick West, senior pastor. “Majoring on simple things well has brought about our church growth. When we grow incrementally, we are still able to maintain our values through the context of covenant. We listen to the Word and take it seriously.”
Located along Florida’s Atlantic “Treasure Coast,” the small city of Vero Beach is the county seat of Indian River County, and a choice location for water sports, fishing and golf enthusiasts.
With the motto “Sunrises, no High-Rises,” the city’s coast offers uncrowded beaches with scenic, unobstructed views.
According to West, Vero Beach has an eclectic population that includes “some who have lived there all their lives and others who have migrated to Florida.”
The church has begun to experience an influx of new families.
The stated purpose of the 5-year-old church plant is “to establish and maintain a church modeled after the early Christian community as recorded in the Book of Acts.”
At Genesis Church, this is manifested by mobilizing members to do ministry to demonstrate the love of Jesus within the context of genuine relationships.
“We want to try to meet the needs of others, whatever the needs are,” said West. Mobilizing and releasing members is a “very organic way to allow people to minister to others.”
One way the church has served their community has been through their Restoring Dignity ministry, which began when West wrote to guidance counselors in the public schools, asking them to provide a list of items that students needed.
He received an “overwhelming response” from school counselors who asked for assistance in providing supplies including backpacks, shoes, and socks for their students, which the church was able to supply.
“If you’re church-hopping, we’re not for you,” said the pastor.
He emphasizes to visitors and members that their relationship to the church should not be a “taker” or “consumer” mentality, but one where, in response to God’s mercy and love through Christ, the church body will rise up and help others.
Craig Culbreth, catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention east region, has come alongside Genesis Church.
“Craig has been such a friend. I like how the convention has made catalysts accessible to pastors. With Craig, we have a real relationship with someone who cares about us and our ministry,” said West.
West thinks so highly of Culbreth that he asked him to write the forward to the new book he has written, “The League of Pardoned Rebels,” released Nov. 17.
Because of COVID, like many other churches, Genesis Church had to learn how to minister through social media. “It was neat to see the spark of creativity required to meet and minister to people in this year of social distancing,” said West.
The church’s ministry to schools has been impacted due to COVID and is just now resuming. “We pray that the Lord will use us mightily for a great work in our community.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was originally published by the Florida Baptist Witness. To read more articles like this on Florida Baptists, visit flbaptist.org/witness. This article also appears in TAB News, a digital regional Baptist publication. For more information or to subscribe to the TAB News app, visit tabonline.org/TAB-News-app.
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