Two Years After Acts 2 and Stronger than Ever
Emerald Coast Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, completed the Acts 2 Journey in 2015. When Pastors Tim and Ann Black took leadership in spring 2013, attendance averaged 41 and the church was on the verge of closing its doors.
Today, two years following the completion of the Acts 2 Journey, the church is stronger than ever.
“The congregation of Emerald Coast Church today is over 200 strong,” Tim Black states. “Our demographic has shifted from one that was predominantly Anglo to a thriving congregation representing countries like Greece, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Korea, Thailand, India, and Vietnam.”
Not only is Emerald Coast Church multiethnic, the congregation now supports 40 missionaries and missions projects — nearly as many missionaries and projects as it had people attending the church in 2013. With the increase in attendance, the Blacks have also added a second Sunday service.
Tim says that when he and Ann first came to Emerald Coast Church, they hosted a lot of activities but the activities didn’t result in any church growth.
“The Acts 2 Journey helped us put together a plan and know how to get from Point A to Point B,” Tim says. “We had to evaluate: Are we just trying to get people into the building? Or are we intentionally making disciples?”
Since putting together a plan through the journey experience, church leaders and laity have a clear focus. And this August, Black says the church will start offering small groups to help create a discipleship process.
Black, however, is quick to distribute the credit for the success of the church’s journey to this point.
“Our key leaders have been integral to keeping the Acts 2 momentum going,” he explains. “As they remain focused on our core values, their enthusiasm encourages others. They are now dreaming about and seeing things accomplished like never before. They realize they are part of the solution.”
Black adds that the Acts 2 Journey plays a significant role in why the congregation at Emerald Coast Church is growing numerically and maturing spiritually.
Currently, 934 AG churches in 31 AG districts across the United States have taken part in the Acts 2 Journey (www.acts2journey.com). A total of 613 of those 934 churches have received a scholarship to enable them to participate, thanks to the support of AGTrust donors.
Black and the members of Emerald Coast Church are genuinely grateful for the scholarship they received. In fact, they have decided to literally “share the wealth.”
“Because of your giving,” Black says about AGTrust donors, “we are giving 1 percent of our church’s monthly income to the West Florida District to help other churches participate in the Acts 2 Journey.”