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AG Pastor Prays at Florida Governor’s Inauguration

Aaron Burke of Radiant Church in Tampa participates in ceremony to start Rick Scott’s second term.

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott was sworn into office Tuesday for his second term, Aaron Burke, an Assemblies of God pastor from Tampa, had the honor of praying over the ceremony.

Burke is the senior pastor of Radiant Church in Tampa, Fla., which he and his wife, Katie, planted in September 2013. Last year, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi began regularly attending the church. When she and Scott won re-election in November, Bondi requested that Burke pray at the inauguration ceremony.

This invitation came as a welcome surprise for the Burkes.

“My wife and I kept asking ourselves, ‘Why are we getting picked to do this?’ ” Burke says. “We just knew that God’s favor was on it.”

In his prayer, Burke stressed the grace of God and how the Lord chooses to place people in positions where they have the potential to make a difference.

“In that moment, I took the opportunity to tell the governor he is chosen by God, and now the next step is to really walk in faith and depend on Him in every situation,” Burke says.

He also prayed for U.S. troops and thanked God for the sacrifices that have made America’s freedom possible.

While at the Florida Capitol, the Burkes had openings to speak with other elected officials, including potential presidential candidates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“We just used it as an opportunity to continually share our faith,” Burke says. “Even though they might have a big title, they all still need a pastor and they need someone to care for them.”

In recent years, walking in faith has been a significant theme for the Burkes. After serving as youth pastors for six years at Brownsville Assembly in Pensacola, the couple began to sense a call to start a church that would minister to the unreached in a major city. In 2012, they moved to Tampa.

Burke says he and Katie had few connections in the area and knew nothing about church planting, but their partnership with the AG Church Multiplication Network gave them the guidance they needed. Burke applied for the CMN’s Matching Fund, which provides up to $30,000 to help churches with start-up costs. These churches later return $30,000 to the fund, keeping it stocked in order to help new congregations as the need arises.

With a mission to “display love, develop disciples, and help people discover their purposes,” Radiant Church launched in the Britton Theater in South Tampa, and 300 people attended the initial service. In a year and four months, church attendance has risen to a weekly average of 700. Last year, 420 people accepted Jesus as Savior during Radiant services. 

Ian Richardson

Ian Richardson is a 2014 graduate of Evangel University and former intern with the Pentecostal Evangel. He is originally from Afton, Iowa, where he grew up as the son of an Assemblies of God pastor.