Spreading the Salt in South Florida
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Among the curious visitors that day was a 30-year-old woman addicted to prescription drugs. Frozen with fear, she reluctantly came inside only after the service started. At the end, she prayed to receive Christ as Savior after confiding to Pastor Rob D. Boyd that she had been mad at God because of her brother’s death.
“That’s what’s so cool about church plants,” says Rob, 44, who with his wife, Lisa, started the church in their living room. “People come who wouldn’t go somewhere else. That woman was afraid God would kill her if she went into a church.”
That woman — who died two weeks later from a seizure — represents one of nearly 45 individuals who have committed to follow Christ as Savior, thanks to the ministry of the unusual, young-adult-oriented congregation.
The Boyds launched Salt Church in 2012 with help from the Church Multiplication Network (CMN) and the Matching Fund from AGTrust.
Rob and Lisa had spent the prior seven years as youth pastors at Frontline Christian Center, but after attending a CMN workshop sensed God calling them to start an outreach aimed at reaching folks with no church background.
After meeting in the Boyd home, on the beach, and in rented school spaces, earlier this year Salt Church moved to the off-campus chapel of a nondenominational, Spirit-filled church.
Salt Church’s nontraditional meeting locales match the body’s unconventional approaches to the laid-back community along the Atlantic Ocean. It helps that Rob and Lisa are longtime residents and outdoors enthusiasts.
For awhile, a group of members met weekly at a boat ramp, where they often prayed for fishing enthusiasts. They’ve done similar outreaches on the beach.
“We’ve had opportunities to lay hands on people who were sick,” Rob says. “I had an atheist trying to refute anything about God and by the end of our conversation he asked me to pray for him because he was facing surgery.”
Lisa, 38, preaches occasionally and has helped oversee the youth group in recent years, but took a step back after the birth of the couple’s fourth child in May.
Among those who have been touched dramatically at Salt Church is Harley C. Capsuto, 28. An insurance company employee, Capsuto has been excited to see an adherent diagnosed with cancer given a clean bill of health and numerous congregants being filled with the Holy Spirit. He is helping lead the youth group while completing ministry training through the Peninsular Florida District.
After his baptism in 2015, Capsuto started attending Salt Church with a friend. Immediately, Harley knew he had found a home.
“The second I walked in there I could sense the genuine love for people,” says Capsuto, who felt called to enter full-time ministry following a mission trip to El Salvador. “Going there every week I know God’s going to move.”
One challenge the Boyds face is South Florida’s transient nature. Salt Church has an annual turnover rate between 30 and 60 percent.
However, the small congregation, averaging a little over 60 attendees, makes a big impact. Last February, the youth group ministered to several kids directly affected by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
The church also emphasizes helping children from traumatic backgrounds, one time throwing a first-ever birthday party for a boy in foster care who came from an abusive home. And, members have been on multiple AG mission trips.