Our StoryOur roots go back over 100 years… .
Over a century ago a young man felt called to mission. Pastor Simms' parents had gone to China as missionaries right on the heels of Lottie Moon, a ground-breaking Baptist missionary. Unlike his parents, this gentleman felt called to mission in the United States and, after seeking God’s guidance in prayer, arrived in Jacksonville, Florida. For three months he attempted to start a church but was unable to get any traction. When invited to preach at a revival in Michigan, he accepted since he didn’t have anything going on locally. For three weeks Pastor Simms preached, and for three weeks not a person went forward to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As you can imagine, he was questioning his calling. But then, on the very last night of the revival, a woman came forward. All the angels rejoiced, and so did our young preacher. He lingered after the crowds left to talk with the woman. In her enthusiasm she said how she wished he could be her preacher. “I wish I could, too,” he replied, “but I do not live here.”
“Neither do I,” was her reply. “I live in Jacksonville, Florida.” Indeed, she lived just three doors down from him! And so was begun a mission to the city of Jacksonville.
The first church was named Phoenix Baptist Church after the street on which it was located. Eventually it was moved to and renamed North Main Street Baptist Church. The congregation grew and flourished. At one point it was the largest mission-giving church in Florida, both in money and in missionaries, sending members all over the world to spread the Good News.
But then the demographics of the community changed and the congregation fled to the suburbs. Membership dwindled to almost nothing and the once thriving neighborhoods were left to flounder in darkness. When Pastor Nick arrived in 1995, he believed that God had sent him to grow the church just as he had in other areas. But three years went by and he could get no traction ~ sound familiar? One day he came across the 100-year history of the church and, as clearly as could be, he realized that God did not want him to build up what was inside the walls of His church. This church was founded as a mission to Jacksonville and that was what it was to continue to be! And in that wonderful way that our Lord has of confirming His plans for us, Pastor Nick Phoenix knew he was where he was supposed to be serving when he read the original name of the church ~ Phoenix Baptist Church.
So was born Words To Works Ministries. The Sunday school rooms have been converted into a Missionary Training Center to house and feed the mission groups that come from all over the country. The house behind the church has been converted into the Compassion Center, a food and clothing pantry. The front of the warehouse next door has been converted into His Warehouse, an outreach to the adult and homeless community. The back of the warehouse stores Go Inflatables, the inflatable/bounce house business that helps finance the ministry. And, yes, North Main Street Baptist Church continues to hold worship services for the community.
We lean upon the Lord to make smooth the way. When looking at the realities of our situation ~ the demographics, the finances, the staffing, ~ there is no way we should be able to do what we do. And we don’t! The Lord does it all. We are just honored and humbled to be His servants in this endeavor. It is our fervent hope that you will come alongside us, for a day, a week, or on a routine basis, to serve in this ministry, to learn what we do and how we do it, so that you too are better able to bring the Good News to the lost that you meet every day! We tailor affordable mission trips from 24 hours to 7 days, $39 to $200. Whether you prefer children’s day camps, construction projects, homeless outreach, or beach ministry, we can work with your leadership to create a successful and memorable experience that will enable your members to develop the skills to be a light in the darkness of the world.
We look forward to building up God’s kingdom with you!