You may have received this past week an advertisement hanging on your doorknob. No, it’s not election season in Miami Springs. That was likely an advertisement that came from Pastor Omar Giritli and the team of volunteers of Christ Fellowship Church.
Sunday, Sept. 22 marked the official grand opening for Christ Fellowship’s seventh campus. The newest addition to the Christ Fellowship Family is located right here on the campus of Miami Springs Middle School.
The CF team had their first vision meeting back in January of this year. With nine months of planning, preparing and praying, plus a few soft openings earlier this month, the grand opening arrived, and so did the community. More than 800 people showed up, many of which were the CF volunteers, wearing their blue shirts and smiles. With Christian music playing in the hallways and a makeshift café for guests to grab a cup of joe, it was easy to forget you were in the halls of a Miami-Dade Public School.
“Our vision for Christ Fellowship, not only in Miami Springs but all campuses, is to make fully devoted followers of Christ,” Giritli said when he was interviewed this past week by local radio personality James Sheppard of 90.9 Life FM. “That is our goal on every campus and that’s no different for our Miami Springs campus. Leading up to the grand opening we’ve been going door to door, serving the community, evangelizing, and starting up small groups. Every bit of our focus is on helping people become fully devoted followers of Christ. So far it has been an amazing ride and we can’t wait to see what God is going to do in Miami Springs.”
Notable guests in attendance include Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia and Miami Springs City Manager Ron Gorland. “It’s one of those things that you can never have too many of,” Garcia said. “You can never have too many churches. Regardless of your religious denomination, they’re all working towards one thing and that’s bringing people closer to God and I think it’s wonderful. It meant a lot to be here for Omar. He grew up here, he’s got stories of ups and downs in Miami Springs. He wanted to bring something like this to our community and I’m glad he did it.”
For years, churches like Miami-Dade-based Christ Fellowship have made a point to serve the students, parents and staff at local public schools. Every year, Christ Fellowship provides hundreds of backpacks to low-income students; church volunteers landscape, paint and repair school facilities; and teachers and administrators are honored with gifts of food and things like school supplies throughout the year.
When Christ Fellowship decided to pursue a new church campus in Miami Springs, they looked to their friends at Miami Springs Middle School. The new relationships appear to be a win-win situation. The school district earns lease revenue, church services don’t interfere with school since they happen on the weekend, the local school is improved by church volunteers who landscape, clean, repair and paint the facility; and neighbors have a nice, clean and accessible location to enjoy church services. On Monday morning, the school looks like a school again, and the students probably don’t even know what happened over the weekend.
Giritli estimates that it takes about 100 Christ Fellowship volunteers three hours every Sunday morning to set up for church, and another two to three hours to clean up before leaving.
“It may sound like a lot of work, but in our minds the benefits clearly outweigh the challenge,” said Pastor Giritli. “Hosting church in a local school may be a little different than the norm, but we think it presents a unique opportunity for Christ Fellowship. Many guests live close by, and they are already familiar with the environment at the middle school. We consider it an honor to serve the students, teachers and families of Miami Springs Middle School and take joy in the chance to improve the facility and help a family in need.”
Christ Fellowship is a Christian church with multiple campuses located in Downtown, Palmetto Bay, West Kendall, Homestead, Redland, Coral Gables, and now Miami Springs. They are aligned doctrinally and cooperatively in missions with the Southern Baptist Convention. Each weekend more than 8,000 members and guests all around Miami-Dade County experience live music and sound biblical teaching with practical application for everyday life. CF is committed to serving the community and the whole family through various global and local missions led by volunteers.
After months of planning and preparing, the hard-working volunteers along with all of the guests were treated to bounce houses, cotton candy, and snow cones.
The CF vision “Whatever It Takes” was repeated throughout the day. Everything CF does, from their worship, to teaching, to small groups, outreach and missions is driven by their vision to reach 100,000 people for Christ — 50,000 in Miami, and 50,000 abroad. To connect with Christ Fellowship visit www.cfmiami.org.