Christ Fellowship Lead Pastor Todd Mullins and his wife, Julie, hear people say it all the time: I’ve tried that church thing, and it’s not for me.
“I think a lot of times we think we can love Jesus but not love the church,” Pastor Mullins told Palm Beach Atlantic University students during the chapel hour on Tuesday.
“But Jesus gave himself for the local church. He died for the church. He died to establish the church so that the church, together, could continue the mission and purpose of Christ on this earth after He left.”
The couple, who lead a congregation of nearly 30,000 people on multiple church campuses throughout South Florida, spoke in the DeSantis Family Chapel as part of Church Connect Week at PBA.
The pair opened their presentation by sharing an incident that happened during the summer. The couple went mountain biking in Colorado, and Julie Mullins was involved in a crash that left her with multiple broken bones and other serious injuries.
She said she realizes that if she had been alone when it happened, there was a chance she might not have made it down the mountain alive.
“There’s danger in isolation, but there’s safety and security and protection in community,” she said.
Not only does the church offer its members community, but it also provides two special gifts, the couple said.
The first is the gift of belonging, they said. “God’s plan has always been that would you would be adopted into His family where you can belong,” Pastor Mullins said, speaking in reference to Ephesians 1:5.
Churchgoers, like family members, will grow to feel comfortable enough to borrow things, Julie Mullins said. “When you’re plugged into God’s family, you can borrow the faith of other people. When you’re weak, when you’re in a dark place, you can borrow the faith of others,” she said.
In addition to faith, churchgoers can borrow wisdom and strength from their church family, she said.
The second gift that God has for the church is the gift of becoming, the couple said. That can be seen in Ephesians 2:19-22, where it speaks of the faithful being built together for His purpose, they said.
“What God wants to do in you and the work that He has for you is not complete,” Julie Mullins said.
While the first is a gift for now, the second is a gift for later, the couple explained. They encouraged students to become rooted in their church, a place where they can flourish and try out leadership roles. It will later help to shape their thinking and their focus, they said.
“We know that the church is the vehicle that God chose to bring hope back to humanity,” Julie Mullins said. “We believe that God has a place for each of you to build His kingdom, brick by brick, stone by stone.”
As a small reminder of God’s gifts, the Mullinses left students with a small present of their own — Now & Later candies, which were handed out as students left the chapel.
Other local pastors speaking during Church Connect Week include Dr. Dale Locke of Community of Hope; Pastor Jeremy McKeen of Truth Point Church; and Dr. Jimmy Scroggins of First Baptist Church (Family Church).