May 21, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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When God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, Moses was brought back full circle to the place he grew up. In many ways, he felt unequipped, unworthy, and scared. However, God gave him the ability and paved the way for His plans to bring the Israelites to freedom!
Over the last year, Jonathan Gomez, the pastor at the new Pembroke Pines church plant, was brought back full circle to the place he grew up where his dad was a pastor. We had a chance to sit down with him and hear how God brought him to where he needed to be to take the lead on planting a new church in the Pembroke Pines area.
Q: So, can you tell us a bit about your journey up to this point?
Pastor Jonathan: Of course! I was born into a Christian home. When I was young, we moved around a lot because of ministry—my dad was a pastor at some Spanish-speaking churches. We lived in Colombia for a few years, then we moved to New York where my dad did the majority of his ministry. In 1997, we moved to Miami and planted a church in that area. Even though there’s not a time in my life where I didn’t know God, there was a specific moment in 2009 when I definitively drew the line in the sand at a Calvary service. During that service God changed my heart, and I dedicated my life to Him that day. Shortly after that, Olivia and I got married. Today, we’ve been married for 12 years and have three children: Nathaniel, Jonah, and Evangeline.
Q: That’s really cool to see how even though you always felt like you knew God, you still had that moment with Him later on where you felt as though He was calling you towards Him. Do you feel like you had a specific moment like that when He called you to plant a church?
Pastor Jonathan: Oh, absolutely! I never had any intention of becoming a pastor. People don’t believe me when I say that, but it’s true. There was a part of me that never felt good enough for God. I always felt like I had to be the best I could be to be worthy of Him and His calling, but there came a time when God snapped me out of that mindset. I was serving at the Plantation campus, which was my family’s home church, and one day Pastor Chris Baselice started talking about the Calvary Vision. He told the congregation, “If you’re feeling called to plant a church, come and talk to me.” That moment really spoke to me, and I felt a nudge in that direction. Over the next few weeks, I took some time to pray about it—and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So, a few weeks later I went to Pastor Chris and spoke with him about it, and he got me plugged in so I could begin my leadership journey.
Q: We love hearing how God spoke to you in such a noticeable way. What drew you to Pembroke Pines? Why that neighborhood and that community specifically?
Pastor Jonathan: I’m actually from around that area, so I felt really familiar with it, but I also looked into how the community was being served and was astonished with what I learned. I pulled some statistics on Pembroke Pines and found that even though it represents 10% of the population in South Florida, only 6% of the churches were in that area. Also, it’s the second largest city besides Fort Lauderdale with more than 170,000 residents. That told me there were plenty of people to reach and not enough churches, so there was definitely a need there.
Q: Since opening this campus, have you seen God move in any specific ways throughout this community?
Pastor Jonathan: We actually had something amazing happen during our very first service! A woman was walking past our location, realized church was happening in a movie theater, and became so curious she came in. For the first time in her life, she walked into a church. During the service, she realized she needed God and got saved that day! That wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t doing stuff like this and planting churches in the communities that need Jesus.
What an incredible story and time with Pastor Jonathan. It’s amazing how God called him to plant a church, bringing his story full circle.
If want to learn more about Pastor Jonathan or attending the Pembroke Pines campus, visit CalvaryFTL.org/Pembroke-Pines. If you’re interested in the Church Planting Team, visit CalvaryFTL.org/Vision.