- Faith & Family
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church (MBC) in Homestead is tackling one of the problems that many minority churches today must face — being a congregation in a community that is ethically and racially different from its members.
“Our community is predominately Black but as you know St. Paul is in a migrant community,” explained Reverend Norman Freeman.
In spite of these difficulties, the century-old church offers outreach services to the wider neighborhood including a well-known feeding and clothing ministry.
“Even though there are both language and cultural barriers, the common thing is we all need food and all need clothing,” he said.
For the 41-year old senior pastor, who is married and the father of three, outreach, regardless of the obstacles, stands as one of the main purposes of church. Within the four walls he follows the same philosophy. The church offers several ministries including a choir and a thriving youth ministry. With a congregation averaging 250 people every week, Freeman estimates that 70 of them tend to be young adults.
“I really believe that this culture is seeking God but the church has lost its relevance and ability to reach them,” he said. “I believe that one of the greatest challenges today is to really understand and speak their language without compromising the Gospel.”
The importance of “setting the captives free”
Freeman’s favorite Biblical verse is John 8:36, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
“It speaks of my life and the life that I preach to people is because when I gave my life to Christ I felt a freeness that I never felt before,” he said. “We tell people to get saved and get free but as soon as God has freed them we want to put them back into bondage with doctrine, with the ways of the church and all of the things that are not impacting people spiritually.”
St. Paul is located at 344 SW 4th Avenue in Homestead.
By Kaila Heard