Six years ago, Cliff McCray, while working in Orlando in the DSD industry, newly married with a newborn baby girl, felt a conviction so profound to plant a church that it took him by surprise. Cliff had no ministry experience, seminary, or formal training but the calling to serve God’s Church hit him in the heart. Not long after this conviction, ministry leaders at his home church came alongside him and confirmed it in word. A few months later in April 2017, at an Exponential Conference, Cliff met Gavin Johnson and Chris Hruska, Citylight Omaha co lead pastors, after their presentation on church planting. They kept in touch and less than a year later, Cliff and his family were moving to Omaha to be the City Group Director at Citylight Omaha.
“We came up to Citylight with the intention to get ministry training,” Cliff shared with a grin. “We were open to being there 3-4 years and planting in Nebraska or Florida. It all happened in the most unorthodox way.”
Eighteen months into serving at Omaha, Cliff and Cameron Debity, a pastor at Omaha, were called to lead an existing church in Southeast Florida into a transition and revitalization. Shortly after serving that church, the Lord called them to launching a new church with new challenges and opportunities of growth ahead. With Cliff now leading as pastor and alongside a healthy advisory team, Radiant City has seen growth and hope. In two years since launch, there has been 31 baptisms and nine city groups scattered around the South Florida area. Over 100 people gather on a typical Sunday morning at Radiant City and with people who are persevering and serving. Earlier this year, Chris and Cliff started to talk more about the future of Radiant City.
“I’ve loved Citylight and this church and I learned so much,” Cliff said. “I mean I preached my first sermon at Omaha. Even though Cameron and I left and were not a part of the Citylight Family, we knew we would always be ‘distant cousins.’ When we planted Radiant City, we took a lot of what we learned and put that into Radiant. I mean there is Citylight DNA all over our church from our mission to our gather and scatter rhythms. I also began to think about what it would look like to be a part of Citylight Family. Initially, it wasn’t the best time to partner. There was some brokenness in our situation, and I think our church needed to gain some health and stability on its own. But I always stayed in contact with the Citylight pastors. When Patrick Chandler came down to Florida to plant a few years, he and I started talking about possibilities too.”
The 1002 Orlando Church, led by Patrick Chandler and Andrew Kappenman, launched a core team earlier this year after serving as Residents at a Salt Network Church in Orlando for the past two years. Citylight Family is a co-launch church for 1002 Orlando. Patrick and Cliff had been friends prior and kept in touch. Radiant City has been a supporter and prayer partner for 1002 Orlando. At a recent Citylight pastors retreat, Cliff mentioned to Patrick and a few other pastors “don’t be surprised if we become part of the family” and quickly the ball started to roll.
“This has God all over it,” Cliff confessed with confidence and joy. “Patrick Chandler is in Orlando because of the vision casted in Central Florida. Now, Radiant City is joining because of 1002 Church. There’s a lot of things that had to happened to get here. Some were hard and challenging, but God is faithful and works for us when we work for Him and even despite us when we make mistakes. I learned a lot of tough lessons the past four years and I’m still learning. This partnership with the Citylight Family and how God did it brings me so much joy. Now, prayerfully, there can be a movement of churches in the Florida to move in a unique way. You can’t write that story. Only God can.”
Cliff wants the Citylight Family to know how much he loves them. The partnership now with the Family and Radiant City is bound by love, relationship, and a common goal of mission. Radiant City is praying for you, their new Family, and asks for prayer in return. Please pray:
- For Radiant City’s leadership and leadership development. They are also in need of a Kids Coordinator and a Next Generation Director (students– college).
- For a permanent space and for provision. Currently, Radiant City gathers at an event space and desires to have permanent home.
- For Radiant City’s people to embrace their identity as local missionaries and to be equipped to be able to share the Gospel wherever they live, work and play.