CHRISTIAN HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY AND TESTIMONY of Pastor Maurice “Moe” Evans.

Pastor Maurice “Moe” Evans was born May 21, 1974 and raised by a single mother in Paterson, NJ.  There, for most of his childhood, he attended church and a catholic school in Kindergarten & 1st Grade and a private Christian school until the 6th Grade.  Like many people, his church experience was more of a religious experience of rituals and tradition than a true relationship with the Living God.

Helpless

While still very young, at a sleepover at relatives in NY, a family member sexually assaulted Maurice.  Being afraid and not sure how to get out of the situation and having heard of a loving and protecting God in school, he protested by saying “God would not like this to happen”.  The relative then proceeded to bow their head, fold their hands and mumble with their lips. After a few moments of mock prayer they said “Don’t worry Moe, God said it was OK”.   The next morning this relative reassured him that God was OK with what happened and reminded him not to tell anyone.  This same relative would physically abuse Maurice while babysitting him.  Later there were two different baby sitters, one male and one female that also abused him.

Maurice was convinced he would be the one to get in trouble, and tried on several occasions to say something to family members, but was ignored or laughed at.

As he grew older and began making life decisions for himself, church became less and less a part of his life. In 1986, he moved to Saint Petersburg, FL with his family and went to public school in the 7th grade. As the struggles of adolescence, adulthood and the temptations of life came, religion repeatedly failed him.

Hopeless

Having neither father nor consistent positive male influence in his life, combined with having experienced verbal, physical and sexual abuse as a child from family members and bullying from society, Maurice became rebellious and depressed because he had no one to lean on.

When he was 16 he knew “God” was the only person who could help him find peace and meaning in his life, but was unsure of who or what is “God”.  So he began looking to discover who God really was. Unfortunately, by his junior year he had joined a street gang, and had become increasingly violent, hating life even to the point of attempting suicide.  He failed to graduate his senior year with only ¼ credit short of earning a diploma.  He also began pursuing a career in public speaking, the music business and marketing consulting.

Confused on the issues presented by the various religions of the world and the gods they called on, Maurice began a personal quest to see if a real God existed or not, and if so, who He actually was.  For several years he thoroughly investigated and practiced various religions.  Becoming deceived he got deeply involved in the occult and new age. Although he started his journey with the Bible itself, over time he strayed farther and farther away from God, The Bible and Jesus.  All the while his depression, contemplations of suicide and overall hopeless outlook on life continued to increase and weigh on his soul.

Born Again

Until one day, in May of 1995 a woman named Donna, the owner a consignment shop asked him to come quickly to her store before it was time to open.  They had previously held debates and conversations based on spirituality on many occasions. Having previously attempted to sell her advertising and thinking it was a business related emergency, he hurried to the shop to help her.  He did not realize it was him who was about to be helped.

When he arrived, she looked him straight in the eye and said. “Maurice, God woke me up early this morning and told me you were deceived.”  Any other time, this would most likely have led to a religious debate, but the Lord softened his heart and he simply replied “okay, what should I do?”

The owner of the shop had another believer named Clara come over and the three of them prayed for his deliverance and salvation through Jesus.  As they were praying, one began to speak in tongues, and then miraculously getting the interpretation, Maurice heard the distinct voice of the Lord directly in his heart expressing how much He loved him.

Crying, Maurice, submitted his heart to Jesus and renounced the witchcraft and idolatry he had been practicing for so many years in his search for the true God.

His search was over and he had found, or rather had been found, by the One, True Living God. He felt the love of God wash over him, and saw the deception he had been living under move away like a veil from in front of his eyes.  Suddenly, Jesus was very clearly present to him– in person, in a way He had never known before. Jesus was who he had been looking for the whole time!  At last, Jesus was finally seen by Maurice in His rightful perspective as Lord of the Universe.

Maurice’s life was forever changed, as he was now on the right path towards his destiny. Donna and her husband Ronnie discipled him for several months.  Immediately, God began to manifest spiritual gifting in him, and it was clear to many who encountered him, even before it was clear in his own mind, that he was called to be a Minister for Jesus, even a Pastor. In addition to using Maurice to manifest prophesies and healings, over the next few months God revealed to Him visions of his call and the future plans God had for his destiny.

After this true conversion to Christianity in May of 1995, Maurice bounced around visiting various churches whenever he could. He had no car and had to get rides whenever people were willing and available.  He enjoyed one church in particular, but it was a 40 minute drive from Southern Saint Petersburg to Tampa and it was hard to find people to give him rides back and forth.  The church was pastored by a couple and at the time it was a small church meeting in a warehouse and later became a mega-church and international television ministry.

Destiny Foretold

He was blessed to be present and a participant as part of a select group of the congregation asked to go for a special prayer.  He remembers the day he was with the small group of people as they walked through an empty building believing God for the new property and its adjacent neighbor.  By God’s grace, in an answer to prayer, the church did in fact acquire that property. Also, they eventually got the one next door from the Canada Dry Corporation.  This was just one of the many examples of Maurice getting to witness the mighty power of God in answering prayer.  Sadly, after that couple reached celebrity status, they fell into heresy, got divorced and scandal followed them separately.  Even to this day they still remain on television internationally, yet having multiple campuses and international ministry, there is no disciplemaking taking place.

It was prophesied over him several times  at that very same South Tampa church by different Pastors that he was going to impact this generation, and God had a Great Call on his life to be a Prophet and Pastor.  This same prophesy would spontaneously pop up suddenly over a dozen different times in various places by different people who had not known him previously.

The World

With all of this, since he was no longer being personally discipled he still found himself living a worldly life while trying to explain the goodness of Jesus to others.  He met a girl through a co-worker and moved in with her.  There would be times when she would get upset because he spent so much time in the Bible. Often times, she would pout until he put it down to spend time with her.  He realized that his relationship with God was in competition with his relationship to his girlfriend.

Back when Maurice had first turned 18, he was at a teen dance club when a police officer confused him for someone else and threw him out of the dance.  With his ride still inside, he had no way to get back to his home in the next county 40 miles and and hour’s drive away, so he stayed in the parking lot.  The officer came out and arrested him for trespassing.  With no prior arrest history he was released and placed into the Salvation Army’s misdemeanor intervention program, which would have given him a clean record had he completed it.  He did not do his community service time or pay for all the fees.  A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Jailed

In January, 1996, over the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior’s Holiday Weekend, he was in a car with his friends coming home from a night club. The car was pulled over and IDs were checked.  Maurice was arrested and taken to jail for violation of probation on the trespassing charge. After being shuffled through 3 different jails, he ended up in the minimum security prison in Hillsborough County Florida.

He was incarcerated for 2 weeks and was miraculously used by God to bring over a dozen people to salvation to Christ.  A mini revival broke out as he lead a regular bible study.  Over one-quarter of the inmates ended up regularly attending his daily bible study.  Once released he had a renewed vigil for God and people.

His girlfriend’s mother did not like the idea of him being arrested, so they broke up and he was asked to leave immediately. He moved into a friends house and slept on the couch for some months until he was able to get an apartment.  He began leading a bible study at his new home where mostly his co-workers showed up every week.  He was not being discipled, but was doing his best to lead others to Christ and disciple others.

1st Church

Maurice floated around from church to church until late-1996 when his mother invited him to a church where she knew most of the members.  He liked the small local Baptist church because they taught directly from the scriptures.  He felt led to stay and become a part of that fellowship and so became an official member.  Since he was a new believer it didn’t matter to him that the church was not a charismatic one, and everyone didn’t speak in tongues or get as “fired up” as he did about the things of God. He still devoted himself fully by getting involved with youth, ushering and driving the church van.  This is also the place where he was allowed to bring a Sunday message for the very first time in his life.

To the dismay of the people who had to sit on hard folding chairs in the local community center, his first message had over 20 “key” points and was no less than 2 and half hours long!  Naturally, without training, this extremely long sermon didn’t seem strange to Maurice.  He was happy to speak God’s word for as long as he could, even if the people seemed restless. One thing was for certain, despite the lack of training, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that God had called him to speak publicly about His Word.

His church was a Bible teaching church, yet like many, had no structured plan for discipling new believers.  The congregation was churched, traditional and religious. The membership was comprised of mostly families who knew and grew up with each other.  The church was created with these families as the result of a split from another church. The split was due to the fact the Pastor whom they followed had been accused of financial impropriety. To this day, the church is still small, and populated only by the children and grand children of the original families. No new converts and no disciplemaking takes place.

Lots of rich Baptist traditions, especially as it related to African-Americans, permeated the church.  It was at this church Maurice gained a strong appreciation for his African-American Heritage.  He also learned key lessons about the Sovereignty of God and the importance of humility in ministry.  He often worked nights doing janitorial work alongside his Pastor.

Maurice brought many visitors to the church who made decisions to follow Christ and get born again.

Unfortunately, as did many other people in the church, Maurice had sin in his life that was not properly addressed by the church, irrespective of if a person was in leadership or not.

This frustrated him and made it difficult for him to balance out what the word of God said and how He was living his own life.  So many long-time Christians made a point to share “you will never be perfect” and yet something inside him was saying there has to be a way to not lead a double life as a Christian.

The worse part to him seemed the church’s stance on such matters. It appeared, as long as sin was not in the open it was winked at. If it became public knowledge, or it caused someone else’s sin to be brought to light, then, and only then was it condemned.

So even though he was not the only person having sex outside of marriage or living with someone, it seemed “ok” as long as it was not made public, or interfered with the desires of others who strove for power and influence within the church.

Homeless

In 1999 when his apartment lease was up, his mother asked him to move back home because she needed help around the house and was lonely.  She said he would not have to pay rent and could work on building his business. He spent the money he had set aside for a new place on business equipment and supplies.  Within a few months his mother met a man online in an internet chat room.  In less than 2 weeks of online chat, she decided to fly up and see the man she had just met online and married him the very same day she arrived.  She became his 6th wife on the first day of meeting him face to face and decided to move-in with her new husband in Colorado.

Maurice’s mother told him he could take over payments on the house.  He paid for all utilities and sent her money for the house.  After being there a month she told him the house has been in foreclosure, even before she left, and if he could come up with the money to keep it, he could have it, otherwise she was going to let the house go. Not sure what to do he began investigating options, only to find out that her new husband had decided they were going to move back to Florida.  They moved back and Maurice was not silent about the man’s treatment of his mother or his own teenage daughter– nor his views on religion.  He brought this to his pastor’s attention who refused to get involved.

His new step father decided he would give Maurice one week to get out.  Just three days later, Maurice returned home from church only to find the locks on the doors changed.  They stayed away from the house for 48 hours, during which time he was unable to get a clean change of clothing. Maurice found himself homeless and frustrated.

Betrayed by Church

Again, he tried to get the church to intervene and mediate to no avail.  The church he had given so much of his time and money to, and had only come to once for help in 3 years, had now turned its back on him in his time of need.

He kept going to the church though, even with no home of his own to return to afterwards.  He continued to go and serve, even when having to sleep on the beach, despite the whispers of the congregation that looked with noses up and fingers wagging instead of reaching out and helping him. It appeared, the churches building fund, was more important than assisting to house a faithful member in need.

Maurice realized the church’s leadership found more pleasure in playing political games, than actually helping a member in need.  Maurice went and found a small efficiency that would let him in for first month and work out the security over time.  He asked the church for help in the rent and utilities setup.  The Pastor offered to help secure an apartment on the condition of Maurice first “humbling himself” by asking his step-father for help. He agreed and proceeded, only to have his mother and step-father deny him while literally breaking out in laughter to his face, and the church then renege on their part of the deal in the end.

Adding insult to injury, a special announcement and big show was made the following Sunday in front of the whole congregation thanking and celebrating the “special gift” just given to the church’s building fund by his mother and step-father — in the exact amount he had asked for a couple days earlier to get into the apartment!

Finally, one morning, before church, as he was about to enter the building, he stopped his Pastor and said, “I am really thinking about leaving the church.” This was very difficult as he had looked to this Pastor as a Father-figure and always had been open and honest about everything in his life to him. To the heartbreak of Maurice, his Pastor’s only reply was, “ok, just drop off the keys to the van.” and he turned his back and continued walking into the church.

For many months, angry with God, he simply did not go to any church, until one day in prayer he felt in his spirit he still needed to be obedient to the call on his life.  Even though he was homeless, he realized the problem was not with God, but in placing his trust and confidence in people.

He also realized God wanted to bring to his attention the sin in his own life. He trusted in the visions God gave him, and that one day God would do great and mighty things through him.  Despite having had suicidal thoughts previously in life, he knew at that moment, through Jesus, he would not die in this state of being destitute, and that God would bring him through it victoriously. He had a Destiny.

Destiny Begins

While still homeless, in 1999 he started attending a fairly young and growing church that had a lot of new believers just like him. He found the atmosphere inviting and quickly got involved in youth ministry.  God blessed his obedience and he was quickly blessed to be able to get an apartment and a little stability in his life.

Maurice served in the youth ministry as a lay-leader for a time.  Later, although never having been addicted to drugs or alcohol, he also found himself involved as a participant and then leader in the Celebrate Recovery Ministries developed by Rick Warren. This helped provide him some additional needed counseling to help him get over the previous emotional hurts and hang-ups from his past.

As time went on, once again he became frustrated with his desire to grow and mature spiritually.  He was daily in his bible and it was evident he had a gift for encouraging, teaching and helping people discover their God given giftings.

Even though the church had 1500 members, won an award for America’s Fastest Growing church and was still growing quickly, he was unable to find any way to get discipled.  That was a big issue for him combined with the rebellious nature he noticed of most of the people in leadership, even the associate Pastor.

From his perspective, the majority of leaders seemed intent on doing their own thing, their own way, in their own areas, despite the vision given by the Senior Pastor.  Each one teaching their own varying beliefs, each saying how they were the FAVORED ministry, each expressing how they would get a budget increase the next year because of such favor.  They also had varying doctrines which they preached, even if it contradicted what the Senior Pastor preached. Worse, ministering to others while sin was an active practice in their life and disrespect for authority didn’t sit right with Maurice…yet these were his leaders.  In all of that, no disciplemaking was taking place.

A general lack of integrity in the little things, and unaddressed sin once again made it hard to swallow what he knew could not be what God intended for His people.  He didn’t know the solution, but he definitely saw the problem, especially in his own life.

Like the previous church, if no one complained, or it didn’t bring to light others sin, there was “no problem”.  Having no other example, he just hung in there, until again, his sin caught up with him.  The previous situation of him and his girlfriend having had intimate relations, even though they had already stopped on their own accord, was made public.  He was asked to step down from leadership, which he did.  It was a little surprising though, considering the many sin issues throughout the church’s leadership that went unaddressed.

Maurice knew God wanted Him to lead a life of integrity, and accepted this as discipline from God.  Yet no means of counsel, discipleship or restoration was given to him. He was merely given the book A Tale Of 3 Kings to read and not given any kind of structure or timetable.  For months he met with the Associate Pastor only once every 2-3 weeks for less than an hour.  These meetings were not to address the situation, but just to talk and have him mostly listen to the White Pastor’s frustration with having to deal with African-American youth whom he said he could not relate to because they “only think about playing basketball all the time.”

Homeless…again

Then, his landlord’s apartments finally qualified for section 8, which meant the government would give him a premium for Maurice’s apartment. In order for Maurice to stay he had to now pay a major increase in his rent and utilities by about $300 per month.  He was told this 2 weeks before his lease was set to renew. Once again he found himself facing insurmountable circumstances, discouraged and afraid since he had only been 1 year out of being homeless.

Unable to afford the increase and evicted, he rented from some church members, only to not be able to afford to stay after a couple months.  He told the people he was renting from he would ask the church for money to pay what he owed, and would still move out as agreed. Getting money from the church would NOT have given him a place to stay, but would instead have helped the family that had rented him a room for a few months.

Before getting a chance to speak with the Pastor, a new attendee who was not a member of the church told him the Pastor was not going to give him any money.  Maurice asked him why he would say such a thing, especially since it wouldn’t help him directly, and he replied “because he told me he wasn’t going to give you any money”.  Maurice dismissed this, because there should have been no way the Pastor would have spoken to this man about his personal situation or even what his answer would be.  He also thought he knew the Pastor’s heart, and that the Pastor would understand it would not be for him personally, but instead to help the other family.

He was wrong.

Betrayed by Church…again

Once able to meet with the Pastor, it was just as the person had said, and the pastor decided he didn’t want to help.  Again, a flood of emotions came crashing anew as this was the second time he had poured his energy and money into a church. And again, this time after 2 years of faithfulness and commitment, the ONE time he needed them, they chose not to help, even though it was within their power to do so. And it was not even to help himself, but for someone else.

Although the pastor encouraged him to stay and “tough it out”, Maurice decided not to stick around and go through it all again and eventually left the church.  Shortly thereafter, ironically, the very same Senior Pastor made front-page news headlines as he experienced a moral failure publicly in regards to finances. He was forced by the Assemblies of God to move to another state and go to another church. Again, Maurice sensed God was letting him know, the problem was not God or Christianity or even a “church”, but his misplaced trust in people.

This time, he didn’t shun church in general, but instead visited several places throughout Saint Petersburg each Sunday.  After a few months of being homeless yet a second time, he had to humble himself and call on an ex-girlfriend for help. This happened to be someone whom he had ended the relationship with and treated badly in the process of breaking up.  She allowed him to eat dinner with her family and sleep on her enclosed porch in Clearwater every night until he could get on his feet again.

By this time in his life, he was very clear of the call God had on his life, but he knew someone had to teach him how to be a man of integrity. He was versed in the bible, and “Christianese”, the popular catch-phrases believers often use, but he knew little of the dynamic of having a real solid relationship with Jesus. This is what he knew he was missing in his life.  He discovered he had become religious and he hated it.

After Salvation in 1995, he often had volunteered with organizations like Promise Keepers Men’s Ministries and Teen Mania Youth Ministries at their parachurch events.  He also enjoyed volunteering for various Christian concerts, dinners, seminars and events.  In these circles, his leadership skills were recognized and he often was placed in charge of other volunteers. Inevitably, he found the majority of the main volunteer pools, organizers and pastors he met that worked above and below him had all been “raised up” at the same church.

Disciple Multiplication

In 2001 he began attending a mega-church in Clearwater, who’s Senior Pastor at the time was John Lloyd from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He specifically went to this church because everywhere in Tampa Bay he went, he ran into believers from this church and there was always something different about them. They had integrity, and their spirituality was sincere.  He wanted it too.  He had also visited this church several times back in 1995 when he did not attend the South Tampa church.

After visiting there for the first service, he answered the alter call and rededicated his life to Jesus.  He was also introduced to a young pastor named Daryn Kinney who gave him an article he had just read and snipped that day on the importance of integrity, discipleship and mentorship.  This was confirmation on what Maurice had just recently been studying and praying about and knew immediately he was in the right place.

Within a few weeks, a friend of his ex-girlfriends gave him a car for free, and he got a job a Best Buy.  This enabled him to get an efficiency apartment and live on his own again. Maurice went through the new/rededicated believer’s “fresh start” class and eventually the membership classes and officially joined the church.  As he got back on his feet, he started his business again and God blessed him to grow it from 0 to 10 employees in a matter of just 2 years.

He wanted to get involved with youth ministry, and entered a volunteer training group.  This was designed to train members who were interested in becoming high-level leaders.  After the multi-week session was over, there was an orientation, and Pastor Kinney emphasized the importance of character and integrity.

Although no one at the church knew about it, Maurice felt convicted by the Holy Spirit in regards to his still secret sin.  So he went to the Youth Pastor and confessed to him “I am sorry but I cannot be a leader, I have been intimate with my girlfriend”.  After giving a deflated sigh and a noticeable disappointment, The Youth Pastor said, “Well, ok, I can’t talk right now, let’s meet this week.”  It was obvious the Pastor was disappointed, as leaders were needed in the youth ministry and he had looked forward to Maurice getting involved.

Expecting the usual, Maurice wasn’t prepared for what God did next in his life. The Pastor explained that the church does not wink at sin, but he believed that God wanted to restore believers.  He told Maurice the necessity to take 6 months off, and go through a counseling process.  He was assigned to the young Pastor Kinney for counseling to address the sin issue head on.

Just prior to counseling, encouraged by the Senior Pastor and several other members, he had enrolled in the church’s Bible College: the Christian Life School of Theology (CLST).  There he learned the basics of living a life for Jesus Christ, the Bible, how to study it, how to teach it, how to serve, how to counsel, how to train leaders, and how to be a leader in ministry.

Several opportunities to serve as leadership in ministry came up at the church, but he was not allowed to participate because he was in restoration.  Along with the discipling and mentorship he was receiving, God made it clear the importance of him maintaining his integrity and not being enslaved to sin in the midst of leading a ministry. Due to backsliding, it took Maurice 9 months instead of 6, but he was indeed finally restored.

Partners in Destiny

It was in the CLST Bible College he met the love of his life, Smirna DeJesus who would later become his wife. They both attended the school 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week for two semesters of what was to be its final year in existence. After that first year, Smirna left to go on a long-term mission to the Caribbean for 15 months on the Mercy Ships. They got engaged while she was away and they married in Safety Harbor, Florida on March 20, 2004.

During his fiancée’s time away, and now serving God without the burden of Sin, Maurice experienced a new dynamic of victory in his life. Though he struggled and stumbled, he also experienced a new dimension of God’s power as well as his “promotion” in leadership.  His business began to do well and God gave him favor within his church.  For the first time, he was getting both the needed training and discipleship necessary to lead a successful lifestyle of faith.

He became a prominent and high-level lay leader during his almost decade of training and serving at the 3500 member church. He and his wife assisted Pastors in starting and developing the Children’s and Singles Ministries, the Spanish Children’s and Youth Ministries and also in the Women’s and Missions Department.  Maurice and His wife were used to bring hundreds to salvation in Christ, led, taught and discipled many.

Separated for The Call

Sadly, as the church grew in numbers, its focus became the bigger “building” and less on integrity and disicplemaking.  These issues being brought to leaderships attention on several occasions were ignored.

In October 2008, answering the call of God, he and his wife moved from Safety Harbor in North Pinellas County back to his childhood town of Southern Saint Petersburg near the Skyway Bridge.  They took on a position as associate pastors at a young church. Unfortunately, after discovering the basic doctrinal issues of the necessity of converting new believers, baptizing and discipling them all was not priority at the church as it was previously portrayed, they brought the issue, among others to the Associate Pastor.   The associate Pastor was the wife of the Senior Pastor, but it turned out she was the one who was truly the Senior Pastor. That was simply another issue that was portrayed one way, but turned out to be another in practice.

After being at the church with no changes and no serious efforts made towards growing the Kingdom, addressing sin, or training leaders, they left 6 months after taking the position. Understanding the detriment of possibly causing a church split and the futility of thinking one could ever be successful or blessed in one, they decided to leave quietly.

They began attending a church in North Saint Petersburg.  They went there simply so they could spend some time being fed and ministered to. After spending some much needed transitional and restoration time for a few months in prayer and healing , they realized God was saying it’s time to begin moving on to what had been stirring in their hearts for some time.  It was time to begin a Church Planting Ministry.

Understanding it would need to be a home fellowship to start, due to lack of members and finances; they continued to attend the church and began preparation for starting what was to become Tampa Bay Christian Center (TBCC).  Since there was only one person in St. Pete they actively discipled and one other person who had recently been brought to the Lord, Pastor Maurice Evans was prepared for the possibility of the first service having only 2 people besides his wife and himself in attendance.

They met with about a dozen Pastors and Ministers they were trained by, went to school with and had gotten to know over the years to get advice and counsel for this new venture.  They also asked a few key mentors to become part of the Board of Directors.  After praying, fasting and putting together mission and vision statements, and getting the legal matters attended to, they moved forward with getting the new church established.

They joined A local Pastor (who had also served under John Lloyd) Ministerial Association which said they would provide them with mentoring, accountability and fellowship. The group licensed them to minister in January 2010.

Pastor Moe believes in taking the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20 literally and therefore focused TBCC’s themes around discipleship and destiny. There is a major difference in the lives and power of believers when you compare those having had zero or little training and personal discipleship to the ones that actually do.

Because he has personally experienced and witnessed in others this dramatic difference, Pastor Evans sees discipleship and Destiny consciousness as the essential ingredients in a Christian’s life.  These are also the very keys that seem to be missed in many spiritual circles.

Tampa Bay Christian Center held its first home fellowship on July 26, 2009 at Maurice’s home in Saint Petersburg and had 1 person attend.  They continued to minister to the one person until December 6, 2009 when they moved out of the living room to Downtown St Petersburg to hold “preview meetings”.   They kicked off the New Year in their new building with their Year Long Theme “New Year’s REVOLUTION” and January’s Theme “Back To Church Sundays.”

It was clear God brought Pastor Moe back to the place of his greatest life pains to restore and be restored, forgive and be forgiven. From January to June, in addition to partnering with a few outreaches to assist with events, God used them to personally counsel, disciple and minister to over 80 people in the Saint Petersburg Area.

Missed Direction

On June 6th, 2010 when their downtown lease was up, they took on associate pastoral roles at Home Church of their ministerial association  at the request of Senior Pastor.  Over the course of that year of ministry there, they realized their focus on training, discipleship and church planting was not shared by the Pastor in the way he originally suggested to them.

It was not simply the fact that the church had no organization or structure or order, but the Pastor specifically avoided any conflict and was not a strong leader.  There was no culture of discipleship and even less diversity than at their last church.

Even after specifically asking for it, neither they nor any other associate pastor received any ongoing leadership training, though it had been repeatedly promised.  Also no one in the ministerial association or church were held accountable to a Christian lifestyle.

In the entire year of being there, not once did the Senior Pastor inquire as to the state of personal walk, marriage or any other element of Christian walk in Maurice & Smirna’s or any other leaders life.

Offers to begin leadership training or bring leadership to seminars and conferences were also rejected, including Maurice offering to PAY all the Pastors expenses to 2 different Pastoral conferences like Moody’s Annual Pastors Conference.

New Wine Skins

God made it clear to Maurice and Smirna they had a job to do in multiplying disciples and nothing should sidetrack that, no matter how big the need may be in someone else’s ministry or for someone else’s call for assistance. After getting counsel, they resigned from leadership and canceled their association membership.

In January 2011 they launched Epic Abundance Ministries with a goal of significantly transforming the lives of at least 1000 people by the end of the year.  By June of 2013 They hade reached over 800 through facebook and over 200 in person in the Tampa Bay Area via counseling, teaching and disciplemaking.

In keeping with their commitment for accountability and lifelong learning, they applied for and they were accepted in June of 2011 as church planters by the Evangelical Free Church of America (http://www.EFCA.org).

The EFCA was the FIRST and ONLY association that lived up to its promises.  District Superintendent Glen Schreiber and Church planting coach Bruce Redmond were provided as mentors and planting coaches.  Maurice and Smirna were put into church planting training immediately. Together they are turning Epic Abundance Ministries into the current Epic Life Community Church Plant that is now in gathering mode and seeking God for a planting city.

Maurice is known as “Moe” by his friends and has become a Certified John C. Maxwell Leadership Coach, Speaker and Trainer and a Certified Jay Conrad Levinson Guerrilla Marketing Trainer.

Moe & Smirna stay focused on making disciples and continue to sponsor events and intend to plant a mutli-ethnic, multi-site church with a focus on discipleship.

Future plans include a record label, book publishing house, ministry training center and local houses of prayer.

If you want to keep up to date with Pastor’s Moe & Smirna, want to help them start churches and multiply disciples or just want more information see

The Website: http://www.EpicLifeCommunity.com
The Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/EpicLifeCommunity
The Twitter Page: http://www.Twitter.com/EpicLifecc
Call: (530) 7-6-FAVOR