Finding Faith in the Midst of a Pandemic: The Greenhouse Church

Joel Romelus and Mike Patz, two pastors at Greenhouse Church, are motivated by love to serve others in the community and use their leadership positions to be a voice for the voiceless. 

Joel Romelus, the campus pastor at Greenhouse, was born and raised in Miami after his family immigrated from Haiti. The foundation of his faith in God began at a young age in his own home and continued to grow through the mentors and coaches who invested in him and loved him as his own. He found a passion for using the influence he had to help others, especially the poor. 

While in Miami, he received his bachelor’s degree in international business at Johnson and Wales University but continued to feel called to ministry. He was invited by a close friend to attend Greenhouse Church in South Florida, where he then was invited to the main campus for a breakout weekend event in Gainesville.

Romelus has been a pastor with Greenhouse Church in Gainesville now for 6 years, is a sports chaplain for the Florida Gators and is currently getting his Master of Divinity at the Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. 

“My desire is to lead people, is to serve people, is to be a voice for the voiceless.”

Mike Patz, the lead pastor at Greenhouse, moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida where he began his faith journey and became involved in what is now Greenhouse Church. He focuses on establishing and encouraging a culture focused on the spiritual and professional development of each of his team members. 

“One of the biggest things a leader does is they identify the culture, and they guard the culture, they reinforce the culture, they fight for the culture.”

When they decided to temporarily end meetings due to COVID-19, the team focused on what was going to be the most loving decision and in the best interest of the most vulnerable people.

Romelus said although the world is facing two pandemics, COVID-19 and racial inequality, it is all about finding the opportunities. People can slow their hurry, spend time with family, pray more and have bible study together. 

“The reality is encouraging people to continue to maintain their relationship with God, continue to reach out to their neighbors, continue to be a witness because though we can’t meet physically, we can still live out that reality of that relationship with God and loving him and loving others.”

Listen to the 105th episode of WHOA GNV podcast to hear more about the impact of COVID-19 on the church, Romelus’s personal experience with racism, church culture, the impact of social media, the nationwide rioting and more.

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