Boca Raton, Fla., Radiant City launched in January 2021. Pastor Cliff McCray, left, celebrates one of the 24 baptisms their church has had since their launch.

Cliff McCray was playing football at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2007 when one of his teammates tragically passed away. Through the tragedy, God led McCray to faith and kickstarted a journey that led to full-time ministry and church planting.

“I got saved in a college ministry on UCF’s campus,” McCray said of his 2008 transformation. “I didn’t look back.”

More than a decade later, McCray launched Radiant City Church in Boca Raton, Fla., after leaving a successful career in the corporate world to begin exploring church planting at the suggestion of his church’s elders. Radiant City baptized 13 people before their first birthday. In just over a year, that number climbed to 24.

“Our mission is to multiply disciples and churches,” McCray said. “We want to love our neighbors, go and multiply disciples. We just said if God has commissioned us to do that, we want to make our mission simple.”

McCray’s church is part of the Class of 2021 church plants launched by Southern

Baptist churches. In total, Southern Baptists added 1,018 new congregations:

735 church plants, 201 affiliations and 82 new campuses. This represents a 25 percent increase in church plants and a 19 percent increase in congregations overall. Of the 735 church plants, 135 were replants, which NAMB has traditionally counted as church plants.

NAMB president Kevin Ezell said the uptick in church plants is a good example of what Southern Baptists can achieve through partnership in the Cooperative Program.

“We should be encouraged to see our plant count and overall congregation count going up,” Ezell said. “Southern Baptists are blessed with an incredible family of churches and when we unite to plant new churches and increase our Gospel reach, we are at our best.”

When you give through the Cooperative Program, you help plant churches all across the nation. To learn more, visit