Apparently I confused a lot of people with my first paragraph on the last post-- we are NOT moving overseas. Sorry this announcement might be semi-anticlimactic to you. Maybe one day, but honestly moving overseas would’ve been an easier decision. I already shared all reasons in the last post about why it is hard to leave, but we really are so expectant and so very excited about what is to come for our family!
Last spring we had heard about a church plant starting that immediately had our interest. But we were encouraged, due to our service commitments at First, to stay put and focused and come back to it in the Fall. Well in the Fall the same thing happened, our service commitments required that we reevaluate come January. We learned that as long as we stay there will always be things we are connected with that will keep us here. But we had a divided heart for so long. Being present but, for some reason, longing to be elsewhere... a specific else where.
But this church never left our minds or our hearts. We often prayed for them and talked about how we felt like it could be the perfect place for our family.
But that never made sense to us entirely... Because of all the memories that you read about in the last post, because Houston’s First was home, because of the opportunities for me and for us to serve and lead, because of the opinions (both said and perceived) of so many that we should stay put... well it became a lot of noise that it was hard to hear what God wanted us to do.
So last Tuesday night Chris and I sat down and asked ourselves, “If we take out all the noise what do we feel like God is saying to us?”
Without hesitation we answered: Bayou City Fellowship!
Ahhhhhhhhhh it is SO exciting to finally share this so publicly! To finally get to speak about where we are going. We’ve tried to keep this decision just with those closest to us to make sure we listened to God and were prayed for, but not influenced in ways that kept us from hearing God.
We don’t know what God is doing or why He is calling us away from Houston’s First and to Bayou City Fellowship, but we are so expectant. We feel certain that He has big things for our family to ask us to walk away from so much. Hear me correctly, by “big” I don’t mean visible. We have no expectations or plans to make something of ourselves. In fact, most of this journey has been us choosing to make more of God than ourselves. Of being willing to be and do and serve and live however and whenever the Lord calls.
A question we’ve been asked frequently is, “Why Bayou City Fellowship? What do they offer that Houston’s First doesn’t?”
Let me be clear about this: I refrained from making disclaimers in this post because it’s not necessary. I feel this pressure that if I say something good about BCF then it would be interpreted that Houston’s First isn’t good as well. But that is so silly. It is OK to love something about BCF and it not be a slant to HF. My love for BCF doesn’t negate my love for HF. Does that make sense?
Our first response to the above question is always, “We feel like God is calling us.” I would say that is the biggest difference. We know that God hardly ever makes sense. That He often calls you out of what is comfortable. But that gives Him great glory because the result isn’t dependent on your ability, but His.
I’m not going to focus on how BCF is different. Again, we aren’t going to BCF because we wanted something different that HF. But I will share some things we love that we learned at their Core Membership Service...
The Vision. As a former PR/Marketing gal I am typically so irritated by vision and mission statements that mean nothing, just are filled with politically correct things. Not BCF. Their vision is: “We are about Jesus. We want to be committed to Him and serve people in His name. (1 Peter 2:6-8, Matt 4:19-20)” Curtis Jones, the pastor, said at Core Membership night that “Jesus is enough.” BCF is a new church. It is amazing all that God has orchestrated up to now, but there are still a lot of things that aren’t known. And when you ask your answer might just be, “We are about Jesus and we will commit to whatever He wants us to do.” Now that may sound churchy or like a non-answer. But I assure you it is not.
Shouldn’t that be all of our vision statement for our lives? Because Jesus really is enough.
The Distinctive. There are several things they share at their membership night and a few that really stood out to us and were further confirmation to us:
*We will be passionate worshippers. Worship is simple. No glitz or glam, just worship. The thing I love most about corporate worship is being with other believers. I love hearing voices and seeing faces of the people I’m worshipping with.
*We will be a house of prayer. And they are, everyone in the church is invited to pray before the service. They creatively involve prayer throughout the service too.
*We will lift up Jesus above every name. One of the things we’ve heard most from others is, “Oh that’s Beth Moore’s church isn’t it?” Well, I’ve been told she attends there. But no it is not her church. I love that is a core distinctive of the church, it is not based on or for anyone but Jesus.
*We will be relentless in spreading the gospel through words and action. This was a huge distinctive for us as Apartment Life has drastically changed how we see church. We often look at it through the eyes of, “How would one of our residents experience Jesus if they came with us to church?”
*We will use our own resources for the good of the city and the world instead of spending them on our own physical and spiritual entertainment. Yes and amen.
And then a few other things we have learned, experienced and observed...
*They don’t do Sunday School. Maybe they will eventually, but not now. Instead they do community groups. They are zoned to where you live and are once a week in someones home. The church provides great childcare for your kids so no one has to volunteer and everyone is present. The first hour is a potluck meal and you sit around and just eat and talk. It was so fun. The groups are based on where you live not what your relationship status or age or gender is. We felt like that made conversations focus on what we have in common: Jesus (instead of rabbit trails of common stories). Then they all study the same thing and discuss it and then pray over each other.
*The focus isn’t on programs. I know that no church would admit that they are focused on programs, but eventually, if you want to connect, it becomes about it. You schedule is so busy with church things that you never have time to focus on people or things outside of your church bubble. There are still programs and ministries within the church, but it isn’t all consuming.
*Their budget is broken down really well. A large portion goes to giving away and a large portion to savings. My Dave Ramsey Jr. loves that.
*The way that leadership is laid out: Pastor, Staff, Elders, Deacons(nesses) is really wonderful, and incredibly biblical.
*It’s a place we feel would gracefully welcome and include people we bring with us who don’t usually go to church or believe in Christianity.
*The people are real. We know they are people and when people are involved their will inevitably be frustrations. But we feel like there is such a genuine spirit, a desire to love God deeply, love the church community purely and to serve in any way God calls.
*The preaching is incredible! The times we’ve visited we couldn’t take notes fast enough, we felt the Spirit really convict us and cause change with each sermon.
*The coffee is good. I know that isn’t very spiritual, but let’s be honest, church coffee is the grossest thing on the planet. :)
We are so excited to share this journey with you all! If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or contact me directly.