As UBA continues to seek clarification about next steps and future directions, there are a few phrases that keep popping up in our conversations: Better Together, Advancing the Gospel, and Innovative Collaboration. UBA exists because churches believe that we can do a better job of advancing the gospel if we do it together. We are better together. We also believe that we must be constantly adapting, changing, and innovating. To advance the gospel effectively to our communities, Houston, and the world beyond, we believe that churches must continuously find innovative ways to collaborate with one another.
This month, we'd like to take some time to celebrate just a few of our churches who are advancing the gospel through innovative collaboration.
Teaming Up for Campus Ministry
Pastor Ben Ellis of Cornerstone Church Ministries, one of our newest UBA congregations, shared a great example of how churches are Better Together as Cornerstone and Sagemont Church (pastored by John Morgan) partner up in campus ministry.
We have started a college ministry! We are partnering with Sagemont and representing the BSM on San Jac Central campus. We’ve reached 100s of students and are excited to share Jesus and offer discipleship to them through both our church and Sagemont. We’ve already had 1 new student join our college worship night and our Sunday gatherings and he said "I thought I was the only Christian on campus". This tells us that we have a huge opportunity in our own front yard! So, as we are faithful to share we need The Spirit to convict and transform hearts.
Reaching Out Near and Far
Cornerstone also asks for your prayers as they advance the gospel beyond the greater Houston area as well as in the community around them.
We leave for Nepal in early March, taking the gospel into villages to share with people who have never heard the name of Jesus. This is huge for us, in partnership with the IMB, because it fulfills our vision to see lives changed, communities transformed, and the world revolutionized by the good news of Jesus. This opportunity will fulfill that entire vision! Plus, as people come to faith the IMB is sending a team behind us to plant churches in the villages to disciple the people.
We are also launching a mid-week youth service and Cornerstone Communities - our picture of home groups. Participation from the church in the community groups is high and we are considering adding another group. Both of these launch the 1st week of April. While we are heading to Nepal armed with the gospel, we also know there is a lot of work to do here - starting in our own homes and then with our neighbors. As we reach our neighbors and grow out, we will be saturating our communities and fanning a flame that will continue to grow out. Our community groups are aimed at addressing this entire concept. Somebody may not walk into a formal church gathering on Sunday, but they will come to our homes, hear a Bible study, and share a meal. In fact, that's how Cornerstone started and it is now full of "those people" who said they would never be part of a church.
UBA also celebrates how God is at work through an innovative, collaborative ministry of First Baptist Church of Pasadena, Golden Acres Baptist Church, Iglesia Cristiana Intimidad Con Dios, Templo Bautista South Houston, and Broadway Baptist Temple.
The story begins with two churches facing different challenges. Iglesia Cristiana Intimidad Con Dios is a vibrant, growing new church plant. Broadway Baptist Temple is an older, established congregation with declining resources and an aging facility.
Several churches played a part in the collaborative journey. Golden Acres Baptist Church was providing space for Iglesia Cristiana Intimidad Con Dios to meet. This allowed the new church plant a much-needed place to get started and have some time to grow and develop. As Iglesia Intimidad continued to grow they experienced the need to expand activities and explore a different venue. But where should they go?
At the same time, Broadway Baptist Temple called UBA Consultant Victor Marte to get some help and consultation regarding the direction and future of the church. They were experiencing some leadership transitions as well as facing the challenges of maintaining facilities in need of extensive repairs. Victor met with the members of Broadway Baptist Temple and introduced them to Iglesia Cristiana Intimidad Con Dios. He shared the possibility of the two congregations collaborating to meet their challenges together. Broadway Baptist Temple provided a perfect opportunity to match a growing young congregation with an established congregation with larger facilities. The leaders were interested and conversations continued as to how to best implement the replant/revitalization strategy.
However, the challenge remained of how to address facilities in disrepair. This is where the collaborative initiative expanded. Golden Acres Baptist Church provided some financial flexibility for Iglesia Intimidad by releasing them from two months of rent payments. This allowed the congregation to apply those funds to some much-needed repairs in the Broadway Baptist Temple building. This is where First Baptist Church of Pasadena also entered the picture.
UBA Executive Director Josh Ellis connected Victor to Tom Gamble, the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Pasadena. Together, Victor and Tom went to Broadway Baptist Church to review and evaluate the extent of repairs needed for the church facility. Tom figured that this was a place where First Pasadena could help.
Tom has now gathered a group of 30 volunteers who have spent many hours of physical labor on multiple days repairing the facilities. Volunteers have done everything from repair the roof and the air conditioning to plumbing and landscaping. Some flooring renovation appears to be next.
Iglesia Cristiana Intimidad Con Dios (pastor, Luis Orlando Acero) and Broadway Baptist Temple (pastor, Sam Pequeño) are strengthened and encouraged by the collaborative support of a replant/revitalization team comprised of UBA Church Consultant Victor Marte, Tom Gamble of First Baptist Church of Pasadena, Interim Pastor Brian Hellard of Golden Acres Baptist Church, and Pastor David Deulofeu of Templo Bautista de South Houston.
The work continues. The Kingdom is expanded. The gospel is advanced. And none of this could have been possible without the innovative collaboration of these churches. We are, indeed, Better Together.