Ten new word and sacrament congregations were planted in the Texas District in 2016, bringing the total of new churches started since 2004 to 113. That means one new congregation has been planted in Texas every six weeks for thirteen years! We praise God for His Kingdom work among us and through us, and for the many lives He is reaching through capable and dedicated congregations and networks in Texas.
Beneath these results are the prayers of God’s people, the sacrificial giving of financial resources to support mission, and the selfless labor of ones who have been redeemed by Jesus to reach the world with His love and grace.
Mission momentum is beginning to build. Three of the ten new starts have sprung out of the ACTS Church Network in Austin. Rev. Barrett Grebing launched ACTS Church Northwest in a movie theater in October. Vicar Adam Meyer launched two ACTS Church Antioch gatherings in local coffee shops. New relationships and devoted service to the community are growing from these innovative church planting efforts.
Cypress Chapel was launched in January of 2016, utilizing a local bar as a gathering place. Rev. Stephen DeMik, working with St. John in Cypress, was blessed with use of “The Shack” after flooding sidelined the church’s plans to start the new church at St. John’s campus.
A team of leaders has been working with LINC San Antonio and Rev. Dr. Ely Prieto to form a faith community at The Haven for Hope, one of the largest homeless shelters in the nation located in downtown San Antonio. LINC hosts several weekly gatherings and occasional spiritual retreats that bring dozens of people together around the Gospel.
Even more excitement is in the works for 2017. The Eternity Matters Most Network in North Dallas has deployed missionaries to an apartment complex in The Colony. After building relationships and demonstrating Christ’s care for residents, a Sunday evening worship gathering has now begun. The Network has also partnered with Rev. Mark Hotopp for additional creative outreach.
More than a dozen church planters and missionaries are working to launch new ministries through organizations and churches like LINC North Texas, St. Peter in Roanoke, The Oikos Church in Houston, Salem in Tomball, Grace in Killeen and St. Paul, The Grove, Christ the King in Kingwood and Lamb of God in Humble, Disciples of the Way in Dallas, Peace in Garland, the RioMAC network in the Rio Grande Valley, and the T2C2 Network in Dallas—just to name a few.
Evangelists are serving in West Texas and in oil towns. A new LINC ministry is taking hold in southwest Texas as congregations from Del Rio to Pearsall and Laredo survey the plentiful harvest of people who need to know Jesus.
By: Rev. Michael W. Newman
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area C