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Vision 2013 – Do You Have What it Takes to Grow?
Creekside began with a prayer that God would move in the hearts of people on the west side of Katy. The year was 2000, and there was almost nothing but farms in this area. Each week I would drive the 7 mile x 2 mile circuit of 1463, 1093, Katy-Gaston Road and Katy-Flewellen, praying that God would bring churches to this area as it grew. It never occurred to me that we would be part of that prayer. But you are, and I am, we are together.
In May of 2008, as I was driving and praying, I clearly heard a Holy Spirit of God say in my spirit, “You are one of the people you have been praying for. I want you to start a church here.” I questioned God, out loud. But the answer came again, “You are one of the people you have been praying for. I want you to start a church.” Needless to say it was a strange thing to ponder. I already worked for a church in Katy. I was happy and successful in that ministry. But I will admit I was restless, having sensed for some time that God might be up to something more.
I learned that there was a 3-5 mile gap west of here where no church had yet touched. There were new neighborhoods being built and 100,000 people projected over the next 8 years. So after many months of praying, talking with mentors, and planning, we began the process of figuring out what this church would look like, how it would function and, most importantly, what the vision would be. As 2009 began, God planted in our hearts this vision: to create a church that unchurched, dechurched, skeptical and seeking people would love to attend.
God knew our heart for the community and for its people. We wanted to be a church for people who didn’t “do” church. We longed to be a part of a growing, natural organism rather than just another part of organized religion: a place where relationships were primary, community – foundational and where anyone could come and explore their faith at whatever point of the journey they find themselves.
About a month later, in March of 2009, God clearly added another component to this vision. Katy had grown from a small town of mostly white and Hispanic people to a large city of 300,000+ with 220 people groups and 70 languages. And God clearly said to me, “You need to reach across those ethnic lines, cultural lines, socioeconomic lines and any other barrier that keeps people from knowing that I love them.” This new component to reach out was so stretching that I concluded it must be from God, and so it was incorporated into our vision statement:
“Our vision is to create a multi-ethnic, cross-cultural church that unchurched, de-churched, skeptical and seeking people from any walk of life would love to be a part of.”
This has been our drive from the beginning. This was a new adventure. So, there were meetings, development, coaching with mentors, fundraisers, planning and much prayer and sweating. This vision did not carry with it any guarantees – success, provision or continuance. This was a pivotal moment in many lives to do a new thing, to believe in the possibility and to fulfill a vision that we believe came from God. And out of those time together we developed a mission statement to focus us and values to drive every decision we have made ever since. Our mission is this:
“Creekside Community Church exists to lead people to grow in their relationship to God, others and the world around them through Jesus Christ.”
We are not just a church centered around knowing ABOUT God, though that’s very important. We are not a church that’s just about developing successful and inclusive relationships, though that’s important, too. We decided to be a church that takes Truth and Grace, as illustrated in Jesus Christ’s actions and teachings, and willingly incorporates those into ALL our relationships, being open to people who are different from us and serving people with the love of God in any way possible. This is how our values became Seeing, Serving, & Sharing:
1. Seeing people that others might not see, and intentionally building authentic relationships with them.
2. Serving God and others in tangible ways
3. Sharing the story of God’s love through the Bible and the stories of God’s work in real peoples’ lives.
If you have been here for any amount of time, you know that we continually strive together to see this vision, this mission and these values lived out – individually and collectively. I am so proud of your contributions to our community – food, clothing, shelter, financial help and accountability; spiritual community, celebrating and sorrowing together, walking a journey of faith at different paces but together. We cannot lose sight of these great characteristics.
We cannot become inwardly focused and self-satisfying. It would be the demise of all God has planned for you and through you. We cannot afford to think, “what about me? What’s in it for me?” The Kingdom of God has always been about others, it’s always been about serving; it has always been about following God’s will no matter what the cost. This is the price of vision. It is the necessary cost of the mission, and of living out God-centered values. It is why Jesus said to his disciples and to us, “If anyone wants to follow me, you must take up your cross daily and do what I do.”
A few of you have been with us from the beginning – the very first meeting to discuss this possibility. There were about 25 adults. Yet today, you are 120 people who attend monthly or more. You’ve invited your friends and family to join you in serving God and this community. You have served countless hours doing missions work for the poor, for orphans, for the elderly and the disabled. You give away your hard earned resources to help others. Your belief in this vision and love for God have taken you to India, Africa, Belize, Honduras, Brookshire, Richmond and next door. Those are visual manifestations of spiritual fervor.
And, on that same spiritual level, there have been 48 people decide to become followers of Christ since we began. 27 people have been baptized publicly as a witness to their faith. More than half of all adults meet weekly for fellowship and to study God’s Word. And a significant majority of you volunteer monthly so that others can come, and see, and hear, and be served. Your actions of love and commitment are evident.
You inspire me to keep on going. You challenge me to push ahead and become rather than sit still and stagnate into a “normal” church organization. YOU are the church – the body of Jesus Christ. YOU are Creekside Community, a group that welcomes all comers, helps those less fortunate than themselves, lives out the life of Jesus in the world around you. You do not lack vision or passion at all. I only pray that I and your pastors do not dampen the fire in your heart to fulfill this great endeavor, but rather fan into flame those embers of love, compassion, grace, and truth. Because the truth is – this is only the beginning. The truth is – we possess a vision greater than ourselves, our abilities, or our resources. So here are a few things I want us to think about as we begin year 4 of Creekside Community Church.
- Fulfilling a Vision Greater than Ourselves
- Requires gifted people
- Requires time and effort
- Requires resources
- Financial commitments
- New systems and organization
- Creating impactful environments
- Increasing excellence while welcoming change – feedback
- Why should we want to grow?
- Anything that doesn’t grow is stagnant
- All of us are becoming, but haven’t yet arrived
- God calls us to “Go and make disciples”
- 48 of us did not have a relationship with Jesus three years ago; 48 people who might not have heard the Good News of Jesus’ love and forgiveness without your effort.
- There are 4800 or 48000 more who need what we have to offer – the love of God & the fellowship of His people
So I ask you this very important question: Do you have what it takes to grow? Love for God and others; commitment to the vision; willingness to flex and change; grace and truth to walk this journey with others who are not like ourselves?
This is our challenge for the next year. And I believe we can see exponential spiritual growth, numerical growth, and growth in our impact on our community and world. I invite you to continue this journey with me. And, because I know that life on a journey like this can be complicated, and distraction and discontent can begin to surface during any significant work of God, I leave you with this important message from Nehemiah, a great leader of the Jewish people:
Nehemiah Nehemias 尼希米记 Неемия 6:3
3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”
3 Y les envié mensajeros, diciendo: Yo estoy haciendo una gran obra y no puedo descender.
3 Но я послал к ним послов сказать: я занят большим делом, не могу сойти;
Don’t miss God’s best for your life and the lives of your friends and family by being distracted with anything other than Him.
Resolve to prioritize your time by spending it with God each day and looking for ways to fulfill His purpose for you. In doing this you will also fulfill God’s purpose for you as a part of His body at Creekside. And I give you this guarantee: the best is yet to come. Let’s pray.