Emerging from Our Cocoon

“Dying churches don’t have these problems!” I’ve heard those words from Pastor Bill at least a dozen times over the past couple of months as we continue to emerge from the cocoon of our existence of the past several years. As the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…; a time to break down, and a time to build up (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3).

For the past several years, Huffman Baptist Church operated in survival mode. We did not believe it was our time to die. So we cautiously and carefully planted here and there. We broke down the structures that needed to be changed. We prayed for a new birth of mission and ministry. And now we stand ready to experience the revitalization of HBC.

It’s time to emerge from our cocoon. On the outside, a cocoon appears to be lifeless. But nothing could be further from reality. The cocoon is a safe place. A place where transformation is taking place. A place where life is being made beautiful. It is a place where caterpillars leave their cumbersome, crawly legs and embrace wings that allow them to fly!

Next Generation Improvements

Over the past several years, we have shut down buildings and deferred maintenance. It was the right thing to do. This time last year, we were using about 25% of our total space. Today, we are using more than 90% of this massive church campus. Now that we are using the space we are also addressing maintenance and building infrastructure issues to fit our space to current needs.

Over the past three months we have updated our exterior signage to reflect our current church logo and clearly communicate that we are working in partnership with other ministries. We have also upgraded our technology with fiberoptic internet, wifi throughout the building, and newer computers that allow our staff to work in today’s environment. We have repaired and replaced HVAC units, repaired roof leaks, and retrofitted 275 of the 926 light fixtures throughout the campus with energy efficient LED adapters and bulbs. To date these projects have cost just under $100,000. Just remember, “Dying churches don’t have these problems!” If we were not using the space, we would have no need to address maintenance or other issues.

Staffing for the Future

I remember the conversation well. We were talking to our former facility manager about the status of the job he held. We were changing it from full-time to part-time. We were in our cocoon. We were using 25% of our space. It was hard to justify a full-time position. As I explained, over the past ten years almost every staff position in the church had gone from full-time to part-time, and if things didn’t change the remaining positions would become part-time as well.

Well, things have changed. God has brought the stirring of new life onto the campus at 700 Huffman Road. And we are beginning to staff for the future. Earlier this year, we brought Bill Sears on as our Executive Pastor. Bill handles the day-to-day operations of the church, manages the church staff, coordinates our partnerships, and leads our educational ministries. In last month’s edition of The Source, we announced changes in responsibilities for Richard Metts (Worship & Senior Adult Pastor) and Larry Smith (Minister of Member Care & Campus Operations). Suzy Metts is serving as part-time ministry assistant in the area of worship and senior adult ministries, and Scott Smith is working with the Lead and Executive Pastors.

Family Pastor

I am thrilled to announce that the Personnel Team has hired a part-time Family (Next Generation) Pastor who will start later in September. Over the past several months, Bill and I have had conversations with several potential candidates for this crucial position. They all had one thing in common. A lack of experience. Therefore, it became obvious that whoever we brought on would need someone to mentor them. And as we talked about possible mentors, one person stood out.

Darreon, Averee, Calvin, Caleb, Banner, and Mollie Sears

Caleb Sears, Bill and Myrna’s son, had built a cross-cultural student ministry at First Baptist Pleasant Grove. He understands the culture. His family reflects diversity. He is working in a missional business that is doing cross-cultural ministry. He would be the ideal mentor! Then it hit me. Would Caleb be interested in taking on the Family Pastor role? If he would be an ideal mentor, he would also be an ideal Family Pastor.

In this role, Caleb will begin to develop relationships with students from Banks Academy, Elevate, and Young Life and will work with our ministry partners to develop a discipleship strategy to reach students and their families. He shared with the Personnel Team that he wants to start small and build the ministry on a solid foundation. I am convinced that Caleb is the right person to lead our emerging ministry to families!

Financial Resources

Emerging from our cocoon is not without cost. But remember, “Dying churches don’t have these problems.” Still, God provides. Whenever his people are committed to doing his work in his way, God provides. He is providing through our members who continue to faithfully and sacrificially give so that we can make Jesus known across the street and around the world. He is providing through our ministry partners who are reimbursing us $11,300 per month for ministry costs. And he has provided through the accumulation of reserves that we are using to help us as we emerge from our cocoon.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…; a time to break down, and a time to build up (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3).

Now is not the time to die. Now is the time to build up!

Daily Bible Reading

Here is the reading plan for the next few weeks:

Week of…