A Letter To Our Church Family

I want to let you know about some exciting opportunities ahead of us this year. First though, let’s celebrate the accomplishments and answered prayers we experienced in 2016. You’ll remember we asked God for breakthrough in four big challenges we faced.

  1. For a NextGen Pastor by the end of summer – Chris Long and his family moved here in September and exciting things are happening in our Children and Student Ministries.
  2. For a Student Minister by Christmas – We met Joseph Castillo in December. After following a thorough process we were convinced in January he was our guy. Joseph, Emily and their daughter Penny will be here February 26!
  3. For our financial resources to match our needs for the Expand Initiative – After a moderate start, we “closed the gap” and then some in September. New parking lots are now in use. The children’s building expansion and new outdoor baptistry should be ready by Easter. Once the dust settles, all funds designated to “EXPAND” in excess of costs will be applied to debt reduction.
  4. For clear direction on when and where to start a second campus and who will lead it – more on this in a moment…

As we have seen in the past, whenever we create more space (larger worship center, more services, new parking spaces, new classrooms) we grow. Fueling that growth are always the twin passions of guiding people to take their next step with God and being a church where unchurched folks feel welcome. The goal is always making disciples of Jesus Christ both locally and globally.

In addition to completing our campus expansion, we believe God has provided two more challenges for us in 2017.

  • Expand our involvement in missions, both globally and in Seattle
  • Open a second Brazos Pointe Fellowship campus in Southern Brazoria County

We have been given new opportunities in new places to send teams across the country and around the world to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our continued growth at home, however, has made it difficult for our current staff to seize those opportunities. Therefore we provided funding in our 2017 Budget to add a full time Missions Pastor to the team. Once again in 2016 your tithes and offerings exceeded our budget requirements. It will take that level of giving and more in 2017 to make this new position a reality.

As we prayed for breakthrough last year we had our eyes on what could happen this year if we created a second campus closer to where many of our folks lived. Hundreds of you drive 20 minutes or more to worship at Brazos Pointe each weekend. What we have learned through the years is that the closer people live to their church campus, the more likely they are to take basic next steps with God – next steps like joining a small group, inviting friends to worship, and serving their community. Teenagers are less likely to get involved in student ministry the farther away they live.

We’ve known for some time now a second campus would be a next step for Brazos Pointe. Last year, we began in earnest to ask God to show us where, when and with whom we should take that next step. We hope to announce “the where” late this spring once a few more key pieces of the puzzle fall into place. We believe “the when” is this fall. This could be either monthly preview services or a full launch. Most important is “the who.” Throughout last year many stepped up to say, “Count me in!” We will soon gather them and any of you who sense God’s calling to start this new campus. We will begin praying, dreaming, and planning how to reach unchurched folks in a new part of our county.

These opportunities before us are Big Next Steps for our church. I need you to pray about your part in them. Is a mission trip in your future? Will you join the new campus launch team? Is it time to step up and into a role on the Brazoria Road campus left vacant by someone moving to the new campus? Will you continue sacrificially giving your tithes and offerings? Will you perhaps give more to match the challenges ahead? Or will you begin regular giving if that hasn’t been a step of faith with God you’ve yet to take?

When we began Brazos Pointe Fellowship on April 15, 2001, it was all hands on deck – everybody serves, everybody gives, and everybody invites their unchurched friends to come and see. We need that same kind of passion and commitment in 2017, because there are more people in our communities today who face an eternity separated from God than there were 16 years ago. These are our friends, our families, our co-workers, our fellow students. Let us use every resource and opportunity we have to love them toward Jesus. On whichever campus, or to whichever shores God leads, I hope you’ll say, “Count me in!”

Live bold,

Greg Pickering

Lead Pastor

Freedom Sunday

As we continue this fall’s Ordinary message series about justice we turn our attention Sunday on those most in need of an extraordinary impact from ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality. I’m referring to the 45 million people living in slavery – today – in our world, even in our country.

They are young boys working sunup to sunset on a fishing boat on Lake Volta in Uganda; girls and young women sold into sex slavery in Southeast Asia; children, parents and grandparents trapped in a brick factory compound in India; or women lured into a job in the restaurant industry who find themselves enslaved as a domestic servant in a foreign county.

They have no police to rescue them, no attorney to represent them, no justice system to protect them. They have no voice, no advocate, no hope…until ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality become their voice, their advocate, their justice. Let’s talk about it this Sunday. For their sake we’ll call it Freedom Sunday.

Live bold,

Greg

Welcome Chris Long

Earlier this month I was pleased to announce that the first of our four Prayers for Breakthrough* had been answered. Chris Long, a Next Gen Pastor serving until recently near Nashville, TN, has become our church’s newest pastor. Monday will be his first day on the job. You will have the opportunity to meet Chris, his wife Cindy, and two of their three children, Kyle & Abby, this Sunday. Their son Braden is back in Tennessee where he is starting his junior year at the University of Memphis.

In a few weeks we’ll have a Welcome Party for the Longs and treat them to our tradition of “carding” our new Pastors. Here’s how it works. Get a gift card – any kind: restaurant, grocery, hardware, department store, iTunes, etc. – and bring it to the party. Mark your calendar now for Sunday, September 11, at 2:00 PM.

Live bold,

Greg

 

* Prayers for Breakthrough

  1. For a Next Gen Pastor by the end of summer – ANSWERED!
  2. For a Student Pastor by Christmas
  3. For our resources to match our needs so we can finish our EXPAND Project by the first of the year
  4. For God to reveal where and when we should plant another BPF Campus and who will lead it

Close the Gap

On Sunday I made an exciting announcement: Chris Long, a Next Gen Pastor currently living near Nashville, TN will become our church’s newest pastor in a few weeks. We are so pleased our search for a Next Gen Pastor has been successful. We’ll have more information about Chris for you soon. I also reported our six month EXPAND Capital Initiative had ended well, but that a small gap between the price of the project and our resources remained.

One of the purposes of EXPAND is to add space to our Children’s building, along with more parking out front, and an expanded patio with an outdoor baptismal pool in back. At the end of our six month pledge period, we were only of $110,000 short of fully funding the $1.85 million project. I challenged our church to Close the Gap with a one day offering on September 18.

We have at least 500 homes represented in this church. If every family and single adult home contributes $200 we would nearly close that $110,000 gap. Some of you cannot afford $200, but you can give some. Others of you can give more. Together we can Close the Gap. Here’s some really good news. Several folks got an early start on Sunday and shrank the gap down to $100,000.

Let’s rise to the challenge and say yes to the next generation! Please begin praying about this and ask God to guide your heart to what you can do to Close the Gap on September 18th.

Live bold, give bold,

Greg

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

Say Yes to the Next Generation

This past Sunday, July 31st marked the end of our six month fundraising initiative to EXPAND our Children’s building and parking lot, and add a baptism pool to the back patio. It was also the official groundbreaking day! You didn’t know about that? Our kids did. You’ll see more about that this coming Sunday. Site work then began on Monday morning as a bulldozer scraped the top of the building pad in anticipation of construction that will begin as soon as we receive the building permit.

EXPAND is a relatively small piece of a much greater emphasis our church places on reaching the next generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday hundreds of volunteers arrive on our campus ready to love the next generation toward Jesus. Once school begins in a few weeks scores more volunteers will meet with students’ grades 7-12 and college in small groups around the southern part of the county.

About the time we began the EXPAND Initiative our church’s leadership decided to create a new staff position called Next Gen Pastor. This pastor will combine our Children and Student Ministry Teams into a new Next Gen Team. They will guide all our Next Gen volunteers and provide support for parents as together we guide our children to take their next steps with God. The Next Gen Pastor search has been a challenging one for which we have called on God for breakthrough. I have an exciting update for you on that this Sunday …along with a challenge to continue saying yes to the next generation.

Live bold,

Greg

Opportunity

    Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.  

Galatians 6:10 (NIV)

The opportunity is present but not all that apparent. The rain has stopped, flood waters have receded, roads are re-opened, and life has returned to normal for everyone. Almost everyone, but not all.

Out of sight, away from the main roads sit scores of homes, perhaps hundreds that did not escape the muddy river water. Those who have family or friends to help them have drug their ruined furniture out to the road, pulled up the wet carpet, and torn out the soggy sheetrock. As they wait for their homes to dry before starting to rebuild, many of their less connected neighbors sit paralyzed and overwhelmed in the wet mess. A grateful family we helped Tuesday evening said they saw cars and people at their neighbors’ homes all last weekend, but since they haven’t lived here very long, had no one to call. Fortunately, a BPF family living across the street called us for them.

Small teams from BPF have been serving all week, but most of you have been at work. The weekend is coming. Let’s spread across the county Friday, Saturday and Sunday after church and do for hurting folks what they are unable to do for themselves. We have opportunity – let’s do some good!

Teams will assemble in the church parking lot Friday & Saturday at 8:00 am and Sunday at 1:00 pm. If you can’t make those starting times watch our social media posts to see where we are gathering throughout the days. And if you know of someone who needs help, call the office (979-798-2022) or post the info on our Facebook page. See below for more info.

Live bold,

Greg

What to Bring:

Wear shoes with thick soles and leather gloves. Bring bottled water.

Handy tools, if you have them, would be a square edge shovel, push broom, hammer, pry bar, wheel barrow, Utility knife (extra blades), cordless circular saw, chalk line, wet/dry vac., squeegee.

Breakthrough

I’ve been on the road the past few weeks – traveling first to the East Coast for vacation followed by a conference in Washington DC. Then I crossed the country to attend a Church Planters Retreat in Oregon with our Northwest partners. I flew back home, then Kathy & I hopped in the car and headed to Dallas for our nephew’s wedding. On the way home Sunday we stopped in the Woodlands for a dinner gathering with the Houston Church Planters Network (HCPN). Overall it was a very refreshing, inspiring and impactful two plus weeks.

Of all those encouraging and challenging experiences the one that made the most impact on me was the International Justice Mission’s (IJM) Global Prayer Gathering in DC. I’ve wanted to attend for years and it was worth the wait. The greatest takeaway was the emphasis on the need to pray for breakthrough on difficult challenges. IJM is on the front lines of the global fight against modern day slavery. Only God can break through the forces of evil that keep the poor and helpless in oppression. Since that weekend I’ve received several email updates from IJM reporting direct answers to the prayers 1700 of us offered in faith. God answers the earnest prayers of His children.

Nearly 1700 of us gather each week at BPF to worship Jesus Christ and look to see what our next steps will be. I believe we need to greatly intensify our prayer efforts as a church to meet the challenges before us. So beginning today I want to challenge you to begin praying for breakthrough in the following areas:

  1. For several months we have been searching for a Next Gen Pastor – God’s man to lead our Children and Student Ministry teams. Pray for God to clearly lead us to that man before the summer is out.
  2. Once he is on our team we will begin the search for our next Student Minister. Pray we bring him on board by this fall or the end of the year at the latest.
  3. We are in Expand mode as we add space to our Children’s building and parking lot. Our costs will likely exceed the resources on hand and pledged. Ask God to make our resources match the needs and get us in that new space by Christmas.
  4. We have been praying about expanding to multiple campuses for 16 months. Pray for a breakthrough on when and where to expand and the people to lead it. Pray we can launch a new BPF campus in early 2017.

These goals all have one overarching purpose – to position us to reach the unchurched in our community with the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, and guide them to take their next steps with God. That is our mission. We need breakthrough answers in prayer to accomplish it. Pray for breakthrough!

Live bold, Pray bold,

Greg