Thank You BPF!

A Generous Gift – I’m so grateful for the many ways you support the work of the Kingdom of God through our Fellowship. We collected our World Missions Offering on December 4th but more came in this past Sunday. Your gifts have climbed to almost $18,000. Other than last year’s nextSTEP now tithe, this will be the largest gift we’ve ever sent to the International Mission Board. I’d love to see our giving top twenty thousand, so if you haven’t yet participated, please join us.

The votes are in – And you said YES! In an almost unanimous vote you said yes to Aaron & Holly Sanders, the members of University Baptist Church and the unchurched people of Galveston when you affirmed plans to re-plant a church on the island. Coastal Community Church will be our first satellite church, though we’ve helped plant nine other churches since we were first planted. It’s not too late to get on board the vision trip to Galveston this Sunday afternoon from 4:00-8:00 PM. Sign up Sunday at the Next Step Center.

You also said yes to our 2012 Budget and new Advisors Matt Hiatt and Jackie Fuller. Matt & Jackie will join Fonda Hundl, Kevin Johnson, Janis Kennedy, Jimmie Lapier, & John Rodriguez on the BPF Advisory Team. They’ll oversee the budget, advise our Leadership Team and help guide us along a unique journey next year as we start a new church, search for a new Student Minister, and begin construction on our permanent home on the Brazoria Road.

As we move into our second decade let’s remember a few words and phrases that have served us well along the way: it’s not about us, a church for the unchurched, everybody serves, shift, give and it will be given to you, others, and take your next step with God. 

 

I’ll see you Sunday with more HEADLINES.

 

Live bold, Greg

 

Bring friends to Christmas Eve-Eve

December 23rd – 5:00, 6:10, 7:20 or 8:30

Big Decisions This Sunday!

Sunday morning we will make some very important decisions. We’ve had several Q&A sessions on these, but here’s a summary of them and bios on our proposed new Advisory Team members.

A new church – Last month our Student Minister Aaron Sanders told us of the journey he and Holly have been on the past year – their realization a new season is beginning in their lives as Aaron transitions from Student Minister to Lead Pastor. Their journey involves a small church in Galveston, University Baptist Church, voting to disband and give its property and buildings to Brazos Pointe Fellowship (pending our approval) to re-plant them as a new church with a new vision. And that journey engages our church in starting its first satellite congregation. A vote yes is a commitment on our part to support this new work prayerfully, financially and personally.

2012 Ministry Budget– In the coming year we will be increasing ministry budgets and adding part time staff positions to keep up with the growth we’ve seen this past year. We will be setting aside more resources to prepare for the increased debt service we will begin carrying in the later part of 2013. And of course we will be supporting the new church in Galveston. The result of these opportunities and responsibilities is a 2012 Budget with a modest increase of 7%.We will be setting aside more resources to prepare for the increased debt service we will begin carrying on our new facility in the later part of 2013.

Advisory Team – This team of seven men & women (Fonda Hundl, Kevin Johnson, Janis Kennedy, Jimmie Lapier, Mark Monical, John Rodriguez & Cindy Ullrich) oversee our financial decisions & operations and serve as an accountability council to our Leadership Team in general and to me directly. Mark & Cindy will complete their five year rotations this month. Our Leadership Team has nominated Matt Hiatt and Jackie Fuller to replace them.

Jackie Fuller has been a member of BPF for three years and currently serves on the Prayer Team and the Lord’s Supper Team.  She has served as Executive Director of the Pregnancy Help Center for 16 years and Executive Director of Safe Haven for three years.  She and her best friend Bobby have been married for 35 years and lead a Small Group together.  Bobby is the director of Texas Port Ministry They have a wonderful family in Beaumont – daughter Jenny, son-in-law Brian, and three beautiful granddaughters, Brynn Lee (7), Normandy Jade (5), and Jewel AnnMarie (1). Bobby and Jackie are enjoying this season of life, especially the part of being BeBob and MeMom.

 Matthew Hiatt has been a member of BPF for four years. He has been a Small Group Leader for the last three years, has served globally on our Bolivia team, and volunteers in the Pointe Guards ministry. The two most important people in Matt’s life are his wonderful wife, Lindsey, and his awesome 19 month old son, Patrick. When he’s not hanging out with them, he works as an engineer at the South Texas Project nuclear power plant where he’s been since graduating from Texas A&M with a BS and MS in Nuclear Engineering.  Matt is looking forward to serving on the advisory team as part of giving back to the members of BPF who have done so much for him and his family.

Thanks for taking the time to read about these big decisions. After reflecting on them and praying for our church’s future, I hope you will be in worship Sunday morning to vote your approval for these long reaching choices. And while you’re there you can catch up on the week’s “Headlines”

Live bold, Greg

It’s not too late to participate in our World Missions Offering.

Total received to date: $16,065.21!

World Missions Offering – December 4th

I love participating in international missions! I think it’s because missions is a priority of every church I’ve been a member of. In each of them we would collect three offerings a year – one for state, one for national and one for international missions. When we started Brazos Pointe we decided to take just one mission offering a year and put the emphasis on world missions.

We chose to make it a “Thanksgiving Offering” as a way of expressing our gratitude to God for all He has done for us this past year. Each year we have given a large percentage of the offering to the International Mission Board (IMB), a smaller percentage to the North American Mission Board (NAMB), and designated the rest to a special project in one of our four partner countries.

This year we have chosen the IMB as the main recipient for our 2011 World Missions Offering. The “project” is to send prospective missionaries who are ready to go if the funds are available.  Because of the stale economy these past few years the IMB has had to cut back on the number of people it sends. We want to change that! God has blessed us financially during this economic downturn so this is our opportunity to pass those blessings on to others.

Your generous gifts this season will support the work of nearly 5000 missionaries around the world, one of whom is our own Greg Johnson; currently on a two-year IMB mission in the Amazon Jungle of Brazil. Our hope of course, is to help send even more folks to places where people have yet to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. As always, a portion of the World Mission Offering (10% this year) will be directed to NAMB to help start new churches in unchurched areas across the U.S.

Please continue to pray about your participation in this offering on Sunday, and ask God to show you how you can give more generously than ever.

 

Live bold, Give bold,

Greg

Check out Greg Johnson’s Blog www.amazongreg.blogspot.com

A New Church in Galveston

I can’t tell you how pleased I was Sunday at your response to the announcement of the opportunity we have to start, or actually re-plant, a new church in Galveston under the leadership of our own Aaron Sanders. Though we all feel sadness at the prospect of saying goodbye to Aaron, Holly, Ethan & Ella, it was encouraging to see how quickly you accepted as “normal” that we would plant a new church. That is worth celebrating. Your reaction demonstrated our church’s heart for reaching the unchurched, even at great cost to our Fellowship.

But the cost will be worth it as people on the island who live far from God hear and respond to the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is a vision worthy of our best efforts. Once we complete the discussion process, and pending the church’s approval of this new church start, Aaron will lead an Interest Meeting in mid-December for those interested in being on the launch team.

For now, I want to invite you come back to our worship center Sunday after church at 12:45 p.m. for a Q&A session about how the church in Galveston will affect things like our staffing, budget process and Student Ministry here in Southern Brazoria County.

 

This is an exciting time for our fellowship!

 

Live bold, Greg

 

nextSTEP now – the Vision Expands

Site work on our land is well underway in preparation for the start of construction next year. But that is only a part of the picture of what God has been doing in our Fellowship as we move towards relocating our church’s home to the beautiful location God provided us on the Brazoria Road.

This month marks the one year point of our three year nextSTEP now Capital Campaign. So I’d like to bring you up to date this Sunday on the building’s progress and what lies ahead for its construction.  Then, I have an exciting announcement to make…

Even as we work to build our new home – a launching pad to share the Good News – construction is not our mission. Our mission is people, guiding them to take their next step with God, especially the unchurched. With that in mind, I am thrilled to let you know about an amazing opportunity God has placed before us to expand our reach to the unchurched. I hope you’ll be here Sunday to hear about it.

 

Live bold, Greg

 

Have you heard about this?

  The Event: Fashion for a Purpose

Saturday, November 5th at the Dow Academic Center

 

A group of individuals from our Fellowship formed a non-profit organization earlier this year – Compassion4 – to tackle the giant task of transitioning the orphans we sponsor in Cambodia into successful adulthood. The Event is a fashion show featuring clothes made by our partners in Cambodia. Proceeds from the sale of those clothes will help operate the new Compassion4 Transition Home in Phnom Penh.  To learn more or to purchase tickets please click here: The Event.

Disaster Relief Training- October 21-22

Whenever a disaster occurs you can count on three groups showing up within days or even hours – the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and a group of guys who wear yellow caps. Those guys are the Texas Baptist Men (or Oklahoma… depending on which state they’re from). They specialize in mass meal preparation, tree removal, and mud out – which means cleaning out homes that have been flooded.

I’ve been privileged to work with them on several occasions through the years by just showing up with a chainsaw or shovel. To increase their readiness though, they’ve put more emphasis on training. I’d like to recommend that training for anyone in our Fellowship to whom this kind of ministry appeals.

There will be training for Disaster Relief next Friday evening and Saturday morning, October 21-22 at Temple Baptist Church in Clute. It’s located on Main Street across from Clute Intermediate School. Here’s the schedule:

 October 21 – Yellow Cap Orientation from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

 October 22 – Specialized Training starting at 9:00 a.m.

Specialties could include Chain Saw and Mud Out.

 Reservations are required so please RSVP to information@brazospointe.com so we can pass on to them how many they can expect from Brazos Pointe at the training. We will send out more information as it becomes available.

Live bold, Greg

Oops – when talking about our 2010-2011 attendance growth in last week’s Pick’s Pointe I got it wrong when I said “On the children’s side we averaged another 200 each week in Sonshine Park and All Stars.” The actual number was 235! And that doesn’t include any of the 150+ teens and adults who serve there each week.

2010-2011 – A Year of Growth

Each fall our BPF Leadership Team gets away for a week to review the past year’s progress and discuss the coming year’s opportunities. We try to set aside a little time to relax, but for the most part our schedule is filled with intense discussions, evaluation and prayer as we seek God’s leadership for our church’s future.

This year’s meetings were probably weightier than usual – we have some very exciting challenges before us in 2012 – but as we began our talks, it was apparent that this past year was one of solid growth in our Fellowship. We thought you would like to hear the good news.

From September 2010 through August 2011

  • We baptized 101 people, up from last year’s record 81, and the first time we’ve crossed over one hundred
  • 128 new adults and teens joined BPF (up from 109 last year and 94 the year before) with almost 40% of them unchurched or once churched.
  • Our average worship attendance broke the thousand mark for the first time as we averaged 1005 (Thanks for shifting to 8:30!)
  • On the children’s side we averaged another 200 each week in Sonshine Park and All Stars
  • On weeknights Adult Small Groups averaged almost 250 and have gotten off to a tremendous start this fall with over 500 enrolled.
  • Our Student Small Groups grew to an amazing 180 people (including leaders) in weekly attendance. That’s up from 2009-2010’s average of 129.
  • 98 people journeyed to one of our four partner countries; just nine under last year’s total. That indicates the building program has had no negative impact on missions
  • Your financial generosity continues to amaze me. We are on track to exceed our 2011 budget. And gifts to the nextSTEP now building fund remain strong

Though our fall worship attendance has been roughly the same as last year’s all the other arrows are pointing up and to the right. As we embark on our second decade, opportunities to reach the unchurched in Southern Brazoria County and around the world are greater than ever. Opportunities to Go*Serve*Love are everywhere. And the plans we believe God is putting before us in 2012 will lead us where we’ve never been before. Seriously, they’re going to blow you away.

I’ll tell you more in a few weeks. Until then,

Live bold, Greg

Flooding in Cambodia

Hope for Cambodia Orphanage, which is fully sponsored by our Fellowship, sits in the village of Lveasar along the banks of the massive Mekong River. The river floods every year during rainy season but sometimes it rises much higher than normal. This is such a year.

Almost every building on the campus, including the dorm and kitchen/cafeteria has water in it. Because of that Pastor Sokhom is evacuating all the children out of the village into the city. (He moved the preschoolers to his home in Phnom Penh this past weekend.) We have directed him to spend whatever funds necessary to evacuate them and we will cover the costs. Hopefully we can meet these expenses with funds from our GlobaLocal ministry. I’ll keep you updated.

For now,

  • Please pray for the children’s safety as they leave the village and cross the river. During the dry season it is a mile and a half wide. Now it is much wider and the currents are very strong.
  • Please pray for Pastor Sokhom to be able to find temporary housing for them – not a small task with 60 plus children.
  • Pray that the river will rise no more. The hay for their dairy cows is now being stored on the church’s porch, which is just a few inches above the water line.
  • Please pray for the safety of all the Cambodians, especially small children, living along the Mekong.

Thanks, and live bold,

Greg

Aaron Sanders to be Ordained

As a former Student Minister I’ve been privileged to know hundreds of godly teenagers. A handful stood out as being unusually gifted. One of them was Aaron Sanders. He was a 7th grader when I left Orange to move here fifteen years ago. Even at that young age he had the makings of a great leader. I kept up with him. By the time he was in 10th grade I asked Aaron to be an intern for me once he started college. He took me up on that pledge one summer and a few years later came back with his new bride Holly. Now they call the Gulf Coast home.

For the past five and a half years Aaron has been on our Fellowship’s Leadership Team – serving as Student Minister, Teaching Pastor and Co-leader of the Kenya Ministry. Not only has the leadership potential I saw as a 12 year old been realized, God’s calling of ministry is clearly on Aaron. We have chosen to recognize that calling by ordaining him for the Gospel ministry.

You may remember we ordained Robyn Crosby this summer to Chaplain Ministry. Aaron’s ordination is more directed to a Preaching/Teaching ministry. To ordain means to invest officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority. On a practical level, to ordain Aaron means we as a church are affirming him in his call to lifetime vocational ministry.

Join us this Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM in the worship center for Aaron’s Ordination. He’ll share the story of how God called him to become a pastor, I’ll say a few words of challenge and affirmation, and then as a church we’ll offer prayers of commitment for him. This is a special time in Aaron’s life. I hope you can join us Sunday for this very unique service.

Live Bold, Greg

Shouwang Church UpdateFive months and 600 hundred arrests later Beijing police continue to persecute this underground Chinese Church that began worshipping publically the same Sunday we celebrated our 10th Anniversary. More than 160 people were arrested at that first outdoor meeting. Since then I’ve chronicled their ongoing struggle.

Here’s a summary of the subsequent arrests since then: Week 2 (50 arrests), Week 3 (40), Week 4 (30), Week 5 (13), Week 6 (20), Week 7 (25), Week 8 (20), Week 9 (20), Week 10 (14), Week 11 (14), Week 12 (15), Week 13 (19), Week 14 (26), Week 15 (22), Week 16 (35), Week 17 (22), Week 18 (11), Week 19 (16), Week 20 (7), Week 21 (15), Week 22 (12). 

Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in the persecuted church in China.