It's more than a building - this is about a movement of God in our city.
Over the last five years serving as Lead Pastor of Harris Creek, we have seen a lot of change and had some incredible experiences. In fact, so much has happened that time at Harris Creek almost feels like “dog years,” meaning so much has happened in such a short amount of time. If you reflect on all that has happened over the last five years, we have experienced more than what some churches hope to experience over the course of 20+ years. I say that to express, while it may feel like we are reaching our full potential as a congregation, the reality is this movement is just getting started. I firmly believe all that has happened up to this point has brought us here for the mission we are about to undertake.
It is completely normal to experience feelings of complacency and look to simply manage the status quo. This is the natural human tendency. In the same breath, I know that none of us want to have a “normal” church. Scripture tells us that life in Christ is not natural: it’s supernatural. In Romans 8:11, the Apostle Paul says it this way: “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” This is the type of people we are called to be – people of the resurrection. This is also the type of church we are called to be, a church that is alive and transformed and breathing life into the world around us.
However, in order to be people of the resurrection, we must first be willing to sacrifice for others and “die to self” on a daily basis. This is because death always precedes resurrection. If we are going to see God work in a powerful way, we have to embody the attitude that Paul embodies in 2 Corinthians 4:10-12, when he says, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” In other words, when we are willing to put our own desires to death, we are finally able to bring the life of Jesus to the world around us. My prayer is that these are the types of statements made and stories told about our time together when it’s all said and done.
Brady Herbert, Lead Pastor
"This movement is just getting started."
Harris Creek is a church with a heart for the city and exists for a purpose larger than ourselves. From the very beginning, the people of Harris Creek resolved to be a church that reached across perceived boundaries and societal barriers to bring people to Jesus. We have a rich history of being willing to try new things and challenge the status quo to bring the Kingdom of God to every sphere of our community. And today, that DNA still exists within us. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to bring the message of the Gospel to our city. While much has changed over time, we are still a church that exists to see people come alive in Christ.
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
If you look around at what God is doing in and through Harris Creek, the church is as vibrant as it has ever been. In fact, over the last five years, we have grown as fast as any church in the country by almost any measure out there. This growth is beginning to plateau because our current ministry model and facilities are reaching a saturation point. There is little room for new people to find a place to sit, much less get engaged, in our current structure. This is something that most of us are aware of, and unfortunately it’s a reality that we’ve gotten more comfortable with as time has gone on.
We have to get back to the place where we are unwilling for our current reality to be the norm at Harris Creek. If we simply maintain status quo, we are going to miss a window of opportunity and will eventually begin to decline because we will have nowhere to go but down. There really are only two options: to go forward and make room to grow or shrink back to a size that fits our current facilities. By taking a step backwards, we would be telling people on the outside that they aren’t a priority; eventually, they will take the hint and stop trying to get connected. That’s not acceptable. It’s simply not who we are as a church. It’s in our DNA to serve and love our city well. The heartbeat of our church is for those on the outside of our walls who desperately need to have an encounter with the living God. We are therefore going to leverage all that we have in order to reach more people with the Good News of Jesus.
In order to accomplish the vision God has given us, it will require more out of our congregation than ever before. We are asking you to give to this vision more extravagantly than you have ever given. These projects will be funded by a “one fund” approach, which means every gift given over the next 24 months will help fund the entire vision. Everything that is given to Harris Creek will be utilized to resource the mission and vision of the church.
Even though we are taking a “one fund” approach to this project, the largest financial investment is needed for the expansion of our Sunwest Campus. We need a commitment of an additional $2.9 million over the next 24 months to make this portion of the vision a reality. This amount will allow us to secure a construction loan for the remaining portion of the cost of the project at a monthly rate we believe the annual budget can absorb. Obviously, the more money given, the more favorable our short-term and long-term finances will be.
Whenever you are part of a church with as much history as Harris Creek has, there is no doubt that what we are experiencing today is due to the sacrifices of people who have gone before us. And just like those who made it possible for each of us to call Harris Creek home, it’s our turn to do the same for others.
While we must fix the overcrowding at our Sunwest Campus, we also need to create other opportunities and places where ministry can happen in our city. We continue to have conversations about planting a third campus in a strategic location in the Waco area. This is because we are committed to the multi-site model and feel called to go to new places to reach new people for the sake of the Kingdom.
We believe it is our responsibility to train and equip the next generation of leaders to seek the welfare of the city wherever it is that God has called them. With over 30,000 undergraduate and post-graduate students in our city, we believe Harris Creek can serve a critical role in their development during these formative years of their lives. This is particularly the case for those students who feel called to some kind of vocational ministry, whether it’s at a church in Waco, as a counselor in Houston, or on the mission field in Moscow. Harris Creek’s Intern Program is designed to help raise up and prepare the next generation of ministers and missionaries.
The tide of culture in our country is shifting, and so are conversations about faith and faithfulness. Our job is to help prepare our congregation for what is ahead by placing people in cross-cultural environments that require adaptation, and there’s no better place to do that than London, England. We are building strategic partnerships with churches and Christian non-profits in the UK. This will allow our people to gain experience serving in these environments and learn how to apply what is gleaned not only to our own culture and context, but also to those around the world.
We believe that we are called to be a launchpad for ministry into our city. The activities that happen on our campuses are designed to send our people on mission out into the world. However, the “launchpad” at our Sunwest Campus is broken and needs to be reimagined. We need adequate space and accommodations in order to send our people on missions further than we’ve gone before. We also feel called to equip and send more people than ever before to be bright lights in a dark world.
Our mantra for the days ahead is going to be “Whatever It Takes.” We are going to live with the default posture of, “I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring people to Jesus.” That means we are going to be willing to leverage all we’ve been given for the sake of the Kingdom. Here are a few ideas of what this can look like:
Identify where you are in your current approach to giving and determine how you can take a step of faith in this area of your life.