A Church Plant Moves Out of Storage

(Mike Gammill is one of our Lead Navigators at Auxano. He recently completed a campaign with San Marcos Community Church in San Marcos, TX. The Vision Clarity impact and unique Campaign story will inspire you.)

In the summer of 2013, San Marcos Community Church was in the church plant doldrums. As a twelve-year-old plant they really weren’t a “plant” anymore, but their base of mission and worship was still a leased facility. They did own land a couple of streets over. They owned a building too, but it was a metal prefab building and was, literally, in storage. Their dreams of permanent place were in storage too.

Twelve years in, the church had hit a plateau and energy was on the decline. “Trying to put on Saul’s armor” were the words the Senior Pastor used when we talked about most of the solutions available to him. He resonated with our Vision Clarity process, because we started with understanding their unique God-given ministry DNA, and then, from there, navigated them through growth obstacles with vision instead of hype, busyness…or a building project.

We started their seven-month vision clarity process in September of that year. The Senior Pastor quickly made a tough decision that paid dividends in spades: he consolidated all weekly ministry programs into a weekly prayer gathering. This prayer gathering became the central nervous system to a revival that broke out shortly after. Church attendance began to increase and a second service was added. Giving began to increase and the Holy Spirit challenged leadership to step up their commitment to – literally – lay the foundation for their permanent facility.

Then, in November, the call came from their landlord that could have disrupted everything. They had 90 days to find a new place to worship (the state of Texas was turning the building into a highway). Rather than seeing this as an obstacle, church leadership saw this as leading from the Holy Spirit. In addition to finding a new place to live, the time had clearly come to launch a capital campaign in the next three months. They needed to raise capital to construct and occupy a permanent church in San Marcos, Texas, a city where it’s easier to open a bar than a church.

The Holy Spirit inspired urgency, along with an increasingly healthy centralized prayer gathering that helped them to overcome a too-short time frame. On Palm Sunday 2014, the congregation made commitments that totaled over 2.5x their 2013 budget. General giving also increased over 30%. In the end, they blew past their goals and greatly increased the generosity level of the church. All this, and their mortgage in 2015 may be less than their lease was in 2014.

Meanwhile, God demonstrated his faithfulness when he led the church to relocate to a nearby dance hall and bar that had closed its doors. When God builds his church, nothing can stand in the way.

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Mike Gammill

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comment_post_ID); ?> Are there any reliable statistics about the percentage of church plants that fail after 3 years in the US?
 
— Jon Moore
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 

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