Our church was founded in 1938, and was the fastest growing church start in the country for those first 2 years. A church of our age has always seen its share of ups and downs through the decades, but we are defined by 3 critical events, and perhaps now a new fourth event.
The first event is what we call the Overton Blessing. An 80 year old couple in our church asked the Lord for purpose in their lives. God sent them to do something crazy; go minister to the recovering drug addicts and alcoholics who are at Bay Area Recovery Center [BARC]. Now Mr. Overton and his wife had no history or experience in this field, just a heart to obey God. At the writing of this history, this couple have been faithful to Gods directions for a little over 6 years. In that time the couple have ministered to thousands of men, and nearly 200 have accepted Christ as their savior and been baptized by our church.
This ministry has grown a love within the congregation for the men of BARC as we call it. It has transformed us as a church into a very accepting and open congregation where people of all walks of life are warmly welcomed in. many of the men of BARC say that our church is one of the first parts of "normal" society that has ever welcomed them. It has also taught our people that God can use anyone at any age to make a gigantic impact for the Kingdom of God.
The second event is our "Phoenix Miracle." In early 2016, we ended a dark period in our church, but found ourselves emotionally drained, spiritually wounded, and financially just a few weeks from having to close our doors. We owed a huge credit card bill, a large back tax bill, with a nice IRS penalty thrown on top, and almost completely drained of all savings. We estimated we would be bankrupt in 6 weeks.
From that bleak point, we experienced what was nothing less than a miracle. Our finances were transformed. We made some major cuts in spending, giving went up, we were able to pay off the credit card, pay the tax bill, and in the process also replace 2 expensive air conditioners and do a sound system upgrade. We finished the 2016 year with a small amount in savings on top of all of that. It was a financial miracle, but it was much more than that. We learned to depend and trust the Lord at a deeper level, we were challenged to forgive and extend mercy where hurts from the recent past existed, we grew closer as a congregation, and we discovered that God had a future purpose for us. It would have been so easy for us to just lock the doors and close the church, but God had other plans.
Now we can look a person in the face who is facing a hopeless situation and say with confidence that our God can rescue them and restore them just like He did for our church
Our third event...well really more of a story of inspiration is the story of the prodigal son from the Bible. We have discovered that God has brought many families into our fold who have lived the prodigal son story to one degree or another. It is part of our personality as a church to have loving and accepting arms open wide to accept the prodigal back home.
The fourth new event...HURRICANE HARVEY 2017. I don't believe any town was harder hit than Dickinson Texas. 80% of our congregation lost their homes in the disaster, and 70% of the church was damaged and had to be torn out.
We don't yet know how we will "weather" this storm of recovery. But I can guarantee you one thing, no one in this church has any doubt that God is more than able to bring us all through this. We have risen from the ashes with the power of God less than 2 years ago, and now we will rise above the flood waters with the power of God.
My guess is this will become a defining moment for our church.