(This is a repost of what was put on our Hope Fellowship website on April 4th.)
Today I share with you the news that I had hoped to never have to share, but knew that it would always be possible: Hope Fellowship came to an end yesterday, one day short of the 1 year anniversary of our first preview service. This was a mutually agreed upon decision by our leadership team. It was an incredibly hard decision for me to make, but it was exactly what needed to happen.
There are many reasons why we made the decision, most of which I’ll process and blog about at http://www.mick-b.blogspot.com/, but I can briefly cover a couple here. We’ve been working at this for over four years now and we hadn’t seen the results we expected. More specifically, I’ve worked two jobs the whole time we’ve tried to start the church and, because of that, I just wasn’t able to give it the time I needed to. I had hoped that, as we progressed, the state convention and other churches would see our commitment and advancement and join us with financial support. When that didn’t happen, we knew it would be difficult to continue but we pressed ahead. We also know now that we are the third church to be unable to start up in that community. (We weren’t aware of this until after we had begun meeting as a church.)
It is, however, very difficult for us to refer to this as a “failure”. We know, without a doubt, that God called us to this mission in this location at this time. I can only assume that I misunderstood what the goal was. God was using this to teach, not build the next mega-church in Houston. There have been numerous times that we were ready to call it quits, but God would give us something that made us know we were to continue. The interesting thing is that, as Etta and I discussed ending it this time, no “divine rescue” came. It was clear that it was time to stop and see what God had next for us. Just so you know, I don’t know what that is yet. But He’ll tell us when He’s ready.
I can only begin to tell you all the things I have learned that I can take into my next ministry--I’ll cover more of it at my blog. I can say that one thing I’ve learned is that when God gives people in your church a vision and a calling, you get behind them. I’ve also learned things about planning, budgeting, vision-casting, outreach, and countless other things that I never would have learned in a traditional, established church setting. I have amassed a treasure trove of knowledge that I can’t wait to begin to unpack and see how God is going to put it to use.
Thank you, from the bottom of hearts, for all of you who prayed and gave to support our vision. You didn’t give to us, you gave to God, and He used that to change lives. That’s all you can ask for any time you give to Him. And your prayers kept us going when nothing else did.
This isn’t the end for us, just a page turn to the next chapter. We are eager to see where God takes us next. Pray with us as we seek to be right in the middle of His will.