Texas Missions Month Blog: Week 1

Do we really need a new church in Texas?

I live deep in the heart of Texas. Literally—I live right at the center of Texas—in the metropolis of Belton. Ha! If you know Texas geography, you already know the Temple/Belton area is not exactly a metropolis. I live in a place where the whole Friday-night-football-fueled community cheers for the Belton Tigers or Temple Wildcats, everyone knows everyone, and grocery stores are filled with Texas products.

Skyline of Steeples

But, I think the picture that best sums up the Central Texas culture can be seen from Interstate 35 as you come upon Belton: a skyline of steeples. Seeing the beautiful array of church steeples reminds me that I no longer live in the Middle East—I’m in the middle of the Bible Belt! With a church on every corner, it really brings the question into focus…

Do we really need a new church in Texas? And more specifically: Do we really need a new church in Bell County? As someone that has sensed the Spirit of God calling me to plant a new church in Central Texas, these questions are close to my heart.

Not Your Grandparents’ Bell County

Unless you live here, you likely won’t know this, but Bell County is experiencing explosive growth. This is not your grandparents’ (or even parents’) Bell County! This small Texas community is in the middle of a population boom where we desperately need more stores and restaurants to meet the needs of a growing population.

I recently took my family to The Gin at Nolan Creek so that we could enjoy an evening filled with feeding ducks, listening to live music, and eating frozen yogurt. What’s the problem? I couldn’t find anywhere to park! I went to Megg’s Café in Temple for lunch with a friend last week, but had to wait 30 minutes to get seated! It was worth the wait, but wouldn’t it be great if there were a second Megg’s Café?

Having to deal with road construction on Highway 317 as I take my two oldest kids to school every morning also reminds me of the population growth.

I recently read the Belton Independent School District “Ten Year Plan” that includes adding elementary schools, a middle school, and a new high school due to the population growth.

Read the well-written piece here: https://www.bisd.net/Page/8683

Central Texas is growing. Just like the existing restaurants, roads, and schools can’t keep up, the existing churches can’t keep up either. We need more churches in Belton, Temple, and all of Bell County simply to keep up with the population growth.

A New Church to Reach New People

All the churches combined in Bell County are reaching 8.9% of the total population. In our increasingly secular society, we cannot expect the unchurched to come to us. We must go and engage people outside the church. Renewal Church will focus on reaching the thousands of people that will never enter a traditional church building.

Giving to the Vision

If you want to learn more about the Renewal Church vision, visit www.renewalchurch.net

We’d love to connect with you!

Our sending church, First Baptist Belton, is collecting a special Texas Missions Offering in September with a $45,000 goal dedicated to funding the Renewal Church start-up. If you desire to give toward the vision, you can do so online http://give.renewalchurch.net or use the Renewal Church giving envelopes on Sunday morning at First Baptist Belton.

The task is daunting, but the words of Jesus propel us to press forward: “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew Levant

Church Planter

Veritas. In Concert. Sunday, September 16 at 5:30 pm.

The Sacred Music Concert Series presents Veritas in concert on Sunday, September 16 at 5:30 pm in our worship center. The concert is free and open to everyone.

Veritas is a contemporary classical vocal group of 5 men who have shared their powerful music all across the country and joined Sandi Patty on her Forever Grateful tour.

In a powerful crescendo of accomplishment over the past several years, contemporary classical vocal group Veritas found themselves in some tremendous places, from belting out their signature power harmonies on the Carnegie Hall stage to crooning cruisers in the middle of the Caribbean, to joining Sandi Patty on her Forever Grateful tour.


They also found themselves interacting with thousands of fans after shows and online, hearing their stories, their challenges, and most of all, their hopes.

This, in turn, energized Veritas’ purpose. With their sophomore record, Hope Survives, the men of Veritas–Jeff Anderson, James Berrian, Andrew Goodwin, Jordan Johnson and Lucas Scott Lawrence–are wielding their powerful, dramatic musical arsenal to communicate the hope expressed by their fans, as well as the hope which guides each of their lives.

“We get so many messages from people on social media, and lots of emails telling us how they were going through a horrible time, and our music reminded them of God’s love for them,” Lawrence said. “It gave them hope.”

The power of hope is also something very real and personal to each member of Veritas.

Find out more at: http://veritasfive.com

Texas Missions Offering Motion for Sunday Night

Missions Committee Motion: Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions

Starting in 1910, the Mary Hill Davis Offering was established to empower state missions efforts for Texas Baptists. Every September, First Baptist Belton focuses on Texas missions and generously gives to this special offering in order to mobilize ministries and missionaries to go make disciples and multiply churches across the great state of Texas and among all peoples for the glory of God.

As the Missions Committee prayed and discussed the Mary Hill Davis Offering goal for 2018, they unanimously felt God leading them to the following motion:

In lieu of, but in keeping with the spirit, strong tradition, and emphasis on Texas church planting of the Mary Hill Davis Offering (MHDO), the Missions Committee proposes utilizing this year’s offering to provide for First Baptist Belton’s local church plant, Renewal Church, with a Base Offering Goal of $30,000 and a Celebration Goal of $45,000.

The committee recognizes that some members may wish to support the MHDO’s mission efforts beyond church planting. Specifying MHDO in the memo line of the contribution will indicate such a desire, causing the donation to go to the MHDO. However, these donations will not be counted towards the Church Plant offering goal.

The Elders reviewed the Missions Committee motion and unanimously approve the proposal.

As a church, we have funded numerous church plants in Texas through our generous giving to the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Mary Hill Davis Offering. The reasoning behind this proposal is that this year we have the unique opportunity to directly fund the new Texas Baptist church God has led us to plant right here in Bell County.

Focusing our Texas Missions Month and designating our special offering to Renewal Church in September will be a one-time commitment; we will go back to highlighting and funding the Mary Hill Davis Offering next year.

This Sunday, August 19, at 5:30 pm we will host a business conference where church members will be encouraged to discuss and vote on the Missions Committee motion. We have faith that God will lead us as we faithfully follow Him.

Pastor Andy

The Vision for Our Church Plant: Renewal Church

The Vision for Our Church Plant: Renewal Church

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” (Revelation 21:5)

Through Jesus, God is at work restoring people from all nations to their original purpose: worshiping God by enjoying His presence forever.

The team prepare to present the new church plant to First Baptist Belton, April 29, 2018.

The vision for Renewal Church is to bring God’s renewal to Bell County and the world. By the grace of God and the empowering of His Spirit, we will fulfill this vision through Gospel-centered ministry where people will be made new in Jesus, grow in Jesus, and be released into the world for Jesus. Renewal Church will be a Jesus-worshipping, discipleship-focused, missional-minded faith family.

Our heart’s desire is to plant a new church to reach new people. No individual church will reach everyone in Bell County. However, by multiplying healthy churches across our region, we will see the Kingdom of God expanded further and more of God’s glory displayed.

Not-So-New Idea for First Baptist Belton

About two years ago Pastor Andy began to cast the vision for church planting locally, nationally, and globally. On May 21, 2017, First Baptist Belton agreed to follow the Elder Body’s leadership and become a church that actively seeks to start new churches in Bell County, across North America, and among the unreached peoples of the world. Renewal Church is the first step toward fulfilling this new vision.

On the other hand, the vision for planting churches is not really new to First Baptist Belton. For over 100 years, we have collected the Mary Hill Davis Offering in September to support Texas Missions. A significant portion of this special offering supports new church plants in Texas. Furthermore, 28% of our church missions budget is dedicated to the Bell Baptist Association (BBA) and the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). Both the BBA and BGCT are aggressively focused on planting new churches in Bell County. By planting a new church right here in Texas, we are actively participating in the same endeavor that we have already been funding for over a century.

Stepping into The Story

God is telling a glorious story of renewal that includes you and me. Do you want to see what God can do through you? Step into His story!

Since God has called First Baptist Belton to plant Renewal Church, as a member of this church, YOU ARE a part of this church plant. No church member is excluded. The question: How is God calling you to participate?

On Sunday, August 26 the message will be titled “Can’t Stay Here”.

Preparing for Our Church Plant

We ask that you seek God’s face as you prepare your heart for this important moment in the history of First Baptist Belton.

  • Will you commit to PRAY intentionally?
  • Will you commit to GIVE a sacrificial one-time gift or monthly support? Thus far, we have collect about $44,000, which is wonderful! However, the start-up expenses are closer to $190,000. We need to raise the full amount before our financial focus shifts to our new building campaign.
  • Will you commit to GO and join the launch team?

William Carey, the father of modern missions said it well: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” May we be a church that attempts great things for the glory of our God!

Matthew Levant

Minister of Missions and Church Planter


Update on Renewal Church

I want to share the latest on our church plant, Renewal Church. Over a year ago, the Lord gave the Elders a vision for church planting that is new for our church.  We believe that God is leading us to plant a new congregation in Bell County.  That will be Renewal Church.  After Renewal is launched, we will begin steps toward planting a church in what the North American Mission Board calls “Send Cities.”  That encompasses many of the major cities in the United States. When we called Matthew Levant to be our Minister for Missions, we affirmed that we were calling him to lead us in missions AND to plant a church in Bell County of which he would be the pastor.  I know that we would all agree that Matthew has done a great job in leading us, evidence the nearly twenty mission trips being taken by our people this year.

Soon Matthew will need to devote more and more attention to preparing the new plant.  So, Matt Hollingsworth is leading a search for a new Minister of Missions who will work with Matthew Levant and then replace him when Renewal Church launches Easter Sunday, 2019. This is part of the budget we adopted in March that became effective April 1.

So, it is imperative that we all pray for all that is involved in launching Renewal Church.  There is much work to be done in starting a new work.

In addition to praying, it is necessary that we raise sufficient funding for Renewal to launch well.  Many of you have given or are planning to give.  Our goal is to raise $190K for the launch and first year of the new church.  Through your generosity, to date we have received over $39K.  Now is a great time to give before we have our pledge campaign for our move to the Hilltop. For years, our church has given thousands of dollars to plant churches all over Texas through the Mary Hill Davis offering received each September.  Now we ave the opportunity to plant a church right here among our neighbors.  I hope you will respond. You may do so on The City or by writing a check with “Renewal Church” in the memo line.

In addition to praying and giving, I hope some of you are talking as a family and praying together about being  founding members of Renewal Church. Yes, it would mean leaving FB Belton but in doing so, you would be helping to fulfill the vision God has given us as a church.  If you have questions about what all of that means, Matthew would consider it  a joy to talk with you.

When Renewal begins meeting for worship, they will meet at  North Belton Middle School.   The “permanent location” is yet to be decided and will be a matter of prayer from day one for the new congregation and for us as the “mother church.”

I trust this update is helpful in your understanding of the new church plant.  There are many people who will be reached for Jesus in the years to come.  You and I have the privilege to cooperate with God in the reaching of many through Renewal Church. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Pastor Andy Davis


Hilltop Update

Here is the latest update on the move to the Hilltop.

Our architects are working on our suggested plans. They are focusing on the orientation of buildings and parking, including entrances/exits onto MLK and Loop 121. There are many factors to be taken into consideration such as views from inside looking out (the property is beautiful), sun and wind, existing vegetation, drainage, utilities, city ordinances, and more.

The firm is also focusing on access—something that is of major importance to all of us. That includes the entrances and exits, internal traffic flow—both inside and outside of buildings, parking, and expandable parking.

We are committed to a front entry point that says, “You are welcome here.” We want a modern design that fits Central Texas, that looks like a church but is not ostentatious. We need our facilities to be maintainable, fully accessible, and expandable as we anticipate growth.

Most importantly, we want a church that has a structure that glorifies God. We anticipate having something for the church family to see from the architect by sometime in September or early October. If you like what you see without too many major changes, we could have a ceremonial groundbreaking in the fall followed by actual construction in late March or early April. You will be voting on the design as well as the cost.

A formal fundraising campaign for Faithful God Faithful Future will begin in the fall. The plans are being worked as I type. Some people have already started giving. THANK YOU!!! You do not have to wait if you feel led to start giving now, but the formal pledge effort will begin after the summer months.

We are also, with the help of attorneys, in consultation with UMHB on the formal memorandum of agreement between the university and the church that will be the basis for the actual contract. That is going very smoothly, as you would expect between two institutions that love and respect each other. We anticipate closing on the property in early fall.

So, pray and pray some more. Give, if you wish to start. Anticipate something to see on paper in the fall. To God be the glory.

Pastor Andy Davis

What Are We Doing About the Texas Border Situation?

I know we are all concerned about the situation in our country and at our own Texas border. I wanted to share this message with you from Texas Baptists. Please watch the video and follow the link for tangible ways to help if you feel led:

We at Texas Baptists often get calls asking what are you doing in the Valley to help the immigration situation and what can we do. Please see the video below for a brief introduction. Texas Baptists have been working in the Valley for decades. We have addressed the problems of migrants coming across the board, especially the unaccompanied minor crisis for years. We are heavily invested in helping the “stranger.”

We know there are a lot of politics involved in all of this. Our concern is not politics, but helping people in need with the love of Christ and sharing with them the Gospel. If you feel you can, please share this video with others.

Pastor Andy

To read more CLICK HERE.

What’s Next, Church?

On May 20 the church voted overwhelmingly to move forward with the land swap between the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (www.UMHB.edu) and First Baptist Belton. Many have asked, “What is next?”

During these summer months, final details will be worked out between the church and the university. Our architects are working on drawings to help us imagine the possibilities of how we may want to design the new site.

Plans are being made for a Faithful God Faithful Future pledge campaign. We will ask the church family to make a monetary commitment payable over five years. Some have asked if they can begin to give now. The answer is yes. In fact, through last Sunday several people have already given over $26,000. You can give on The City (fbcbelton.onthecity.org) or you can write a check with Faithful God Faithful Future (FGFF) in the memo line.

Is that all? NO! Vacation Bible School begins Monday. Our first international mission trip (of twelve during the summer) departed for Moldova this morning. We are moving forward in our church plant, Renewal Church in receiving money for the start-up and praying about who will go with Matthew to begin the work.

There will be camps for youth and children this summer. The 47th Annual God and Country Concert will take place on Sunday, July 1. Meanwhile, we continue to gather for worship and Bible study each Sunday. That’s where I hope to see you this Lord’s Day.

Please continue to pray! Remember: We cannot do all of this, but God can!

Pastor Andy

(254) 939-0705 | 506 N. Main Street Belton, TX 76513