Texas Missions Month Blog: Week 5

Commitment Issues

Have you ever noticed how sometimes the simplest of tasks become gargantuan undertakings? Like hanging picture frames on the wall. No big deal, right? Nope. While living in Abu Dhabi, the simple task of hanging a picture frame was anything but easy. Since the walls were made of cinder block, we had to use 3M Command strips and hooks, which worked fine to hang small picture frames. But, hanging curtains or larger pictures required complete commitment.

I needed a power drill, special drill bits, wall anchors, and screws. Oh yeah, I also needed a dose of patience and humor because drilling into concrete caused clouds of dust to engulf me, set off cracks across the wall, and made chunks of the wall crumble and fall before my eyes. Once a picture was up on the wall, there was NO MOVING it. Sometimes we were all-in. We’d commit to hanging the picture frame. Other times? Not so much.

Commitment: a dedication or obligation that binds an individual to a particular person, cause, or course of action.

Whether it’s at school, work, church, in our relationships, with our finances, or hanging picture frames on concrete walls, we all have commitments. Commitment is a part of life. It should be normal for us to commit. I say that because God created us to reflect His character. God is committed to us.

If so, why do we have commitment issues? We live in an age where it has become normal for us to fear commitment. There are lots of reasons why we have commitment issues; I’ll just mention a few of the most common ones:

Fear of Disappointment

If you’ve been let down before, you might be afraid of committing again. Stepping out into the unknown or unfamiliar can be terrifying if past attempts were met with deep disappointment.

Fear of Failure

Sadly, many people feel worthless or useless. These unhealthy feelings can be a result of many factors including past failure or toxic relationships. I’ve met many paralyzed people who couldn’t bring themselves to attempt anything for God because they dreaded failing again.

Fear of Pain

None of us want to be uncomfortable, taste rejection, or hurt again. Our fear of discomfort and pain is a powerful motivation to avoid commitment.

Commitment Issues and Church Planting

As we approach the conclusion of Texas Missions Month, are you facing paralyzing anxiety and fear?

Maybe you have sensed the Spirit of God calling you to give a gift to fund the church plant start-up, but you are afraid to make the commitment. Perhaps, you are sensing God stirring in your heart to leave your home church, join the Renewal Church Launch Team, and help plant this new church…but you’re too fearful to commit.

Deep within your soul, you know what God is calling you to do for His Kingdom, and yet, you find yourself motionless.

God Makes Us Brave

What’s the difference between being a coward and being brave? The coward runs away and hides in the face of fear. Being brave means you take action in the face of fear.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18)

From eternity past, long before you were even conceived, God deeply loved you. Today, in the middle of your brokenness and fears, God deeply loves you. Tomorrow, and for all of eternity, you will be deeply loved by God. Knowing and believing that you are the recipient of eternal and perfect love pushes all the fears away! God makes you brave!

You are not defined by your disappointments, failures, or pain. If you belong to God, you are defined by who you are in Jesus. You are loved, chosen, adopted, redeemed, anointed, victorious, set apart as holy, and called to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

We have a mission to accomplish for the glory of our King! There are thousands of unchurched people in Bell County that are desperate for God’s renewal, which is why we are planting Renewal Church.

God is faithful to us. Through His empowering, we can be faithful to Him.

See What God can do Through You

Sunday, September 30 is Church Plant Commitment Sunday. Members of First Baptist Belton will have a unique opportunity to express their commitment to Renewal Church during the worship services.

Have you heard God’s voice calling you to PRAY, GIVE, or GO?

Adventure awaits! What’s holding you back? Reach out for God in the middle of your uncertainty and know that your Father won’t disappoint you. You are already trusting God with your eternity. Maybe now is the time for you to see what God can do through you when you trust Him with today.

Matthew Levant
Church Planter

Texas Missions Month Blog: Week 4

The Miracle in Multiplication

Multiplication Beats Addition. Every. Single. Time.

If a wealthy friend offered you $25,000 per day for 30 days or a penny doubled every day for 30 days, which would you take? If you add $25,000 per day for a month, you would end up with a whopping $750,000! Now, check out the mind-blowing math when you double a penny for 30 days:

For those of you that barely glanced over the numbers, here are a few observations…

  • After one week, with a total of 64 cents, you might have thought to yourself: I should’ve gone with the $25,000 per day!
  • Even after three weeks, you would have had just over $10,000 instead of $525,000, which you could have had at that point by adding $25,000 per day.
  • And by day 27, you would have just over $671,000—still less than the $750,000 you would get by adding $25,000 for 30 days.
  • BUT, your wealthy friend offered to double a penny for 30 days, not for 27 days. The last three days demonstrate the power of multiplication. You would have over $5 million to splurge!

What’s my point? This isn’t a blog about wise financial investment (even though that would be a valid application). The point is that multiplication beats addition. Every. Single. Time.

Multiplying the Mission

Jesus’ mission is to make disciples of every people group across the planet that will worship Him forever. Common sense says that if you have a global mission like that, you’ll need a huge number of people to accomplish it. Nope. Not Jesus. He invested in 12 people. That’s it. The King of Glory entrusted His global mission to a handful of people that would multiply.

The Apostle Paul followed Jesus’ focus on multiplication:

“…And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

Paul discipled Timothy….

Timothy discipled faithful men…

The faithful men discipled others…

God’s plan is accomplished through multiplication, not addition. We are called to multiply the mission. The goal is to make disciples…that make disciples…that make disciples…until every single people group on earth has heard the good news of Jesus and bow before Him in awe.

Not a One-Time-Thing

If First Baptist Belton plants Renewal Church, but never plants another church, and then Renewal Church also never plants a new church, that would mean First Baptist Belton added one new church. But, if Renewal Church plants more churches that then go and plant more churches, First Baptist Belton will have multiplied.

I pray that First Baptist Belton becomes far more than a mother church—I pray that she will be a grandmother and great-grandmother church!

First Baptist Belton is focused on multiplication. Renewal Church is simply the first step.

The vision is for Renewal Church is to be a church-planting church that will lead to more church plants in Bell County and across the world. This is not a one-time-thing!

The Miracle in Multiplication

Jesus knows that we can’t accomplish His mission in our own strength. That’s why He promised: “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus promises His presence to those that multiply His mission.

First Baptist Belton will be blessed by multiplying. Renewal Church will be blessed by being planted and eventually by also multiplying.

Our calling is to be bold. Our calling is to trust God. Our calling is to multiply for the glory of our King. How is God calling you to partner with Renewal Church? Will you pray, give, or go?


Matthew Levant

Church Planter

Texas Missions Month Blog: Week 3

Vision and Mission of Renewal Church

What’s all the fuss about vision and mission statements?

Every business, organization, and motivational speaker talks about having an inspiring vision and a clear mission. Vision and mission statements are designed to work together to communicate the essence of the organization:

  • Vision Statement: describes the desired end-state. Vision speaks of the direction the organization is headed.
  • Mission Statement: describes purpose and identity. Mission speaks of the organization’s reason for existing and how it plans to fulfill that purpose.

Check out a couple of awesome vision and mission statements from global companies:

  • Company: Samsung
  • Vision: Inspire the world. Create the future.
  • Mission: Inspire the world with our innovative technologies, products and design that enrich people’s lives and contribute to social prosperity by creating a new future.


  • Company: Ikea
  • Vision: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
  • Mission: Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.

Basically, your vision shows the direction you are headed. Your mission shows why you are heading in that direction and how you are going to get there.

Vision and mission statements lead to the success of an organization. The same is true whether you sell electronics or you sell low-cost DIY furniture in a store that makes you feel like a mouse trapped in a maze. Just sayin! I love me some Ikea, but do they really need to sell their stuff in a labyrinth?

More Important than Phones and Furniture

Samsung and Ikea have an inspiring vision and a clear mission. They know who they are. They know what they do. They know why they do it. And they know how they are going to do it. The result? Success.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we worship the King of Glory who spoke the universe into existence, came into the world to rescue us, and has sent us to share His love with a dark and broken world. Our mission has eternal implications. What we do as a church is way more important than selling phones and furniture!

I believe God wants every church to have an inspiring vision and a clear mission. As a church, we must have a well-defined direction, identity, and purpose. The key for a church is to root their vision and mission on the character and purposes of God.

God’s Renewal

God originally created people to know Him, love Him, praise Him, and joyfully submit to Him. We exist to enjoy God. Sadly, due to our sinful nature, we are all broken. And we live in a broken world. None of us can fulfill the great purpose God originally intended for us. In our brokenness, we strive to find meaning and joy in our lives, but in the end it’s nothing more than chasing after the wind. Through Jesus Christ, God is making all things new.

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

God is at work restoring people from all nations to their original purpose: enjoying the presence of God.

Renewal Church Vision:

To bring God’s renewal to Bell County and the world

Renewal Church Mission:

Renewal Church exists so that people will be made new in Jesus, grow in Jesus, and be released into the world for Jesus

Renewal Church will have a gospel-centered direction, identity, and purpose.

Bell County: Desperate for God’s Renewal

For those of you number-lovers, here are some stats:

  • On an average Sunday, there are about 30,000 people attending a church service in Bell County.
  • The current population in our county is about 335,000 people and we’re projected to hit 500,000 in the next 10 years.
  • The median age of Bell County is 30.
  • The poverty rate in our county is surprisingly high at 16.5%.

For those of you whose eyes glaze over when you see stats, here’s the translation…

There are thousands of families in our community that don’t know Jesus. Thousands of people need the love of God. Thousands of people in Bell County need us to smile at them, look them in the eye, hug them, and share the hope that we’ve found in Jesus. This is our purpose.

Are you in? Do you want to see what God can do through you?

PRAY for the Renewal Church launch team, GIVE to the start-up, and ask God if He is calling you to GO, and join us as we plant this new church for the praise of His name.

Matthew Levant

Church Planter

Texas Missions Month Blog: Week 2

The Last Blockbuster and Church Planting

I read an article recently about the last Blockbuster video store. Turns out, there’s actually one left! Who’d a thunk it? I really thought Redbox and Netflix killed off Blockbuster years ago. But, the last of the video stores is staving off extinction in Bend, Oregon by selling…wait for it…their own beer! That’s right, the only remaining Blockbuster has partnered with a local brewery to sell “The Last Blockbuster Beer”.

Despite the creative marketing, truth be told, nostalgia is the only reason for an open video store in 2018. People are fascinated by seeing a little piece of a bygone era. This last Blockbuster is more of a museum than a store.

Many people fear that church plants kill existing churches much like Redbox and Netflix killed off Blockbuster. They fear that existing churches might become dusty museums of a past era. And, they believe that new upstart churches share some of the blame for the decline in established churches.

Is it true? Do new churches hurt existing churches?

God’s Story

The moment that humanity rebelled against God, we took a nose-dive into corruption, brokenness, and death. The Bible is God’s Story of taking the initiative to rescue people from all nations. God has a missionary heart that longs to seek and save the lost; God is a loving Father that reaches out to have His children close to His heart.

Stepping into God’s Story

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’” (John 20:21)

Jesus is sending us to reach those that are far from God. Jesus invites us to step into God’s Story and continue His mission. When we plant new churches that reach new people, we are stepping into God’s Story!

Renewal Church will not focus on “transfer growth” or “stealing sheep” from existing churches. Instead, our focus will be on reaching unchurched people in our community. I respect and value the existing churches of Bell County. I pray we never hurt a single established church.

I also pray that Renewal Church will encourage existing churches in Bell County to step into God’s Story by intentionally reaching new people in our community. I hope that no church ever becomes a dusty museum of a past era. May we see only vibrant, growing churches!

You can step into the story God is telling through Renewal Church three ways:

  • Pray. I invite you to pray for this new church
  • Give. First Baptist Belton members can use Renewal Church giving envelopes on Sunday mornings. You can also give online: give.renewalchurch.net
  • Go. You can join the Renewal Church launch team and see what God can do through you

Our mission-minded God calls us to spread His gospel and multiply His church for the display of His glory. Will you step into His story?

Matthew Levant

Church Planter

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

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


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