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