Like most years, 2016 had its ups and downs, highs and lows, and in-between moments. We celebrated. We lamented. We witnessed baptisms. We gathered and prayed for our nation. We added another campus. And on and on. The Lord stretched us and grew us in new ways.
In it all, God, in His infinite mercy, has invited us into His greater story of redemption for the world. By God’s grace, the fruits of our prayers and our labors—seen and unseen, known and unknown—come from the desire to make our mission a reality: to make disciples through gospel-centered worship, gospel-centered community, gospel-centered service and gospel-centered multiplication.
As we look back at 2016 and ahead to 2017, may we be faithful to the role God has given us in His story by making disciples in DFW and to the ends of the earth.
Some of the most difficult challenges for our Communications team are choosing what stories to tell and what news to highlight at The Village. God is doing so many amazing things in our local church, which makes narrowing down what to share a unique task. It’s a privilege to consider and create work that helps all of us see what God, in His mercy and grace, continues to accomplish through our mission to bring glory to His name by making disciples who worship, belong, serve and multiply. What you’re about to read is our effort to look back at The Village’s story in 2016 so that, together, we can see and celebrate God’s greater story.
Part of celebrating well means obeying God’s command to remember. We are a forgetful people, so God has mercifully given us the gift of story to help us remember His goodness and to hope in His promises. In Exodus 12, God tells Moses to never forget the miracle and saving work of the Passover in Egypt by telling the story symbolically every year. This isn’t a recommendation, but a command. Jesus also calls His Church to remember the greater Passover of the cross through the symbolic celebration of communion: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24). It is imperative that we have intentional times and means of remembering God’s faithfulness to us.
This year, we have plenty of reasons to celebrate, and I’m particularly excited for you to hear directly from some of our pastors, staff and ministry partners. You’ll have the chance to read specifics of what’s happening at our Fort Worth campus regarding campus transitions, get an update from Eric Mason at our partner church in Philadelphia, Epiphany Fellowship, and learn more about the essential work of making disciples that’s happening in The Village Church Institute. As I personally reflected on these letters and stories, my heart and mind got a sense of the larger story God is weaving here that so often gets lost in the everyday tasks, struggles and details of life.
Of course, none of this would be possible without your generous gifts to The Village. As you read, I hope you can clearly and specifically connect the dots between your financial generosity and the very real people and places that are benefitting from your contributions. Our elders and staff prayerfully consider how to steward these funds for the glory of God, and we don’t take the responsibility lightly. For that reason alone, this annual time to take a step back and review all God has done here is both wise and necessary.
I invite you to take some time to read through these pages and intentionally rejoice, reflect and remember His goodness to us. May this year’s telling of God’s story here at The Village encourage and exhort us as we continue on this journey together.
Executive Director, Communications
We started to experience full community with this [Home Group], and not just have a group of friends that we hang out with once a week, but really have people who are dedicated to us and dedicated with us.John Cluff
Statistics aren’t about numbers and performance. Statistics are about people. And every number and piece of data tells a story. Driving every statistic, in every ministry, is a realization that God is at work to make all things new. He doesn’t make us new so that we can boast in our accomplishments. He is at work in us so that He might be glorified.
Each baptism number is a unique story of how the Lord brought dead men and women to life. I remember the story of a woman who was baptized at our campus this past summer. Imagine the worst-case scenario for your life—that was her testimony. Drugs, abuse and complete hopelessness were just the start. But then Jesus rescued her from death and breathed new life into her. Her baptism is not just a number on a handout; it’s a story of God at work.
My hope is that our 2017 will be full of more stories about God’s amazing work amongst us. In any given Home Group, you will find a chorus of men and women sharing stories of brokenness and healing, frustrations and contentment, chaos and peace. Even our attendance numbers represent opportunities for the gospel to reach the nations. We don’t keep track of attendance to boast in ourselves or to see how successful we are. The truth is, even if only one person showed up for a weekend worship service, we wouldn’t be able to transform their heart. That is God’s work. We simply want to steward well the call to preach the gospel and make disciples. We believe that each and every person who walks through the doors at our campuses is a soul that God delights in. Sometimes it might not feel as personal as it should be, and I don’t like that. But, our hope is that these gatherings would stir each and every one of us up to love and good works. Some come in marked by hurt and pain, some walk in hungry, and others don’t even know why they’re here. Regardless of the reason, we know that the Lord has a purpose in bringing men, women and children in, and we want to be faithful to point them to Jesus.
As I look back at 2016, I am reminded that the Lord doesn’t take lightly His fame. When I think about the numbers included throughout here, I am reminded that He has saved those among us. He has healed in our church. He has redeemed marriages.
My earnest prayer for 2017 is that we would not forget that Jesus Christ is building His Church—not our church. He is not building The Village. Jesus will build His Church, and He will do it for His glory.
Elder & Plano Campus Pastor
At first glance, Micah and Kendall Spence were seen as an “unlikely couple” by their peers at the small Bible college they attended. Micah, who came from an ultra-conservative home, was not expected to date someone like Kendall—whose upbringing was deemed much more liberal since she grew up wearing jeans and attending public school.
Micah and Kendall fell in love without as much as holding hands. The strict rules enforced at their school prohibited such outward displays of affection. The young couple wrestled with living in a spiritual climate marked by harsh legalism and hypocrisy. The leadership at their school painted God in one light, yet their daily actions failed to align with the God whom they professed to know and serve. The leaders at the school exemplified a God with endless rules and demands who felt distant, unapproachable and impossible to please.
Scarred by the influence of people who preached a message of grace yet embodied the opposite, Micah and Kendall felt a growing distrust of their Bible college and the faith it represented but continued to pursue the truth of God’s Word in their lives.
After graduation, Micah and Kendall moved to Dallas and began attending The Village. The Lord was gracious to lead them into the gospel-centered community of their Home Group. For the first time, Kendall felt truth wash over her wounds. "It was like my heart had been wrapped up in these chains, which were the law,” she said. “I realized that I didn’t need those—and they were broken away from me—but the marks were still there. They left an impression.”
“They let us have a safe space to decompress and work through a lot of what had happened in our lives.”
It was through life in community that Micah was able to finally journey toward authentic freedom in Christ. “I complained all the time about our prior experience. Once, we were sitting around with the people from our Home Group, and I started crying and I said, ‘I’m actually bitter.’ The Home Group was instrumental in challenging me. They let us have a safe space to decompress and work through a lot of what had happened in our lives, but after that they started encouraging us to grow.” The authenticity and grace the Spences experienced in their Home Group stood in stark contrast to the stifling hypocrisy they observed at college.
Micah and Kendall’s group leaders walked them through the process of understanding the gospel of grace and challenged them to dive deeper into God’s purpose for their lives. Because they both carried spiritual baggage from a past marked by hypocrisy, the Spences found healing through their group leader’s willingness to ask the difficult "why" questions. Micah testifies to the impact this had on their lives: “We started to get to know who God actually was. He wasn’t a stern, judgmental Being who just wanted to smite us for our missteps. He was actually loving and interested and invested, as a good parent is.” Finding themselves surrounded by individuals anchored in truth and extending grace, the Spences were able to navigate through tough questions without the fear of condemnation.
Stepping into a community of trust allowed a new level of vulnerability for both Micah and Kendall.
Kendall encountered growth through her group and authentic relationships by “discovering who God really was in a vernacular that I could understand and who wasn't such a mystery...The freedom from that is the liberation in Christ—not to an extent of licentiousness—but just being able to be who you are and who God created you to be.”
Micah and Kendall’s hearts break for others who have been wounded by hypocrisy and are bound by the chains of legalism. Kendall has experienced the importance of meeting others where they are and seeing them with God’s eyes firsthand. “Take time and sympathize with them,” she said. “They have to come to the realization that we’re all broken. That person who hurt you is a broken sinner just like you are.”
“My good works don’t earn any more of God’s favor, and my sin does not remove or negate His favor.”
Micah and Kendall thank God for providing them with a truth-saturated, gospel-centered community. Micah described his growth as formational in his walk with Christ: “My good works don’t earn any more of God’s favor, and my sin does not remove or negate His favor. Beginning this realization has been life-changing for me.”
And, as Kendall puts it, “It’s like a drink of cold water when you’re dying of thirst.”
God has been so gracious to us. He has carried us and continues to carry us, and there really is a church here that He has formed for His glory.Beau Hughes, Pastor
at The Village Church Denton
In 2015, we transitioned our first campus, the Denton campus, into an autonomous church. Since then, the church on the corner of Oak and Fulton in Denton has flourished. This year marked the one-year anniversary of the transition, on August 23. The Village Church Denton celebrated their “birthday” service by baptizing believers, recognizing significant wedding anniversaries, rejoicing over the many new babies and making a joyful noise unto the Lord in worship. They went through four sermon series this year: Mark (which started in 2015), The Holy Spirit, The Fruit of the Spirit and Genesis.
As the church who “sent out” The Village Church Denton, we should remember to pray for our brothers and sisters as they go into their next year. They are striving to be a city of God’s people in the city of Denton. Pray that the congregation continues to grow in stewardship and ownership of their church, using their gifts and talents to build up the body and to encourage one another. Pray for more men and women to be raised up, trained up and sent out to spread the gospel in DFW and to the ends of the earth.
|983||Covenant Members at The Village Church Denton to pray for|
|42||staff, elders and deacons and their families to pray for|
|14||missionaries and their families to pray for|
average weekly Next Gen attendance
children attended Kids Camp
students attended Summer Camp
students attended Spin
students attended Focus
Leading in Little Village and co-leading a Home Group has challenged me to be prepared and to take Scripture seriously.Ivuoma Okoro
It is one of the first things out of my mouth when I start praying. It is what keeps me up at night. It is where I want to put my best effort and much of my time. I am speaking of the spiritual investment in my own kids and their friends, the next generation.
Week after week in 2016, our Next Gen rooms have been bursting at the seams with children and students, and seeing the gospel work among them is a sight to behold! In April and May, The Village as a whole went through a four-week sermon series called Family Discipleship. In it, we learned about the role that the Church has in bringing up the next generation in the way of the Lord. As the people of God, we are all called to come alongside families in teaching, encouragement and support. Imagine the potential impact of an entire church diligently discipling their kids through the framework of time, moments and milestones.
But to keep this ministry work going requires volunteers. Next Gen Ministry is absolutely dependent on and fueled by our volunteers. It is a great opportunity to make disciples, and all of our campuses are in need of more men and women interested in discipling kids and serving families. There is so much to do! Not only on trips, retreats, camps and in the living room at home, but week in and week out in our classrooms and student gatherings. We are praying that 2017 is a banner year of seeing adults (adults who look exactly like you!) at TVC give their time to minister to the needs of our kids. Whether it is leading a small group of high school students or praying for a baby as you change a diaper, we hope to see many more of you join us in seeing the next generation come to know the Lord!
Spiritual Formation Pastor, Dallas Northway campus
Our Next Gen ministries build on each other to develop gospel maturity. This begins in Little Village (birth – K), with our Five Foundational Truths: God Made Everything, God Is in Charge of Everything, God Is Good, Jesus Came to Save Sinners, and God Wants to Talk With Us. Then in Kids Village (1st – 5th grade), we teach the character and attributes of God. As students move into Student Ministry, we use this foundation to help students grow in gospel-centered community through small groups and their personal relationships with the Lord.
Our capacity to do Next Gen Ministry is heavily dependent on you, our volunteers. Next Gen volunteers serve parents by partnering with them in making disciples. Most importantly, they pray for the kids and provide a safe place for them to learn gospel-centered truths in age-specific ways.
While we have many volunteers who serve in Next Gen, it continues to be an area of great need in our church, and we would love to have you serve with us. Talk to someone in Connection Central or visit the Volunteer page of our website to get involved.
This year, we did a series on Family Discipleship that was accompanied by our Family Discipleship Guide, a book that unpacked the practices of time, moments and milestones and helped you apply them to your family’s specific context. We create resources like this because we believe that parents are called to be the primary disciplemakers of their children, and we want to provide resources to help parents shepherd their families well.
Creating intentional time built into the rhythm of the family's life for the purpose of thinking about, talking about and living out the gospel.
Capturing and leveraging opportunities in the course of everyday life for the purpose of gospel-centered conversations.
Marking and making occasions to celebrate and commemorate significant spiritual milestones of God's work in the life of the family and child.
volunteers in Preschool Ministry
volunteers in Elementary Ministry
volunteers in Student Ministry
Our Southlake campus started out at the beginning of the year with a core group of staff and committed members. After the soft launch on Easter Sunday, the campus walked through a local series on The Village’s mission statement. In June, Southlake moved from a single service to two Sunday morning services and asked the members to begin inviting friends, family and neighbors. Finally, the official hard launch happened on August 14, and the campus has continued to thrive ever since.
In its first year, Southlake participated in many churchwide events, such as Family Worship Weekend, Celebration Services, the Defending Life forum and Focus. Locally, they held GroupConnect, Elder-Led Prayer and Institute classes on How to Study the Bible, Genesis: Part 1, Covenant Membership and Baptism.
In 2015, the members of Carroll Baptist Church in Southlake, Texas, voted to become a part of The Village Church as its Southlake campus. On January 3, 2016, I started meeting with the approximately 40 members of Carroll Baptist to preach on Sundays. We gathered each week for one Sunday worship service, allowing the Lord to knit our hearts together.
During that time, we also held two Town Halls for current TVC members who lived in the area. The purpose was for them to come and hear our vision and hope for the Southlake campus: that we would live out the TVC mission to make disciples, and, contextually, be a gospel outpost in the Southlake area, where those who would come would hear a different "sound" than that of the surrounding culture. And what would be that sound? The centrality of the gospel. That Jesus is better than any other possession. These members were asked to pray about possibly joining the campus with a commitment to volunteer on a team in preparation for soft launch, and they responded. And in February, we hired five staff to help us begin this phase.
The first Sunday of soft launch was March 27—Easter Sunday. We held two services with 295 adults in attendance and about 100 children. We continued with our soft launch, building teams for Connections, Worship, Next Gen and Groups. We were blessed from the start with an incredible group of people who have hearts to serve this church and community—you. The campus underwent a renovation period, and offices in the building were eliminated to make room for more children. We renovated the entire building, as well—new lights, sound, paint, carpet and more.
On August 14, the Southlake campus officially launched to the public. That first Sunday had about 550 adults and around 150 children in attendance. Since then, we’ve continued to see the Lord's kindness. We look forward to raising up leaders and making more disciples who can be faithful witnesses to Christ and His gospel in all spheres of life for the glory of God and the flourishing of others.
Elder & Southlake Campus Pastor
people involved in classes at the Southlake campus
people from the Southlake campus involved in Home Groups
average Next Gen attendance at the Southlake campus
people baptized at the Southlake campus
Let us continue to pray for the Southlake campus staff, its Covenant Members and the community we hope to reach with the gospel of Christ.
Why community outreach? Gospel-centered service is the overflow of discipleship and should be a part of every believer’s life, serving both inside and outside the church. You may typically think of service just as volunteering at church, and we definitely need you here, but service outside the church is just as important. Community outreach includes both time and money, and it often leads to gospel-centered multiplication, replicating Christ in others.
This year for Transform, the Dallas Northway campus participated in DISD’s Super Saturday event at Thomas Jefferson High School. The Fort Worth campus partnered with J. Martin Jacquet Middle School to provide school supplies and renovate their outdoor gym. And the Flower Mound campus participated in Lewisville ISD’s Back-to-School Fair.
Pastor Matt and I first met a few months before the launch of Epiphany Fellowship. Not long afterward, he engaged the leadership of your church about partnering with Epiphany, and they were all just as excited as we were. When I think of our partnership, Philippians 1:5-6 comes to mind: “...because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Since 2006, when we first became partners and fellow laborers in the gospel, we have engaged in a holistic philosophy of ministry together. This has included church planting, improving our race IQ, building a safe, local neighborhood playground, installing A/C and heat units in our building, and your provision of generous monetary gifts, all amounting to upward of $600,000.
Why are partnerships between urban and suburban churches so important? The answer is that we both need each other. From our perspective, the long-term partnership that The Village has had with us for the past decade has been crucial in helping to stabilize us without painful gaps. Most inner-city churches in locations like ours take 20 years or more before self-support becomes a reality. God blessed us to do so for the most part in eight years.
On your part, most suburban churches or churches that support church plants commit for one to two years. This timeframe works for center-city and suburban churches, but in our context, we needed a longer period. Many churches have graciously partnered with us over the years and gradually transitioned their support. We are certainly very grateful for their generosity!
However, as The Village began to learn the statistics and details of how inner-city planting works, our hearts became more intertwined. Your support went beyond a monetary transaction: You became family. You came alongside us and endured hard seasons with us; your demonstration of your dedication to the gospel in this way amazes us.
The openness that The Village has had to growing and being teachable and responsive to working through the cultural, racial and economic gaps between our churches is beyond commendable. I believe our relationship is—both positionally and practically—from the hand and heart of the living God. May the Lord continue His work in and through you as you remain committed to global, gospel ministry.
Senior Pastor, Epiphany Fellowship Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hundreds of volunteers serve at each of our campuses. Whether these volunteers are greeting people at the doors, showing guests where to park, playing on the Worship Team, teaching in Next Gen, leading a group or working sound for services, they are all giving their time and talents to serve those inside and outside the church.
volunteers in Connections Ministry
volunteers in Next Gen Ministry
volunteers on Production team
volunteers on Worship team
volunteers with Facilities team
volunteers with Finance team
In September, all of our campuses participated in Freedom Sunday with International Justice Mission. You helped give $30,000 to their efforts for freedom and justice in Cambodia.
Four of our campuses hosted Trunk or Treat around Halloween. To engage with our communities, participants decorated their cars, wore costumes, handed out candy and more.
Many of our Covenant Members are involved in a wide variety of ministries, from Chin Refugee Ministry to Mercy Street to the Seed Company. You can find these ministries and their contact info on the Volunteer page of our website.
given toward local community outreach
Our campuses held various donation drives for backpacks, school supplies, baby supplies, coats, shoes and Christmas gifts.
In January, a team from The Village attended the 2016 Evangelicals for Life Conference and the March for Life in Washington, D.C. At these events, thousands of people came to champion the pro-life movement, giving a voice to the voiceless. We challenged you to get involved, and you gave $81,863.27 to Real Choices Pregnancy Medical Clinic in Grapevine, Texas.
given toward our partners
In order for us to grow in empathy, it will require humility.
As a church, we hope and pray for diversity to be a marker among our body of believers. The subject of racial reconciliation is close to our hearts and something that we’ve consciously and purposefully put our focus on.
In 2016, there were many news segments, articles and stories with racial injustice at their center—one of which occurred right here in Dallas. In the aftermath of July’s shooting, where five police officers were killed and nine others injured, we held prayer services at the Flower Mound and Dallas Northway campuses to mourn for the lives of all the people who’ve lost their lives this year and the reality of racial upheaval in our country. During weekend worship services, we also held a panel discussion about racial reconciliation, empathy and what our response should be as the unified body of Christ, and the following week we taught on justice and law enforcement.
"Beloved": That is what we are—the beloved bride of Christ. As I think back to this past year, there are significant moments that remind me that Christ’s bride, although contextually shaped and formed by many things, is not identified by them. No, the fundamental thing to us, more than anything else, is our union with Christ and, therefore, our union to each other. This is what defines us. We are one body and we cannot say that we don't need each other.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses several conflicts in the church, including their understanding and use of freedom, particularly in corporate worship. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful” (1 Cor. 6:12). Paul says that they are free from all things. That is, they have the liberties of a Christian. And yet, Paul exhorts them to lay down those things so that they may serve their brothers and sisters and others may believe without hindrance. We can certainly appreciate the differences between all of us, such as ethnicity and culture, but the more fundamental aspect of our lives is that we are united together in Christ.
Beloved, our city and our nation are divided by many things, but our unity must remain true of us. And I think it increasingly has been. I have been encouraged in the Lord to see all of us grow—in faithfulness to His Word, in caring for one another, and the growing burden to love our immediate neighbors well. We have taken off things that are secondary to us and clothed ourselves in the love and compassion of Christ. I am praying that we continue to have that increase so that the light of Christ would shine from here into the nations. Let us be unwavering in our commitment, not letting anything—including our own liberties—hinder us.
Thinking back to January when we prayed for missions, the sanctity of life and racial reconciliation, how else could we have prepared for the difficulties ahead but through dependence upon God through prayer? This year has been highlighted by the refugee crisis, the continual attack on the lives of the unborn and ethnic tensions, even across governmental lines. And those are mostly in the national news. You yourselves have closer stories of pain and suffering, ones that have perhaps left you feeling alone and in despair. Your pastors and church family see you. Through the body of Christ, you have been comforted by those who themselves have been comforted in Christ. Let us continue encouraging one another in the hope of Christ until the day of His return, when all things will be made right.
In 2017, I pray that our love for Christ and for each other will abound all the more and that we would be a people who willingly suffer for the sake of Christ. I love you all.
Elder & Fort Worth Campus Pastor
For almost 2,000 years, the local church has served as the center of discipleship and mission. However, over the last few hundred years, many churches have abdicated their responsibility to make disciples and have relied instead upon outside institutions to accomplish the training and sending of disciples.
The local church is both capable of—and charged with—the task of training and sending its people to fulfill the Great Commission; this is our sacred duty. The Village Church Institute was established in January 2015 for this very reason: to train the people of The Village in the essentials of discipleship—Christian story, Christian belief and Christian formation—that they might be sent out to make disciples. It exists to train those we send and to send those we train.
Over the last two years, we’ve worked to restore theological training at the local church level through various efforts. We launched the Training Program, which had more than 180 graduates in its first year. These graduates represent our church: stay-at-home parents, accountants, designers, teachers, nurses, future church planters, international missionaries, Home Group leaders and more. In addition, TVCI offers classes like Baptism, The Story of Scripture, Covenant Membership, How to Study the Bible and Church History.
In 2017, we will continue to offer excellent theological and biblical training, while also taking a proactive and strategic approach to training church planters, international missionaries and executive leaders. Our next step is the development and launching of residencies that will serve the Church in developing Christ-centered, servant leaders.
God has called His people to proclaim the gospel. It is our joy and privilege to train up and send out the people of The Village to be faithful participants in that mission.
Pastor, The Village Church Institute
Luke and Amanda Baublet are missionaries in Berlin, Germany. In a city where many people can speak English, they’ve spent years studying German. Their desire is to go deep in their relationships with locals and engage the hearts of the people they meet.
“Learning the language and culture is less about widespread evangelism and more about going deep into discipleship and engaging the heart.”
“When we, as foreigners, are able to engage in German, people just light up,” Luke said.
Many of the people whom the Baublets meet have little knowledge of Jesus. Often, Luke and Amanda are the first Christians their German friends have ever met or really gotten to know, and the Baublets are grateful for the gospel opportunities that their unique position presents.
Though living in Berlin is certainly a change after growing up in Texas, the city has been incredibly welcoming to the Baublets and really feels like home. They are putting down roots with the intention of staying long-term. They want to be faithful to what Jesus has called them to in supporting the local, gospel work happening in Berlin.
We gave $1,187,241 to missions around the world, which includes missionaries and church planters.
The Sending Program prepares and sends out missionaries and church planters to be effective messengers of reconciliation in a variety of contexts. The program follows a four-stage track:
This year, we went on short-term trips to Kenya, Ecuador, India, Ghana, Japan and within the U.S. We encourage you to pray about joining us on a short-term trip in 2017; details about trips will be available on our website.
Earlier this year, the elders of the Fort Worth campus took a page from global Church history, and our own history as The Village, and invited the campus to enter into a six-week season of prayer and fasting called Venture. In the Venture of 2007, the church body prayed and fasted for an answer to the overwhelming need for space, and the Lord provided the Denton campus. With the Venture of 2016, we as a campus asked the Lord to unite us in our desire for Him and in our identity together, especially in light of campus transition.
It was pivotal in the life of our campus. For some it was the charge over belonging to a church, the job of membership: that you and I belong to Christ and therefore to each other. Attending a service, watching a sermon and heading home isn’t belonging to a body; it’s consuming. During Venture, it was the family of God that we felt—that we are here, together. Some even bought houses in the immediate vicinity of the church, wanting to engage our direct context on a daily basis.
In my six years on staff, having been at the Dallas and Fort Worth campuses during their launches, Venture was a defining moment in the life of Fort Worth. We joined together for more of Christ, for each other and for what is ahead of us. I went home every week full in my soul from feasting with the church body and worshiping Christ. Beginning and ending each night singing has cemented “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery” and “He Will Hold Me Fast” as anthems for our body.
In the last two years, the Fort Worth membership has doubled in size. We are grateful for the elders He has brought us, working alongside each other in plurality and faithfulness for the good of the church.
With that, the elders believe that 2017 is the year for us to transition into our own church. In January, the Fort Worth campus will vote on an August transition date. We ask for your prayers and support as we seek to be faithful to what we believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to in the Scriptures regarding the ministry of the local church, local elders and local preaching. We are a people hoping to be sent out from you for the good of Fort Worth, in the name of Christ.
Spiritual Formation Pastor, Fort Worth campus
Our vision for transitioning campuses into autonomous churches grew out of the elders’ conviction to leverage the multi-site model as a prudent form of church planting and multiplication. We want to establish campuses and strengthen them with solid, gospel-driven leaders so that healthy campuses might become healthy churches. In 2014, the elders presented this vision to the church as a whole, and in August of 2015, the Denton campus became our first campus to transition.
This May, the Fort Worth campus became our second campus to consider transition. They embarked on a six-week time of praying and fasting, called Venture. In it, they asked their members to consider the character of a healthy church and campus transition. Each week, pastors and ministers spoke on evangelism, suffering, multiplication and other topics, the hope and desire being for the church body to join together and pursue unity, maturity and integrity, as they pursue what transition might look like.
In November, the Fort Worth campus held a Town Hall to talk further about the potential transition, and in January of 2017, the Covenant Members in Fort Worth will vote on the transition. As we go into 2017, we can be in prayer for what will happen next with the Fort Worth campus, asking the Lord to guide the decision-making process and bring unity to the campus and our church as a whole.
We’re asking that God would grant us a unique favor in this neighborhood, that He would protect the unity of our church, and that He would send any new gift sets that Fort Worth needs to thrive.Anthony Moore,
Campus Pastor at Fort Worth
God is now my favorite person to learn about and talk to, and my affections for Him are increasing.Tyler Evans
At The Village, we not only want to better steward what God is doing in and through our church but to also fill a void in the realm of discipleship resources. We want to provide resources that equip men and women to live out the gospel in the everyday. Engaging both the head and heart, these resources help Christians locate and walk in the true joy and peace that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
While we've always been a resourcing church, this year we officially started The Village Church Resources as a way to be more intentional about the way we resource both The Village Church and the Church at large. In January 2017, we will launch a resources website to help believers live faithfully and joyfully in the everyday. These resources include sermons, stories, podcasts, articles, albums and much more.
We released two albums, The Voyage Home and In His Presence, Melodies for the Home.
We recorded worship set videos to help individuals and groups incorporate singing into their gatherings.
We released a single that celebrates God rescuing us and redeeming us, called “God Our Rescuer.”
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worship, churchwide teaching, missions, church planting, spiritual formation, groups, Next Gen ministries, The Village Church Institute, etc.
operations, facilities, technology, production, finance, communications, human resources and capital equipment
compensation and benefits for all full-time and part-time staff and interns
I first visited Highland Village First Baptist Church on December 8, 2002. In the pulpit was a young pastor named Matt Chandler who had just accepted the call to lead the church; it was his first official Sunday. I was one of only 168 people in the congregation that day, but I could already sense that the Lord might do some amazing things here—and He has! By God’s grace, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth and change over the last 14 years. Highland Village FBC has become The Village Church. We have expanded from one campus to several, from 168 souls to over 10,000 each weekend.
In 2014, the elders shared their vision to leverage our multi-site model as a way to plant churches, and the Denton campus became the first campus to “roll off”—transition to a healthy, autonomous, local congregation—in August 2015. This year, we added our Southlake campus and began conversations about the future transition of our Fort Worth campus. Our plan is to continue adding campuses and rolling off campuses as the time seems right and the Lord is gracious to allow—but the process of transitioning campuses has its costs.
How much does it cost to launch a campus? Our Plano campus cost us nearly $5 million, split equally between property purchase and renovation expenses. Our Southlake campus, which was graciously given to us, still cost us around $2 million to make ready. Rolling off a campus like Denton or Fort Worth to form a new, local church costs The Village about $1 million in additional expenses each time, which doesn’t include the ongoing loss of giving revenue from that campus.
These numbers may come as a surprise to you. The Lord has been gracious to The Village, and we’ve never had to ask for additional money to fund these efforts; we’ve paid everything from reserves. In some ways, though, we feel that we’ve failed you in not communicating more about the connection between giving, generosity and multiplication. We hope to grow in this area, and we want to be more intentional about inviting you into the conversation about what it takes financially to move gospel-centered multiplication forward. As a practical matter, that multiplication is impossible without your continued generosity and financial giving.
For the mature disciple, giving is a stretching, sanctifying, joyful act of obedience. So, we thank you for your generous giving. As we consider campus transitions and what’s next for The Village, ask God what He would have you give this month, next month, next year—in your finances, in your time, in your service, in all areas. Ask Him to provide financially, and pray for our elders as they seek to steward our finances well.
Executive Director, Operations
As I think about where The Village is heading in 2017, there are three hopes in particular that I have for us. If we could grow in these three areas, then we will have gone a long way to being fully formed as the people of God.
The first is that I’d love to see a greater sense of belonging here, of what it means to be the people of God in a given place. The Scriptures talk a lot about the people of God being the household of faith. But one of the things that can happen at a place like The Village, where there are five campuses and more than 10,000 people, is that you can lose the feeling of belonging and connectedness. I’m hopeful that we can find or recover that greater sense of what it means to belong to one another, under the umbrella of belonging to Jesus Christ.
My second hope is one that I will always have, no matter the year: having a greater, deeper sense of mission. What does it mean to live on mission? What does it look like to live life with intentionality? I want us to grow in our understanding, confidence and ability to evangelize. I want us to see all the interactions of our lives—in our neighborhoods, at our workplaces, in shops and restaurants—as having eternal significance. May we be a people formed and shaped by the mission of God in and around the places in which we live and the people we interact with.
The third area I’d like to see us grow in is graciousness toward one another and to those who don’t belong to our church or even our faith. In the current cultural climate—not just in the elections but life in general—life is polarized. You can’t be for something without being against something else. There’s an African proverb that says, “When I saw him from afar, I thought he was a monster. When he got closer, I thought he was just an animal. When he got even closer, I recognized that he was a human. When we were face-to-face, I realized that he was my brother.” Rather than being a people marked by skepticism and cynicism, let us be marked by a graciousness and a kindness that shows we’re secure in who we are in Jesus Christ and the belief that ultimate victory belongs to Him. Let us be a people who don’t fret, who aren’t made angry easily, who aren’t incited to foolishness.
These are the hopes that I have for us and am praying for us, Church. If we reach the end of 2017 and are able to say we grew in those three things, then the Lord will have heard us and done a profound work among us. May it be so.
Elder & Lead Teaching Pastor