The Fount Volume 1 Spring 2019
PASTORAL TEAM Steve Wells Pastor Carey Cannon Minister of Music & Worship Greg Funderburk Minister for Pastoral Care Brad Jernberg Minister of AdministraƟon for OperaƟons Susan Moore Minister of AdministraƟon for CommunicaƟons Dolores Rader Minister to Families MaƩ Walton Minister for Discipleship
CONTENTS 3 From The Pastor Family Ministry 5 8 Imagine! Missions at South Main Music Musings 10
The Fo F unt COMMUNICATIONS Susan Moore, Jennifer Gribble, Suzann Herrmann, Eric Peterson
Volume 1 Spring 2019
BY SUSAN MOORE
outh Main’s Communications Team has been dreaming about a way to preserve and share South Main’s stories. Our vision has come true with this inaugural issue of The Fount, South Main’s magazine. A huge thank you to our photographers, Lauren Benesh, Lisa Marie McLaughlin, and David Nance, who gave of their time and talents to capture the beauty of our church campus and the heart and soul of our church family. I owe a debt of gratitude to my team, Jennifer Gribble, Suzann Herrmann, and Eric Peterson for their creativity and perseverance.
FROM THE PASTOR BY DR. STEVE WELLS ohn Claypool used to say that the Apostle Paul made the choice to find the blessing in his confinement. Paul clearly wanted to be out planting churches and discipling believers, but his imprisonment meant he could not travel. Some in Paul’s place would have blown up in anger, others might have given up in despair. Paul did neither; instead he looked up in hope and he looked back with gratitude. I’ve thought about that counsel a great deal in the past few weeks as my injuries from a car wreck have prevented me from doing the work I love. While I have been unable to preach or keep regular hours in the office, I have been able to pray, to reflect, and to give thanks. And there is much for which to give thanks these days at South Main. This spring we will commit together to complete the work of restoring the historic sanctuary where we are graced to worship week by week. We do not have plans to bring in masons, electricians, plasterers, or painters — but work still remains; the work of paying for the beauty we share each week. Few congregations are sufficiently committed to both robustly funding the work of the church and enhancing the campus. But we have serially demonstrated that commitment. Four years ago we committed to a plan that meant one project in two campaigns. Your faithful giving means that by the end of 2020 our church can be debt free, in the healthiest financial position in generations, and have sacred space that calls us to the throne of grace.
FAMILY MINISTRY TEAM Suzann Herrmann, Kate Lane, Hannah Rollins, Kelly Barsch, Dolores Rader, Leigh Anne Bryant, Brandyn Adney; JT Spoede (2nd row)
From the Pastor Continued
helping us to develop healthy systems so we can grow as a church. Add to that his preaching gifts, and you can see why our team is so excited about the Walton’s move to Houston.
The shift to a Family Ministry model offers our babies, children, and youth the best environment in which to Speaking of preaching — in the three weeks make commitments to Christ and following my accident, we had four different grow into those commitments. But the voices in the pulpit, Greg and Matt from transition from a youth minister and a our pastoral team, and Abby Rader and children’s minister to a Family Ministry Morgan Smith from our youth ministry. team has taken time — finding the These proclaimers reflect both the deep bench right age-group shepherds for babies and abundant blessing we share in worship and their parents, elementary week by week. schoolers, the 527 Tribe, and our Matt Walton 8th-12th grade youth took time. Add All that to say, as we come into 2019, these to that the search for a missions and are good days at South Main. We have been stewardship leader and the right administrative star were blessed with astounding space in a strategic place. searches well worth the wait. Following the calling of Kate We have a well formed plan and a seasoned team to convert, Lane, Leigh Anne Bryant, Hannah Rollins, Brandyn Adney, attract, and disciple believers in Christ Jesus. And I continue JT Spoede, and Suzann Herrmann, was the time to forge a to believe we have the best pastoral team in the history of our culture for Family Ministry and develop a rhythm for each storied congregation. age group. Growing numbers of kids and their families are I would not have planned the last few weeks to go as they did, one validation of that strategy — as families are trusting but I am grateful indeed for the rest and the reminder of all us with the future. that is right in our fellowship. With the calling of Matt Walton as our Minister for Grace and truth, Discipleship, our ministry team is complete. Matt brings a host of gifts which many of you are beginning to see. He is learning South Main, building trust across age groups, and
Celebrating and navigating Mondays through Sundays from week one to week 936 toward authenic and lasting faith in Christ.
FAMILY MINISTRY BY DOLORES RADER he Family Ministry at South Main celebrates the big and small of childhood from the birth of a child to their send-off from high school into a world of their own. We value excellence, creativity, intentionality, and safety in all that we do. And we strive to combine the influence of a multigenerational church— with a history of servant leadership, educationally rich discipleship, and glorious worship—with the influence of the home, where parents, grandparents, and caregivers have the greatest effect on and understanding of their children. The bent of our ministry is to provide programming, people, and resources in each child’s life, so that ultimately they hold dearly to an authentic and lasting faith in Christ. Our purpose statement identifies three core pillars of our ministry: celebrating, navigating Monday through Sunday, and week one through week 936. Each pillar supports the end goal of an authentic and lasting faith in Christ.
CELEBRATING Milestones in a child’s life call attention to important transformations. Celebrating these transformations together is an important spiritual discipline. The way we choose to celebrate important passages shapes the way we see them. When we, as a church family, pause our regular routines to acknowledge key milestones in a child's life, we are sending a powerful message to and about them, about their identity in Christ. Celebrations also give us a chance to widen the circle of committed adults in our children’s lives, drawing them in as prayer partners, faith coaches, and covenant voices.
Class of 2017 on Senior Recognition Sunday with Hortencia Gutierriez who cared for this class when they were babies.
The Family Ministry and the South Main congregation recognize six significant milestones in a child's life: • Family Covenant — When a child is born, parents present them to our entire church family seeking blessing and entering into covenant whereby we commit to walking the path of parenthood with the family. The parents commit to raise their child in faith and in fellowship with us and claim a biblical verse for their child. • Kindergarten Blessings — When a child enters kindergarten, they are entering into a new world with more responsibility and freedom which connote a release of control for parents. This milestone is an important time to surround parents and remind them that we continue to walk the path of parenthood with them by blessing them and connecting a prayer partner to pray for the child and the parents throughout this year. • Rite of Passage — We mark the transition from childhood to adolescence with a weekend retreat in a beautiful and rustic environment where parents and their sixth grader attend. The time builds upon rituals of challenge, wisdom sharing, and blessing where parents affirm their youth in both grand and intimate ways. • New Drivers' Blessing — This milestone mirrors the kindergarten blessing in that it signifies another substantial step in freedom and responsibility for the child and another release of control for parents. • High School Graduate Covenant — This covenant completes the arc started with the family covenant. High school graduates come seeking blessing from their church family, and we celebrate the path we have journeyed together. Youth now claim their own life verse. • The Ordinance of Baptism — A covenant blessing before the church, welcoming children as sisters and brothers in the family of God based on their personal, informed decision to follow Christ.
Family Ministry At South Main Continued
NAVIGATING MONDAYS THROUGH SUNDAYS While celebrations are vitally important, most of what we do is counted in hours and days. Little steps lead to habit which leads to lifestyle. We lean heavily into the idea that two combined influences make a greater impact than simply two influences; that the heart of the home combined with the light of the church is what it takes to form a lasting faith. This combined influence is more powerful because we help each other overcome challenges and blind spots and build upon each other’s strengths and passion. No one knows a child better than their family, and the church has known a lot of children over a long period of time. Within the Family Ministry we communicate a common focus, strategy, and language for all ages and all parents. • Authentic Faith — We employ a strategic curriculum, preschool through high school, which first establishes a strong foundation of Bible stories and biblical knowledge then progresses to a relevant application of the Bible to their lives. Every week, parents have access to the content their kids were taught, as well as practical ways to re-engage their kids with the content. In addition, every teacher and small group leader consistently shows up week after week to connect each kid’s faith to a community, create a safe space where kids can clarify their faith as they grow, and to inspire each kid’s faith through example.
WEEK ONE THROUGH WEEK 936 Within the Family Ministry, we have created four different age groups, each with a specific motive. • Embrace — our word for Mini-MainKids (nursery preschool). Embrace this age child so they believe in the God who embraces them. In the Family Ministry, one of our strongest desires is for even our youngest ones to sense that God loves them and that church is a good place to be. • Engage — our word for MainKids (PreK - 4th grade). Engage this age kid so they trust in the God who engaged with them first. At this stage in life, engaging a child's interests, forming friendships, and discovering God’s character through the Bible and experiences with God’s family are the things that matter most. • Affirm — our word for The 527 Tribe (5th - 7th grade). Affirm this age kid so they are more likely to follow the God who likes and affirms them just the way they are. Affirming each child’s personal faith and life journey as they navigate the often tumultuous, constantly changing, preteen years is what matters most at this stage. We provide thoughtful programming specifically designed to help kids at this age build deeper connections with each other and with adult teachers who will be there for them consistently—not just on Sundays but also on the good days and the hard days ahead.
• Authentic Life — Parents want to be the best they can possibly be and seek wisdom, community, and inspiration to do just that. We believe the church is uniquely qualified to partner with parents, walking the path of parenthood through not only a “Sunday” faith, but a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday faith as well. This involves conversations regarding topics such as healthy habits, technology, money matters, and sexual integrity. Through a variety of resources, we are constantly offering wisdom, community, and inspiration for cultivating a seamless and authentic life for families.
Dorothy Griffin in Kindergarten Sunday School
• Mobilize — our word for Youth (8th - 12th grade). Mobilize a teenager so they can know the God who wants to mobilize them in the world with a mission and a purpose. We know each of our kids and their families—and in their final years under our care, we pray for them and surround them with people and programming that aim to send them out into the world with a lasting and authentic faith in Christ, which they can claim as their own. Mobilizing each teen's potential—through service, with a support network of peers and faithful adult leaders, and in a space where questions and conversation are welcome—is the most important thing at this stage.
The Family Ministry model was implemented just a year and a half ago, and in that short time we have seen: • Parent Engagement — 56% of all parents read (some or all) of the Family Ministry weekly emails and 83% of all parents are classified as “high engagement” or people who consistently open the weekly emails. • Parent Engagement — 80% of all families responded to a survey soliciting feedback on the Family Ministry. • Sunday School Growth — Sunday School enrollment increased from 224 children in September 2017 to 284 in January 2019 (a 25% increase). • Sunday School Classes — There are two nursery, two toddler, four preschool/PreK, and fifteen kindergarten through twelfth grade Sunday school classes. • Wednesday Night Programming Growth — The largest bell choir at SMBC is The 527 Tribe choir filled with 30 ten through fourteen year olds - 5 of which joined bells for the first time this year.
6th grade Rite of Passage retreat
• Singing Choirs — There are 8 singing choirs/ensembles with 152 children enrolled and an average attendance of 100 kids each week.
“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger & invite you in, or needing clothes, clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “And the King replied, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.’”
IMAGINE! BY GREG FUNDERBURK ecently my son, Charlie, and I went to see the classic science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Museum of Fine Arts. I had seen it with my dad a long time ago as a kid. It captured my imagination and it’s fueled a lifelong interest in all things “Space.” I was interested in it all, from launchpad to landing. Imagine what it would be like to travel through space. Imagine what it would be like to walk on another world. Just imagine. But, of course, as I got older, I became aware there was much more involved. There was mission control and all the engineering. There were endless preparations and exhaustive training, not to mention all the dreaming, vision-casting, and funding for the programs which all took place years before anything was launched at all. If you now cast your eyes just beyond the edges of these words, you’ll see poignant pictures of our church’s momentous mission efforts both in our community and around our world. To accomplish all that’s captured in these moments takes all sorts of work. In terms of vision, we can trace it all back to Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:
Taking our vision from this parable, then nurturing it in worship and developing it further through studying God’s Word, the vision germinates. Then, as it takes form within the circumstances of our times, it further grows based on the ideas and dreams of individual Christ-followers among us, and the compassion and generosity of our congregation as a whole. It is leavened still further by the spiritual gifting and vocational expertise of our church’s leaders, and finally, it all comes to fruition within the endeavors we see depicted in these beautiful pictures. From feeding the hungry in our neighborhood to quenching thirsts on the African continent; from tending the sick and lonely seeking benevolence help in our community, to providing medical care and compassion to those in poverty outside Lima, Peru — South Main Baptist Church — following the vision of Christ, is a true launching pad for good in the world. And not only does it take all of us — our gifts, our dreams, our resources — but it takes all of “it”— all of “Church.” It takes participation in worship. It takes diligent studying of God’s Word. It takes deacon leadership and it takes voting in business meetings. It takes strategic thinkers and the tender-hearted. It takes ardent supporters and motivated givers. And, of course it takes the mobilized adventurers, you see in the photos here. Whether you’re part of mission control, funding the launch, or in the field along the final frontier, look around. And imagine.
g a i n m I e ! 9
MUSIC MUSINGS BY CAREY CANNON
ecently friends and colleagues have asked what it is like to lead the music ministry at South Main. Not long into our conversation I find their questions center on our newly renovated Sanctuary space and its improved acoustics or perhaps the beauty and versatility of our newly installed organ. Each of these new elements of our church facility has lifted our hearts in worship and opened more opportunities for ministry and yet they are not all of who we are at South Main Baptist Church. A question that could be asked is what do we value? Authenticity, Community, and Excellence are just a few core values that permeate throughout the membership of South Main. It doesn’t take long to find them embodied in the lives of our congregants. I see examples in the faces of our choir members and the countless stories of how they live out these values. What better way to share about our music ministry and core values than by featuring a few of these people?
It didn’t take long for Phyllis Brockermeyer to begin making an impact in the music ministry. Her powerful testimony of how she came to faith and survived many storms in her life touches anyone who hears it. She lives out her faith in an authentic way and for this reason serves as the Sanctuary Choir Ministry Chair who oversees the pastoral care needs of our choir. Each rehearsal she begins by telling us just how blessed and honored she is to be a part of such a loving and talented group of people. And each time there is not one person in that room who questions her. She speaks transparently and with authenticity. When I asked Phyllis what style of music she likes, she answered “Both kinds! Country and Western!” Yet each week she gives her all to learning unfamiliar music and from all accounts loves it. She is one who values authenticity.
Terre Johnson is Chair of the Music Department at HBU and is a renowned choral composer and arranger. He has served in professional, academic, and church music settings and I am proud to say currently sings baritone in our choir. In a recent conversation with Terre I asked, “why us? Why did you choose to join South Main?” He answered, “I have worked in choral music since I was a teenager and try to create an expectation of excellence in the groups I conduct. Since I love the church and want to contribute as a member, it is important to me that I find a church music program where my desire for excellence doesn’t have to be left behind.” This striving for excellence can be seen not just in our choir rehearsals but also throughout the entire life of our church. Terre went on to say, “If I seek excellence in the music that is part of my life outside the church, how much more should I seek excellence in the worship of God?” We sharpen our minds and tune our voices to offer a gift that will not be perfect, but will be excellent.
When we speak of community in our Sanctuary Choir, there is no greater exemplar than that of Anne Johnson. Anne represents one of six generations at South Main and has been a member for all of her 88 years. It does not matter if she has met you the first time or known you for years, she approaches with arms wide open firing off her verbal warning, “I’m a hugger!” I will never forget when my family first arrived at South Main; she was the first person to write a note of support and encouragement not to me but to my mom in North Carolina. She knew what a mother might be feeling saying goodbye to her son’s family. While her recent limitations with mobility prevent her from singing in worship on Sundays, she never misses a rehearsal and was even able to take part in our recent Choir recording I Was Glad. The Choir has and always will be her community.
Currently the choir is tackling for the first time Mozart’s Requiem and we are being challenged. We are being pushed outside our comfort zones where notes and rhythms do not come easily. The work is in Latin, a language that is foreign and therefore requires study and translation. The efforts given in rehearsal each Wednesday night for this work help shape and hone the gifts that God has given us. On the night we offer Mozart’s Requiem or any worship service for that matter, listen closely. You might hear within the chords themselves sounds of authenticity. You may catch a glimpse of community within the choir through a loving smile or an encouraging hug. The dynamics may be profound, the chords in tune, and the notes and rhythms correct because of the standard of excellence maintained each week in rehearsals. Above all you will know this is an authentic, excellent community that is offering a gift of worship that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Connect with us lent 2019 The idea of Wilderness isn’t just a geographic one, but a psychological and a spiritual one, as well.
As we journey through the Lenten season and move through the six Sundays prior to Easter, we’ll explore in worship the intense locales faced by Biblical characters such as Moses, Hagar, Elijah, Jonah, and then finally, Jesus. Join your church family as we encounter God in the desert, the dry places, and in the belly of the whale, and there submit our hearts for cleansing, our spirits for repair, and our lives for formation during the Lenten season in these Wilderness Stories.
MARCH 5 - SHROVE TUESDAY 5:30 PM Pancake Dinner 6:30 PM Service in the Westmoreland Chapel MARCH 6 - ASH WEDNESDAY 6:30 PM Service in the Westmoreland Chapel
Holy Week PALM SUNDAY, APRIL 14 - MOZART REQUIEM 5:00 PM Dinner and discussion in Fellowship Hall 6:30 PM Presentation in Sanctuary APRIL 17 - HOLY WEEK BIBLE STUDY 6:30 PM Fellowship Hall APRIL 18/19 - SERVICES OF SHADOWS 7:00 PM Westmoreland Chapel APRIL 20 - CHILDREN’S EASTER CELEBRATION 9:30 AM Sanctuary APRIL 21 - EASTER SUNDAY 9:00 & 11:20 AM Worship
4100 MAIN STREET HOUSTON, Tx 77002 (713) 529-4167 • SMBC.ORG DR. STEVE WELLS PASTOR
Quarterly Magazine of South Main Baptist Church in Midtown Houston