Struggles & Victories: Houston’s First Baptist Church

Struggles & Victories: Houston’s First Baptist Church

April 3, 2014 by

Houston’s First Baptist Church is an urban church with a weekly attendance of 7,000 people.

Our church is 173 years old. Many of the communication practices and church methodologies popular today do not easily fit with our culture, our wide demographic or how we “do church.”

We are not a simple church by any means, nor do we strive to be. The gospel is going out and people are being saved and discipled despite (or because of) our many programs and ministries.

But that presents a great communications challenge for us.

We want to be more clear and accessible since that’s what people inside and outside the church have come to expect from any entity they encounter. However, we are not a start-up or simple church with “one big thing” on any given Sunday (or any other day of the week). All that we have to share and promote sometimes does not fit well with our audience’s message consumption preferences.

Again, God is doing great things and our messages about what the church has to offer are getting out—but I’m not sure they are getting out as well as they could.

In early 2013, we launched a generosity initiative to increase the giving of our church.

The goal? Go from expected receipts of $45 million over two years to receipts of $60 million, with the extra $15 million going to missional endeavors in our city, our nation and our world.

Through a message series by our pastor, corresponding Life Bible Study lessons, and supporting print and digital collateral, we expect our total receipts over two years to be $75 million. That’s $15 million beyond our goal, and $30 million beyond what we need just to run the church! (At the end of the first year, we’ve already received over $40 million.)

In a large and diverse church like ours in an urban setting, it can be a challenge to get everybody on the same page with any initiative—especially one related to money. However, this one worked tremendously well.

Photo by Metro Tiff
Post By:

Steven W. Murray

Steven W. Murray is the director of communications at Houston's First Baptist Church. He also serves as the president of the Houston Church Communication Coalition.
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