From a Hurricane’s Destruction to a Rebirth of Hope
A StartNew Church Plant Success Story
The following is an interview with Rob Bailey, StartNew Incubator team leader. Rob, as a new pastor, leads his team from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, to plant a new church in nearby League City, Texas.
Rob, briefly describe your StartNew ministry.
Our team is developing a ministry, in the Clear Lake area of Texas. We desire to come alongside others, to know and experience the love of God; to encourage and support them, so that they can be sent to invite others into that same relationship with God.
How did you get plugged into FiveTwo’s StartNew Incubator?
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church brought me in to start a new ministry in League City, Texas. As a new Pastor, I was excited at the opportunity FiveTwo’s StartNew Incubator could provide our team, as we seek to make this God-sized vision a reality.
How are you learning about the problems facing your community?
Being new to the area and community, I have spent a great deal of time getting acclimated into the city. From networking with city officials and local leaders/influencers, to visiting with residents and local pastors, I have been able to build important relationships and start identifying ways our ministry can serve the community. I recently completed a 12-week course (offered by the city) to learn more about how League City functions. I am currently finishing up a 15-week “Citizens Police Academy” with the League City Police Department. Through both of these courses, I am learning more about the demographics and culture in and around League City, while getting to know the leaders and first responders who are serving and protecting us. I am looking forward to more opportunities to serve our Police Department.
How does your ministry carry Jesus’ presence into the community? And how do you do it as a team?
We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this community, whenever and wherever we can. The Clear Lake region was devastated by the events of Hurricane Harvey, so we identified a local neighborhood where 99% of its homes were completely flooded. We planned and hosted a special, free event, for the families who live there, as a way to connect with them and see how we could best serve them. We had bounce houses for kids, served Chick-fil-A lunches and set up a welcoming outdoor space for residents to sit and share their stories with us. It was amazing! We obtained contact information from 35 families who needed help. From there, our teams delivered sheetrock, furniture and other household needs and started the process of helping these displaced families build a home again.
This rebuilding endeavor also afforded Gloria Dei church members the blessing of being a part of serving efforts with our ministry. To date, we have led 3 house blessings for homes which we have fully rebuilt, and we have more house blessings coming up! Each house blessing is a way to give God glory for all He has done, in and through us. Being inside these people’s homes, rather than just at their front door, has led to deeper conversations about God’s love, forgiveness and grace. One grandfather said, “I’ve been praying for my daughter and grandkids to go to church, and today the church came to them.”
“One grandfather said, ‘I’ve been praying for my daughter and grandkids to go to church, and today the church came to them.’”
You’ve only been a part of the StartNew Incubator for a short while, what is something that has surprised you so far?
Our team appreciated the 3Day so much! It gave us the focus and clarity we needed to move forward. As we continue to dream, serve and look at our next steps, I am very excited to see what God has in store for us and the community we are reaching.
What would you say to another person who is on the fence with participating in StartNew?
Pray first. This process works, but seeking Him first has helped me tremendously. I also recommend consistently reaching out to others who have been a part of the process for encouragement, accountability and guidance. As somebody going through my first start in a new ministry, I am very grateful to have partnered with FiveTwo, and for the leadership of Bill Woolsey and the team.
“This process [StartNew Incubator] works, but seeking Him first has helped me tremendously.”
What are the top 3 things/favorite stories you celebrate with your new start?
One of the goals from the 3Day is to determine the target/customer of your new start. Once the event concluded, one of our team members reached out to someone in our newly identified target via text message and got a favorable response! It was a great reminder to our team that reaching out to others can be as easy as calling someone and inviting them to be a part of something.
As a team, we are anxious about our next steps. We are starting something new and outside of our comfort zones, but we are stepping out together. That’s really exciting to see and be a part of.
Having an event with our target group, and watching team members go and talk with them, is exciting. It’s one thing to say “we need to reach people!” — it’s quite another to watch team members go and do it.
“Having an event with our target group, and watching team members go and talk with them, is exciting. It’s one thing to say ‘we need to reach people!’ — it’s quite another to watch team members go and do it.”
What seeds through your new starts have been planted to lead to more baptized followers of Jesus?
Relationships are being built that go far deeper than a “hello.” Listening to the conversations that team members are having with people in their own lives, and hearing them share their faith stories, reminds me of the words of Paul in Romans 10 when he asks “how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard.” We are witnessing people hearing about Jesus, and that makes me excited for what’s to come!