Home Christian News Serving the Least of These: New Church Merger Drawn To Dying Town

Serving the Least of These: New Church Merger Drawn To Dying Town

Pillar of Hope’s road to Tarrant was encumbered. The church is a merger of two congregations, Christ First Community Church and Destiny Covenant Church, that were worshiping at the BMBA after losing their places of worship. Each congregation numbered about 30 active members, Crews said.

“We had been in a building for about 10 years, had paid over $250,000 in mortgage, and things went sideways. We secured an attorney and just walked away from the property,” Crews said of Christ First Community Church which he pastored. Destiny Covenant Church, pastored by Cedric Brown, had been meeting at another local church that pulled out of discussions to transfer its building to Destiny.

“Both congregations were dying. We were not drawing in young people. We were doing a great work in the community, just not drawing young people,” Crews said. “The thought was, how do you go out of the soul-saving business?”

Crews first saw Tarrant as off-putting.

“When I went out and looked at the community, and I have to be honest, the first thought was no way,” he said. “There’s nothing here. There are no children, there are no families. Property values are in the gutter.

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“And then God began to show me this vision of what we could do, and I looked at it as an opportunity to show that the church still can be the center of the community,” Crews said. “God just gave me a vision that this could be done, that His children, no matter their circumstances, deserve His love.

“I’ve learned when God says do something you do it, because if He gives you a vision, He’s going to give you provision. We have a saying that it doesn’t take a megachurch to do a mega-work for the Lord.”

Pillar of Hope plans to move into the Robinwood property Feb. 1, and is making plans to revitalize the community. The new church has launched a nonprofit community development corporation to bridge the financial issues the church will face in buying abandoned properties to build affordable housing and transitional homes for homeless mothers with children.

“We’ve been supported tremendously by the BMBA in this effort,” Crews said of Pillar of Hope’s transition to Tarrant.

The transition comes as the Kids to Love Foundation, a ministry to children in foster care, is buying about 60 abandoned properties in Tarrant to build homes for girls aging out of foster care. In turn, Pillar of Hope plans to buy additional abandoned properties to build homes for boys aging out of foster care.

“The pipeline from classroom to prison is real,” Crews said. Pillar of Hope has plans to teach budgeting and life skills to those in need. He has plans to build a community farm, much more than a garden, to address food insecurity in the community he describes as a food desert. Crews hopes the revitalization will attract young families to the community.

While Pillar of Hope is the merger of two predominantly African American churches, and Robinwood was a predominantly white congregation, Crews has in mind an ethnically diverse congregation.

“If you bring in people who are looking for a hand up, and not just a handout, you can turn that community around,” Crews said. “We want to give families an opportunity to know God and to see what the Kingdom of heaven really looks like. Even though we’re considered an African American congregation, my vision is to build a church that looks like and functions like the Kingdom of God.”

This article originally appeared at Baptist Press.