The mission of Hope Fellowship is to make a difference in the Brazosport Community and the World by winning, building, and equipping reproducing disciples for Jesus Christ.
THE DISCIPLEMAKING PROCESS RELATED TO A TREE
We can compare the disciplemaking process to a tree. For trees to grow healthy and strong they needed to be planted in good soil. The soil in which disciples flourish is: The Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-38) is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment.” Love for God is the only motivation strong enough to keep us at the task of growing as a disciple and making disciples.
The Great Commission provides our mandate for making disciples. Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Four parts of the tree
The four phases of the disciplemaking process correspond to four parts of a tree. They are represented by the tree’s roots, its trunk and branches, the leaves, and the fruit.
The roots represent the seeker, one who is seeking to know God and to know truth. This person senses they need a relationship with God, but they may not know why or how to enter into that relationship. The gospel, the good news that Jesus has died for them and offers them forgiveness and eternal life, is what they are really seeking. Just as the roots of a tree grow deep into the soil seeking water and nutrients, the seeker searches to understand who Jesus is and how to respond to him. Jesus is the source of God’s life-giving water and he provides the spiritual food we need to grow in our relationship with God. When a person entrusts their life to Jesus Christ they are ready to fully enter the next phase of the disciplemaking process.
The trunk and branches
The trunk and branches constitute the vast amount of the tree’s growth and they illustrate the spiritual growth the learner undergoes. Once you have believed in Jesus you begin a lifelong process of learning. This includes learning how to pray, how to study and apply the Bible, how to overcome temptation and sin, how to worship God, how to be a member of Christ’s body, how to share your faith with others, and how to wisely use the spiritual gifts and material resources God has given you. These are the spiritual disciplines Christians practice throughout their life. In addition there is much to learn in the way of doctrine.
After the initial commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, a believer next needs to commit themselves to grow spiritually and to become all that Jesus Christ intends for them to be. Ephesians 4:15 says that we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ. As we grow in the faith we accumulate skills, wisdom, and knowledge that we can pass onto others enabling us to enter the next phase of the disciplemaking process.
The leaves do all the work of the tree. They carry on photosynthesis using sunlight to convert water and nutrients from the soil into the food that feed the whole tree. The leaves represent the minister. Now, don’t let that term throw you. I am not referring to the paid clergy. I am referring to all believers who have learned truth from the Bible and from their relationship with Christ. You can’t pass on what you don’t have, but once you have something, you can pass it on. All believers are called to pass on what they have learned to others.
You will not know the Lord too long before you realize that He wants you to be concerned not just for your own spiritual growth but also for the growth of others. It is our commitment to minister to others that causes us to put aside our own interests and agendas and put the needs of others first. The apostle Paul describes it this way: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
The fruit of the tree carries the seeds for the next generation. The final phase of the disciplemaking process is to become a reproducer. Jesus has called us to make disciples who make other disciples. In 2 Timothy 2:2 the apostle Paul writes the following words to his disciple, Timothy: “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Four generations of disciples are represented in this verse: Paul, Timothy, faithful men, others. Reproduction means I model the Christian life and encourage and train other believers how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and how to help someone else become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Hope Fellowship, formerly known as First Evangelical Free Church of Lake Jackson, began in October 1984 when some dedicated people decided to form a new evangelical church in the Lake Jackson area. The first meeting of what would become the church took place on August 18, 1985 with nine adults and eight children. The church was formally recognized by the South Central District of the Evangelical Free Church on October 26, 1985 and called Lewis Wimberley to be its first pastor.
The church moved from meeting in homes, to meeting at the A.P. Beutal Elementary School, to a rented facility in the Brazosport Village Shopping Center, and then finally in October 1999 to its present facility at the corner of Lake Road and This Way. At the time of the move to the present facility the church also changed its name to Hope Fellowship.
After Pastor Wimberley resigned in April 1994, the church called Kent Krakowian of Titus Task Force as its interim pastor. Under his ministry the Interim leadership Team led the church to define its present vision and values, as well as establishing a new disciple-making structure and bylaws.
In June 1996 Mark Swirsky came to the church as the new pastor. After a year in the present facility the church finished out three new Children’s Sunday School rooms and in 2001 the church added 65 additional parking spaces. A new education wing was added in 2006.
We desire to see people transformed as they apply the Bible to their life.
We desire to equip believers, especially the next generation, to impact their world for Christ.
We desire to live the Christian life together with our fellow followers of Christ.
We desire to serve our community and demonstrate to it the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
We desire to impact people around the world with the Gospel.
Evangelical Free Church of America
The growing ministry of the EFCA currently extends to some 40 countries of the world. The great heritage of the Evangelical Free Church people around the world includes the fact that fellowship and ministry opportunities in the local church are based solely on one’s personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, trusting in Him alone for salvation. Membership requires commitment to sound doctrine as expressed in our Statement of Faith. However, a person is not excluded from membership because he or she does not agree on every fine point of doctrine.
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We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
The Human Condition
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus-Israel’s promised Messiah-was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
The Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.
We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
We believe in the personal, bodily and pre-millennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
Response & Eternal Destiny
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.