Revival key for family unit, pastor says

by Karen L. Willoughby, posted Tuesday, June 02, 2015 (3 years ago)

KATY, Texas (BP) -- More than 3,000 people of all ages worship each week at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas. Bucking a decades-old national trend, children past nursery age sit with their parents during Sunday morning worship.

Ryan Rush
Submitted by church
Family togetherness is a significant aspect of home life, church life and denominational life at Kingsland Baptist Church, where Ryan Rush has been pastor since May 2014.

"The family has been ordained by God as the foundational place for faith to take root and grow," Rush told Baptist Press. "The decline in healthy home life, then, is a crisis with far-reaching implications that must not be taken lightly."

Spiritual revival is key in achieving God's design for the family, Rush said.

"This cultural decline of healthy home life is a problem too great for political or educational efforts to change. We must turn instead to spiritual revival, and we are convinced that God has prepared Kingsland for this important moment in history," Rush said. "We have a vision of seeing 10,000 homes transformed by the power of the Gospel in the next 10 years through our ministry, church planting, missions endeavors, and providing resources to other congregations."

Supporting the church family as a whole is accomplished through the church's investment in a variety of local-to-global ministries entire families can support.

"We have teams out about 40 to 42 Saturdays a year serving the Greater Houston area," said Omar Garcia, missions pastor for the last 10 years. "We mobilize our small groups to take ownership of local initiatives."

The church's commitment to the greater family of 46,000 Southern Baptist churches starts with its support of the Cooperative Program, which enables Southern Baptist churches to work together to support state, national and international missions and ministries.

Kingsland Baptist for the last 14 years has given 10 percent of its undesignated offerings to missions through the Cooperative Program, in addition to its hands-on support of several SBC-related national and international outreaches, and its generous support of seasonal offerings.

"If we can invest in something for the glory of God and not worry about who gets the credit, that's really going to help us [Southern Baptists] advance much quicker," Rush said. "The Cooperative Program allows us to give and trust others in our denomination to make a huge impact. That generates a lot of excitement in our people for missions."

Garcia said when parents and their children work together in missions, it builds memories of serving together, helps spread a passion for missions to future generations, and strengthens the small group the family is a part of. Garcia casts a vision to the congregation "to live incarnationally, to see the need and respond accordingly, as Jesus did."

He noted, "You have to live out your faith in a way it makes a difference by loving and caring for people as Jesus did. Doing so has made a difference at Kingsland. … We have work in 20 countries and take 12 to 15 trips a year overseas."

For the past eight years, the first Sunday of March has been "Caring for Katy Sunday." Kingsland Baptist members -- armed with $125,000 and a variety of tools including paint brushes, lawn care items, and trash bags -- have used Sunday worship time to spread across the community, meeting the needs of city residents at 60 to 100 sites.

Through small groups, the church mobilizes 3,000 volunteers annually to work with an informal "urban alliance" to do whatever its partners in Greater Houston say is needed.

Five years ago, the church started 10K, 5K and one mile runs/walks named "Just Run for a Just Cause," raising money and awareness about human trafficking. The event has become a local favorite with area runners, even as it ministers in India.

The church works with international partners and with people who have moved to Houston from other countries. Professions of faith in Jesus have been made by people disillusioned with their traditional religion.

The church partners with Southern Baptist churches in Texas, New Orleans, Montana, Idaho and Chicago. It has started four churches locally, and another eight or more across the nation.

A Houston suburb known for having the largest outlet mall in the nation, Katy "is a community of relative affluence," Rush said. "People come to Katy from all over the world for their children. They define family success the wrong way: college, sports. We're ministering to a group of people in our Jerusalem who are unfulfilled and broken, and don't realize their own poverty."

That's one reason the church emphasizes family ministry.

"We equip moms, dads and grandparents to disciple their children," Rush said. "We take great care to capitalize on the milestones of each child's life. We send home every Sunday 'Faith Talks' based on the sermon. We worship together with all generations so [children] can experience the joy of worship and the example of their parents: 'Hey, Daddy's worshipping Jesus!'"

Healthy homes are ones that reflect God's image, where the attributes and character of God are taught so children can come to know who He is and why they should follow His guidance rather than their own thinking, the pastor said.

"Every problem is a family problem," Rush said. "The only hope for our nation is to transform the home. The theological undergirding of the family has come to a place where it's more critical now than ever to know who God is and what He says. … The future of our culture is on getting this right."

Karen Willoughby is a writer based in Mapleton, Utah.
Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP).
Download Story