Evangelism in Action, HOPE Church Style
Have HOPE Angel Tractor Trailer, Will Travel could be the missions motto for HOPE Church of Pearland. The trailer has been used for everything from school supply collections in a retail parking lot to the timely wintertime delivery of jackets, hats, blankets and toiletries to the homeless living near the Pierce elevated bridge in downtown Houston.
In its 13-year history, Rev. Thaddeus Eastland has led HOPE – Pearland, in the South District, to become known for bringing healing, wholeness, reconciliation, and HOPE to individuals and families. Inspired by the church value of “evangelism,” some 150 out of approximately 500 members are actively involved in local community outreach to children, the elderly and everyone in between. “This value is supported by HOPE Church Pearland’s mission to Save Souls, Heal Hurts and Share HOPE,” says OUTreach Leader Rev. Bill Russell, “and serves to provide focus and significance that brings vitality to the congregation.”
HOPE Pearland’s reputation as a beacon in the community has led to successful partnerships with longstanding community entities such as Neighborhood Centers and Walmart – which have helped raise visibility for local needs and growth for the church within the community.
HOPE for the Homeless
In November, many members participated in a 3-mile HOPE Walk for the Homeless to help raise money to purchase HOPE bags at the annual Christmas Block Party under the Bridge. Each winter, this event kicks off HOPE Pearland’s Sacred Season of Success and its Super Saturdays of Service every weekend in December. To empathize more fully with the homeless, many in the congregation participate in the spiritual discipline of fasting. According to Rev. Bill Russell, this 9th annual Block Party allowed members to distribute 300 HOPE bags of blankets, socks, jackets, toiletries and 100 pairs of shoes to men and women who would otherwise be without these basic needs. “Our praise team and praise dancers also led praises to the Lord at the block party,” Bill adds. Additionally, for the last nine years church members have helped serve breakfast to the homeless on Saturdays at the Bread of Life kitchen.
Offering HOPE to local children
Over the last year, HOPE Pearland partnered with Walmart and collected eight shopping carts of school supplies, stuffed 200 backpacks with supplies for two different schools, hosted an annual Breakfast with Santa event for 200, and adopted 50 children of inmates for the Angel Tree project. OUTreach Directors, Bill and Debra Russell were thrilled that the church school supply drive was featured in the Pearland Journal online and in the Xtra section of the newspaper in August, including photos of backpack deliveries posted on the Pearland Independent School District Facebook page. The church also donated book bags and backpacks to schools in La Porte and Houston. “And, in September, HOPE Church Pearland was recognized by the school board with the Golden Pear of Achievement award,” she adds.
HOPE is always on call
Rev. Bill and Debra Russell facilitate this culture of evangelism in several ways. According to Debra, “HOPE Church Pearland creates an atmosphere to encourage all ministries and entire families to be a blessing by participating in Outreach events. Pictures of outreach events are posted on the church Facebook page to celebrate God at work, and encourage others to participate." In addition to investing in the young and serving the homeless in many ways, HOPE Pearland also encourages ministry beyond the walls of the church through these avenues:
- Compassion & Covenant Care
- Maker’s Marriage Ministry
- Journey to Wholeness
- Veterans Affairs Ministry
- Women’s Empowerment Ministry
- Stephen’s Ministry
- Singles Ministry