A Front Porch Church: The Church at Woodforest
By: Sherri Gragg
On a late September Sunday evening, The Woodlands United Methodist Church threw a party to celebrate a ministry dream come true. On an undeveloped stretch of land in the Woodforest community, children played, parents caught up with each other, and hot dogs sizzled on the grill. It was an idyllic background from which to launch a new season of ministry for The Woodlands UMC, a church built on values of ministry to families and the premise of what Senior Pastor the Rev. Edmund W. Robb III calls “growing younger.”
$30 Million Capital Campaign
The groundbreaking of The Church at Woodforest, a worshipping community of The Woodlands, is part of a $30 million capital campaign designed to take The Woodlands into the next season of ministry. As part of that vision, the Rev. Brent Parker, pastor of The Church at Woodforest, has spent the last several years leading a new worship community in a Woodforest elementary school. The congregation, which began with a few faithful families, has grown to more than 300 worshippers each Sunday.
On the evening of the groundbreaking, a hush fell of the crowd as Parker welcomed friends, neighbors, and partners in ministry to the event. Then, as staff members from The Woodlands drove spades into the earth, ministry leaders prayed blessings over the future home of The Church at Woodforest.
The new building, scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2019, will be a multi-use facility including worship space, gymnasium, and children’s areas. In harmony with The Woodlands commitment to exists as a “seven day a week church,” the new worship community will practice intentional hospitality within the Woodforest community.
Parker is excited to welcome his neighbors in the Woodforest community home to The Church at Woodforest. “The impact we are already making has caused an incredible spirit of anticipation and expectation to grow in us as we imagine having a physical space that will be available to the community seven days a week. Our church’s guiding principal is to be a “front porch church.” We will be able to realize this in an even more tangible way once there is a place for neighbors to gather for worship, study, fellowship, and recreation. God is really just getting started here!”