New Charter: Celebrating WordServe in Fulshear
A special June event helped the community celebrate a founding pastor, a new pastor, new location, and a new charter for this growing congregation west of Houston.
Anyone associated with WordServe Church in Fulshear will admit that the “God moments” have been plentiful over the last seven years. From its earliest days as a new church plant of Grace Fellowship in Katy, WordServe began as a congregation centered on the Word and Service. In fact, during founding pastor Nolan Donald’s final semester of seminary, he was inspired by a sermon from Acts 6 reminding Christ followers to serve and be about the word. “Being a part of this new church, all the way back to the first conversations nine years ago, will always be one of the greatest joys of my ministry,” Nolan shares. “Seeing the church unify around the concepts of the Word and Serving has since led to personal growth and visible commitment to mission and discipleship.”
Chartering Marks New Chapter in the Story
The official chartering service on June 5, 2016 provided WordServe Fulshear the chance to celebrate past, present and future. “When our launch team was initially praying about where God was leading us,” shares Nolan, “we began our first ministry initiative by adopting Huggins Elementary.” In no time members were ready to go deeper into service than providing backpacks of food. “We decided to help be part of the solution by hosting a resource type fair at the school that provided food, games and assistance with uniforms, haircuts, health and other services,” he adds. When Nolan stood on the stage and looked out over the crowd he realized every socio-economic and racial group was represented, and the group included many civic leaders and a mix of church members. “Viewing this incredible cross-section of God’s Kingdom was like a preview of heaven as I looked out on a joyful celebration of single-minded purpose.”
In its fledgling years the new church plant also inspired the founding of Habitat for Huggins to build or repair homes of several students living in poverty, and a nonprofit called Family Hope focused on facilitating healthy families and providing informational resources. “Who would have thought our small church could build two houses in a matter of months?” Nolan suggests. Earlier this year WordServe renovated space in two areas of a business center in a unique space-sharing relationship with other strategic partners. One of the partners, a Taekwondo organization, involves WordServe members in mentoring and reading lessons as a weekly mission outreach to students. On Sundays, the renovated space is used for worship downstairs and children’s ministry upstairs and the other area is used for group classes as needed.
The June 5 Celebration and Chartering Sunday was just “icing on the cake” as Nolan prepared to move to his childhood hometown and conference in Alabama and hand the pastoral baton to Rev. Jon Sims. “No one in their right mind would think it to be a good idea to move into a new building, charter the church and change pastors at the same time,” adds Nolan, “but it turned out to be an incredible God-moment milestone in the life of the church – in spite of local flooding and other unplanned circumstances.”
“I’m thankful that Nolan spearheaded the key steps to chartering the church as one of his final leadership contributions,” says current senior pastor Jon Sims. “There are many administrative steps in becoming independent as a Methodist church such as setting up insurance, bank accounts and even a single-board of lay leaders to handle the basic requirements in the Book of Discipline,” explains Jon. “It was a blessing to spend a month of transitional ministry time with Nolan to be ready for this new day in the life of WordServe.”
According to New Church Development Director Rev. Jeff Olive, "New Church Development oversees the transition from founding pastor to second pastor. Rev. Nolan Donald and Rev. Jon Sims once again remind us of the importance of overlapping time during this critical transition. Their work together in the days leading up to the official charter and transition will show fruit for years to come."
Jon is excited to see the power behind this externally focused congregation of 100 as they continue listening and responding to needs within the community. “I’ve recently heard our church described in a coffee shop conversation as the church that truly lives out its faith, and that was confirmation that our hands-on mission is obvious and alive and well,” he says. “We are a dynamic church with a great mix of long timers and those new to the faith.”
District Superintendent Jay Jackson adds, “WordServe has developed one of the most discipleship-oriented and missionally-focused congregations that I have experienced. They have been well led by Nolan Donald and will be well served in this next chapter by Jon Sims. Their new location, official chartering and pastoral transition prepares them for a great future ahead.”
Notes Jeff, "There are few moments as exciting in a church planter's life the day the new church charters. Chartering represents more than an official act, but rather signifies the new community has reached a place of sustainable ministry. There is always more ministry to be accomplished, but this is one of the great moments in the life of a new church."