Thank you for your interest in our church! This section is intended to give you a more in depth understanding of our church. Our hope and prayer is that this information will help you prayerfully discern whether or not you are being called to apply for the Senior Pastor position at our church. Please click on the sections below to learn more.
At Living Hope, we are all about relationships, beginning with our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Our motivation and heart behind everything else we do stems from our love for Him.
We desire to live missionally in all we do from welcoming those that come into our building to loving well those in the community around us. When our church building is open, we want to make sure that everyone who comes through our doors feels loved and valued. Our members are intentional in looking for those who may be new and getting to know them beyond a hello at the door.
We open our homes to each other and the lost, and rather than church being confined to the days and times we are scheduled to meet, we find that much of church happens beyond the walls of our building. We do life together and consider each other family, but this is not a closed family. We are intentional in how we practice community in our small groups to prevent cliquishness because we recognize that it is our nature. We desire to grow in inclusiveness and want all newcomers and visitors to feel loved and welcome. Our small groups and ministries are intergenerational because we see the wisdom and value in having those older train those that are younger. We strive for Living Hope to be a place where anyone – whether a long-time member or new visitor – feels like they belong.
We are an equipping church and desire for all of our members to know the truth of God’s Word. From the pastor on Sunday morning down to the preschool, we strive to make sure all that we teach is centered on the Gospel and is true to God’s Word. We desire for our members to know how to study God’s Word for themselves and offer discipleship classes to equip them. We foster an environment where being true to the Bible is highly valued and critique or discussion to that effect is welcomed and encouraged. If ever a teaching contradicts the Word of God, the teaching is wrong and the Bible is right. We hold each other accountable to the Word and to the commitments we have made to the church.
We serve one another and the lost out of a love for Christ. This begins in our church and extends to the surrounding community. We take ownership of our church and its building as if it were our own home, and as such, the majority of our needs are provided for by our members rather than paid staff. We strive to cheerfully and diligently serve in areas of passion and giftedness to build up the church and have created an environment where we depend on and need each other. We periodically reach out to the community for “work days” where we meet needs from repairing broken down homes of those in need to assisting other Gospel-centered churches in the community with their needs. We also partner with ministries in the community to further their impact.
We deeply value and love families and children. We desire to minister to parents by loving and coming alongside them to help equip them to disciple and train their children. From preschool to youth, our ministries aim to teach children the truth of the Gospel in an engaging way. We are willing to be silly and step outside our comfort zones to make sure every kid who comes through our doors knows they are loved and that they belong.
In 1996, a core group of believers at First Baptist Church College Station became burdened for a different kind of church in south College Station. They began praying and studying about how they could become a part of a church family that was distinct and different so that they could reach people that typical churches were not reaching. They were willing to sacrifice the comfort of an established church to reach the lost and unchurched in our area.
They began worshipping at Rock Prairie Elementary School in September 1997 with a group of around 30 people and began to search for their first pastor. On February 22, 1998, Butch Smith came and was called to be the pastor. The visions of this group and this man were etched together by God, even though they were in different parts of the state. What God had in store for this body over the next few years and even into the future is beyond what any of us imagined.
Here at Living Hope, change is part of our DNA. We are constantly adjusting and moving to stay in touch with what the Lord is doing and calling us to be about. The Great Commandment and Great Commission are foundational passages that drive all we do as individuals and as a gathered body. Where we are today will not be the same place you will find us next year as we allow Christ to build His Church.
We became three churches in 2009 by intentionally and thankfully creating two new churches: Living Hope Bryan and New Life. While we are three independent churches, we are still highly connected and unified in our love for one another and our concern for the lost. We have now developed ministries in the urban areas of our cities, with a calling to impact further.
Our senior pastor of 19 years, Pastor Butch Smith, resigned in June of 2017 to lead Coaches Outreach, a ministry based in Dallas. In the fall of 2017, George Jacobus was appointed as interim pastor to lead us through this transitional time.
As a church, our goal is to be mission-minded in all that we do. When it comes to church growth, we have historically been a church-planting church. We were created as a church plant to reach a specific and different group of people and we have tried to grow in a similar manner. We planted two churches in 2009, one in Bryan and another in College Station closer to the Texas A&M campus.
Within the four walls of Living Hope, our goal is to reach families through their kids. We focus heavily on engaging the kids that come to our building from preschool through youth. We emphasize reaching them with both the Gospel and a great experience in the hopes they will want to come back. We have observed over the years that when kids desire to come to church and be a part of a community, their parents engage as well.
We desire to create a community of believers that are truly family. We strive for a welcoming environment and encourage our members to do life together outside the walls of the church. During VBS in the summer of 2017, we had one child tell her parent that she loved coming to our church because here she felt she belonged. It was a great encouragement and blessing to hear our goal and desire so clearly felt and articulated by a child.
As a body, we desire to see growth in the following areas:
Missions: We have a heart for missions and a passion to “do” but lack mobilization. In the past, we have seen more emphasis on living missionally in our community and committing to sacrificially serve and go. We desire to see this emphasis return and grow.
Connectedness: We recognize a gap in those who feel connected in our church. We do well with those who are newcomers visiting for the first time, and our long-time members live life together. However, for those in the middle, our newest members, we struggle to connect them into that next level of community, and we desire to grow in that area.
Speaking in Love: We strive to hold each other accountable to the truth of God’s Word and the covenantal commitment we have made through membership. We lean towards accountability more than other fellowships, but we need to grow in doing so with grace. We desire to cultivate a heart that is firm on Biblical truth and flexible on the non essentials.
Diversity: While we are diverse compared to other churches in the community, we desire to continue to see growth in this area both culturally and intergenerationally. We have a heart for serving those with special needs, and we would like to be known as a church who love special needs families and children well.
College Ministry: Our makeup has changed over the years. Before creating two new churches, we were a church of primarily college students. We have since become a church of primarily young families. We desire to see our college ministry grow and be a part of impacting the many college students in our community.
Prayer: We recognize the power of prayer and desire to grow in our individual and corporate prayer lives.
We currently have one service on Sunday mornings at 11 am with a discipleship time at 9:30 am. We desire for our pastor to be able to focus on preaching the Word and loving those that come into our building well, so our church members are intentional in making sure to care for all the other practical items of a weekend service.
For most, church begins on Sunday morning at 9:30 am with our School of Discipleship. All classes are focused on equipping the body through teaching the Word, but the context of each class differs. Additionally, the class offerings vary by semester depending on the needs of the body and the season our church is walking through.
We are currently offering a Foundations class for those new to the faith or newly focused on their faith, a course aimed to teach you to hear and know God’s voice called Experiencing God, a method for studying the Bible inductively called Living by the Book, an inductive study through Acts, an apologetics course called Christian Worldview, and a Women’s Class. During this time, we offer preschool care and classes for both children and youth. Aside from separating adult classes and youth classes, all our classes are intergenerational as we reflect our desire for older (whether by age or Christian maturity) to teach younger.
The Sunday experience continues after classes with our service at 11 am. We are a welcoming church and we desire to greet everyone who comes through our doors in order to help them feel welcomed and loved. To help achieve this, many of our members spend the 15 minutes preceding church welcoming guests and showing them around. We ask our members to continually try to meet 3-5 new people each week. Most attendees dress casually, but we do not have a required dress code and all are welcome.
We have a diverse worship style that is best described as contemporary. We incorporate diverse styles of music ranging from old hymns to the newest worship songs. Our primary requirements for worship songs are that they are Biblically sound, singable, and relevant. We recognize that heaven will be a diverse mix of people and songs, all praising the Lord, and we desire to practice that here on earth.
We desire to be an intergenerational church in keeping with the model found in Titus 2. Currently, the largest portion of our membership is comprised of young families. We offer preschool care for children 4 and under and a special children’s service for those in K-6th grades. Our K-6th graders join us in service for the first few songs of worship prior to a “children’s chat” where we lead them in a short devotional that ties into to the main message for that Sunday. Afterwards, the children are dismissed to the children’s worship area for their own service and games. The adults and youth in worship listen to a sermon, and afterwards, have a time of response prior to dismissal.
We are located in a rapidly growing area in the southern part of College Station, Texas. Our local population is 112,000 as of 2016, but the wider community, including our sister city Bryan, has a population of well over 250,000. The neighborhoods surrounding the church are primarily middle class families. Several new developments are underway and a large community development further south is planned to begin construction soon that will offer 2000 plus homes. In this expanding area, Living Hope is one of only two churches that meet this far south. For more information about the surrounding area, visit Experience BCS.
There are other Gospel-centered churches in the area. The community is unique and that these churches often come alongside each other and build each other up. There is not a sense of rivalry among the churches but instead, a sense of unity in reaching the lost in our city with the Gospel.
Our membership live all throughout the Bryan/College Station area with members in Bryan and in an adjacent city south of College Station called Navasota.
We are short drive away from Texas A&M University, which attracts 60,000 plus students to College Station each year. We also live close to Blinn, a growing junior college. The university attracts students and faculty from all over the world. In particular, A&M brings in many international graduate students. In the spring of 2016, 5471 international students attended the university representing 126 countries.
Texas A&M University supports a strong culture of dedicated former students. The university is deeply rooted in tradition, and a large portion of the community participate in the activities and sporting events. The students pride themselves on values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. There is an active Christian culture on campus and many parachurch organizations. For more information about Texas A&M, visit their site.
The following sections describe our church vision, mission statement, and core beliefs.
Our Vision Statement: We are a Christian fellowship that glorifies God through: worshipping; teaching His Word; evangelizing; and ministering to the community.
We are not ashamed of Jesus or His word. We are Christ-followers together, in community. It is our unapologetic identification with and commitment to Christ, the Gospel and His people, through
- Worshipping – worship is attributing worth, it is loving the Lord with all our lives, our time, our talents, our treasures, because we are so thankful and blessed and right with God by faith alone, in the Gospel of grace
- Teaching His Word – the Bible, not tradition, culture, or emotion is the source of our truth for obedient and holy living as a family of Christ-followers;
- Evangelizing – is sharing the great story of Jesus through words and actions; it is making disciples by telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ;
- And ministering to the community – both within the church family and outside the walls, we seek to love our neighbor, which means helping them, caring for them and sharing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus with them. We represent Christ, so we love enough to help.
Our Mission Statement: We are to glorify God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow our Savior’s example to the world in order to function as a living Body that: worships the only true God; teaches His Holy Word; helps evangelize the community and the world; ministers to its members and the community; and has a loving, caring Christian compassion for all people.
Our mission statement is similar to our vision statement. We need to be constantly reminded that if our vision is to be an active reality, then God must be involved. This statement focuses on the divine dynamic that distinguishes the loving, caring and powerful church family from every other social institution in the world.
Living Hope is a part of the denomination called the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC, BGCT). We believe that there are basic beliefs found in Scripture that are essentials. Things that are clearly taught in Scripture and are addressed below are essentials that are not up for debate; there has to be unity. However, there are other beliefs that are not essentials of the faith, so we allow freedom to believe as God has led you to understand the Scriptures. We simply ask that in all matters of faith and practice, we allow love to guide in areas of disagreement. The following is a summary of essential doctrinal beliefs concerning:
God (The Father): There is only one true God, and he is sovereign and is the supreme creator and ruler of the universe. He is omnipotent, omniscient, unchangeable, holy, righteous, and the only true God. He has always existed in three co-equal and distinct personalities—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—while maintaining His oneness. The Father is the representative spiritual head of the Godhead, equal to the Son and the Holy Spirit. (See Genesis 1:1, 26, 27; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24 and 10:30; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 1:8)
Jesus Christ: Jesus is the eternal Son of God, co-equal with the Father. Jesus was born of a virgin mother and lived a perfect, sinless human life. He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sin of all people by literally dying on the cross. He arose bodily on the third day to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to heaven and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. (See John 1:1-2, 14; Acts 1:11; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 4:15)
The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and Son. He is present in the world to point people to Jesus Christ. He is the believer’s deposit from God, ensuring spiritual guidance, understanding, and gifts. Christians are to be controlled by His influence. He also convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement. (See John 14:16-17; Galatians 5:16-17; Ephesians 1:13-14 and 4:30; Hebrews 2:4)
The Bible: The Bible is God’s Word to mankind. It is written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the God-breathed, inspired truth without any mixture of error. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction and the supreme and final authority for faith and practice in the lives of believers and the Church. (See Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and 4:1-5; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
Human Beings: All mankind is created in the image or likeness of God to fellowship with Him and to rule over the earth as God’s representatives. Yet, beginning with Adam, all mankind has fallen into sin, having rebelled against God, thus separating themselves from fellowship with God. Humans are spiritual and physical beings, the supreme object of creation, yet all humans are marred by a sinful nature. Thus, all humans sin and are separated from God by this attitude of selfishness and disobedience. (See Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:1-24; Romans 1:18-21, 3:21-23, 5:6-8, 6:23)
Salvation: Salvation is God’s free gift to all who will accept it. Only by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ on his/her behalf can a person be saved from sin’s penalty. By repenting or turning from one’s self-ruled life of sin and turning to Jesus in faith, one can be forgiven and become right with God again. The moment a person receives the gift of salvation, he or she receives eternal life. Since salvation is a free gift that is received, the true believer can never lose that salvation. Salvation is based on the promises of God rather than the self-effort of the Christian. Faith in Christ leads to works because salvation is a supernatural work of grace from beginning to end. (See John 3:16, 5:24, and 10:29; Romans 10:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:8-10)
The Church: The Church is the body of Christ on earth, of which Christ is the head. It consists of all true believers who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Locally, believers are united and gifted for mutual edification and worship and are equipped by the pastors and teachers to do the work of the ministry to the world. (See Ephesians 4:11-13; Hebrews 10:24-25)
Ordinances of the Church: All who have become Christians are directed to follow the two symbolic ordinances of the church. Water baptism by immersion is the obedient act of public testimony of a new believer’s spiritual identification with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. It is a reminder that in Christ our sin nature has been crucified and that we have been resurrected to live as a new creation. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial supper started by Jesus for the purpose of remembering Jesus’ death on our behalf until He returns. It is to be observed by all believers as a time of thanksgiving, communion, and renewal for daily living. (See Matthew 28:19; Romans 6; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20)
Eternity: When God created people, He created them for eternity. Our final destination for eternity will depend on our relationship with God. Those who have received salvation will spend eternity in an actual place called Heaven. Those who choose to remain alienated from God by their sinfulness and their selfishness will live eternally in an actual place called Hell. (See John 3:16; Revelation 20:15)
We currently have 188 members and are intergenerationally and culturally diverse. Our average Sunday attendance ranges from 300-350. One third of Sunday attendance is comprised of children from crawlers through 6th graders. Besides the pastor, we have one other full-time ministerial staff member who serves as the youth and children’s minister. We also have three part-time ministerial staff members: our worship, missions and college ministers. The staff work together as a team under the leadership of the pastor to discern where God is at work and His direction for our church.
Our staff members are also part of the Church Administrative Team (CAT). In addition to staff members, the CAT is comprised of select ministry team leaders that represent our body or are integral to our church operations. The CAT is responsible for overall leadership, administration, operations and organization of the ministry and activities of the church. This team will offer leadership and supervision to various Ministry Teams. The CAT meets regularly to discuss needs within the congregation and community to ensure that ministry and church activities are being done effectively, efficiently and in line with the purpose and desires of the church. The Senior Pastor is the leader of the CAT.
Additionally, we maintain a close and active ongoing partnership with one of our church plants, Living Hope Bryan. We serve alongside each other in ministry and outreach to the community and our pastors have historically met together periodically to sharpen each other. Currently, the pastors from both churches prayerfully discern which book of the Bible to study and coordinate the sermon series through that book. The pastors from each church periodically take a break from the sermon series to preach on topics specific to each church, and there is great flexibility to deviate from a scheduled sermon when led by the Spirit.
A majority of our needs are provided for by committed members of our church rather than paid workers. As a body, we aim to take care of the needs of our church to free our staff to focus on the ministry of the church. In serving alongside one another, we all take ownership of the church and grow in our unity and love for one another.
Living Hope is known for its service to the community and support of local ministries. Our desire is to selflessly serve so, as we are able, we come alongside and join existing ministries already doing the work of the kingdom well.
Our ministries are as follows:
Buildings and Properties: exists to take care of Living Hope’s building and property maintenance needs through different scheduled projects.
Children’s: exists to provide teaching of and training in God’s Word, enabling a child to come to salvation through faith in God’s Son, Christ Jesus; to grow in God’s likeness and to tell others about God.
College: exists to be a first point of contact for college students. Our goal is to make disciples of every student God brings to our church by connecting them with a local body of believers where they will be held accountable and taught to obey everything Jesus commanded.
Discipleship: exists to help believers be theologically sound and equip them to be wise counsel as they live, teach and challenge others to live in obedience to God’s perfect Word.
Finance: exists to work closely with every Living Hope ministry team in order to ensure proper budget planning and effective raising, allocating, and consumption of funds. In addition, the FMT is in charge of counting tithes, distributing funds to their proper location, and preparing monthly and yearly budgets, financial reports, and summaries.
Hospitality: exists to make sure members and guests feel welcome and loved every time they come to our campus.
Missions: exists to equip you for selfless Gospel-centered impact and is the heartbeat of Living Hope. As the Lord continues to expand our ministries to the ends of the earth, we are watching and praying that we will respond to where He is working.
Personnel: exists to show support, love and appreciation to the Living Hope personnel.
Preschool: exists to glorify God through the teaching of His Word to preschoolers while affirming what is taught at home, minister to parents, and providing a safe environment for children.
Technology: exists to make use of technology for God’s glory.
Worship: exists to lead the Body of Living Hope in understanding and practicing the worship of God.
Youth: exists to make disciples out of the students God brings to us by impacting them and their families with biblical truth.