All Things For Good
July 31, 2021
What happens when your church breaks ground on a major building project and then a global pandemic begins? You keep going, of course!
When church leaders at Faithbridge broke ground in January 2020, COVID-19 barely had a name. While they were initially uncertain about the pandemic’s ramifications and pondered ceasing progress on the building when it started influencing Texas, the congregation continued to give to the project. “We felt like it was a beacon of hope for the community,” Business Administrator Michael Sullivan shared. “One day things would be back to normal, and we would have students and others back on campus. The building was a visible reminder that day was coming.”
Now, the new building is complete. The youth have a state-of-the-art space that is convertible, allowing for more traditional services in a chapel-like environment and youth worship in a trendy loft-type space. Additional renovations took place as well, so that all the construction could occur while people were worshiping from home.
“We are so grateful to TMF,” Michael noted. “We have had a long relationship with TMF. They helped us get the funding we needed in the beginning to found this church twenty years ago, and when TMF offered the Loan Assistance Program in 2020, we immediately wanted to take advantage of that option. We had no idea what would happen during the pandemic, and we were so thankful that TMF stepped up like a partner in ministry.”
By taking advantage of the TMF Loan Assistance Program, Faithbridge could make interest-only payments for six months and focus on what really mattered in the moment – continuing their building project and connecting with their community while socially distancing. As their building project hummed along, church leaders found creative ways to engage the congregation and community.
They pivoted with worship as soon as possible, so that everything could be digital. Since everyone was worshipping from home, they decided to do all their filming and worship services within homes. They filmed families watching services from home, worship leaders singing from home, preachers preaching from home and more, because they wanted to share the lived experience and reality of the moment. This connection bolstered congregational morale and boosted creativity.
Faithbridge did not stop with congregational connections, however. Leaning into their history of servanthood during crises like Hurricane Harvey, they also took note of the community’s wellbeing. Many people had lost jobs or been forced to take early retirement and the congregation was concerned. In response, they started a fundraising campaign called Bless Our City and they raised over $500,000. While it was originally conceived for community members who needed financial assistance during the pandemic, the project has now expanded to assist in a multitude of ministry projects in Houston and around the world.
“The pandemic reiterated Romans 8:28 for us,” Michael said pausing. “God uses all things for good. God showed up in really miraculous ways for us during this time. People all over the country have connected with our online worship and Bless Our City has helped hundreds of people! Even during these difficult moments, we were faithful, and we were able to expand our ministry and bless others.”