Don’t look for a comfortable pew at Under Over Fellowship in Conroe, Texas. Sunday services are outdoors in a park, while the church’s two buildings bustle with practical ministry, seven days a week.
There are Bible studies, a food pantry, a clothing closet, and free shower and laundry facilities. Hairdressers and dentists offer their services. Partner churches help serve meals.
Men and women in a “get on your feet” program live in the buildings and work in a fully functioning wood shop, making wooden crosses sold through Lifeway Christian Stores.
“We just decided as a church the way we spend our money will be different,” says pastor Jerry Vineyard. “If we’re going to buy a building, we wanted it to be utilized 24 hours a day for the kingdom.”
Many of the 100 people who attend on Sundays are homeless, yet the church has commissioned and supports a North American missionary, planted a Hispanic church about 30 miles away, and branched out into international ministry, working with pastors in Cameroon and orphanages in India.
The church devotes 65 percent of its receipts to missions, and its bylaws forbid keeping more than one month’s operating expenses in reserve. “All the money that comes in, we just push it right back out the door and use it in benevolence and helping people,” says Vineyard.
“Jesus is the One that gave us the money in the first place. Let’s just get rid of it—He’ll give us some more.”
This is one of the small church profiles from the cover story, “The Power of Small: Church Size No Barrier to Thinking Big.”
- Bow Down Church Views Outreach as Vital to Ministry
- Park Avenue Extends Its Reach Through Partnerships
LISA CANNON GREEN (Lisa.Green@Lifeway.com) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.