The Fellowship Story
In November of 1993, Jerry Edmonson, who was then serving as the Teaching Pastor at a local church, began to sense that God was calling him to begin a new church: a different kind of church, committed to reaching people who were seeking and searching for answers to their spiritual questions and for those who were not interested in religion or even church - but who wanted to know about God and life's ultimate meaning. By January of 1994, the calling was clear and the community was Cinco Ranch. Though he had not originally planned on beginning a new church when he came to Katy, he now knew that God had brought him here for that very purpose.
Sharing the Story
And so the story begins. This journey was not one which Pastor Jerry could do alone. This new church needed someone who could touch people through music and creative arts in worship and that's when Pastor Jerry was introduced to Barry Ochsner. Initially, Barry was only leading Sunday worship part-time, but it was not long before he knew that this was what God had called him to do and he eventually came on staff at The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch full-time in June of 1995.
As Pastor Jerry shared his vision for the church with others, there were several families from the community who responded. A core group was formed and on February 13th, 1994, a group of 68 men, women and children met at Fielder Elementary. We met for several weeks studying, worshiping and preparing for The Fellowship's grand opening launch, Easter 1994, when over 300 came to check out The Fellowship.
Rocking the Neighborhood
The first 2½ years were strong years of growth; spiritually and numerically, with many coming to know and experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the very first time as every week over 200 came to call The Fellowship their home. We rocked the neighborhoods with outdoor concerts called Cinco City Limits; we donned bright orange T-shirts and invited the community to experience the power of community as we mugged each house with a coffee mug and goodies; we began a Christmas Eve community tradition called "Candlelight in the Park."
Our children's ministry moved from its infant stages of Kid's Kingdom and Promiseland when Debbie Dowdell became Children's Ministry Director. Under her leadership, the ministry grew and came to be called Treasure Island .
Facing the Spiritual Desert
Then the proverbial wheels fell off! From September 1996 until July 1998, The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch went through a spiritual desert of learning about dependence upon God, prayer, perseverance, structure, leadership, and our identity as a church. Difficult as it was, it was a necessary time of foundation building and preparation for the future. Just like Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years living on manna and complete dependence of God, we too were living the desert life. Then God gave us a glimpse of the promised land.
In the fall of 1997, Pastor Jerry approached Cinco Ranch about a piece of property right in the middle of that community. The more he and the church prayed the more clear it became - God was calling us to Possess the Land. By January 1998 due diligence had been done and on February 14, 1998, The Fellowship membership stepped out in faith to purchase 10.4 acres in the heart of Cinco Ranch. Already members had given generously and sacrificially, giving almost $200,000. We still needed $300,000 to meet the purchase price of just nearly $500,000. So The Fellowship entered into the Possess the Land spiritual emphasis that culminated on Miracle Sunday, March 29th, 1998. That Sunday morning our goal was $300,000, but what happened was indeed a miracle as the announced gifts and pledges were over $540,000 giving us a total of over $740,000 in gifts and pledges for the land. Wow - we celebrated God's goodness!
Taking the Next Steps
In June 1998 we purchased the 10.4 acres from gifts and a loan and by December 1999, the land was totally paid for and we began the next step of our amazing journey. We were like the children of Israel who got a glimpse of the Promised Land, but were still not able to go in. Then in September of 2000 after 7 years at Fielder Elementary, we moved one step closer to our land as we relocated into the new Williams Elementary across the street from our property. That fall we also began our next spiritual emphasis, Raise the Roof, where the members of The Fellowship gave 1.2 million in gifts and pledges. To see over 300 people make that kind of commitment was huge. Then the "big chill" came - an economic downturn, followed by September 11, 2001 sent a wave of uncertainty through our community and world.
In November of 2001, The Fellowship took another step closer to the promised land, as we moved into the brand new YMCA right across the street from our future sight.
Raising the Roof
For two years, November 2001 - December 2003, we prepared and then broke ground to literally raise the roof on the first building of The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch campus. One of the first things we did was to go out to the property and drive stakes into the ground that formed the outline of the building. On each stake was a prayer, a commitment or a blessing. We said that we had a stake in the Kingdom's work. We watched from April to December as the building went up. On one occasion we went into the building and wrote the names of our friends who we were praying for to come to know Christ. Finally December 3, 2003, we moved into our first building and celebrated all that God had done.
From offices in homes, to a suite on the Katy Freeway, to a warehouse office space, we finally had a home for our ministry staff, a home base and a launching pad for ministry of The Fellowship.
In 1994 it was just a dream - to begin a church where every person could find God and discover how to live life with purpose and meaning. To be an effective, creative, innovative church, reaching, growing, loving and serving.
Realizing our Dreams
Today that dream is becoming a reality and along the way, hundreds of families have invested their time, talents and treasures; serving, loving and dreaming. The people of The Fellowship are learning every day what it means to love God and love others in ways that truly say "you matter to God!"
From 10 years of being a portable church through Phases One and Two of our building campaign, it has been a wonderful journey. At times we have felt as if our motto was "If you can find us, you can worship with us." From Fielder, to Williams to the YMCA, through all the ups and downs, one thing is clear, God is good and His goodness continues as we enter each new season of life.
You can know we are looking to the future as we seek to reach our community and world with the message Jesus Christ in Vision 2010. Our prayer is that you will help us write the next chapter of our story, chapter two. Be a part of what God is going to do as we pursue His heart and vision here at The Fellowship.