Finding and restoring the lost

A large sign hangs in the hallway of nineteen:ten church with one simple word on display: Found. Each letter of the sign is made up of individual light bulbs. When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, turning their life from the darkness into the light, they turn on one light bulb, representing their decision. The sign serves as a reminder for church members and staff of the exciting new life found in Christ, and also of those who have yet to receive salvation.

The litmus test Pastor Jason Brown and his staff use to evaluate every component of their ministry at nineteen:ten Church in Boerne is two-fold. Does the ministry/event/idea help us find the lost or restore them? If the answer to one or both of those questions is "yes," then they proceed.

In Luke 19:10, Jesus shared His purpose, as the Son of Man, to find and restore the lost. The mission of Nineteen:ten Church, aptly named after the verse, centralizes around the same idea. The church seeks to be a light in their community, particularly unbelievers who have never been part of a church body before.

"We desire to go after people who do not have a relationship with God," Brown said. "We are called to go find them, help them find Jesus as Savior and restore them to the relationship with God that He desired from the beginning."

Nineteen:ten Church began as a church start nine years ago in the small town of Boerne, just northwest of San Antonio. Brown, who was serving as a youth minister at the time, felt the Lord calling him to start something new in the town where he was serving.

"I felt called to start a new church, but Boerne needed something different," Brown said. "The church needed to look different, have a different vibe, and meet the needs of the unchurched. We set out to develop that concept."

From outreach and evangelism, to the building they met in and worship style, the church sought to be different.

"We wanted people to think 'this church might be okay,'" Brown said. "If they can give us a chance, people will find they like Jesus."

They began meeting in a school auditorium in September 2006 and converted classrooms into spaces for the nursery and small group Bible studies. Every Sunday morning, church members gathered early to brew coffee, set up sound equipment and signs and serve in a myriad of ways.

"Serving became part of our DNA from day one. Our people had to serve. We had to make it happen each and every Sunday," Brown recalled. "We've had a serving culture in our church from the very beginning."

Also, because they did not have a permanent facility, ministry would often occur in the neighborhoods, parks and on the city streets. The church understood ministry happened outside the building, in the midst of the community. Ministries like feeding homeless in downtown San Antonio and outreach at the local county jail have provided opportunities to meet many who need the love of Christ. A women's ministry from the church called No Strings Attached works weekly with local strip clubs by delivering care packages to dancers and building relationships with them.

"What we are seeing is the dancers are starting to call us when they are down and out and want a change," he said.

Other community outreach includes hosting a free carnival in the heart of the community every spring and a Christmas Eve service in the town plaza. Nineteen:ten now has a permanent building where they gather each week with approximately 1,300 in attendance.

The two-year-old facility does not look like a typical Baptist church, and the idea of restoration is knit into the very essence of the building. With walls made from old barn wood, and old tables and tools placed around, they have taken previously discarded materials and restored them for a new purpose.

"We believe God does that for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation," Brown said. "No one is too far gone, too old or too broken or tattered in which they cannot experience the love of Jesus and have it change them."

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