Church: First Baptist Church of El Paso
Pastor: Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr.
Initiative: "Vision 6000"
What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?
“Vision 6000" seeks to stir the imagination and dreams of our people to envision touching the lives of 1% of the population of El Paso with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This vision statement challenges us to maximize our effectiveness at our home base, but also to stimulate the desire to plant new churches and ministries across the region. If we don't think and dream big we will probably settle for business as usual or simply adding to our church. FBC seek to multiply its influence in the region by leveraging its influence to advance the Kingdom of God on many fronts.
How did you recognize this need?
El Paso has rapidly grown numerically over the past thirty years, yet the Baptist and Evangelical presence in the city has actually declined. Many of the churches in the region are going out of business or they are simply shells of what they once were, so we realized it was time for us to step up and seek to make a significant difference for the Kingdom of God.
Who is it reaching?
At our main campus, our church has begun to "practice heaven on earth" by seeking intentionally to be a multi-national, and multi-generational church. Our objective revolves around our church reflecting the "face of El Paso today." Historically we had been a downtown Anglo church. Today, FBC worships in three languages, and has members and worshippers from at least ten different countries. The new church plants of the church are primarily reaching Spanish speaking residents of the region, and our Oasis Community Church reaches primarily Gen X worshippers.
How is it impacting the community and strengthening your church?
Over the past four years, in response to Vision 6000 we have started three local community outreach ministries and we have started three new churches. In addition, the church attendance has grown significantly, and we have baptized people from at least six different countries.
What did you start out trying to do, and what, if anything changed?
We started out seeking to strengthen the church and start new congregations of all types in our city. The only significant change in our strategy has been the fact that the people themselves have dreamed up and started several other creative ministries out of their own passions and dreams. In addition, our Mission Committee hosted a "Vision 6000" night to help the church celebrate what we had accomplished together and what we were seeking to do. We focused on twelve different ministries that evening and we also provide "Vision 6000 - It starts with One" wristbands to be worn by our members to remind us of our mission and dream on a daily basis.
How does your solution work?
"Vision 6000" inspires our people to be "on mission" for the Kingdom of God in their everyday lives and to think strategically about how God can use us to change our city.
What steps did you take to start it, or how could someone start doing a similar ministry?
"Vision 6000" started taking shape in my mind as a pastor in my quiet time and reflection on how to inspire the people of our church to dream big. I took the simple of idea of impacting 1% of our population through our ministry and strategic partnerships. There is nothing really all that innovative about this approach, it just simply seeks to put a tangible goal and dream in the minds of the people to stretch them and to inspire big ideas.
What did you learn that you'd like to share with others who may try to start something similar?
I believe it is important to the vision of the church be their vision not simply the pastor's vision. He may cast it, but for it to become a reality the people must own the vision. Start by telling the story, and then transition to telling the story as it is being lived out in the lives of the people of the church. When the story has become their story amazing things begin to happen.