What was once two separate churches, two miles apart, consolidated and quickly became a thriving, culturally-diverse church in the heart of Lubbock. The revitalized congregation came about after an instant connection between Sam Medina, pastor of Templo Baptist Church, and Dr. Marcus Murphy, pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church. Their aligned passion of bringing the Kingdom of God to Lubbock and beyond helped both pastors realize that they could do more together than apart.
The former Templo Baptist Church and Oakwood Baptist Church were less than two miles away from each other. At the time, both churches were facing many struggles. Murphy noted that his church had been through a wilderness together. For them to survive, Murphy said that “God was going to have to step in and show us something.”
Medina said their churches’ main issue was their building. He said, “Templo was in an older building. Money was being spent on brick and mortar instead of ministries. You have to fix the roof, you have to fix leaks you have to re-carpet. None of us felt like that was the best use of resources, but it had to be done.”
Knowing this, the pastors were introduced by Jerry Joplin, director of the Lubbock Area Baptist Association. “It was easy to see that both churches had strengths that could benefit the other to form a healthy organism,” said Joplin. “That is exactly what happened when I was blessed to introduce Marcus and Sam to each other. Only God can take a simple meeting and bring forth a healthy consolidation that leads to more souls finding eternal hope in Jesus.”
Initially, both churches simply tried to do ministry together from their separate ends of the town, but as time progressed, it didn’t seem to be an effective model. Being in a highly multicultural area, the churches discovered they could be more effective in reaching people by coming together as one church in the process of consolidation. That’s when the discussion between the two pastors started. “How can we do it? What would have to happen? How would we be organized? What is our purpose?”
Medina said, “Both Marcus’ heart and my heart were in reaching people and wanting people to come to the Lord and impacting the Kingdom of God. The more we talked, the more we realized our hearts were together, that we were on the same page.”
After presenting their vision, the leadership of both churches’ were on board, and they moved forward. However, it was not an easy task. There were many challenges they had to overcome, the first of which was the reality of a predominantly Anglo church joining together with a predominately Hispanic church.
“You have these two different cultures that worship the same Lord, have the same theology, and are both Baptists, but you’re still dealing with two different church cultures when you bring any two congregations together,” said Murphy. “We had to talk it through and say, ‘what are we willing to concede? Are we willing to submit and humble ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to form the new fellowship?’”
The men tackled this issue in differing roles as co-pastors. Medina focused on evangelism and administration, and Murphy focused on teaching. They worked hard to bring the congregations together to join them in their vision for Lubbock.
“It starts with the pastors,” said Murphy. “The pastors should really function as a gatekeeper for the fellowship. If Sam and I did not have a healthy relationship, this would not work. Both
of us respect the others’ gifts, and our gifts work well together.”
“You can’t just be pastors; you’ve got to be friends,” added Medina.
The church also overcame the trial of creating a new name. While the congregation had varying opinions, the pastors held fast to the fact that even know they were meeting in the building of the former Oakwood Baptist Church, it was a completely new fellowship with a completely new church culture. That’s when they landed on One Accord Fellowship.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the church experienced indescribable unity, according to both pastors. Though it has not always been easy, it has been worth it for all.
Since their inception on May 6, 2018, One Accord Fellowship has hosted a flea market ministry where they shared the Gospel through free bracelets; made free burgers at the park for the community; and distributed free burritos for the teachers going back to school. They are currently dreaming of developing a music lab where kids can bring instruments to the church to learn how to play. They would also like to create a computer lab for senior citizens to come and learn useful skills and connect with family members outside of the United States.
The church is also experiencing exciting, God-given growth. Every Sunday since May 6, some type of decision has been made, whether that was people coming to know the Lord as Savior, joining the church, asking prayer or desiring to be baptized. They see around 250 to 300 people on any given Sunday and membership continues to grow, according to Medina. They currently have two services, one in English and another in Spanish, with one multicultural praise and worship team that ties them together.
“We complemented each other as churches because we both wanted the same things - to reach people for the Lord Jesus and think about what we could do together to impact our community,” said Medina. “Not just reach them, but be relevant to them.”
To learn more about church revitalization efforts, contact Phil Miller, associate director of the Great Commission Team, at email@example.com or 214.828-5213.