Back in August of 1982, a new church started in Northwest Houston. Three men worked out of their cars. They knocked on thousands of doors, conducting a religious census. In the midst of these door-to-door encounters, they shared about a new church that was starting in the neighborhood. Seeds were planted.
Over the next weeks, the senior pastor and worship leader strategized about how to reach the people in the community. Both the pastor and worship leader came from full-time evangelistic ministries. A third member of the team, the youth pastor, would serve part-time on the weekends, while finishing his last semester in college. It was unusual for a church to start with three staff members. However, Calvary has always been known as a pioneering church. Follow up visits, cards, letters, and calls took up most of their time. There were more doors to knock on.
On the last Sunday in September, Calvary held its first services. One hundred and seventy-five people attended that first service. Calvary started as a hyper-evangelistic, crusade-oriented church. Members of several local churches made six month commitments to help the church in various ways: serving on the worship team, helping in the office, leading Bible Study classes, knocking on doors. It was hard work. It was exciting.
Seeds were watered. Soil was tended. Relationships were nurtured. A harvest was cultivated. Lives changed. Hundreds of people gave their lives to Christ over the first few years of the church. What a harvest of souls!
What a beginning! We started out as a church that knocked on doors for Christ. God reminded us that he was knocking on our door, wanting more than just our hard work, zeal, and discipline. God called us into relationship with himself, into deep, abiding, refreshing, Spirit-filled companionship. Christ led us to become a church that listened to him, responding to his seeking heart. The Lord expanded our roots, building us upon apostolic and prophetic foundations. His kingdom must be extended in the earth. And he led us into a together-journey, a journey where we learned how to express true Christian community.
Through the years, our congregation has met in various facilities. We started out in the cafetorium of Francone Elementary School, which was just off Windfern in the Harvest Bend area. Some time later, we held weekday meetings in a warehouse complex near Hwy 290 and Jones Road. At one point, we moved our Sunday meetings to a movie theater near the corner of West Road and Hwy 6. The smell of popcorn wafting through the building in preparation for the afternoon movie schedule really affected our concentration. Then, God miraculously led us to our current location. We believe that our current physical location is a portal; it is a porch where people can step into the presence of God and can meet with the Lord. It is amazing to consider that the Lord led a group of 120 people to take a huge step of faith to buy property and to build a building in 1987. But, that was the Lord’s leading for us.
What a journey! What a story! And the story is still being written today. Pages are still being filled with testimonies of God’s great grace and love. Lives are still being changed. There are new paths to blaze as we follow the Champion of our Salvation.