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By Mark Kelly
PHOENIX – Queen Creek,
Ariz., is growing fast enough to make your head spin. In just three years, a
city of 29,673 southeast of Phoenix has exploded to an estimated 50,000 people.
But Trey Van
Camp’s head isn’t spinning. His heart is broken.
“I was born and
raised here,” says the church planter. “Queen Creek is one of fastest growing
cities in our state. A lot of young families are moving in. But half the people
here claim no religion at all, and half the others are Mormons. Most of the
rest are Catholic.”
The thought of
so many souls deprived of the gospel weighed heavily on Trey and his father,
Billy, who pastors Heart Cry Cowboy Church in Queen Creek. They decided a new
church was needed to reach the flood of young outsiders moving into the city,
who weren’t likely to drive out to Horseshoe Park for services targeting Queen
Creek’s native cowboys.
a core team of about 40 people gathered in four different Bible studies, and
the new congregation, Heart Cry Gathering, drew 140 people to its January 10 launch
at a movie theater in the heart of Queen Creek’s bustling north side.
were baptized that first Sunday and, barely two months later, another five were
baptized on Easter.
“We want as many
baptisms as possible. That's what we're all about,” says Trey. “It's crazy how
many people are moving in. There just aren’t enough churches being planted to
meet the need.”
Gathering is connecting with the Millennial generation by being both ancient and
modern at the same time, Trey says.
“We do communion
every week. We recite confessions. We are really rooted in the history of the Church,”
Trey says. “But we meet in a movie theater and use video technology very well.
All our leadership is in their 20s, but at the same time we talk about what we
do as Southern Baptists and we are passionate about the Cooperative Program.”
Gathering tries to get maximum leverage out of its movie theater setting.
“We gave away
100 free movie tickets at our launch service,” Trey says. “All our flyers look
like movie theater posters, and we use movie clips to illustrate what we are
talking about in our services.”
But while they
are connecting the gospel to people, Heart Cry Gathering also wants to connect people
to their community, and the community to the mission of Jesus.
“We want to be a
church that is missionary right away,” Trey says.
“We are really
focusing on the ASU Polytechnic campus, which graduates engineers and nurses
and teachers. Our passion there is to raise up disciples and send them out as
missionaries wherever they get a job offer. We have a mission trip this summer
to Alaska, and we send teams to the Rio Vista Center, which is the Southern
Baptist homeless outreach in Phoenix. We want to disciple our people to serve
others who can never pay them back.”
struggles, however, against the apathy that holds many Millennial hearts
hostage, Trey says.
“People my age
are apathetic,” he says. “I have some friends who think what we are doing is
cool, but they don’t want anything to do with it. Religion is not a route they
want to take.”
Not a single
person responded to the 5,000 mailers sent out for the launch, so Heart Cry
Gathering must take the long view and invest in relationships, Trey says.
who has come was because we have made a relationship with them,” he says. “That’s
hard because it takes a long time. But we had one couple come last Sunday who
told us they would never ever come to our church. They said, ‘We don’t like
Christians. We don’t like Jesus,’ but they came yesterday, so we praise God for
that. We have to keep pressing on and keep loving people. It takes a long time,
but it’s worth it.”
Two of the
congregation’s worship leaders are brand-new believers who came to Christ
because time was invested in relationships.
“I was working
out one day, and I met this guy. I invited him over to our house and he brought
his wife,” Trey says. “They showed up at my house all of 2015 for the Bible
study. We led them to Christ, and I got to officiate their wedding in November.
Then they were in the group I baptized on our launch day. Now he is leading
music for our worship team.
“Our drummer was a one of the ones who said he would never come to church,” Trey adds. “But the guy who is now our worship leader was his best friend. He got saved, and now his kids are going to be baptized. It’s amazing to see how Jesus has transformed his life.
“Our team is comprised of former drug addicts, people from broken families, former atheists and Mormons, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Learn more about Heart Cry Gathering at
heartcry.cc. Explore more about church planting
through the North American Mission Board at namb.net/SendMe.
Mark Kelly writes for the North American
Date Created: 5/2/2016 3:38:47 PM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2016 North American Mission Board, SBC