Texas church in one of the lowest-income communities gives sacrificially to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering

Located in Brownsville, Texas, Ecclesia Community Church is a church that includes many new and growing believers. Through inviting the whole church to participate in the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering – from the kids ministry to the elderly – they surpassed their giving goal this past year.

According to church planter James Martinez, Brownsville, Texas, is a border town like no other.

“It’s in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a world that’s neither Mexico nor the United States. It’s like its own country with its own culture,” he says. “And everybody who leaves Brownsville says, ‘I’m never going to come back,’” he adds.

When James left Brownsville to go to college, he was hoping he would forget about Brownsville too. But during his college years, James heard the gospel, was saved, and watched God rewrite his story. Today, two decades later, James finds himself in Brownsville again — but this time as a church planter.

James points out that Brownsville, influenced by both cultural Catholicism and witchcraft, is a city that is spiritual yet dark.

“People have left a pig’s head on our church property and probably have said some kind of voodoo spell. We’ve been in apartment complexes, door knocking, spreading the gospel, and they’ll come out and cut chickens’ heads off and pour blood all over wherever we walked,” James shares.

Yet, in this very city plagued by poverty, alcoholism, and fatherlessness, God opened the doors for the Martinez family to plant Ecclesia Community Church. At first, their church plant had a very rough start. A month before its launch, the world shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ecclesia Community Church decided to pivot their ministry. They started serving their community through gospel-focused food distributions by partnering with a local nonprofit. So, when it was time to publicly launch the church plant more than a year later, Ecclesia Community Church had already built a strong network of prospective members.

As the church showed God’s generosity to their community, they’ve seen their congregation, comprised of many new and growing believers, show generosity back. When James introduced the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to his church, he was overwhelmed by the church’s response.

“We explained that we exist because of the generosity of other churches giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to fuel church planting,” James says.

“When it comes to giving — I can set too high of goals for our church, but I know we serve a big God,” he says. “When the money started coming in, I thought, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ We’re meeting our goal for the Annie Offering, and people are excited about it.”

All of Ecclesia Community Church were enthusiastic about a chance to give back — from new believers in the congregation who committed to setting up a recurring gift to the elderly single woman to the kids in children’s ministry. Now, the church has committed to giving more to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering each month than they did over the entire previous year.

Eager to give, children at Ecclesia Community Church save their money throughout the month for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

“I’m a church planter in one of the poorest counties in the nation, and when we surpassed our offering goal, I just thought, ‘Look at what God is doing through this little bitty church,’” James says. “God has been generous to us, so we need to be generous and sacrificial back to Him.”

Embracing Send Network’s imperative of “churches planting churches everywhere for everyone,” Ecclesia Community Church is already on its way to planting their first church in a nearby community and has plans for future church plants.

To find out more about how your church can join in on the work God is doing in North America through church planting, visit SendNetwork.com/Mobilize.

Published June 27, 2024

P.S. Get our best content in your inbox

We send one email per week chock full of articles from a variety of Send Network voices.