Be Not Deceived by Your City

If you’re alive, there are people in your midst that need to hear the truth of the gospel and be changed!

Our town (and county) is just as crooked, twisted, depraved, and in need of the gospel as any other community in the world. Don’t get me wrong, Bellville is an incredible community on the far outskirts of the greater Houston area. But the people in Bellville are in need of the liberating gospel like never before. Austin County is in need of gospel transformation as any other community context.

 

I live in Bellville, Texas, a rural town west of Houston. I’ve lived here for more than six years, serving as senior pastor at First Baptist Church. FBC Bellville has held a faithful witness over the past 160 years, and we absolutely love this place. I mean–come on, we’re 20 miles from Blue Bell!

Bellville is nestled in the center of Austin County, one of the greatest counties in all of Texas (well, that’s my opinion, but we can argue about that later). We’re your typical small, rural, relational community that prides itself on being a place you can raise your family in a safe environment. We have incredible schools, unity, and passion for all things Texas.

When the county fair runs through town, you see the entire town. And when the MS150 (a bike race from Houston to Austin) stops for lunch, we have people making sandwiches, passing out water, and cheering them on as they ride.

Further, when Hurricane Harvey slammed itself into Houston, the entire city stepped up to give and go to help others recover. Do not mishear me—we live in a wonderful place. A beautiful city, county, and state.

Be Not Deceived

But don’t be deceived. Our town (and county) is just as crooked, twisted, depraved, and in need of the gospel as any other community in the world. Don’t get me wrong, Bellville is an incredible community on the far outskirts of the greater Houston area.

But the people in Bellville are in need of the liberating gospel like never before. Austin County is in need of gospel transformation as any other community context.

A temptation in pastoring for any amount of time in one location is to assume you’ve reached everyone in the city in which you live. If you’re still alive, and God has not reassigned you, then there are people He wants you to reach!

Let me say it differently, if you’re alive, there are people in your midst that need to hear the truth of the gospel and be changed!

How do you fight the temptation of thinking everyone is saved? How do you fight against the temptation to go-with-the-flow in a community? I thought of three ways to keep the mission in view.

Have Your Eyes Examined

Where are you looking? What are you seeing? One of the great things about being in the same community for a long time is that you see familiar people, places, and things.

One of the worst things about being in the same community for a long time is that you see familiar people, places, and things. There is an inherent danger in a setting like that. Why? You stop seeing what you need to see.

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