When God speaks to us he most often does so through his Word. He sometimes speaks in our times of prayer or through others. He also speaks through strong impressions. I need to take a step back and tell a story about a visit to Georgetown years before our arrival. My wife, Shannon, had many family reunions in Georgetown over the years. Her mother was born here. Here great grandparents owned the Garey Ranch which is in the process of becoming a large city park in the future. We were in town around 1990 at a family reunion in San Gabriel park. I decided to take a break from the heat and drive around Georgetown in our air conditioned minivan. We had come from Kingsville with our three children and had spent the night in the Georgetown Inn. I drove out into Seranada and almost got lost. At one point I pulled off Williams Drive into the driveway of an unidentified building. It was Crestview. When I pulled past the edge of the East Wing and saw the worship center, I had the strangest feeling. I realized then that it was a Baptist Church. I looked over the parking lot and property. I observed that it was virtually invisible from Williams Drive. As I always do, I began to think what might be done to strengthen this church.
Years later when I received the call from the search committee looking for a new pastor for Crestview, I recalled that day vividly. I was reluctant to consider the church, but my mind was already moving toward a plan for leading Crestview to even greater days. Once we came to Georgetown, I did an experiment. I went a number of places in town and ask for directions to Crestview. Most of the people I asked had no idea where the church was. One man argued with me that there was no such church by that name in Georgetown. I then gave a report on a Wednesday night to Crestview in which I told them they were invisible. I challenged them to put a lighted sign on Williams with a message board. The present sign is the second installment of that sign. Soon thereafter I helped them see that our space was inadequate. I also helped them see that there were many needed repairs to the property. I led them to buy a house next to the church where our present church park is located. Some thought this wasteful and crazy, but this accomplished two things. It provided immediate useful space for bible study and it helped to open up our property to Williams. We began to have some outdoor services in good weather under the trees behind the house. People passing on Williams could see us there. Sometimes we were cooking hamburgers and sometimes frying fish. There was always music and good fellowship. Signs of life began to be obvious to the community. I would not let the church rush into a building program without first creating some space for growth. Through the years we have purchased and paid for six neighboring houses. Three are still in use. These houses have played a very important role in increasing our footprint so that we could meet building codes which require a certain amount of green space. They have also been very useful in providing additional space for programming, storage, and meeting drainage requirements. Most notable is the SoloHouse which is widely known as an important center for ministry to singles.
We could not have built our adult education building and then followed that with our massive reconstruction and remodel project without the space and breathing room that these houses provided. In many ways we have been systematically moving toward a vision that was planted in my heart and enhanced by the ideas and voices of the people of Crestview. We are at this very moment at the beginning of our most amazing days as a church. Before any church becomes alive and effective, there has to be a vision. Crestview was born through the vision of a group of laymen who were a part of the First Baptist Church in Georgetown. They had a vision to cross Interstate 35 and plant a church. At the time it was mostly open country and not convenient to most of the population. Today it is strategically located. My vision and the vision of those that I have served in these years in Georgetown has transformed our space to reflect the needs of this growing city.
“Where there is no vision the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18