Anchored in Jesus: Texas Church Clings Not to Buildings, but Christ
By Rachel Eldridge
For many of us, it’s easy to say that church is not a building. But much harder to imagine is not actually having a building to worship in each Sunday. Over the past three years, Rosenberg First Church of God in Richmond, Texas, has learned what it means to rely on Christ as the cornerstone of the church, as they have navigated uncomfortable changes—from sharing a church building, to meeting in a community center, to gathering solely online.
Without their own building, Rosenburg Church of God never had the opportunity to get too attached to a particular place. Though changes don’t often come without challenges, they were positioned well to go online. “We are a church that has been without our own church building for many years,” explains Rev. Lisa Pearson, who co-pastors the congregation with her husband Rev. Venoy Pearson Jr. “We purchased land but have not been able to build a facility due to a lack of funds.”
For several years, the congregation shared a building with another congregation, which meant they had to meet at unusual times. Potential visitors weren’t very excited to attend upon finding out that worship started at 7:30 on Sunday mornings. But in February 2019, Rosenberg First Church of God made the decision to move from the traditional church setting to a community center. This relocation symbolized embracing a new phase of ministry in the life of the church, a welcome opportunity for everyone. At the time, the Church of God state ministry in Texas sent a mass e-mail encouraging people to pray for the Rosenberg congregation during the time of transition, and no doubt God heard and responded to such prayer. Though hurdles would still have to be crossed, God used such experiences to refine and strengthen the congregation’s resolve and impact.
The Mamie George Community Center, where the Rosenberg church gathered before COVID, is a ministry of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Though it was an unconventional gathering place, Lisa Pearson shared that it ultimately provided the congregation with more freedom to publicize their gatherings and the ability to welcome many new people. No doubt about it, God works in mysterious ways! Two years later, God has continued to provide the technological means so the church could pivot once again to hold worship services and Bible study over Facebook Live and Zoom.
The Lord never said it would be easy. Amid continual waves of change, aging saints of the church passing away, and youth growing up and moving out, the Pearsons stand strong in the Lord and his vision for the congregation. May their resolve encourage us all.
“We believe that God has us in Rosenberg for a reason,” Lisa Pearson reflects. “We are doing our best to declare the kingdom of God in this city, and we do solicit your continued prayers.”
Join the Rosenberg congregation online for worship on Sundays at 10:30 AM CT at www.rosenbergfcog.onlineworship.com and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rosenbergfirstchurchofgod.
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Rachel Eldridge is a freelance writer who attends First Church of God in New Albany, Indiana.
*Feature (top) photo: Some of the congregation pictured together in men’s and women’s groups, pre-pandemic.