Bryan & Ashley Smith
South Hills Elementary
What is the overall vision for this campaign?
To continue our multiplying effort by launching a congregation in the Alliance area, so that one of the most rapidly growing areas in the country has communities of people who believe they’re sent into neighborhoods to genuinely love Jesus and intentionally love their neighbors. Also to seek and celebrate partnerships that allow us to stretch our reach and strengthen our serve so that everyone in Fort Worth has an increasing opportunity to flourish and thrive toward God’s Good plan.
Why are we doing this now?
If 2020 has shown us anything it’s the importance and urgency for people who are prepared to “Be Doxology” on location in their neighborhoods and in their spheres of influence. We have entered into a new era as a culture where a reflection of Jesus is needed more than ever. We’re more connected than ever but often find ourselves feeling isolated and lonely. Access to more information hasn’t brought our world more clarity; it’s left us divided and angry. We know that there are roughly 700,000 people in our city who don’t know the extent of God’s love for them, and that number is growing every day. They can’t hear it over the noise, and they won’t see it on their screens. They need people who know their name, learn their story, and get involved in their life… for good.
The timing is right for Doxology Español as their positive growth trends made conversations about their next steps important and strategic. We believe God has raised up a leader for the Alliance congregation in Bryan Smith, who is ready to launch. And Bryan’s connection with Student Mobilization has already resulted in more than twenty recent college graduates who chose to get jobs in Fort Worth and join Doxology with a view toward being sent as a part of a new work. We believe that partnership will continue for the next few years, but begin to wane as his direct connection with that organization lessens over time.
In our city, the need for Christ-centered influence across every sector of society has never been more clear. And our opportunity to make a significant contribution to specific needs of a local school (South Hills Elementary) has never been more urgent. In the face of such urgent need, our collective conscience will not let us wait for a time that is more convenient for us.
How will the Reading Interventionist relate to South Hills Elementary?
We will be working with the principal at South Hills as well as educators within our congregation to identify the right person to hire for the role, as our employee. This will allow us to ensure the Reading Specialist is someone well qualified, who the principal will be excited to work with; while also ensuring they have shared values and vision of Doxology. The specialist will work with the Principal, other specialists, teachers, and our mentoring program coordinator to advance the ball within South Hills. However, as an employee of Doxology they will be classified as a volunteer at South Hills. This allows them to devote 100% of their work time toward their area of expertise, and keeps them from being reassigned to a different role or different school.
How do I get involved as a South Hills mentor?
Our Hero 2 Hero mentoring ministry would love to follow up with you. We have an established process and program that will include some training and a background check to ensure you are set up for success. All you need is the ability to read with and care for a student for one hour, one day a week. We will provide training to help you with the rest. Click here for more info.
What is a Multi-Congregational Model?
The Multi-Congregational Model is a model in which one church expresses itself through multiple interdependent congregations to reach its city with the Gospel. Each congregation shares all of the characteristics of an independent church (live preaching, baptism, community groups, etc…) while enjoying the internal benefits of interdependence on a larger organization (collaboration, resources, HR functions, graphic design and media). We will have one Elder board, one budget, one sermon calendar, and one vision that expresses itself in multiple contexts. Simply: Alignment wherever it’s helpful; autonomy wherever it’s necessary.
The two primary reasons new church plants fail are (1) Lack of financial support, and (2) Lack of a team. New believers tend not to be financially generous so church plants can rarely afford to hire personnel in the beginning. As a result, leaders find themselves forced out of their areas of giftedness, isolated, discouraged, and exhausted. The primary reason established churches fail is that they turn inward and lose sight of their mission. The lessons we’ve learned and success we’ve seen through Doxology Español makes us confident this model will allow multiple congregations to start healthier and stay healthier, for good.
What does this change for Doxology Español?
Doxology Español is a significant part of the reason we are so confident this model will work elsewhere. The Doxology Español congregation will feel very little (if any) difference in their experience from week to week.
Does Fort Worth really need more churches?
To continue our multiplying effort by laYes! The most recent data shows that Fort Worth is the fastest growing city in the country. Current reports say that around 1000 people move into our city every week. Existing churches will continue to play a vital role in our city, but those churches won’t be enough if population growth continues on its current trajectory. We could plant a megachurch every month and it wouldn’t be enough to keep up with Fort Worth’s population growth if God answers our prayers.
Additionally, research shows that new churches are the most effective way to reach new residents, the next generation and people who are not yet followers of Jesus. Recent studies indicate that between 40-80% of church plant attendees previously weren’t a part of any church at all, while around 90% of new members of established churches are transfers from another church. This means the average new congregation will reach six to eight times more new people than an existing congregation of the same size.unching a congregation in the Alliance area, so that one of the most rapidly growing areas in the country has communities of people who believe they’re sent into neighborhoods to genuinely love Jesus and intentionally love their neighbors. Also to seek and celebrate partnerships that allow us to stretch our reach and strengthen our serve so that everyone in Fort Worth has an increasing opportunity to flourish and thrive toward God’s Good plan.
Alliance is one of the fastest growing areas in the fastest growing city in the nation (according to the most recent census). There is presently a population of 2 million people within 20 miles of the area. It is a great area for young professionals to live, work, and play.
With businesses such as Facebook, Mercedez-Benz Financial Services, Amazon, BNSF Railways, Bell Helicopters and Charles Schwab located in that area, it will continue to grow.
Alliance is also a great place for families to land. Keller, Northwest and Argyle ISDs provide great schools and opportunities for families to really plant some long term roots and develop relationships.
How will the new congregation be similar to and different from this congregation?
Our vision is to be one church that expresses itself in multiple congregations. Each congregation will have a Lead Pastor who provides live preaching, and a staff to facilitate ministry within their unique context. Baptisms, Community groups, etc. will be present within each congregation, and each congregation will have the ability to contextualize ministry to what’s most effective in their community.
With that said, because we remain one church with multiple congregations, no one will have to live on an island or experience a lack of support. This structure will allow us to provide critical support functions that can overwhelm a new church like HR, financial management, communications, and graphic design. Each congregation’s staff team will work in relationship with the others so that we can learn from, collaborate with, and support one another.
As one Church we will have one vision, one set of values, and one Elder board. As individual congregations we will have the flexibility to shape a sermon, select songs, or try new strategic programs which are best able to connect with the hearts of the people in our direct communities.
Will Alliance have their own facility or rent?
The funds raised will help cover a rental facility for a period of two years so that Alliance has time to become self supporting. We are currently working with the local school district with hopes of securing the ability to meet in a local school but are also researching other options as well.
What will the new Alliance congregation be called?
While we will all refer to ourselves as “Doxology Bible Church” we will use the specific identifiers of Doxology Alliance, Doxology Southwest, and Doxology Espanol when necessary. Aside from reflecting that we are one church, maintaining consistency helps keep functions like graphic design and communications from becoming unwieldy.
Will there be future locations as well? How and when will we decide where they are?
We hope so. We continue to dream of a day when nobody in Fort Worth has to get in a car to find a community of people who really love Jesus and will genuinely love them, and believe this model can help us plant several different hubs for those kinds of communities in strategic locations across our city. We believe this model can support at least 5 interdependent congregations across our city.
Future locations will be determined by a combination of factors. As we raise-up residents to plant congregations, their particular giftedness and wiring will play a major role. (A person wired to succeed in Parker County is likely very different from a person likely to succeed in Southeast Fort Worth). Additionally, data like population growth, current church saturation of an area, and areas where pockets of current Doxology members live will all be factors we consider in deciding where to plant next.
How much will this cost?
We believe we can accomplish what God is calling us to do immediately, and set the stage for what He is calling us to do ultimately, with a budget of $3.5M. That kind of vision is attainable but will require each of us to commit to a bold step with our individual resources, to help all of us take a big step together.
Of the $3.5 million being raised, where does the money go and how will the margin from paying off the debt be used?
Of the $3.5 million being raised, approximately $2 million will go to pay off the remaining debt from Beyond Ordinary. The other $1.5 million will cover initial costs for staff, facility rental, equipment, and ministry expenses of the new Alliance congregation for 2 years, a FT Reading specialist for three years at South Hills, our Plant Fort Worth Church Planting Partnership, and additional resources for neighborhoods.
By paying off the debt now, we will free up $15,000 per month ($360,000 just in the next two years), allowing us to say an immediate “yes” to opportunities connected to this vision over the next two years, as well as seedmoney to continue the vision in the years beyond that. We will also save approximately $250,000 in interest payments over the remaining life of the loan. This is money that will be able to remain in ministry and allows us to extend this vision beyond just its initial stages.
How does debt play into this?
Doxology has historically been willing to leverage a very conservative amount of debt in order to advance significant capital projects and initiatives. In 2013 we launched the Beyond Ordinary Vision, which included several key building initiatives related to Students, Children, our auditorium, and creating space for Doxology Español. In light of an incredibly generous and enthusiastic response from our congregation and historically favorable loan terms, Doxology borrowed around $4M in order to move forward with those projects immediately. We expected to pay it off rapidly and have. Only a few years later we’ve cut that debt in half. For context, during our recent annual audit with a firm that specializes in churches, we were told that the average debt-to-budget ratio for churches is around 15% (their suggested limit). Our debt-to-budget ratio is 4%.
With that said, retiring debt is a part of this vision, not because the amount of debt is unreasonable but because redirecting that monthly payment from the bank to this vision allows Fort Worth|For Good a more sustainable and scalable model from the very beginning. And it saves us between $200,000 and $300,000 in interest over the remaining years of the loan.
Join us in committing to pray for our city and church:
• Pray for a day when there is a Christ-centered Community Group in every neighborhood in Fort Worth.
• Pray for influencers in every sector of our community (Education, Medicine, Government, Arts, Nonprofit, Family, etc...) who see their occupation as a vocation and lead toward God’s heart for our city.
• Pray that God would show you and strengthen you for the part He’s designed you to play in His heart for our city.