When God calls a person out of one place of ministry into another, it’s difficult to know what to expect. Roy and Natalie Brown were longtime Houston’s First members, attending The Loop Campus since 1997, when God led them to be one of the first families to relocate to the Cypress Campus at Smith Middle School on Easter Sunday in 2013. They didn’t know their calling would include helping transform a school into a church — every Sunday.
“More than 30 people were part of the Set-Up Team,” said Roy. “Some got up at 4:30a or 5a to get there before the team to deliver six trailers full of equipment. I became used to arguing with God and the snooze button about getting up so early. But when Natalie and I were ever forced to miss, I felt all out of sorts.”
Transforming a school into a church each week was not easy, but it became a mission of love for the Set-Up Team. Each week’s set up included placing wayfinding signs inside and outside; setting up Welcome Team tables in hallways and putting out informative materials; setting up tables, chairs and staging in two gyms to accommodate Life Bible Studies for all ages; and perhaps most challenging, preparing the cafeteria for worship. Preparation for worship included hanging lights and sound equipment, mixing audio, and ensuring the successful presentation of Pastor Gregg’s messages.
“Trying to get everything done was nerve wracking in the beginning,” said Roy. “But we became a well-oiled machine after a while. Everyone had their particular job to do. It was hard, but fun.”
The Set-Up Team wasn’t Roy’s only responsibility. He works with middle schoolers in The HUB Student Ministry and Natalie works in Heartland with the Preschool Ministry. She’s also on the Welcome Team and works with students on Wednesday nights. In fact, many Set-Up Team members took on additional volunteer responsibilities. The weekly undertaking of completely transforming the school caused the team to grow into an especially close-knit community.
“We really became brothers and sisters on this team,” said Roy. “We all got to see God at work before people showed up for church.”
Now that the Cypress Campus building is complete, Roy says he will miss the great fun and community they had being part of the Set-Up Team. The assignment may have ended, but he says there will always be ways to plug in, find friendship, and discover a special role in ministry. With the new building located next to Bridgeland High School, he expects the Student Ministry to swell.
“We’re so excited, and we anticipate God has big things in store for the future,” said Roy. “We’re thrilled — and a little scared — about being next to the high school. We’re praying God sends a lot of volunteers, and especially those with a heart for students. May we all be willing to do the next thing God has for us to do.”
No matter what campus you attend, where could you step up and serve? You just might make friends and find community as you serve side-by-side with others. Visit HoustonsFirst.org/stepup “STEPUP” or text “STEPUP” to 41411 to learn about available opportunities to serve!