Project: Church Project Houston, TX
Leader: Jason Shepperd
Church Project is “A Church of House Churches,” and is beginning a movement of planting and replanting churches to become decentralized in community, distributed in leadership, function with simplicity for the sake of generosity, and formed in a collective of House Churches, under one common structure, oversight, and support.
- Bivo/Covo Business for Mission Models and Expressions
- Church Planter Recruiting and Equipping
- Church Planting and Funding Model
- Collaborative Methods for Increased Planting
- Disciple Making and Church Engagement
- Micro Models and Expressions
Big Idea and Overview
Church Project began as an idea to see if a church could grow in city impact through a movement of connected House Churches. The common Sunday gathering would be supportive, not central, and all functions of pastoral leadership and community would occur within the House Church, led by non- vocational pastors.
Church Project began as an unfamiliar idea, and took the following two years of incubation before momentum began occurring. From 2010 to 2012, 40-200 people gathered in this collective of House Churches. From 2012-2016, 200 turned to 800 people gathering together. From 2016-2021, 800 people grew into 3,000 weekly, 50 House Churches locally, and several local, global, and domestic church plants. Because of the simplicity of structure and less operational needs, Church Project has been able to direct millions of dollars toward church planting, and support of gospel centered ministries locally and globally.
Customer / Mission Field Context
The primary engagement in Church Project is from apathetic and absent believers who are re-entering a church community after years of skepticism, hurt, and disillusionment with the entertainment church culture of our community, and a conviction for a more complete expression of a New Testament church. These re-engaging believers are then becoming evangelists, fully committed followers of Christ, living in intimate community, and passionate about serving their city.
Goals and Desired Outcomes
We are planting more Church Projects throughout Houston, and beyond in our state and nation, as well as increasing interest internationally. We want to build the infrastructure and leadership necessary to grow the Church Project Network.
We want to build a network of churches well beyond the Church Project identifiers, who hold common values of “A Church of House Churches” and other basic shared doctrines and practices, but who will also have diversity in other arenas of theology and philosophy.
We want to codify and communicate and connect resources to help serve local and global church planters, existing pastors, and missionaries abroad who may be struggling in their expression of formation and function of church, to rethink their existing model, and move to a more basic biblical expression of church leadership.
Church Project has moved from 2 House Churches at incubation, to now 50 decentralized communities throughout our city.
Church Project has helped plant several other central hubs for House Churches in Conroe (20 minutes north of our launching location in The Woodlands, TX), Greeley Colorado, Winter Park Colorado, Orange County California. Several others are in incubation and soon to launch in the Houston area, as well as a dozen currently in the formation process nationally.
Church Project has created a structure and culture of “Simplicity for the Sake of Generosity” that has directed $8.18 million (as of January 2020) toward ministries and church planting.
Church Project has been able to leverage space for the sake of the city, and to steward space as income for ministries. Simple space for Sunday Gatherings has been used freely by 35 local and global ministries partners, hundreds of times a year. Church Project has been able to steward space that began as usable for 40 people, into a space that is now usage for 3,000, for close to the same monthly financial outlay. Our previous space rents at tens of thousands of dollars a month, and the proceeds realized offsetting current space costs. And, the current space is generating ministry dollars through space through non-ministry related event rentals.
Church Project has helped introduce the idea of House Churches throughout Houston. Whereas there were no known identifiers of a House Church movement in Houston (and well beyond) 11 years ago, House Church is becoming a common practice throughout our city.