- August 2, 2014
- By Ken Camp / Managing Editor
ROWLETT—Darrel Fincher believed God was calling him to leave the pastorate of a prominent African-American church in Amarillo to plant a church in suburban Dallas County. When he told his wife, Jessie, he never anticipated her response.
“She said: ‘God already said the same thing to me a couple of years ago. I’ve been waiting on you,’” Fincher recalled.
“It gave me cold chills. Two years earlier had been when God first put it in my heart, but I hadn’t listened because it didn’t make any sense. After all, God was using me in Amarillo.”
Fincher was a past president of the Amarillo Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, president of the ministers’ conference of the Texas State Missionary Baptist Convention and president of the board of directors for Panhandle Community Services.
“Everything was going fine. I was on cruise control,” he said. “But God wouldn’t let me be at rest with the status quo.”
Fincher gave one month’s notice to Jenkins Chapel Baptist Church in Amarillo, telling his congregation God had called him to start a church in Rowlett.
“I didn’t even know much about Rowlett,” he acknowledged.
Grew up in Dallas
Fincher grew up in Dallas, graduated from South Oak Cliff High School and was ordained to the ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Fair Park. His only memories of Rowlett were occasionally fishing at nearby Lake Ray Hubbard.
But with a core group of family members and friends, he started Logos Fellowship Church. For one year, the church met at the Rowlett Community Center. Four months ago, the congregation moved into space of their own in a storefront location on the busiest road in Rowlett.
The church grew to about 100 members—primarily from young families—in 16 months, and most members beyond the core group had little church background.
“We’re not fishing from the aquarium. We’re fishing from the lake. We didn’t split from another church, and we’re not relying on transfer growth,” Fincher said. “We’re reaching new converts and people who had given up on church.”
The pastor attributes the church’s growth to God’s blessings, “a lot of legwork and plenty of word-of-mouth invitations.” On at least two Saturdays each month, members fan out in Rowlett neighborhoods, placing fliers about the church on doors. So far, the congregation has distributed 4,000 publicity pieces, and the church recently ordered another 3,000.
“Our goal is to cover all of Rowlett. We’re taking one section at a time until we get it covered, and then we’ll start all over again,” Fincher said.
Supported by the Mary Hill Davis Offering
Texas Baptists have supported Logos Fellowship through their gifts to the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions. Shekinah Tabernacle Baptist Church in Dallas provides ongoing financial assistance, and First Baptist Church in Rowlett makes its baptistery available when needed. So far, Logos Fellowship has baptized about 20 new believers in 16 months.
Since many members have little church background, Fincher focuses on discipleship.
“We want to make sure nobody is left behind,” he said. That means teaching adults about Bible stories he might have assumed most children would have known. And so far, the pool of mature leaders remains relatively small.
“We’re operating totally on faith, but God is seeing us through,” Fincher said.
After 29 years as a pastor of churches from Texarkana and Como in East Texas to Odessa and Amarillo in West Texas, Logos Fellowship marks his first experience as a church planter. But the congregation’s success drew recognition from the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 2013.
By the time the three-year lease for Logos Fellowship’s storefront property expires, Fincher hopes the congregation will be ready to construct their own building or move into a previously occupied church building.
Hopes for greater impact
In the near future, he wants to see the church make a greater impact on its community—perhaps adopting a nearby school or at least making its facility available to another group that could distribute to students backpacks filled with school supplies.
Fincher admits he sometimes struggles with lack of patience and wants to see members mature more quickly and the congregation to grow more rapidly. Even so, he wouldn’t trade his life now for a secure pastorate at an established church.
“I’m in a place where people are actually hungry. They want to know more and do more. They’re not concerned about a position but about a relationship” with God, he said. “It’s absolutely awesome. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
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