Bryant Lee: A heart to plant dozens of neighborhood churches

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Bryant Lee is lead pastor of Higher Expectations Church—The HEC—which he founded 10 years ago. From deep in the heart of one Texan, he shares his background and thoughts on church and ministry. To suggest a Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated minister to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured yourself, click here.

Background

Where else have you served in ministry, and what were your positions there?

I served in various places around the world as a lay minister while serving in the military prior to retirement in 2013. Prior to planting Higher Expectations Church, I helped plant God First Church in St. Louis, and served as the associate pastor. 

Where did you grow up?

St. Louis

How did you come to faith in Christ?

Prior to coming to Christ, I was Muslim. My wife was led to the Lord in Fort Riley, Kan. One Sunday—angry and mad—I was going to the church to confront the pastor when I heard the gospel and surrendered my life to Christ. 

Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?

I hold a bachelor of arts degree in multi-disciplinary studies from Grantham University and a master of theology degree from Liberty University.  

Ministry/Church

 Why do you feel called into ministry?

Ministry since my conversion has been my passion. Sharing the gospel passionately to those far from Christ brings me great Joy. Pastoring the local church has been my highest honor and privilege to respond the call of God on my life. 

What is your favorite aspect of ministry?  

Reaching people and seeing them grow in their faith in the Lord. Why? The gospel provides transformation in people’s lives that impacts their families, leaves a legacy and has an eternal impact. 

What one aspect of congregational life gives you the greatest joy?

We are a deeply missional church that takes great joy in serving our local community. 

What one aspect of congregational life would you like to change?

We have become very multicultural and socially economically diverse. We are a reflection of the changing demographic of our community 

 How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?

When I first entered the pastorate, I wanted to lead a large, fast-growing church for all the wrong reasons. Today, I still want to reach as many people as possible. However, I want to develop more leaders who can lead in more communities, even at the expense at growing large. My hope is that our legacy as a church would be many leaders trained and sent on mission. 

How do you expect congregational life to change in the next 10 to 20 years?

Our heart is to plant dozens of churches in local neighborhoods throughout Texas.  I believe we will see more people reached and churches serving their local community in smaller, more personal settings. Our hope is to launch a church-planting movement.

If you could launch any new ministry—individually, through your congregation or through another organization—what would it be? Why?

A gospel-centered after-school program that is family-focused designed to reach the next generation of believers. Our community is seeing a growth of young families in which both parents are working and leaving the kids to raise themselves. We want to help families find Jesus and rearrange their priorities to place God’s agenda first. This provides great joy. 

What qualities do you look for in a congregation?

Great Commandment and Great Commission focus: How are we loving each other and those outside the church in life-changing ways?

 What do you wish more laypeople knew about ministry or, specifically, your ministry?

The church of Jesus Christ needs them to be fully engaged in serving with their unique and spiritual gifts to see the church fully engaged. 

About Baptists

 What are the key issues facing Baptists—denominationally and/or congregationally?

Diversity issues and a challenging culture.

 What would you change about the Baptist denomination—state, nation or local?

I would love for us to place a priority on evangelism culture that goes beyond words and slogans. 

About Bryant

 What did you learn on the job you wish you learned in seminary?

Ministry happens in real time and requires us to be ready to shift as the needs and the Spirit of God leads. 

 What is your favorite Bible verse or passage?

Ephesians 3:20. God is working in and through us for his glory.

 Who is your favorite Bible character (other than Jesus)? Why?

Timothy. He was committed to serving. Even when he felt inadequate, he pushed through, because the gospel mattered more than his own fears and concerns.  

 Name something about you that would surprise your church.

I’m preparing to run in my first 5K in January 2018

 If you could get one “do over” in ministry, what would it be, and why?

I think I would have waited longer to plant our church and get more training to raise up more leaders. This would have made starting the church a lot less stressful. 

  To read the mission ministry of Higher Expectations Church, click here.

To read other “Deep in the Hearts of Texans” columns, click here.

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