The worshippers at New River Fellowship Church in Weatherford, Texas, come from all walks of life, says Senior Pastor Scott Crenshaw. From cowboys and golf enthusiasts, to 20-somethings sporting tattoos and T-shirts.
“One of the mottos we continually use is, ‘The doors of New River are like the arms of Jesus. They’re open to everybody,’” Crenshaw says.
The majority of New River Fellowship’s congregants are young families with children.
“We have tons of little ones. But, in the last few years, we’ve started seeing older adults come into the church,” Crenshaw says. “I think a lot of people were a little nervous about our church because we were seeing such fast growth. Now I’ve been here long enough, and the church has been established long enough and the older crowd is starting to come in to see the church for themselves.”
Weatherford is a small city in Parker County, 30 miles west of Fort Worth, Texas. Its nickname is the “Cutting Horse Capital of the World,” referring to the popular rodeo sport.
“We have some of the wealthiest people the world who live in the community,” Crenshaw says, “and we’re now seeing an influx of cowboys in the church.”
In contrast, the church has another campus in Mineral Wells, Texas, which has high rates of poverty and drug use.
“We’re seeing a lot of people pouring in who’ve been frightened by the church in the past,” Crenshaw says. “There are meth addicts coming in, and they’re being accepted and loved on. We’re also seeing interracial families coming who may have been shunned.”
Crenshaw credits a commitment to offering attendees a first-rate worship experience as one of the reasons for the church’s recent spike in growth.
“We strive for excellence, whether it’s the children’s ministry, the parking lot, or the worship,” Crenshaw says.
The church’s freedom ministry has also helped boost membership. The ministry assists people seeking to break free of spiritual and emotional strongholds such as pornography addiction.
“We don’t just say pornography is bad,” Crenshaw says. “We want to help you get to the root of what the real problem is, and we want to help you get free according to what the Word of God says.”
Another popular program is the marriage and family ministry.
“We realized that so many people who were calling for assistance and counseling were dealing with marriage issues,” Crenshaw says. “So we started teaching marriage classes on a regular basis on Monday nights.”
But rather than depending on one marriage and one family minister, the church, Crenshaw says, is raising up members of the congregation to be marriage ministers. In fact, at New River Fellowship, the belief is that every follower of Christ is a minister.
Members Kyle Wortham and his wife, Shawna, took the philosophy to heart last year when they packed up their home in Hudson Oaks, Texas, and moved to Mineral Wells to answer the call of God to work and minister to young adults.
“My wife and I are called out to serve them, and not really just inside the walls of the church,” Wortham says, “but outside where we can meet them where they are.”
NEW RIVER FELLOWSHIP
Hudson Oaks, Texas
Senior Pastor: Scott Crenshaw
Twitter: @ScottCrenshaw, @NewRiverTV
A 2016 OUTREACH 100 CHURCH
Growth in 2015: +370 (18%)
Photo Credit: Nick Valdez