Senior Pastor Ryan Rush: Sharing True Fulfillment by Connecting Church, Suburban Families and Missions
What are the demographics of your community in Katy, Texas?
West Houston is fed by the petroleum industry. There are a huge number of engineers—lots of second degrees, very white collar. People come from all over the world for the petroleum industry. We’re the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S. They come to Katy versus Houston for their families—the schools and education. They have a lot of seemingly good priorities. But their idea of fulfillment is to have the right job, the right house, the right car, go to the right schools, do well in sports. It’s very performance based. But it doesn’t take long for people to realize that isn’t very fulfilling. There’s a lot of hidden brokenness in Katy, and that’s a hard thing to tackle.
So, where do you begin?
We’ve found that there are two different priorities that, when brought together, can be catalytic in ministry. The first one is connecting church and home. We do a lot of church and family. One of our core values is collective legacy—making sure we’re investing in future generations. That only goes so far in this culture. The second side of that is very important in a culture where kids are growing up where it’s all about them. It can be equally dangerous to introduce spiritual things and say, “OK, make it all about your kids.” We want to invest in their lives. We want them to understand that they have a part in the greater picture of God’s kingdom work. So missions are the second component that sits on top of family, and that’s a very specific and intentional part of what we do.
How does this play out?
Globally, we have 17 specific projects that we’re involved in—from Bangladesh to Tanzania to India. We’re doing specific family things there, connecting church and home. Whether it’s a boys’ home or a pregnancy center. We send large teams to these types of places, and then at least twice a year most of our small groups gather with their families and do service projects in the greater Houston area. On top of that, our student ministry really surrounds missions. They work all year long to be outward focused. So, each grade level has a specific missions endeavor that they participate in each summer. Seventh grade, for example, goes to Houston’s Third Ward downtown. Eighth grade goes to Dallas, and it kind of goes in concentric circles from there. You get to ninth grade, and it’s to Montana, to a substance abuse place. Tenth grade goes to Central America. All the way to 12th grade when they serve refugees displaced by ISIS in Amman, Jordan. By the time they graduate, they will have seen a tremendous amount of need in the world but also the opportunity to impact not only with tangible help but also with the message of the gospel.
How do you let people know from the beginning that this is what Kingsland is all about?
When they attend a group, right away they’re introduced to the fact that we’re going to teach and connect like other churches, but a significant part of that for us—a priority—is to look outward. All groups are focused on service because we know that some of the deepest relationships form when you’re looking outward and moving toward other people. Second, in every service, we’re highlighting one of our mission projects. We have a group in El Salvador right now, and we just drilled our 15th water well in South America. So, this Sunday we’ll celebrate that accomplishment together.
KINGSLAND BAPTIST CHURCH
Senior Pastor: Ryan Rush
Affiliation: Southern Baptist
A 2015 OUTREACH 100 CHURCH
Weekend Attendance: 2,800