Fairfield residential development boosts Baptist church growth
When Pastor Jim Daniel moved from Wharton to Cypress in 1990 to start Fairfield Baptist Church, he never dreamed that 21 years later he'd build an 18,000-square-foot worship center because his congregation had outgrown the church's 11,000-square-foot facility.
"This was always a hope I had in the back of my mind," said Daniel of the new $4 million facility, which had its dedication ceremony April 16. "But I don't know if I ever dreamed all this."
Daniel started Fairfield Baptist with only his wife, son and daughter as members. But soon he had 10 families join, and they met in the Fairfield Athletic Club inside the Fairfield master-planned community.
Daniel gained financial support from Sagemont Church and Houston Northwest Baptist Church, and in 1995, the first worship center was built just off of U.S. 290 next to the Fairfield development. The church had purchased five acres for $150,000 two years earlier.
The church held 250 people for a Sunday service. Now, the church can seat 700.
The church will have three Easter services at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
Brett Mosser, Fairfield pastor of worship arts, attributes the exponential growth to the housing developments that have sprouted around the church at 27240 U.S. 290, especially the Fairfield community.
"It's a growing area out here, and we just continue to grow with it," Mosser said. "It's been wonderful. The church has just grown and grown and grown."
Mosser said the new facility has an emphasis on fellowship with a coffee bar meant to keep people lingering before and after church services.
Daniel said they also added a new sign for the church on U.S. 290 with an eye-catching large cross 80 feet high.
"When that cross went up, it got me. I said, 'Wow, this is really amazing,' " Daniel said. "I've had a lot of wow moments watching everything built in the last year, but that was a big one."
Mosser said Fairfield Baptist also has a 40,000-square-foot education building, constructed in 2007, that houses extremely popular children and youth programs. The programs are booming, and the youths are being given their own building, taking over the former 11,000-square-foot worship center, Mosser said.
Student Pastor Mark Julian said this will allow him to reach even more teenagers and give them a safe, warm environment to hang out with their friends. He has programs every Wednesday night and Sunday morning and evening. His goal is to have the new facility open daily during the summer for kids to drop in and have fun.
"Students are looking for something that's consistent," he said. "They want love and they want trust. They find that here."
Fairfield resident Chad Pilbeam said children and youth programs are a big part of what draws families. Pilbeam and his wife, Kristine, have been volunteering in the children's program for eight years. Their children, Chad, 11, and Katherine, 9, are active in the church.
Pilbeam said that when he first began volunteering, the children met in a small portable with stained carpet and creaky floors. He said the new facility has a theater with a stage, sound system, lighting and bleacher seating.
"We have about 130 kids who meet with us each Sunday," he said. "It's just been so exciting to be a part of this and watch this growth happen."
Pilbeam said Fairfield Baptist is an anchor in the Fairfield community, but he believes the next wave of growth will come from adjacent communities such as Coles Crossing, off U.S. 290 and Barker Cypress Road, and Blackhorse Ranch, off U.S. 290 and Fry Road.
"Fairfield is pretty much completely developed," he said. "But new homes are being built in these other communities. I think this church is going to expand much more beyond Fairfield."
Daniel said he is planning for the future and the new worship center is designed with a wall that could be torn down for an addition.
"We thought that was a good idea," he said.
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