JKBcircleWhy does our church invest in a “multi site” vision? Why do we have different worship services, different locations, and a vision to keep expanding those worship and teaching venues? Here are a few reasons that motivate me.


The first and foremost reason we do multiples has to do with our singlular vision: reaching people for Christ! Jesus gave His church “marching orders” just before He ascended back to the Father. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20 ESV) We live in a city where it is estimated more than 90% of our friends and neighbors have no affiliation with any religion or faith community. The need to reach out could not be more obvious!

Making disciples, baptizing the new believers, and teaching them to live the Christian life is the pulse of our ministry. That original vision of Jesus- to reach the world with the gospel, motivates us to respond!

Therefore, we are interested in every appropriate response to the lostness of our city. If you are a fisherman you go where the fish are. Going where people are makes sense if you want to reach people and we do! Multiple services and locations put multiple “hooks in the water!”


According to FORBES magazine (and several other observers), Austin has been the fastest, or one of the fastest growing cities in America for the last four years in a row! For a church, that fact is both exciting and challenging. How can we reach those already here and those who are coming into our city? Can we really expect everyone to come to our Hyde Park Campus? Yes, a few thousand regard the Hyde Park Campus as “home” in some sense, while hundreds of thousands of others are unreached. Austin is a mission field!

A land developer in our congregation told us if we could drop a pin onto the population center of the Austin metro area, the pin would land on the Quarries- our church’s 62 acre recreational property, (nine miles north of our Hyde Park Campus). Does that fact stir a creative thought in you? It did for me!

About 10 years ago, in response to the long held dream of many of our people, we started aggressively and intentionally developing the Quarries property to maximize our ministry options. First, in the early 21st Century, we built the Christian Life Center (CLC), developed the Varsity athletic field, and opened a new entrance off of MoPac. Once we had those things we were able to build Hyde Park High School. With the CLC and the MoPac entrance open we started The Quarries Church in the CLC gym six years ago. Later, when the High School was completed, it’s facilities (and our unique relationship with the school) made that location even more conducive to a church worship and education ministry. While many “church starts” and multiple site churches pay rent, or buy/build new meeting space, our church was able to expand in the growing north Austin area in shared, multi-purpose space without the additional burden of rent. There are costs associated with ministry to be sure, and we can imagine expanding into space and locations we don’t own someday, but for now the multi-use of existing rent free space just makes practical sense (and it works great)!


Change, creativity, and innovation should be exciting words for the born again, Spirit filled, redeemed Church of Jesus- but sometimes they’re not as exciting as we think! People love tradition, often fear change, and can be reluctant to branch out. I heard about a new pastor who enthusiastically declared, “With God’s help we can lead our church into the 20th century!” One of the members said, “Pastor, I think you mean the 21st century.” The pastor replied, “Brother, with this church, let’s take it one century at a time!” At Hyde Park Baptist/The Quarries Church we know what century we are in! It is time to seize a moment.

There is a powerful statement tucked in the Bible about recognizing the opportunities of the moment. “David served God’s purpose in his own generation, then he died and was buried with his ancestors… “(Acts 13:36 CEB)
Did you see that? King David “served God… IN HIS OWN GENERATION.” Now is our time! We don’t serve God in the 1990’s! Those days are gone. We have to seize the present for the Kingdom of God.

In this age of rapid change, the church of Jesus cannot afford to cement itself in structures and ministries that produce little, while refusing to adapt to a changing mission field. Innovation is one of the advantages of multi-site ministries. It can be carried out with a lithe, nimble structure unencumbered with treasured but ineffective past traditions. If reaching people for Christ is what we exist to do then we will embrace the most creative and responsive ways to do it. That will always involve innovation and change and a willingness to follow the leading of the Spirit, who is calling us with Christ into the future! Our success at The Quarries Church, for instance, demonstrates that creative approaches to evangelism and discipleship can reach scores of new people. This year, for example, The Quarries Church has grown by over 40%! QC-team-3-e1397841857178-1024x297It is unprecedented but not unexpected. We believe, under the Lordship of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit, we can witness this kind of growth over and over again in multiple venues around Austin. Would you join me in prayer about a future like that? Together we can witness God do amazing things for His glory.





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JKBcircleThere are no volcanoes in Austin. But there are quite a few in Alaska where I grew up. When a volcano erupted hundreds of miles away, the air in Fairbanks would be filled with fine particles of ash that covered our cars with a thin layer of volcanic dust like the cedar pollen on a spring morning in central Texas. Can you imagine what it would be like to live even closer to an erupting volcano?

In A. D. 79 the citizens of Pompeii near Naples, Italy experienced one of history’s most famous and devastating volcanic eruptions when Mt. Vesuvius belched super heated poison gas, volcanic ash, and tons of burning mud and tiny rocks, destroying the city and the people living there. Because the eruption was so sudden and fierce, the people were almost instantly mummified where they were.

I visited Pompeii a few years ago and toured the ruins of the 2000 year old Roman city “frozen” in time. One couple was attempting to flee the eruption but their petrified bodies reveal the tragic fact that they paused to grab handfuls of gold coins which, after all this time, were discovered still in their mummified hands.

Their choices in those final moments provide a heartbreaking lesson, preserved forever, about misplaced priorities. It’s not hard to imagine what they must have been thinking, but they were wrong. The coins remained for 2000 years to remind us that what seems like a good plan at the moment can be the wrong choice after all!

Our choices matter. As has often been observed, “We make our choices- then our choices make us.”

In meaningful conversations over the years, I’ve discovered almost everybody is in the decision making process at all times! We are usually wondering which way to turn with finances; “should I try to get a better job or stay put and risk the security of this lower paying job?” Or, we wonder, “are my retirement investments secure or should I play it safer?” If not our finances we are making relationship choices: ” He seems like a man I could build a life with but is he the one? Am I settling out of insecurity?” Or we speculate about a family member’s drinking or substance abuse and question if it has reached a point when we should do something -or would that only alienate us from then further? Beyond family decisions and financial decisions we make daily choices about a range of personal issues. “Is it time to buy a new car?” “Where should I go to college?” “Should I schedule surgery or wait and see how long I can live with the pain?” The list goes on!

The question, of course, is not “do I have decisions to make?” The real question is “how can I know I’m making the right one?”


Everyone has choices to make. God reminds us from Scripture our choices are “God sized.” In other words, because our choices affect our lives, and those around us,  God wants to guide our decision making process. As a result God advises us to:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths.” (Pr.3:5-6 ESV)

Embedded in this familiar text are some actionable principles.

1) Choices are matters of faith. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord.”
No decision you wrestle with can be disconnected from your relationship with God as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Trust Him!

2) “All” means “all.” Twice in this passage God reminds us He is interested in sole ownership not “time shares” over our lives. Every choice we make is ultimately His choice! He wants “all” your heart as He directs “all” your ways.

3) “Acknowledging” God means more than noticing Him in the room! The Hebrew word comes from a root meaning “to know, to perceive, to experience.” When you have the opportunity to carefully consider a decision, acknowledging God may be as simple as lifting the matter to Him in unhurried prayer. In this way you may sense a powerfully clear direction accompanied by the strong and stabilizing “peace that passes understanding.” In any event, before you decide on a thing, you will want to wait in God’s presence for His leadership and direction.

You will make an untold number of choices today. Each one has consequences you will not be able to control. Knowing how unclear the future is should lead you to lean on God for leadership. He knows what is best. another-107753-320-32011

And finally, if you’re running from a volcanic eruption, don’t stop at the bank!