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Community of Faith - - Archived

Serving the Community for 20 Years

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By
Steve Gamel
| Photos by Dallas McNeal
Photography

You’re invited to a community-wide Easter
celebration at Community of Faith! Driving down the highway, it’s hard to
miss the building on the corner of Highway 290 and Becker Road – the home of
Community of Faith. What today is a vibrant, growing faith community started
out as a dream in the hearts and minds of Founding Pastors Mark and Laura
Shook in 2003. The Shooks’ dream was to establish a church for those who had
no church home – a place where everyone would be welcome, a community that
set aside the things that divide us and simply loved God, loved people, and
served our neighbors. That dream took hold, and what began with Mark and
Laura and their three children in the Shooks’ living room has become an
incredible church family faithfully serving the community for 20
years.

Community of Faith (COF) is special in
several key ways. What you notice first is the friendliness and acceptance of
the people. No one is turned away. Mark and Laura are the first to admit that
we all have issues, but those issues should not prevent us from attending
church and getting involved. When you come for services, whether it’s a
Sunday morning, Wednesday night, or special event, you will be welcomed by
smiling church members who are just like you.The atmosphere is relaxed and
casual and everyone is encouraged to “come as you are.” 

COF Member Carol Strong has been a part of
the church since 2009. She says the first time she and her family walked in
the door they knew they had found their new church home. Carol shares,
“Before attending Community of Faith, we had visited another church in our
area and not one person spoke to us the entire time we were on their campus.
Not one person. The first time we arrived on COF’s campus we were greeted
genuinely by several people who made us feel very welcomed and valued. We
felt like we were a part of the COF family from the moment we stepped on
campus. Although COF is a large church, the bonds created through serving
locally and internationally, as well as our small group, make COF feel like
family.”

Another difference at Community of Faith is
their focus on serving the community both locally and internationally. Many
churches talk about being missional, but Community of Faith has been
missional since its inception. The Shooks served as international
missionaries to Latin America from 1994 to 2003. When they returned to the
U.S. and founded Community of Faith, they intentionally focused on teaching
those who attend the church to not only study and understand the Scriptures,
but to put those principles into practice in everyday life. COF is partnered
with local organizations including our local schools, Mission of Yahweh, The
Landing, Tomball Pregnancy Center, Miracle Farm Boys Ranch, Abba’s House, and
Bread of Life, Inc. among others, providing financial support, prayer support,
and volunteer support on a regular basis. Church members are provided regular
opportunities to step in and serve alongside the church staff with these
organizations. 

COF member Gary Smith is a regular volunteer
with COF. 
Says Gary, “It’s been my way of serving the Lord and using my
spiritual gift. As a lifelong reader and having read to my children’s
elementary school classes, I found my purpose more than eight years ago,
reading books to kindergarten through second grade students at Roberts Road
Elementary School, through COF. I have experienced immense joy! I am just so
grateful for their smiles and hugs. There is nothing better! Serving will add
richness to your life, it will add substance and meaning, and it will
stimulate growth in your spiritual journey.” 

Community of Faith’s mission extends around
the globe. The guiding principle of the church is found in the Scripture
verse Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good – and what does the
Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk
humbly with your God?”  The church
built an orphanage in San Jose, Costa Rica before they built their own
building, trusting that God would bless the church as they blessed those less
fortunate. Today, the church has ongoing work in 11 countries, including
India, Burundi, Philippines, Nicaragua, and Mexico. The church is focused on
the rescue and restoration of those trapped in human trafficking, the
homeless and hungry in some of the world’s most difficult places, and those
with no access to healthcare, economic opportunities, or education. They’ve
built a factory producing fortified porridge that feeds 60,000 children daily
in Burundi, Africa. They’ve established a community bank in Burundi, granting
hundreds of thousands in small business loans and creating over 200,000 new
jobs in the country. They have opened a hospital meeting the needs of the
Batwa tribe, the poorest people on the planet, giving them access to doctors,
dentists, medicines, childhood vaccines, and providing for maternal and child
health. They opened a home for homeless elderly in Nicaragua and a children’s
center that provides tutoring, English classes, computer literacy classes, as
well as hot meals for the children they serve. The people of COF live and
love generously. 

One of the most significant ways Community of
Faith serves the community is through the Community Counseling Center. The
counseling center employs four full-time licensed counselors who provide personal
counseling, couples counseling, family therapy, substance abuse therapy,
trauma therapy, as well as various support groups. Regular seminars and
workshops help meet the needs of many in our community. Just last year, the
counseling center provided 2,500 hours of counseling to the community as well
as many hours of free counseling to their partner organizations. They are
empowering individuals, couples, and families to live a life of greater
health and deeper meaning.

One Community Counseling Center client
recalls, “When I first walked into the counseling center for my appointment,
I was literally hanging on by a thread. As I sat in the waiting room, my body
slowly began to still as peace seemed to radiate in the space. Meeting with
my counselor, Jennifer, I finally began to feel safe. As the sessions
progressed, dots began to connect, and I could almost literally feel the
layers of pain begin to melt. COF and the Community Counseling Center have
been a true lifesaver, and I mean that in the literal sense. I truly thank
God for COF!”  

Community of Faith has also provided a
much-needed service to the community through their Special Needs Program.
Cassie Kraus leads the charge as she loves on families who are dealing with
these issues. Cassie has a large group of trained volunteers who work
alongside her every week to provide love, care, and a safe environment for
those with special needs as their family members attend church services. The
church also provides regular workshops, counseling, and support for these
families. 

One of the best nights of the year at
Community of Faith is Night to Shine. COF partners with the Tim Tebow
Foundation to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on
God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. Just this year
over 150 special guests were honored at the prom, and 300 volunteers served
to make the night extra special.  

Ivy Sherrod has been volunteering in the
Special Needs Ministry of COF for seven years. Ivy says, “I’ve had many
people ask me why I do special needs and what made me decide to volunteer
there. Truth be told, it’s my heart and soul. I get to spend my Sundays
teaching them about Jesus and His love, but honestly, they sometimes teach me
more than I teach them. They teach me to love unconditionally, laugh
fearlessly, and that no obstacle is too hard to overcome. I walk away every
Sunday feeling renewed. I feel so blessed to be a part of a church that puts
a priority on making sure those who have special needs are loved, cherished,
and included.” 

Another significant difference at Community
of Faith is the diversity of the congregation. This is seen throughout the
church from those who attend, the volunteers, the worship team, and the
staff. Carol Strong affirms, “Our church looks like Heaven. We love the fact
that Community of Faith has a multitude of people of every nationality, race,
and ethnicity.” It is so refreshing to know that no matter your heritage or
family background, you will feel like you belong here. Your kids will find
leaders and role models who look like them. This is one of the most beautiful
and attractive aspects of the church. 

Community
of Faith will celebrate their 20th anniversary on Sunday, April 23. The
community is invited to celebrate with them at either of their two Sunday
services (9:30 and 11:30 AM) and attend the carnival celebration
afterward. 
The
community is also invited to celebrate Easter with Community of Faith. There
will be a special Good Friday Service on Friday, April 7 at 7 PM, and four
Easter services: Saturday, April 8 at 4 and 6 PM and Sunday, April 9 at 9:30
and 11:30 AM. The community

is always invited and welcome at COF.  


Contact

For more information on the church or the Community Counseling Center,
please call (832) 875-2520
or visit COF.church. 


Read More In
The Spotlight HERE on LivingMagazine.net

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