When Pastor Terry Darnell was a sophomore at Texas State University in San Marcos, he felt the Lord’s calling to go into full-time ministry. After graduating with a degree in physical therapy, he moved to Lafayette, LA to become a youth pastor at the local Family Life Church.
“Everything was going great, and the youth were growing in their faith walks,” Darnell said. “But after four years there I felt the Lord calling me to start my own church somewhere.”
For several months, Darnell and his wife prayed and sought the Lord about the location of their next ministry venture. They weren’t sure of where they should go, but after visiting some friends in Sugar Land, started feeling as if the Lord was telling them to move to a city where they only knew two people.
“We moved here in June of 1999, and we’re about to celebrate our 17th year,” Darnell said.
With just two parishioners, the pastor and his wife started what would become Family Life Christian Fellowship.
“We started going out into the community and meeting people,” he said. “I think our first official Sunday service had around 27 people, including children.”
After meeting in their home for several months, they began to outgrow their facilities.
“We rented a kids’ daycare from 1999 to 2006, which meant setting up and tearing down all of our sound equipment and everything else every Sunday for seven years,” Darnell said.
In 2006 the church was able to purchase their own land where they built their first church building. When the first building was complete, the church had around 100 members. But over the next few years, FLCF quadrupled in membership, prompting the construction of a larger building.
Now the church has around 425 members on a Sunday, with more community members visiting or joining on a regular basis. Darnell believes that the growth of the church is based on the welcoming environment he and other ministry leaders help create.
“Everybody wants to be loved and accepted, and to feel that something is genuine,” Darnell said. “I think our church has that. When you walk through the door, you are greeted. And our services are geared specifically to be authentic. We want to teach people faith that works in their daily lives.”
FLCF is not only genuine in their approach to faith and church relations, but they also have a passion for including a variety of cultures and generations. Darnell wants everyone to feel like they are a part of the family. Especially since his wife and children have been a part of the ministry from the beginning.
“My wife works full-time here, overseeing our kids’ department,” he said. “And my kids have grown up in the church. From the beginning they were helping us set up chairs and put things on.”
Because of its family approach, Darnell said that people who have been turned off by church in the past have found that FLCF is the place for them.
“They like it here because it is genuine and they feel loved and accepted right where they’re at,” he said.
Sunday morning worship services begin at 10 a.m. and are typically an hour and fifteen minutes in length. Age appropriate classes are provided for children from birth to fifth grade. FLCF is located just off McKasle Road between Old Richmond and Highway 6 at 16425 Old Richmond Road in Sugar Land, TX.
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