After growing up on a farm in west Texas, Lead Pastor David Welch of Bear Creek Church in Katy, made his way to Texas Tech University on a path toward law school. But as he dug deeper into his studies, God began to reveal a new path.
“In the middle of my [college years] I began to experience what I felt was a call from God into the ministry,” Welch said. “I sort of struggled with that a while, and then just surrendered myself to it.”
From the home of the Red Raiders, Welch chose Southerwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX, and began his work in ministry.
“I served in various staff roles both in Dallas and Fort Worth, and then spent many years in Little Rock, AR, serving in multiple roles,” he said. “Then in 2001, Bear Creek called me and so we came here. And we’ve been here for 15 years.”
Welch brought along his wife and two young daughters, and the family soon settled into the Katy area, finding where they fit best as part of the ministry as a whole.
“When we first came, there were about 650 to 700 on a typical Sunday,” the pastor said. “Then, we began ministering, wide open, just watching for what the Lord wanted to do.”
This has been the church’s inspiration from the beginning. They want to be focus on the vision that God has for them. Their first big move was to move the entire body of believers to a new building that would allow for expansion.
“We relocated from Clay Road to Fry Road,” Welch said. “We were able to almost quadruple our land size. And God began to do some really wonderful things.”
The church now ministers to more than 2500 people on a given Sunday and Welch has seen how God has brought more people to himself. The pastor said God has moved through what the church calls a “re-visioning process.”
“In the 15 years since I’ve been here, we’ve gone through five re-visioning processes,” he said. “A huge part of my role [in this process] is to ask, what’s next for us, and discerning that and bringing other spiritual leaders in on that and vision that with our church.”
The church’s newest vision is called Unleashed, and it is Welch’s prayer that the church will do 10 big things in the next three-to-five years to make the congregation more gospel-centered. These goals will hopefully help to better impact their community, the city, and the world.
“We really vision to start a significant ministry to the Spanish-speaking population around us,” he said. “That means every Sunday, having a high-quality, Spanish-speaking worship service and Spanish grow groups.”
They also hope to grow their already busy counseling ministry.
“We think that the gospel can be really effective in people’s lives through a counseling ministry,” Welch said. “And much of that counseling is offered at no charge.”
Although the pastor has helped usher in a new day for Bear Creek Church, he’s most excited about the way the congregation has transformed over the last 15 years.
“[The church] has gone from a very white church to a very ethnically-diverse church, and it has been so healthy and so vibrant,” he said. “That’s really quite rare in America for a church to be really culturally and ethnically diverse.”
Welch hopes that his investment in the church’s visioning process will help to keep the church centered on the gospel and following after Jesus’ example in this atmosphere of diversity.
Even though it can be difficult to wait on God as he leads the church towards new visions, the pastor said it is amazing to see people’s lives changed when those visions come to fruition.
“We watch people’s lives transform all the time when they come to Christ and learn to live this way,” he said. “It is unbelievable when people who are struggling with wounds, spiritual or emotional, addictions, or those who are going through a lot of pain, have a genuine encounter with the gospel and learn to live that out. It brings me so much joy to be a part of that.”
If you’d like to come listen to Pastor Welch on a Sunday morning, visit Bear Creek Church at 5901 N Fry Rd, Katy, TX 77449 at 9, 10:15, or 11:30 a.m.
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