But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
Planting, Watering, and Seeing God bring the increase
God planted the seeds for Christ Church in the hearts and minds of a group of families who first met together in 1997 to think and pray about planting a new church in the Katy area. In 1998, a Bible study was started for the purpose of further encouraging these core families to seek God’s direction about starting a new church. Soon after that, the South Texas Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America, along with the Southwest Church Planting Network of the PCA agreed that Katy was a strategic location to plant a new Reformed congregation. In the summer of 1999 a call was extended to Rev. John-Gregory Farrell to come to Katy, Texas to assist in starting this work.
At 9:30 AM on Sunday, October 31, 1999, Christ Church invited the community to public worship for the first time in Cimarron Elementary School. There were 41 in attendance. By the end of the year, 37 had joined the church. Growth was steady. The Lord provided financially through the tithes and generous offerings of the members as well as other PCA churches and the Southwest Church Planting Network. In July 2000, the Pastor John and Mary Carroll moved to Katy to join the ministry of Christ Church. The Carrolls had previously been missionaries with the Navigators in Argentina for almost two decades, and after returning to the U.S., going to seminary, and pastoring in South Carolina, John Carroll came on staff as an Assistant (and later Associate) Pastor. In October of 2000 Christ Church began meeting for worship at Taylor High School. Membership by year’s end had reached 78.
“Worship with us if you can find us” became the new, unofficial slogan as we entered a period of location changes that seemed to occur almost weekly. Faithful members led our “sign ministry” and worked every Sunday morning to direct members and visitors to our present location. A rented storage unit contained our Sunday set-up materials, and teams worked selflessly, arriving early, to prepare for worship. Those early days were exciting times for the adults down to the little kids…Every Sunday teams moved like clockwork to set up and break down. After the service, even the little kids could be seen scampering here and there helping to pack up the trailer. There was a sense that God was at work among us.
The Next Stage
On June 3, 2001, Christ Church became a “particular” church – its own fully functioning congregation. This was an exciting time in the life of the church. We celebrated by installing our first four ruling elders. By 2001, our attendance had broken the 100 mark on Sundays. More saints were added to the flock in 2003, when Trinity Presbyterian Church (formerly located in the Bear Creek area) merged with Christ Church. Not many small churches have the luxury of both a senior and an associate pastor, but the Lord knew what we needed. In 2004, John Gregory announced his resignation in order to take a call at Bay Area PCA south of Houston. A search committee was formed in order to locate our new senior pastor. The members thought it would only take a couple of months. John Carroll stepped forward to fill the pulpit on Sundays, for what he probably assumed would be a short period of time.
Meanwhile, with or without a senior pastor, we purchased land on the corner of Karen Lane and Gaston Road. The area was rapidly growing and the site perfect for our congregation. Just as we began to pursue building on our newly purchased land, who should appear to lead us through this process, but a former corporate attorney turned pastor. Pastor Fred Greco and his wife Deb were born and grew up in Buffalo, New York. After they were married, they moved to Cleveland, OH, where Fred was a corporate lawyer and ruling elder at Grace PCA in Hudson, Ohio. Deb has always been active in missions, and in fact spent almost two years in Japan with LIFE Ministries before their marriage. In 2003, Fred followed a call to ministry to Jackson, Mississippi, where he went to Reformed Theological Seminary. In July 2006, Fred and Deb, along with their children Peter, Daniel, Paul, and Abigail quickly made Texas their new home, in the Cinco Ranch area.
Serving the Lord in Katy and Beyond
The Lord continued to provide, and through the generosity of His people in our Building for Ministry capital campaign, funds were raised to allow the church to construct a facility for worship, Christian education, and fellowship. On Easter morning in April 2009, Christ Church held its first worship service in our new permanent building on that of Gaston Road and Karen Lane. The facility allows us to have “a flag” in the community and to be more visible with our work of ministry. Our combined sanctuary/fellowship hall seats about 300 and we have classroom space for Sunday school for all ages. In addition, we seek to minister in the community by opening up the building – for music recitals, conferences, and other events.
In the spring of 2012, the session sought to meet a ministry need that came about as the result of Associate Pastor John Carroll retiring the previous year to move back to his native Virginia. After a period of planning in prayer, the decision was made to call Pastor Duncan Rankin to be Christ Church’s Assistant Pastor (and later Associate Pastor) for Discipleship and Outreach. Pastor Rankin had previously served for ten years as a full-time Professor at RTS Jackson and at churches in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia. In August 2016, Pastor Rankin retired and moved with his family to Virginia.
In the fall of 2013, the congregation completed a successful Building for Ministry Phase II campaign, and construction was completed to expand our narthex, offices, and to add five additional rooms, as well as doubling the existing parking. On April 6, 2014, Christ Church moved to the next stage of growth that the Lord has brought – moving from one morning worship service to two. This has expanded our ability to serve our community and relieved the pressure on a crowded sanctuary on Sunday mornings. Between the two services, we have Sunday school and a Fellowship Time, which allows our congregation to maintain connections and unity. As the Lord blesses us, the Session of Christ Church is committed to seeing the gospel witness expand in Houston (a city of more than 6 million!) and for that reason, Christ Church is committed to church planting. We are not sure exactly how that will happen, but we are excited about the possibilities.