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Fellowship Bible Church North
Why do we exist?
Our vision is to build a healthy church that profoundly impacts our community and world—an internally healthy, externally focused church.
What does an internally healthy, externally focused church look like?
A church characterized by vibrant worship, loving relational connections, genuine spiritual growth, and selfless service that focuses its energies on reaching people for Christ, demonstrating compassion to the least and lost in our community, and extending Christ’s mission globally.
In fulfilling our vision, we want to reach consumers (reaching people where they are) and turn them into missionaries (what God has called them to be). We therefore do not want to be a consumer church but a missionary community. In essence, the church is a missionary encounter to a lost world. Our prayer is to be fully the church for the sake of the world.
As believers, we are a “sent people,” and therefore want to build strategic bridges to the communities in which we live. We want to be people who are not “of the world” but who are “in the world,” affecting change and sharing how people can come to know Christ. Our job is not to isolate ourselves as believers but do all we can to be salt and light in our neighborhoods, schools, recreational leagues, businesses, and government. Years ago, John Wesley proclaimed a simple strategy: “Set yourself afire, go into society, and let them watch you burn.”
We are resident aliens, ambassadors from heaven who are calling people to a whole new way of life and demonstrating in the way we do community what it means to follow Christ. We want to build a healthy church that shows the world a clear alternative—how radically relationship with God can change lives. We want to be a place where those who don’t know Christ feel welcome and experience God’s grace and life-changing love.
As our culture continues to change, and as we move increasingly to a post-Christian, post-modern society, we must learn to be missionaries to that changing culture. We have to be willing to live out our philosophy of ministry, to be flexible in our ministry forms—stretching ourselves to continue to express biblical function in relevant ways. With the culture moving away from traditional Christian beliefs, the church as a whole will increasingly find itself operating on the margins of society. This intimidates some and saddens more, but should be exciting to us. Church history demonstrates that the church thrives best when it operates at the margins of society—not at the center.
We will know that we are making a profound impact in our community when large numbers of people come to know Christ and begin to grow in Christ-like character, and when community structures and organizations begin to reflect conformity to biblical truths related to justice, love, and ethics—based not on morality itself but the influence of those who have a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
How do we fulfill that vision? (our mission)
To build an internally healthy / externally focused church, we reach people for Christ and help them worship God, connect to other growing believers, grow in their faith, serve in the body, and share the love of Jesus Christ in our community.
How exactly do we fulfill that mission?
Worship: Our worship services are designed for believers to worship God. It is not a "seeker service" in that we do not place our highest priority for gathering on winning seekers, but rather on equipping believers and enabling them to worship as a corporate community. However, the seeker is very important to us and thus every attempt is made to use our worship as an opportunity for the seeker to meet God. We believe biblical worship is an excellent way to expose the seeker to God's Word and authentic Christian community. We have chosen a worship style that is a contemporary expression of God’s people, expressed in the ‘language’ of the people we are reaching for Christ.
Connect: We regard our minichurches as the real church experience in miniature, where people care for each other, help each other grow spiritually, and together find ways to impact our community and world. Minichurches meet at least twice a month in people’s homes and are where our large church is broken down into smaller groups where life-changing relationships can be built. Each minichurch is devoted to care, growth, and impact—but each one takes on its own flavor and personality. Some are specifically grouped in different ways, such as by age (e.g. young singles), some by mission (e.g. neighborhood outreach), and some by geography. All minichurches are open to any newcomer to join.
Grow: Discovery is our primary growth opportunity at Fellowship. Discovery is a small group process designed to establish people in the Christian faith—in a very dynamic, interactive way people discover the key truths of the Christian life and learn much more deeply what they believe and why. Discovery is composed of four books, though you commit to one study at a time. Each one is 12 weeks and most of the groups meet on Sunday nights or Tuesday nights, where childcare is provided. We also offer other studies and classes designed to help people take next steps in their relationship with Christ.
Serve: We want every believer to express the unique ways God has designed them to serve in the body of Christ—the church. Impact Workshop helps believers discover their divine design and find the best way to express that in the church and outside the church. From KidZone to seniors, there are hundreds of ways to serve at Fellowship. We also give a lot of attention to the development and ongoing encouragement of leaders, to further the mission of our church.
Share: All of the above serves this God-given purpose to share God’s love and the message of Jesus Christ to our community and world. We do that in five key ways:
1) Serving our community, making God’s love tangible. We are engaged in various ways of community service, such as the Plano Children’s Medical Clinic and Real Options for Women, so that people experience Christ’s love as it is expressed in very practical ways.
2) Relational outreach is the best way to help people come to know Jesus Christ. We believe the most effective way to help others come to know Christ is through changed lives. We work to motivate and equip every believer at Fellowship to build friendships with those who may be far from God so that they can serve them, share their story, and invite them to experience Fellowship.
3) Global missions extends the good news of Jesus Christ to the world, as we send out and support church planters and missionaries around the world. Our hope is that every believer at Fellowship will share God’s global heart, expressing that through short-term faith adventures, prayer, and financial support through regular giving to the general fund. We focus our missions partnerships, pastoral staff engagement, and giving on indigenous leaders who are involved in church planting. We have also started the Center for Church-Based Training that helps build indigenous church leaders around the world.
4) Satellite congregations and video venues significantly extend our reach to our community. Rather than trying to build one regional mega-campus, we believe we will reach more people for Christ by going to them rather than expecting them to come to us. We are prayerfully looking where to best start another church campus in a geographical region where we can reach the highest number of nonchurched people possible. Video venues, or video cafés, extend our reach to those who may not be interested in our main, “live” service, but would come to a different atmosphere that is more casual, intimate, and interactive with a coffee house feel.
5) Church planting: In addition to adding a new campus to extend our reach, we want to reach beyond our geographic and cultural borders by helping to plant churches in our community and around the world. In our church history, we have started 15 churches in the Dallas area. We are currently partnering with some other North Dallas churches to start a Hispanic church in East Plano.
Our childrens (KidZone) and youth ministries (Journey and 180) are equally committed to reach the next generation and help them worship, connect, grow, serve, and share. KidZone and Youth ministries are crucial to our church as we seek to reach and raise the next generation of kingdom servants. We are committed to excellence in our childrens and youth ministries.
What is most important to us? (our values)
What makes “Fellowship” unique?
- Our history
Thirty years ago, the first Fellowship Bible Church was planted in Richardson, Texas by Gene Getz and a small group of families who had been impacted by his book, Sharpening the Focus of the Church. Gene’s vision was to see churches express biblical principles and functions in ways that would be more effective and relevant to the culture they were called to reach. In short, the vision was to be both biblical and relevant in building Christ’s church. To better experience the vital experiences of a healthy church described in Acts 2:42-47, innovations such as body life services, ‘minichurches,’ and various new forms of teaching and worship were implemented very effectively to reach many for Christ in North Dallas that more traditional churches were not reaching. Part of this vision was a passion for church-planting, and from that one church 15 churches were planted in the Dallas area that are now thriving in ministry. On any given weekend, there are over 35,000 people worshiping God in these churches. Fellowship Bible Church North, our church, was started in 1981.
Pastors and church leaders were also drawn to the Fellowship model, especially in the late 70’s and into the 80’s, to join in the dialogue of how we can rethink the church to better impact a lost world and build stronger churches in the process. As a result, now around 300 Fellowship-style churches are effectively ministering in the United States and beyond. Gene and the church started the Center for Church Renewal, that still operates to encouraging church planting and renewal in existing congregations. CCR also sponsors Renewal Radio, a daily radio ministry by Gene designed to communicate the principles of biblical renewal for individuals, families, and churches. In 1998, FBCN also launched the Center for Church-Based Training, a teaching arm of FBCN to help churches around the world disciple people and develop leaders.
In 2000, Gene Getz and the elders decided that they needed to find the right person to take the Sr. Pastor baton from Gene when he retired from the church to pursue his ongoing ministry with the Center for Church Renewal. They asked Jeff Jones, who was then Pastor of Leadership Development and had been at Fellowship since 1989, to enter into a seven year succession process during which time Gene would serve as mentor and give increasing responsibility. In November, 2003, Gene and the elders determined that the seven year plan needed to be shortened, because the time seemed right to pass the baton earlier than originally planned. On January 9, 2004, Jeff Jones officially became FBCN’s new senior pastor. Gene Getz will continue to serve Fellowship as Pastor Emeritus, representing Fellowship around the world through the Center for Church Renewal. Gene and Jeff enjoy a warm relationship of mutual encouragement and fellowship in ministry.
- Our philosophy of ministry
- Our “feel” (contemporary, casual, relevant, real)
- Our relational connections
What are our major initiatives for 2004-2005?
We have a big vision and mission, and we can’t focus equally on everything all the time. Though we will certainly be working hard at our whole church strategy, here are the three areas of greater focus for 2004-2005:
- Next Generation Ministries (KidZone, Journey, 180, Link and Axis): We will focus our efforts, staffing, and finances to a much greater degree on our next generation ministries. We want to see these ministries jump to a whole new level of excellence and effectiveness, reflected in programming, facilities, and the scope of our outreach.
- Outreach: Over the next few years we will be working hard to establish relational outreach as a deeply held, authentic value in our church and to become a church of increasing compassion, comprised of people who are passionate about making God’s love tangible as we serve our community. We will be prayerfully building strategic bridges between our church and the communities in which we live, work, and play. And we will be adding greater strategic focus in our global evangelism and local church planting efforts.
- Worship: We want to take some new steps of excellence and effectiveness in our worship ministries, expanding our worship ‘venues’ to include video café and to continue to increase the level of creativity and excellence in our main, “live” church services. This will increase our ability to reach new people who will be attracted to a different kind of worship experience, help diverse believers connect to God in worship, and encourage people to invite non-churched friends to experience genuine worship of God’s people.
Are we going to do anything related to building projects?