Friday, February 15, 2008

My Name is Michael Parks

Hello , my name is Michael Parks and I am the pastor of a new, very exciting and growing ministry. It is called Faith Bridge Community Church. I would like to welcome you to our Faith Bridge website and tell you a little about me and God’s “new work” in Douglass Texas.

About Me
I am 53 years old and have been serving our Lord in various capacities since I was 10. From the earliest beginnings as an altar boy , to Sunday school teacher, youth worker, missions worker, praise team leader and now as pastor of Faith Bridge Church. My family has a diversity of faiths which include; Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Nazarene , Church of Christ and United Methodist. This wide variety of experiences has given me a unique knowledge to be able to reach those who may come from these other faiths and attend Faith Bridge. I am a veteran of the U.S. Army and a proud father of three sons. Russell, Michael and James. I am married to my best friend , Larka. I am also a tenured professor at a local community college. I have served large churches with as many as 2,500 members and small ones with as few as 20. This God –given experience has been invaluable to me as I began Faith Bridge Community Church.

In The Beginning…
Faith Bridge began it’s new life on April 16, 2006, but let me tell you of the history, past events and miracles that led up to it’s opening. In the summer of 2005, Dr. Keith Whitaker (District Superintendent of the East Texas District and who has been my mentor and Senior Pastor when I was at First United Methodist Church -Lufkin) took Larka out to Douglass, Texas, to an abandoned church building whose cornerstone had the name of Douglass Memorial Methodist Church. It had first opened it’s doors in 1947. It flourished for many years until many members had died and others had moved away. It closed it’s doors in 1986. As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Whitaker took Larka and I to this deserted church building. It was covered with vines, brush, high weeds and trees that had just about covered it up. There were holes in the roof, windows cracked, doors that were rotten, plaster falling off the walls, collapsed ceiling and inadequate heating and air-conditioning. To sum it up, it was a disaster ! The building and property had been on the real estate market, but it didn’t sale. It also had been slated to be torn down ,but God had plans for His church. I am sure God smiled as Dr. Whitaker asked Larka and I to pray about coming here to the community and re-opening the church. He believed that God had told him to assign us there and asked us to pray for God’s will. We did and God clearly told us Douglass was to be our next place of ministry. So, in September of 2005, Larka and I began to work on the church. We took our chainsaws, and axes and started cutting away the vines , brush and trees that were choking the church.

Our first miracle occurred in November 2005, when we got a call from Kelty’s United Methodist Church in Lufkin. They had heard about what Larka and I were doing and they wanted to help. (Note: We didn’t contact them God did). They came up, took down old lights and pull-up old faded carpet. The second miracle occurred in January 2006, We got a call From Marvin United Methodist Church in Tyler. (Note: Again, we didn’t call them, God did) They had heard what Larka and I were doing and wanted to help. So, in the second week of January, Marvin sent 28 men and women to aid us in God’s rebuilding of His temple. They tore out the old ceiling, built a video and audio technical booth, built a stage, framed up kitchen and bathrooms, and a built us a sign. The third miracle came in February 2006, Dr. Keith Whitaker got some financial help from Bishop Janice Huie, of the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. It was enough to get a new roof, completely rewire (electrical) the entire church, purchase new lights, purchase new carpet, purchase and install plumbing. This miracle was multiplied because of the hearts of the Christian contractors that did the work or sold the materials at cost. These contractors were Lud Davis at Ludco Electric, Terry Simms at Nacogdoches Sheet Metal and Plumbing, Mr. Sammie Clifton at East Texas Carpets, Mr. Tom Collins at TW Collins Inc. In March 2006, we got our fourth miracle from First United Methodist Church-Lufkin’ Mission Team headed up by Mr. Tom Carrington and John Brink. They came to our aid with 15 men and women who put up dry wall, painted walls, hung doors and pressure-washed the outside. They also brought many financial donations that went to buying other needed equipment and supplies. (Note: we didn’t call them either, God did). The next miracle came in the form of a man, Mr. Bob Morgan of Lufkin. Bob and his sister, Ruth Muckleroy grew up in Douglass, and attended the church in it's early years. He heard about what Larka and I were doing so he opened his heart and his finances. Every time there has been a need, even up to now, Bob and his wonderful wife , Sue has been there to meet it. Our sixth miracle was in the form of chairs. Yes, that’s right , chairs. You see, some of the old pews were in bad shape and we sold some of the others to purchase other needed supplies for the building. Well, we had nothing to sit on and we were four (4) weeks away from opening. So, I called Church Chair Industries and told the sales representative what we needed, how many and when we needed them. She was silent at first, then she said, Pastor it normally takes at least 6-8 weeks to process an order your size.” But she went on to say "I am a Christian and let’s just pray and ask God for a miracle" - we did. On Friday afternoon, before we were to open that Sunday, an 18 wheeler pulled up in our parking lot loaded with our new chairs. Miracles are still happening at Faith Bridge , our youth department has grown from four (4) kids on our first Wednesday youth night to sixty (60) this past Wednesday night, our Sunday morning services started with twenty and now averaging sixty-five (65). We have experienced God’s presence and seen His mighty healing power has healed folks from cancer, saved premature babies from certain death, provided jobs and saved marriages. Some of our kids have come from, abusive situations, broken homes and they were dealing with depression, drugs and other problems. God has used Faith Bridge as a safe harbor to protect them from the storms of life and as a hope center for those who had no hope. Yes, God is present, alive and active at Faith Bridge and the miracles just keep coming.

Our Worship Service
Our service on Sundays are seeker- driven, contemporary in nature, exciting and full of surprises. We use a full praise team concept, utilizing computers, video projectors, electric guitars, bass, drums and key boards for our music. We have purchased a video license which allows us to use various movies and video clips from movies in sermons and other special events. We also purchased a CCLI license which gives us access to thousands of songs that can be used in our services. A new drama team is under development with plans for a spiritual dance team and college ministry in the near future. Faith Bridge is growing fast ! Why , because people feel the love and acceptance from each other, but more importantly, from God, when they walk through the doors. As a pastor, I stress that we are one family, not just a congregation. Everyone is accepted when they come through those doors regardless of race, social standing, marital status, or financial standing. We are casual in our dress, compassionate in our understanding and passionate in our worship.

Future Plans
What are our future plans ? We are currently looking to purchase and renovate or build a new multi-purpose building. We would like to offer a “latch key” program so kids wont be home by themselves in the afternoons, a tutoring program for our students who need help with their homework, an education and skills program for single parents so they can learn skills, get a good job and be a valuable asset to their community, a bus ministry to go get the folks who can’t otherwise get to church, a missions team to take the word of God out to the world, an exercise program to get our temples (our bodies) in shape as well as our souls, a grandparents program so they can minister to the children and find usefulness in their own lives . Yes, we have a big wish list and we want to do so much more.

We Need Your Help
We need your help, if you currently don’t have a church home, come visit us Sunday morning at 10:30 AM or Wednesdays at 6:00 PM. We have a hospitality room with coffee and doughnuts and a warm smile. Bring your coffee into your new church home, sit down and enjoy the love of an exciting God-centered family. Many people have been drawn to Faith Bridge because of our love for God and each other. Speaking of drawing, people are coming from Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Cushing, Wells, Alto and many other cities. If you are not in driving distance of Faith Bridge, but would like to be involved with this exciting ministry , you can give financially towards our new building program by just clicking on the donate button on this web site - we also accept donations by mail (See our mailing address below) or the "old fashsion way" - offerings at church. Soon, you will be able to watch Faith Bridge services over the WEB and see for yourself what God is really doing here. We are dreaming BIG dreams because our God is a BIG GOD ! Remember we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us ! Thank you for taking the time to visit our website, come see us soon and see for yourselves what God is doing at Faith Bridge Community Church !
Our mailing address is:
Faith Bridge Community Church
P.O. Box 476
Douglass, Texas 79543

God Bless,