From Our Pastor
September 11, 2025 marks Central’s 100th anniversary. It’s personal to me. And I imagine it is to you too. I’ll never forget when I first experienced the power of what God is doing in and through our church. It changed the direction of my life. For me, it started when I was a freshman at Texas A&M. For others, it may have been through a mission trip, a Life Group, a ministry, or a mentor. For a century, God has used Central to change lives, and we believe he’s not done yet! At Central, we want to be a church where every generation is reaching the next generation. We want to make disciples who make a difference. The NEXT initiative is our opportunity to prepare for our next century so that we can empower the next generation to take next steps with Jesus. Will you join us for what's NEXT?
- Phillip Bethancourt, Lead Pastor
We want to take our story to the NEXT century.
- Tell the story of God's faithfulness over the last century.
- Reconnect with former members and students.
- Homecoming weekend on our 100th Anniversary.
We want to take the gospel to the NEXT generation.
- 10,000 Pounds of Food.
- Leverage our land to produce and provide food for those in need in our community.
- 1,000 Gospel Relationships.
- Invest in a key relationship and intentionally share the gospel so others can find and follow Jesus.
- 100 Short Term Missionaries and 100 Training Program Participants
- Send 100 members annually on short-term mission trips each year to take the gospel around the world.
- Equip 100 people each year from our church in scripture and theology to prepare our church for the Christian life and gospel ministry.
- 10 New Ministry Residents and 10 Next-Level Partnerships
- Find and form 10 ministry residents to launch the next generation of church leaders.
- Develop 10 strategic partnerships with missionaries or ministries that will extend the witness of our church.
- 1 New Church Plant Initiated
- Pray and prepare to start a new church to continue our church’s sending legacy.
We want to take our facilities to the NEXT level.
- Student Space - renovate 14,000 square feet to invest in the next generation.
- Worship Center - refit with new lights, staging and tech.
- Welcome Spaces - refresh to become more welcoming.
- Gathering Space - redevelop to allow for more events of 200-300 people.
What is next?
NEXT is a two-year initiative designed to propel our church into its next 100 years. On September 11th, 2025, Central will mark its 100th anniversary, and we want to celebrate what God has done over this century. Even more, as we look back, we want to look ahead and fund mission-critical efforts for the future. To do this, our goal is for our people to give $5 million over and above our normal giving during the next two years. We want to turn this moment into a movement.
Why are we doing this now?
Because God often calls his people to look back to the past in order to fuel and form them for the future. We believe this is one of those opportunities. And we believe our 100th anniversary can be a catalyst that leads us to continue to be a church where every generation is reaching the next generation.
What about debt?
Our commitment in this initiative is to add no new debt. That’s our commitment. But behind it is a broader strategy to address our remaining debt.
- Aggressive Payments. For the past several years, we have been paying down debt on our children’s building aggressively, at a rate of roughly $1 million per year, at a very favorable interest rate.
- Adjusted Framework. For the first time in the history of the church, we are not going to begin on a phase of this initiative until we have sufficient new funds to start that project. We have ranked the projects in phases in order of priority, with devoted funds at each level to the celebration, renovation, and mobilization aspects of the initiative.
- Advancing Proportion. As this initiative advances through its phases, an increasing proportion of our funds will go toward paying down our current debt. This approach will enable us to fund our mission-critical projects while also taking significant steps to reduce our debt.
What is our funding plan?
We believe there are mission-critical projects that will serve as engines for the church that will not only accelerate gospel advance but will also increase giving over time more effectively than if we made the entire initiative about eliminating debt. That’s why we’re planning for NEXT to be the first major initiative in the history of the church that not only adds no new debt but also reduces our current debt.
how will we sequence projects?
Since we are committed to adding no new debt in this initiative, we will use this Distribution Matrix as our guide for these projects. Starting with our highest priority projects in tier 1, we will pay as we go as funding becomes available. As more resources comes in, we will unlock the next tiers, with each tier paying for aspects of celebration, mobilization, and renovation. As this initiative advances through its phases, an increasing proportion of our funds will go toward paying down our current debt. This approach will enable us to fund our mission-critical projects while taking significant steps to reduce our debt.
Are there other ways to give beyond cash?
Yes. Appreciated asset giving that includes transferring assets such as stocks, bonds, donor-advised funds, real estate, etc. Bequests can be made by naming Central as a beneficiary in a will. Personal Property Gifts such as the giving of a vacation home, land, or commercial property are possible. And more simply, Redirected Expenditures such as when funds currently committed to tuition payments, car loans, etc., are directed toward God’s work once those financial obligations are fulfilled. Our staff is happy to discuss any opportunities you may have in mind. Please email with any questions you may have.
when will renovation work happen?
We will begin each phase of the project as soon as we have both sufficient funding secured and complete plans developed.
Our team has created a sequencing strategy that will allow us to tackle projects in which we pay for them as we go. Work will be coordinated to disrupt as little as possible, and projects will progress as rapidly as we have funding.
what are you asking me to do?
Pray. Unless God's favor is on us, this initiative won't be effective and isn't worth doing. Pray for our church to be united in heart and mind throughout this effort. Pray that NEXT will be the launching point for our church’s next 100 years of gospel work.
Participate. Our goal is to have 100% participation in the NEXT initiative. There is the opportunity for anyone in our church—no matter age or stage—to contribute. There’s a place for everyone to be a piece of the puzzle for NEXT as we fuel our mobilization efforts and fund our financial opportunities.
Pledge. The average church only has a 48% participation rate in resourcing initiatives. But we don't believe Central is just an average church, and we aim to exceed that. We’re asking you to prayerfully consider how you can pledge to give above and beyond your regular gift to invest in what’s next for our church.
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