SHARE: By Cliff Nickel

April 13, 2011

Cliff Nickel was born and raised at South Main Baptist Church. He is an active member at the church, currently serving on the Outreach Committee an helping with the Church Archives.

I was in the cradle roll here at South Main and grew up watching the love and support a church family gives. My parents were not only in a very supportive Sunday School class, but they were also part of another group that gave our family support—SMUT (South Main United Tenters).  This was a camping group of several families who went camping at least twice a year together.  While growing up I remember the support when I was in junior high when my mother, Sharon, had surgery and then again when I was in high school and we discovered she was diagnosed with MS. Our church family supported our family in many ways during these times.

As an adult I wondered if my family would have that same type of support.  After getting married my wife and I were members of the newlywed class with Larry and Lecia Carroll as the Sunday school teachers.  They gave us a nice blend of bible study and fellowship. My wife and I developed some wonderful relations from that group. One couple with whom we socialized frequently were John and Beth (Kaiser) Clark. One evening we were out and ran into two other couples who were in the next class up. These couples were Lloyd and Susan Culp and Gordan and Gail Musgrove. That is when the idea first came about.

Gail (Chandler) Musgrove grew up with her parents having a “Quarter club “ that met several times during the year for fellowship. Gordan thought it would be a great idea for us to start our own. We got together in December of 1994 and started our own “Quarter Club”.  We have been there for each other through the oldest Graham Musgrove’s marriage to the youngest Carleigh Nickel’s birth ; to moving of houses to the service of baptism;  through illness to deaths of parents and family members. The Pitschmann Family joined the group and we still meet through out the year.

Being an adult here at South Main, I have experienced the same love and support that my parents did through my Sunday school class and my “Quarter Club”. These are friendships that last a lifetime.

fresh faith. vintage church.



Why South Main?

December 1, 2010

The following are excerpts of feedback we have received from church members about South Main…

I think one of the things that makes South Main so unique is the different paths we each took to get to not only this church, but also to where we are in our faith, and learning about those paths can help each of us learn and grow.

–Melissa Pasche

Chances are, [when getting to know others here] you discover something about someone else that you did not know, that you wish you knew already, that you have in common either from personal interest or life-changing events or similar faith stories or experiences. A librarian for almost twenty years that dabbled in motorcycle riding as a hobby. A graduate that was pointed to the seminary but found their real calling in social work and discovered questioning faith was OK and valuable in discerning God’s plan. A veterinarian by trade, civil war historian who served on an independent school district board for many years. A lover of all things French, with a degree in hospitality management, who married these interests to work in a hotel in Southern France, also who wrestled with death of school-aged child some twenty-five years ago, but found grace and meaning as surviving family members’ lives were enriched by the experience. A physician working with women suffering from breast cancer, with a passion for water-skiing.

–Brian Fowler


Sharing our Stories…Marie Parks

April 30, 2010

By Marie Parks, South Main Member

Marie Parks is actively involved at South Main as a College Community Leader, singing in the Sanctuary Choir, and leading in Youth Choir programs.

I came to South Main as a college student church-sick for Ardmore Baptist Church, the North Carolina church in which I had grown up. Resigning myself to the fact that I wouldn’t find another Ardmore in Houston, I started searching for a new family of faith to call my own.

First on my list to explore was South Main, the church my parents had attended as newlyweds and where I had briefly been on the cradle roll. I discovered that my parents had had great reason to attend! The worship I experienced was honest and profound, my Sunday School community welcomed me and all my questions with open arms, and the music ministry immediately provided me with a place to share my creative gifts.

One of the most basic ways South Main ministered to me was by offering courses like Financial Peace University and Discovery Weekend that have given me dedicated time to explore my life and spiritual development. I encourage everyone to participate in these!

When I had the pleasure of serving on a committee, I was amazed to see how much thought and care goes into South Main’s ministries. I have never known a church to be so organized and focused on caring for every single member, visitor, and neighbor (both locally and globally speaking).

My South Main friends have been an incredible community of support by encouraging, listening to, and teaching me, and by providing a home-away-from-home, such that South Main has truly become my home.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing Our Stories…Claire Frazier

April 29, 2010

By Claire Frazier, South Main Member

Claire Frazier is married to Joe Frazier.  She is active in our Music Ministry, starring in several productions of Bach to Broadway, South Main’s Summer Musical.

A few years ago our family was homeless. Not in the way you might think. We had a lovely house that was home to our family of 5. What we did not have was a church home. And although we had no lack of shelter, food or clothing, being “church homeless” was very distressing to us.

We spent a long time visiting churches in Houston, carrying our mental checklist for comparison – beautiful worship space, inspired preaching, strong music and youth programs and on and on. We stayed in some places longer than others, but still yearned for something more – a place to belong, a community, and the assurance of God’s will for our decision. I became so unsettled about the matter that I commented to Joe, “What if something happens to one of us? Without a church family, who would we call for help?”

South Main was home to many of our friends, and we had visited from time to time over the years. But at the time of our search, South Main was without a pastor. And fearful of getting involved during that period of uncertainty, we crossed it off of our “short list”. God, however, continued to nudge us in the direction of the church at 4100 Main Street. Our son Stephen had become active in the youth program after accepting an invitation from his friends. He soon made the decision to join and was baptized. Our friends began inviting us to worship every Sunday and our daughter Annie’s friends began inviting her to Sunday School and Youth Camp.

One particular Sunday, Thomas Coker invited me to sing for worship. And the next day something did happen to one of us. I received a phone call from M. D. Anderson with the news that I had cancer. The whirlwind that followed is a blur except for a few important details – Steve Wells was immediately by our side to support us and pray with us. The people of South Main surrounded us with love and prayers. And God’s voice was unmistakable on the morning you promised to be His family for us in this place, our new home.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing our Stories…Vincent Bellone

April 28, 2010

By Vincent Bellone, South Main Member

Vincent Bellone is a new member at South Main Baptist Church.  Vincent is a member of the Prime Timers Sunday School Community and enjoys participating in missions work.

When I moved to Houston in March of 2009, It was important to me to find a church that preached the Bible and practiced unselfish love. When I tragically lost my son and wife three months apart in 2002, it was my church family in Los Angeles that got me through it and whom God used to heal my pain and restore my faith. This is the reason the church is so important to me and why I looked for another church family in Houston.

I visited over eight other churches before I visited South Main, but felt no warmth or love when I walked into them What drew me to South Main Baptist Church was the heartfelt emotion and passion Pastor Steve Wells had in his sermons. I also enjoyed the children’s sermon and seeing Dolores Rader bring the children to the altar where they heard about God’s love. So experiencing all this unselfish love, I decided to fill out the visitor’s card. Then two days later Tom Williams called and introduced himself. Also, I received twenty three letters from people I didn’t know who were telling me to come back and be a part of their church family! They didn’t know that I had been grieving the loss of my wife and son for eight years, and how I still needed to receive unselfish love.

But I also know that when you receive love, you have to give it back two fold. So when I saw the list of all the possible ministries that were available at South Main, I knew I was home, and that God had guided me to this church for a reason. I love Steve’s Bible Study on Wednesday and sitting around the dinner table with friends. I also love all my church family in the Prime Timers’ Sunday School Class. This is why I joined South Main Baptist Church and will never leave it.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing our Stories… Michelle and Kirby Butler

April 26, 2010

By Michelle Butler, South Main Member

Michelle Butler is a member in the Fellowship of Young Families with her husband, Kirby.  They have also participated in Financial Peace University.  Michelle also volunteers with our children for KidQuest and other programs.

Shortly after graduating from college and getting married, Kirby and I moved to Houston. We were on an exciting, new adventure together; yet still found ourselves missing our family and church. We started visiting various churches in the area and wanted one that emphasized similar Baptist traditions we were raised on while providing a prefect place for our marriage to grow and flourish.

During our first visit to South Main, we were welcomed with open arms. We both really enjoyed the awe inspiring setting South Main offered and the way the church service’s message was applicable to our everyday lives. We were particularly excited to see the emphasis South Main had on family.

A few weeks later, we were invited to attend a Sunday school class. It was nice meeting other newly married couples and young professionals that we could relate to. From the start we had a group of people befriending us with invitations to lunch or encouraging us to get involved with various events such as FPU or KidQuest.

From time to time we would get caught up in our busy schedules, but there was always someone at South Main calling to offer us support and reengaging us to continue to grow as Christians. They remind us that we are an important part of their lives, too. They genuinely challenge us to not settle for what is easy because God has so much more in store for us.

This week, the Share Campaign is emphasizing encouraging members of South Main to re-engage members of our church family that have gotten busy or might not remember how important they are to the church family. From our own experience, I can tell you that a call or an email reminding folks about church events or just checking to make sure they are doing OK are very important. We all make a pledge to be the family of God for each other in this place and following through on that pledge is a great way to Share.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing our Stories…Steve Rader

April 23, 2010

By Steve Rader

Steve is a Sunday School Teacher, Financial Peace University Small Group Leader, Outreach Committee Chair and Deacon at South Main Baptist Church.

I have to say, living in Houston, one of the things I enjoy most in the hot summer is going to the pool with my girls. There is just something refreshing and relaxing about floating in the cool water amidst the splashing and giggling of kids having fun that is such a contrast to the oppressive hot and busy lives we lead. While I have a lot or respect for those that can arrive at the pool and immediately cannonball into the deep end, I have to admit that I tend to be more of the “ease in over a 5 minute period” type. Sure, later in the summer, when the water is lukewarm, I can wade on in… but the water is not quite as refreshing. No, for the ultimate in cool water enjoyment, I have to take my time. Occasionally, I’ll dive right in… only to have all of my nerve endings revolt for that split second… I think they remember… thus the 5 minute entry most of the time.

I was thinking about how I’ve engaged South Main over the years and I remember first coming here as a young, newlywed couple. I enjoyed the service. Eventually, we started coming to Sunday School… at first just listening… then getting to where I’d enter into discussion. I remember being very tentative about getting involved. I was raised an MK/PK (Missionary Kid/Preacher’s Kid)… I knew that church had the potential to take lots of my time (While I rationalized that “church” would take my time, I knew in the back of my mind that God was the one that would use me if I let Him.) I remember resisting… I barely had time for my new job, my new wife, my existing friends… I just didn’t have time. But still, at least I dipped my toe in.

Over time, I got more engaged in my Sunday School class, started volunteering with the kids as a VIP, went to Missions Day and helped build a Habitat for Humanity house, … Each time, someone at South Main would invite me to this or ask me if I wanted to help with that… The deeper I got, the more I enjoyed it, the more I reconnected with God… One day, I was asked to substitute teach our Sunday School class. I remember distinctly my “Jonah” moment, where I admitted that I’d been trying to sidestep God’s nudge to teach. I had some great excuses too. But when I finally said yes, I discovered that teaching was something I really enjoyed. In fact, it is now one of the things I enjoy most in my life (and, surprise, during Discovery Weekend, I found out that it is in fact one of my spiritual gifts).

I have so many South Mainers to thank for their invitations, nudging, encouragement, and support… I’m not sure I would have come this far without them. Needless to say, God has continued to work in my life and the life of my family, and every time I wade in one more step deeper into the life of South Main, I find a deeper, fuller understanding of God and the richness of the family of God.

Looking back, I wonder what it would have been like if I had just “jumped in”… and I see people who do that and thrive. For me it was a longer journey. Either way, I’m all in now and the water is cool and refreshing and I feel replenished. If you are not all in yet, come on in… the water is great.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing Our Stories….. Hart Brupbacher

April 21, 2010

By Hart Brupbacher, South Main Member

Hart and Linda Brupbacher are both members of the Discipleship Committe.  Hart sings in the Sanctuary Choir and Linda teaches Sunday School to our Young and Median Adults.

During the year we spent looking for a church home, Linda and I went to many different churches. We visited South Main for the first time in August. The mountain of shoes that greeted us as we entered the Welcome Center told us that South Main is a church focused on missions and helping people in need. We proceeded to the church service where the special offering taken to help provide water for Houston’s homeless further reinforced South Main’s mission emphasis.  The missions emphasis was appealing to us.

Equally appealing was the warmth and friendliness we encountered as well as the theology we heard expressed and saw lived out. We visited Sunday School, and one of the first Sundays we were invited to go to lunch after church. We found the worship service to be very meaningful and Steve’s sermons to be thoughtful, challenging, and inspirational. Steve spent time with us discussing our beliefs and helping us figure out that South Main would be a good fit for us. After only a few weeks, we joined–and our lives have really changed in a positive way because of that decision.

We are constantly amazed by the way the family of South Main has embraced us. The Christian fellowship and friendships that we have encountered in our Sunday School Community, South Main at Home groups and choir have been a wonderful experience. Through some potential health problems we found out that we do not have to travel the road alone – we have a family at South Main who will be with us and support us in the journey. We also have friend to celebrate with us.

At South Main we’ve found friendship, service opportunities, meaningful growth and worship opportunities and much needed support—all of which make us really glad we are a part of this family of faith and totally comfortable recommending South Main to others.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing Our Stories….Kathy Bernal

April 18, 2010

By Kathy Bernal, South Main Member

Kathy Bernal is a South Main Sanctuary Choir member, sings in the Agape Women’s Ensemble, and is a Community Leader in the Fellowship of Young Families.

My life at age 23 was a mess. I was working long, stressful hours as a first year attorney in Houston where I had no family. My father was dying of cancer and my one-year marriage to my college sweetheart took a heartbreaking turn thus ending in a divorce. I felt broken-heartened and ashamed. One of my friends and co-workers could see my despair and graciously invited me to attend his church, South Main.

I didn’t grow up in a church. I was 23 and divorced. I was sad. Could South Main accept all of these imperfections? The answer is what kept me coming back week after week for the next fourteen years. South Main is filled with imperfect yet loving and accepting people, all here for the same purpose: to support each other and to celebrate the love of God.

If you would like to know the difference that one invitation can make and the power that it can have, let me show you. Fourteen years later, as I look out at the congregation from the choir loft, I see my wonderful husband of eight years who, although raised Catholic, now serves beside me as a Community Leader of a Sunday School class that we helped form. I see my two beautiful, teenage stepdaughters who were welcomed by this church when they were only five years old and who would rather be hanging out at church or the Youth Center than anywhere else. They, like our precious 6 year-old daughter and spirited two- year old son will know what it is like to grow up in a loving church. I see our very best friends who continually sustain us through life. I see the people that help raise our children and support us as we attempt to live our lives and grow closer to God. Finally, I see the person who made that first invitation to me. How can I possibly thank him enough for such an incredible gift? The only way I can is by telling others what Jim Barkley did for me and my family with that one invitation and hope that others share that same power and love.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing our Stories…Kelly Barsch

April 13, 2010

By Kelly Barsch, South Main Member

Kelly Barsch is a South Main Member who teaches Sunday School to pre-Kindergarten children and is a Financial Peace University small group leader.

I grew up in Houston attending a small Baptist church on the North side of Houston. After graduating from Baylor in 2000, I moved to Dallas in search of something new and joined First Baptist downtown. This was my first experience attending a larger, inner city church. It was very traditional like the church from my childhood, but had many more ministries because of its unique location.

When I returned to Houston in 2003, my childhood pastor retired after 35 years of service. The new pastor had a different vision and wanted to make Sunday morning worship more contemporary. I preferred a traditional service and began visiting many Baptist churches in the area. However, almost every single one of them had a “rock band” on stage with big screen TV’s and loud, contemporary Christian praise and worship songs instead of hymns. I am a big fan of this music, but it’s not my preferred style of worship on Sunday mornings.

Talking to friends about my dilemma, Sue Scott suggested that I try out South Main Baptist Church. She happened to know Pastor Steve and that he supported a traditional service. I began visiting with my boyfriend, Kyle, and we joined a few months later. Eventually, we were engaged and later married at South Main.

We have been so happy since joining South Main several years ago. With the birth of our first child, Eileen, we look forward to raising her and our future children in this church!

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith..

Share Campaign 2010