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… 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