Who We Are
Evangelistic Temple is a non-denominational body of believers dedicated to reaching the lost and helping believers grow into fully devoted followers of Christ. Being aware of the changes going on around us in society, we strive to present the unchanging word of God in a way that is relevant and useful today. We believe that the local church is the greatest hope for the world, therefore we encourage every member to take an active role in carrying out the vision God has given us. Recognizing that people are not only at different places in life, but also at different places in their spiritual journey, we offer a wide range of ministries to meet each individual where they are, and help them to that next level.
Led by our pastor, Jason Harris, Evangelistic Temple is what we call The Church of New Beginnings. The church has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years, as people from all over are coming to find that Jesus is in the business of life-change, and that God truly is the God of new beginnings. So whether you're young, old, middle-aged, or new-born; married, single, divorced, or widowed; a brand new Christian, long-time believer, or someone just seeking truth, Evangelistic Temple welcomes you to join us in the excitement of what God is doing, and to experience the start of a new beginning.
In the early 1930s, a small group of people began to pray that God would send a revival to the city of Palestine. Little did they know how soon those prayers would be answered and continue to be answered over 70 years later.
In June of 1932, A.J. Richey, from the Richey Evangelistic Association in Houston, was asked to come lead a revival under a big tent that was erected at the corner of Conrad and Coronaca streets. What they originally thought would last a few days continued for six weeks, as hundreds of people were touched by the power and presence of God. Realizing that God desired to continue the work He started, plans were made to build a permanent structure in place of the tent, and on October 1, 1932, regular services began at Evangelistic Temple. Over seventy years later, that same power and presence is still changing lives.
The church experienced tremendous growth in the late nineties, and soon the congregation outgrew the building. Plans began on a new building that would accommodate this growth, and in 2002, the church was moved to its new location on the North Loop.
What's Up With The Name?
Okay, we admit it the name of the church is kinda weird. What does Evangelistic Temple mean? Is it a cult? A Jewish synagogue? Mormon? What's the deal? Well, we are none of the above. We are evangelistic, meaning that we desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ to those who don't know Him. But we don't believe that the church building is a temple. We believe that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us. He's not confined to church walls. So, don't let the name throw you. We're just a regular body of believers who desire to love others and know Jesus.
What To Expect
When you first come to Evangelistic Temple, you can expect to be warmly greeted and accepted as you are. You don't have to "dress up" or try to be something you're not. We encourage everyone to be themselves, and dress however is most comfortable. We won't ask for your money.
During the worship service, there will be an opportunity for church members to give financially in order to support the operations of the church. We believe this is a willing act of worship, not an obligation, and will never pressure or manipulate anyone into giving their money. We realize that not everyone has the same taste in music styles. Therefore, we offer different styles in each of our morning worship services. Our 8:30 service utilizes hymns and southern gospel to worship through music. Our 10:45 service uses contemporary praise and worship music. Each service contains the same sermon given by Jason Harris, or an associate pastor.
We encourage everyone to worship however they see fit. Many people stand during the songs, some sit. Some people raise their hands in praise to God, others don't. Some bow, some dance, some clap, and some just quietly reflect in silence. We believe that worship through song is a personal, physical demonstration of adoration to God, and should be done according to personal preference without being a distraction to others.
Instead of hymnals or music books, the words to every song are projected on two screens at the front of the auditorium. We also use video to either enhance the worship experience, or to illustrate an idea in the sermon. The service lasts approximately one hour. We usually dismiss from our 10:45 service between 12:00 and 12:15.
The leadership structure of Evangelistic Temple is based on what we interpret as the Biblical model of church leadership. We have seven men who serve as elders of the church. These elders meet regularly with the pastor and church council. They pray together and seek God's will in making decisions for the church body.
The pastor sets the direction and goals of the church and the elders make sure we stay on course in order to meet those goals God has given. The qualifications for elders are based on I Timothy 3:1-7 and are elected to 2 year staggered terms by the church body. We also have men who serve as deacons. The role of deacons at Evangelistic Temple are not one of authority, but of service. They make sure the needs of the church body are being met. Each deacon is assigned several families in the church who they keep in contact with, making sure things are taken care of if a need arises. The number of deacons in the church are based on the size of the congregation. As more families join, more deacons are added. The qualifications for deacons are based on I Timothy 3:8-13 and are appointed by the pastor and church elders.
The council is made up of the pastor, seven elders, the chairman of the deacons, the council secretary, the church treasurer, and the chairman of the trustees (the trustees are 4 members who deal with the physical property of the church). The church council meets once a month to make the business decisions of the church.
What does ‘family-integrated’ mean? Latest statistics show that young people who have been involved in church on a regular basis, once they leave high school, are leaving the Church and the faith all together at a rate of 80%. And of the 20% who stay, today’s younger generation has little respect for the church, little respect and even less knowledge of God’s word, and little desire to grow up.
Adolescence is that stage of life that starts with the onset of puberty and ends when an individual begins to take responsibility as an adult. 100 years ago, that stage lasted about 2 years – from age 14 to 16. Today, adolescence lasts from around age 11 to well into the late 20’s, even early 30’s. A correlation that can be seen as being one of the main causes of this is the growing length of time young people are spending away from influential adults. With the beginning of the industrial revolution, parents began spending more time at work and less time at home. At the same time, the public school system grew to where more young people were spending more time around their own peers and less time around adults.
Families today are spending less time doing meaningful things together. On the rare occasions the family is at home together, they still remain segregated with one parent engaged in the TV, another on the computer, and the kids in their rooms, plugged into their own TVs, video games and cell phones. Our culture today is structured heavily to the exclusion of adult/child interaction.
Studies have shown and history has proven that young people learn more being around adults than they do being around their peers. They learn better by seeing things being done rather than by hearing how things are done. This is especially true in spiritual life. Rather than hearing how we are supposed to live as Christians, young people need to see it being done in Godly adults. After being separated all week between work and school, the weekend comes and families finally have an opportunity to be together and to engage in something meaningful together. But as soon as they walk into the church doors, they are separated again, going off to their age-specific classes.
God’s Word teaches that His design is for the parents to be the primary teachers of their children, in particular the father; especially in teaching them about God. More and more in today’s culture, we pawn that responsibility off to Sunday school teachers, children’s ministers, and youth pastors. Being a family-integrated church means that we recognize where we have failed the younger generation and contributed to the systemic abandonment of young people, leaving them on their own to figure out what it means to be an adult, what it means to be a follower of Christ. Therefore, we endeavor to do everything we can to reverse the trend of losing the younger generation. Our goal is for everyone to be together in worship at church on Sunday mornings. We no longer offer services/child care for children ages 5 and up. We will continue to offer childcare for those under 5, but believe children older than that need to be with adults in church.
Being family-integrated does not just mean that we are all together in church. It means that parents are taking the responsibility of teaching their children about God in the home. It means all of the adults of the church are coming alongside those who don’t have parents at church, taking them under their wing, and being the Godly influence the child needs in their life.
Family Integrated FAQ's
If kids are in the main service, won’t the preaching be over their heads?
First of all, the purity and simplicity of the Gospel is such that even a child should be able to understand it. If it is being presented in a way they can’t, then we have erroneously complicated it. There may be times when some things being taught from the pulpit may not be on ‘a child’s level’ but that’s where the parents come in. We encourage parents to take what is preached on Sunday and then teach that to their child when at home.
If they aren’t in kid’s church, they aren’t being taught on their level.
When the children are all together, none of them are all on the same level. You’ve got different ages, different learning styles, different learning abilities, etc. There is no way the person teaching the children is going to be able to meet all of those levels. No one knows what level a particular child is on better than the parent. That’s why we encourage parents to take what they learned from the preaching on Sunday and explain it to their children on the level they know they can understand it once they get home.
Won’t the children be bored and grow to not like church?
First, we must recognize that society today seems to think that children must be entertained 24/7. They don’t. We will include elements during the worship time meant to engage the younger ones, but we will not design the services solely for the benefit of the children. In too many families today, the children are the center of the home and everything revolves around what the children want. In doing so, we are creating a very narcissistic generation. The point of the children being with the adults is that they get to see mom and dad worship, they get to see mom and dad pray, see them minister to others, see them actively involved in participating in the body of Christ, while learning hands-on what that means, even being actively involved themselves, right alongside the rest of the family. A child may be bored at times on Sunday, but the long-term benefit of being around influential adults far out-weighs their temporary boredom.
Does being family integrated mean that young people won’t ever do anything together with their peers at church?
No. We believe that at times it is good for them to do things together. We still have youth service and children’s activities on Wednesday nights. We even organize fun activities and outings just for young people to enjoy together.
What about the children who don’t have parents at church?
That’s where the whole church body is involved in being family-integrated. We have a mentoring program, where specific adults are paired up with these children and come alongside them in order to be that Godly, adult influence in their lives. These would be the adults they sit with in church on Sunday mornings. You can find out more about the mentoring ministry