What’s your story? Even when we wanted to leave, God showed us a better plan

Amanda Kennedy is seen with her husband, David, and their son, Ethan.

In 2003, my fiancé, David (who is now my husband), and I were debating on whether to put down roots in Texas or go to Oklahoma. As we were praying about it, I was really convicted because we weren’t in church even though I knew we needed to be. During the time I was praying for guidance, we were driving down the road not far from my mom’s house in Euless and I saw a church I had to have passed dozens of times but had never noticed before. It was North Euless Baptist Church.

When we visited, it immediately felt like home. We met a man, Blake McKamie, who became a friend right off the bat and, since we were 19 and 20, we fell into the large college and career group. It was about 40 people at that time. It was a booming little church, about 300 people, including children.

About three years later, our pastor left and we called a new pastor who had been serving as the youth pastor at the time. The church was kind of holding steady, losing a few members here and there, but nothing too dramatic. It wasn’t long after that, as senior citizens passed away and families started moving away, that different conflicts arose in the church. We had some pretty hard business meetings related to the style of music, how we were going to afford to fix the air conditioners that were broken, and even how to pay our utility bills. 

Within a few short years, the church dwindled to about 60-80 people. But by God’s grace, we didn’t split. Still, the ministry just kind of became ineffective. At one point, we were like, “Maybe it’s time to start looking for another church.” We were praying about that, and every time I was at peace with the idea, David said, “Let’s give it a little bit longer.” And when I would get to that same point where I was at peace staying, David would be ready to go. 

Casey Lewis was on staff at First Keller before joining Foundation Baptist Church as one of its pastors.

I’m glad I didn’t quit my church and trusted God’s plan for the future even when it was scary to let the old church go. There were some hard times that made me want to leave, but I know staying was God’s best plan for us.

I mean, I even had my resignation letter written and kept it with me every Sunday. There was one Sunday I had put that letter on the pastor’s desk while he was in the sanctuary getting ready to preach. When it was offering time, the Lord made it super clear to me that it was not time to go, so I discreetly got up and pulled my little letter off his desk. So we kept going and kept serving as the Lord led us, waiting for Him to give us direction and unity in the decision about when to leave.

Then, in 2012, our pastor was called to lead another church. At that time, I was the head of the personnel committee, our friend, Blake, was chairman of the deacons, and then we had our worship leader. The three of us suddenly found ourselves in the most senior positions, being the heads of these ministries. We got together to pray and were like, “OK, what’s next?”

We decided to ask Ted Elmore to meet with us, and the church called him as our interim pastor. At that point, our church’s vision was to get an interim pastor, hoping maybe a third party could give us an idea of how we could resurrect the church and bring it back from the brink of death. Ted did a really good job of coming in and triaging the situation and giving us a lot of good insight. 

But the congregation was pretty worn out and membership had fallen to 30 or 40 people. We were just a few people and we were all wearing many hats, doing a lot to try to stay alive. Even David and I were worn out. In addition to leading the personnel committee, I was co-leading the women’s ministry, and on many Sundays, working in the nursery. David was a deacon, teaching a class, working with our audio/visual equipment, and serving on our building and grounds team. All the while, we were working full-time jobs and raising a special needs kid. 

In 2013, Ted brought up the subject of replanting our church with First Baptist Church of Keller. After much prayer and many meetings, God led our members to go through with the replant and close North Euless Baptist Church in 2014. While the church was closed for renovations, everyone from North Euless attended First Keller. They were so gracious, they even sent a bus each week so we could ride to their building during this transition time.

That’s when we were introduced to Casey Lewis, one of the youth pastors at First Keller who ended up being the founding pastor of Foundation Baptist Church, our replanted church in Euless. It was when we met Casey and his wife, Amy, that we were glad we didn’t quit our church. It was an incredible blessing to see people excited about doing ministry in our community again.

Today, the church is growing steadily in faith, maturity, and numbers. We became autonomous in June 2020 and voted to call Blake as our second pastor, serving alongside Casey. We average between 90-100 each Sunday, have seen three people baptized already this year, and have at least two more baptisms scheduled in the next few weeks. In June, David and I will celebrate 20 years of worshipping and serving God in that building.

So what’s my story? I’m glad I didn’t quit my church and trusted God’s plan for the future even when it was scary to let the old church go. There were some hard times that made me want to leave, but I know staying was God’s best plan for us.

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Amanda Kennedy
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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