BOERNE—As thousands of people relocate to Texas, some are finding a new church home at Currey Creek Church in Boerne, a growing Southern Baptist congregation about half an hour northwest of San Antonio on I-10.
“They Google ‘great places to live in Texas,’ and Boerne comes up,” John Free, pastor of Currey Creek, told the TEXAN.
“It’s mind-bending that one guy from California said, ‘We knew we were moving. We’ve been watching you online for a year and a half,’” Free recounted. “They were involved in their church, but they would watch Currey Creek online, so when they moved here they knew this was where they wanted to go to church without ever attending.
“So then they attended for three or four weeks and a membership class comes up, and they’re in,” he said. “It’s a phenomenon that would have been very unlikely 10 years ago in our ministry context.”
In a recent class for potential new members, about half—30 people—were from out of state. Several were from the West Coast, and the top two reasons given for moving were to escape the deteriorating culture and to be closer to family, Free said.
Boerne appeals to families because of its highly-rated public school system and because it’s in the Hill Country. Though it’s close enough to San Antonio to serve as a bedroom community, it maintains a flavor of its own, the pastor said. “It’s picturesque.”
Currey Creek is a strong supporter of the Cooperative Program in part because Free’s ministry began thanks to the generosity of Southern Baptists, he said. A graduate of Texas A&M, Free earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1990 and then served as a church planter in New Mexico through the Home Mission Board, funded with CP dollars, he noted.
After pastoring a small church in East Texas for a few years, Free answered the call from First Baptist Church in Boerne to plant what would become Currey Creek in 2001. When it was time to build a campus, God provided space one mile from the interstate with prime visibility.
“The Lord is just way ahead of us. He knows what’s best, and here we are in the middle of all this growth,” Free said, referring to thousands of new homes going up fast on previously undeveloped ranchland.
“It’s wonderful to be situated where the Lord is bringing people to us.”
The area is growing so rapidly, and the church planting conviction is so strong at Currey Creek that they recently sent 300 members out to plant The Bridge Fellowship, also in Boerne.
Before COVID, Currey Creek’s attendance had pushed 1,500 for three Sundays, Free said, and now, despite sending out a core group and weathering the pandemic, attendance is “well over 1,000 again.”
In addition to giving through the Cooperative Program because their pastor is a product of it, Currey Creek gives because they believe strongly in its power to reach unreached people groups.
“We feel a need to be a part of the Cooperative Program for that reason—because we’re going to reach people and have an impact on people that we would not even know about unless we were cooperating through giving.”
Currey Creek has established missions partnerships with workers in Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Moldova, Nepal, Poland, Kosovo and India, among others. They partner with Northeastern Baptist College in Vermont, and they helped start a church in Abilene called The Well, Free said.
The pastor commended an associate pastor, Eric Cate, who was in the business world before Currey Creek asked him to be on staff as an administrator.
“He really has a heart for the world, and he oversees all of our missions partnerships, and that ministry really keeps the world in front of our people, especially during the COVID year when everything seemed self-preserving,” Free said.
Last year, at the height of COVID, Currey Creek took up a special missions offering to distribute to their ministry partners for hunger relief, “and it was a quarter of a million dollars,” the pastor said, marveling at the provision. “That’s the generosity of God’s people here at Currey Creek.”
As Free is halfway through a doctoral program at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he said he feels “very connected to Southern Baptist causes in a lot of ways because they’ve been committed to the authority of God’s Word and committed to sharing the gospel. Those are non-negotiables for Currey Creek.”