Baptist pastors announce new church for Liberty Hill under First Baptist Georgetown
By SARAH SILBERSTEIN
A great deal of prayer and a huge leap of faith has guided Pastors Kevin Ueckert and Ben Wilson in their mission to establish First Baptist Georgetown’s first multi-site location in Liberty Hill.
Ueckert became the lead pastor of First Baptist Georgetown (FBG) in June 2015 and Wilson become the lead pastor of Hill Community Church in December 2015. The two men have been friends for over a decade and felt called individually to move from the Abilene area to lead ministry outreach efforts in the Austin area.
“Over 80 percent of greater Austin is unreached (does not have a church home) and it really burdened me,” Wilson said. “It burdened me to the point that I uprooted my family and we moved down here in order to reach this mission field.”
Shortly after arriving to their respective churches, Ueckert and Wilson met for lunch to catch up with one another and to discuss how things had been going in their new pastoral positions.
“I asked [Ueckert] how I could pray for him and one of the things he shared was how God was directing FBG to begin a multiplication process of reaching others in the Williamson County area,” Wilson said.
Over the next month and a half, Wilson prayed for Ueckert and FBG and says that during this time, the Lord began to direct his prayers to see that Hill Community Church was going to be a part of FBG’s expansion process.
“I approached him [Ueckert] and shared with him what I felt the Lord was going to do,” Wilson said. “The Lord began to open door after door for what we were praying for.”
In June, Wilson approached his leadership team at Hill Community Church with the idea of becoming one church with FBG and leading the efforts to establish a secondary location of FBG in Liberty Hill.
Hill Community Church currently meets at Plain Elementary School in Leander, but its congregation is largely from Liberty Hill.
“That’s a big step of faith to say that our church will no longer exist, but we will become an existing church,” Wilson said. “Their [Hill Community Church] desire has been to do ministry in Liberty Hill and it’s what they feel God has called them to do.”
The six member leadership team unanimously agreed to move forward with approaching the Hill Community Church congregation with the proposed plan to combine with FBG.
“There were a lot of questions being answered and there were a lot of questions that we had to say we don’t know the answer to because God is unfolding those plans,” Wilson said.
On Sept. 11, the congregation of Hill Community Church voted unanimously to become FBG’s first multi-site location.
“Getting six people to agree is exciting,” Wilson said. “Getting a church of 55 people to agree is of God’s own doing.”
Hill Community Church will cease to exist on Dec. 18 and will become the first multi-site church of First Baptist Georgetown under the name FBG Liberty Hill.
A location for FBG Liberty Hill has not yet been determined, but Ueckert and Wilson hope to secure a location by the end of the year. Provided the project moves forward as planned, the proposed launch of FBG Liberty Hill will be Jan. 15, 2017.
“We’ll have everybody on site on that campus serving in a variety of capacities— in the youth area, small groups, children’s area, in the parking lot, greeting, outreach, follow up— all that stuff will be happening locally along with a worship praise team leading the music on site,” Ueckert said. “But the primary experience of the preaching event will be done via video [feed] of the preaching that is happening on the campus at Georgetown.”
Ueckert will fill the role of lead pastor for both FBG locations and Wilson will serve as the campus pastor of FBG Liberty Hill.
“We felt we could get the greatest amount of support in launching that campus if there was some consistency in relation to the preaching,” Ueckert said. “We’re still going to strive to be one church in two locations.”
In deciding to place the first multisite location of FBG in Liberty Hill, Ueckert looked to the significant number of FBG members driving from Liberty Hill and further west to attend services at the Georgetown location.
“We feel that we are already a part of what’s happening there [in Liberty Hill],” Ueckert said. “We felt if we could put a campus where they live, we could actively reach people where they live better.”
According to Ueckert, FBG committed between $200,000 and $300,000 in the church’s budget to be used to establish FBG Liberty Hill.
“We wanted to be more strategic and intentional in reaching the people living in that area with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Ueckert said.
According to Wilson, the number of seat spaces currently available in church locations in the Liberty Hill area under-serves the region’s population and the need for religious organizations to expand ministry outreach efforts in the area will continue to increase as the community of Liberty Hill grows.
“I believe that local church should play a significant role in the community,” Ueckert said. “It’s a matter of coming in and partnering [with the community] to reach more people.”
Members of FBG Liberty Hill will be present at the fall festival taking place at Bill Burden Elementary School on Oct. 31 and will announce more information regarding FBG Liberty Hill as it becomes available.
To learn more about both churches, visit www.thehillcc.org