Union Hall Baptist breaks ground on new worship center
By ANTHONY FLORES
At the end of County Road 259, right off US 183, sits a small church house alongside a larger building and a playground.
A group of devout worshipers gather at Union Hall Baptist Church every Sunday to celebrate their faith.
This past Sunday was unique because in addition to their weekly worship, the congregation celebrated the church’s groundbreaking ceremony.
The plans moving forward include a new, much larger sanctuary as well as a new asphalt parking lot to replace the gravel one they currently have.
Plans for the new additions began nearly four years ago. Pastor Robert Butts took notice of the rapid growth in Liberty Hill and determined there would be a need for space to house more people. This latest attempt to grow the church isn’t the first, but Butts believes the right conditions are in place to allow this time to succeed.
“I’ve been here for seven years now, and we’ve always been this little country church,” he said. “There have been pastors that have come and gone, and there have been a few times where it built up to this point, but things just didn’t follow through. I think it’s with the growth of the area that we finally hit that sweet spot.”
While trying to figure out the next step for the church in 2015, it dawned on Butts that the natural next step for the church would be new facilities.
“We were looking for the next phase, and as we saw the community around us growing, we knew we needed more space,” he said. “We were full regularly, and so we thought, this is it, this is the natural next step. More spaces for more faces.”
Seeing new homes and neighborhoods begin to pop up and hearing talk of eventually adding more schools to the area, Butts felt the need to strike while the iron was hot. The pastor encouraged church members to act now and begin the fundraising process.
“I told the church that we only get these kinds of opportunities with this kind of growth once in a generation,” said Butts. “If we didn’t take it, then we were going to get passed by.”
For the ceremony, the church invited long-time missionary Dr. Ron White to host the morning service. Following the service, members of the congregation gathered behind the church, forming a half-circle around a mound of dirt where the new place of worship will stand.
Butts opened the groundbreaking ceremony with a verse from James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” he read.
During his speech, Butts emphasized his hope that more of the Liberty Hill community turns out when the project is complete and hopes the growth of the church doesn’t go unrecognized.
“I told you a couple of weeks ago that people will notice what God is doing,” Butts said to his congregation. “Now is our opportunity to give testimony and do something to let the community know that we are growing and thriving because of God’s goodness.”
The hope is that the new additions to the church and the space provided can help Liberty Hill preserve the values he feels are the foundation and identity of the community.
“We want to make sure that it’s a priority that we stay focused on where we were founded as a nation,” he said. “In Texas, we have very conservative, traditional values, and a lot of that, unfortunately, is being eroded, so the church is becoming more important. It’s a backstop to hold the change and the tide. Even more than ever, it’s important to see churches growing and reaching out and affecting the community.”