Brian McFadden is the Compassion Pastor at Rush Creek Church in Arlington, Texas. Brian shares how Rush Creek Church builds everything they do around local and global outreach.
Today’s conversation is with Brian McFadden, the Compassion Pastor at Rush Creek Church in Arlington, Texas. Rush Creek doesn’t really have a missions program. Rush Creek truly believes that everything they do is about outreach both locally and globally. And that means that every member needs to be engaged in sharing the Gospel every day.
Brian passionately share that when a church fully commits to the Great Commission, amazing things happen. And that results in transformation both internally and externally.
Brian also helps us understand that missions trips don’t have to be for individuals. There’s something very powerful that can happen when whole families engage together in serving in a foreign context together.
And finally, Brian shows that missions doesn’t have to be something done only through a third party organization. While Rush Creek’s child sponsorship program started with a ministry like OneChild, it grew into something that the church took on completely by itself in order to become even more connected to it.
WHAT IS THE MISSIONS PASTOR PODCAST?
Welcome to The Missions Pastor Podcast, presented by OneChild. OneChild is a global community of Child Champions that serves children in poverty so they can discover hope and reach their God-given potential. We believe that the local church has the message of Hope that the world desperately needs to hear. And in every episode, we highlight churches, pastors, and ministries who are working to bring that HOPE to hard places.
We honestly don’t even use the word missions a whole lot at West Creek. It’s just what we do. It’s just who we are. Like we have opportunities to bless our neighbors and we have opportunities to go help start a church in Detroit or Pittsburgh, or we have opportunities to go down and serve alongside our international campus in El Salvador and encourage them and go door to door, sharing the gospel with them. And yeah, it really is just who we are.
Welcome to the missions pastor podcast presented by one child. One child is a global community of child champions that serves children in poverty, so that they can discover hope, and reach their God given potential. We believe that the local church has the message of hope that the world desperately needs to hear. And in every episode, we highlight churches, pastors and ministries, who are working to bring that hope, to heart places. I’m David Jesse, I’m your host for today’s conversation with Brian McFadden. Brian is the compassion pastor at Rush Creek Church in Arlington, Texas. Brian heads up all of the outreach programs at Rush Creek Church. And that’s a really big responsibility. And that’s because rush Creek doesn’t have a Missions Program. Rush Creek truly believes that everything they do is about outreach, both locally and globally. And that means that every member needs to be engaged in sharing the gospel every day. So I asked Brian to explain why that’s so central to everything at Rush Creek.
Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, I feel that I feel like there’s a Bible mandate from Jesus, that we’re supposed to take the gospel to our neighbors, across the street, in our communities and around the world. And I don’t think missions is an event, something that we designate a ton of our life to do, I think it’s the way that we live. And if we’re living out that missional lifestyle, it’s going to be at your workplace, it’s going to be in your neighborhood, it’s going to be the call to take the gospel to different parts of the world. So yeah, the biggest thing for me is missions isn’t something that we do, it’s who we are.
Explain a little bit more about what you mean by that. Because you know, a lot of churches, they treat missions, like another ministry in the church, but the impression that I’m getting from rush Creek is that missions is a is a part of your heartbeat. It’s who you guys are,
yeah, sure. missions is who we are. But there’s always new people who come into the fold, or who come to rescue me from a different part of the country. And we’ve always got to continue to reinforce that in the way that we teach and the way that we live. Because they’re watching us and they if we’re talking about mission trips, they’re watching to see who’s going is the leadership participating on these teams? Are they living a lifestyle with their own families in their community, serving the under resourced or serving people in our community. So you have to make it part of our DNA we have got as leaders to be the examples that they’re watching. And so many on my team that serve here in the compassion team is they have that call and they feel that burden to reach people and so obviously, they’re going to live that way. But we need the whole staff we need our senior pastor and our campus pastors all to be doing the same thing. So that that we just ooze out missions, we ooze out love for other people. And we we honestly don’t even use the word missions a whole lot at Rush Creek. It’s just what we do. It’s just who we are. Like we have opportunities to bless our neighbors and we have opportunities to go help start a church in Detroit or Pittsburgh, or we have opportunities to go down and serve alongside our international campus in El Salvador and encourage them and go door to door sharing the gospel with them and yeah, it really is just who we are. And when the new folks who come to rush Creek see us living that way obviously obviously the old adage of you know see God at work and go joining that’s what we’re hoping that when they come they see God at work in different places in different ways and they just join in
you mentioned that you don’t use the term missions a ton at Rush Creek they in fact your your focus your ministry, your title and everyone that works in your your world that you call it the compassion ministry. Why did you guys choose to frame things the way that you did for that?
Yeah, we believe that, you know, Jesus told us to love God and love others and loving others is an outpouring of that compassion that we should have Forever we know everyone, no matter where they live, work play, what ethnic background, they come from what socio economical background that they come from that we’re supposed to just love everyone. And so we gave that name to our ministry, not only is just a reminder for what we’re doing and how we’re doing these things, but it really is a definition of how we should live our lives through compassion and with compassion for other people.
So if you had, maybe a new member or a new person there, that becomes begins to engage at Rush Creek can be a part of who you guys are, if they were to come to you, and kind of have that conversation about outreach and your ministry, and kind of come to you from the perspective of, you know, they don’t feel like that’s something that they should be involved in that they’re just going to fund it and let you guys go do that. What would you say to that person?
Yeah, so that’s a very real question that happens quite often. People are called in different ways or feel like they should be doing something. And they’re not exactly sure. And there’s those who just, for one reason or another don’t feel like they’ve been called to travel. They don’t like to travel, and they don’t. They’re too uncomfortable in other cultures. But I still feel like they have a part to play in our outreach through our compassion ministry. And, you know, several senior citizens come to mind who find us late in life. And they know that they’re supposed to be involved, but physically, they’re not exactly sure. And so we’ve got opportunities for them to pray for our partners pray for teams. If they’re able, they can come up to one of our compassion centers and write notes to our partners or serve our neighbors by just meeting with them and praying with them. Or we’re teaching English, there’s all kinds of opportunities that you can, that you can be a part of it rush Creek to the compassion industry without traveling globally, because honestly, the world lives here, they live in the Dallas Fort Worth area. So you don’t have to go on a trip to reach the world. And so there are tons of opportunity to engage different cultures right here at home.
How does the call to make the gospel known among the nations play a crucial role in personal discipleship and spiritual growth?
Yeah, I think discipleship is extremely important in our, our global strategy. We’re not a church, that is a one and done, we’ll go out to a part of the world and do a one time trip and were added there are partnerships are very strategic. I heard a speaker on your podcast a couple of weeks ago, and she talked about not having a ton of different partners around the world that they have few and they go very deep. And that is our strategy as well. We have a few partnerships around the world, but we want to go deep into their community. We want to go deep with the leaders in their community, the different churches and the pastors, the city leaders to make a true impact where our partners live. So discipleship is extremely important in compassion ministry, because we work closely with our small groups ministry at Rush Creek. And, you know, going on a trip or serving someone at one of our resource centers, is an expression of learning what the Bible has taught us, it’s, it’s how we live out what God has told us to do. And so there’s the personal discipleship have I been called to do these things. And here’s what it looks like when I’ve learned it. This is how I express it. I’m serving that a food pantry here in our city, or I’m serving one of our community partners at a homeless shelter. Or I’m going to do Uganda to train some pastors on a trip. So it looks like different things as discipleship, it’s the act of of living out what you know, you’re supposed to do. And so our compassion ministry doesn’t work alone at Rush Creek. We work in partnership with our small groups ministry, with our student ministry, and our children’s ministry, they are just as involved as a ministry and our compassion ministry as any others. And so we don’t neglect the young ones. We don’t think that it’s too young, or a young person to go on a mission trip. Now there are certain trips that they may be too young, but we try to make it possible that whole families can go on our trips, not only to to live out their personal discipleship on those trips, but also to serve other people. And so again, you’re never too young to start serving others.
A big part sort of a central component of your compassion ministries From what I’m hearing from us seems to be sort of these trips and these international trips and things like that. Why do you find that trips have such an important role in the outreach ministries there?
Yeah, trips are a time where you can get away from the day to day activities of life. And you can really separate yourself from the stress of home and really focus on what God has called the church to do. And that is to take the gospel to the nations. And so on these trips, a family is able to see with their own eyes, how our partners live, what their strategies look like in their communities to live out that call in their lives. But trips are so important that not only serves our global partners, but when our families come back home, they come back home different, they’ve been changed. And the way we live our lifestyles, in our in our cultures may be different. But the fact that we love and serve other people, we can see how it looks like in Uganda or no Salvador and come home. And the greatest joy for me is to see someone come back from the trip and I see their life has changed. They’re living differently, their priorities are different. And so yeah, I mean that for me personally, as a missions pastor, that is my greatest joy is just to see how they, how they’re living out an experience that they had across the ocean. Yeah, back at home.
One thing I’ve heard a couple of times, as you’ve talked about these trips, is the idea of families going on these trips together. And so so often, when we think of short term ministry opportunities, it tends to, to center in on youth or college or individuals going with it, why do you guys emphasize the importance of families going together?
At rest Creek, we think the primary spiritual leader of the family are the parents. It’s not the church. And so for families to go serve together, it just reinforces what we teach that that the mom and the dad are the spiritual leaders for those families. And so to have families go out and served together, sort of alongside each other, they may or may not be working on the same project that day on the mission field, but they come back that evening and share those stories share those experiences. And yeah, it’s just super important to us at Rush creek that families have that responsibility to train their kids.
Now, obviously, there are people that you mentioned this earlier, that may not be comfortable traveling, or maybe a navy that may not even be capable of making a participating in a in a trip like that. So what are some other specific ways that you get them engaged in international missions and allow them to be part of the the larger work that’s going on through your compassion ministry?
Yeah, so engaging families of all life stages, I believe, is the responsibility of my office and my team to help people figure out what works best for their family. For example, we have families in the life stage that have young toddlers, and traveling with young ones, can be difficult and challenging, not impossible. But some people just don’t think that their kids are quite mature enough to go overseas. And so we talked with those families, and we come up with ideas that they could as parents teach their kids about serving others. And one thought would be you know, when you go out to eat, share with your kids that, you know, today at our meal, we’re not going to drink anything but water, and the money that we would have spent on coffee or iced tea, iced tea, we’re going to donate to our mission and partner overseas. And it’s just one way that families can show a small sacrifice here, to their kids at age appropriate level, how we can support missions financially. Another way is every month we provide opportunities for our members to pray for our partners around the world. And we highlight one specific partner for the four weeks in a month to pray for that partner and we remind them each week of who that partner is and what their requests are that month and we encourage our families around the dinner time at bed time to pray for our partners specific needs. So that when they come to visit us they feel like they have some type of relationship with them. They know what the challenges are that they’re facing. They know about their family. And we view all of our partners as rush Creek members. That may not technically be boomers, but they are So they’re and we care about
one of the things that I love about rush creeks compassion Ministries is that they have laser focus on who they are, and what they want to accomplish. And you can hear that in every answer, Brian shares and that’s a big reason behind their success. We’ll continue our conversation with Brian after this brief message from one child.
Together, we believe extreme child poverty has an end. And it starts with hope. Hope is a vision for a better future, a way to get there, and the courage to try. And it is built through the church all over the world coming together as one global community to help children thrive. We create a partnership experience that reflects your heart for the world. Together, we find the point where our mission and vision intersect to address the needs of children living in hard places. Together, we are a community that sees children as solutions, not problems. A community with the courage to go to the hard places. A community that gives so children can thrive. Together, this is us, your church, a shared vision, celebrating global impact through the local church. For more information, visit one child.org/partnership.
I asked Brian to share some details about the amazing work rush Creek is doing in El Salvador. Here’s what he had to say.
Sure, sure. Yeah, we I was introduced to our pastor and El Salvador in 2010. And the connection that was made for us was through a different child sponsorship agency that aligned US based upon our beliefs, and our strategy for ministry. And honestly, it was a phenomenal connection, they did a great job of connecting us to a church that was like minded with the same type of strategies. And so since 2010, we’ve been serving alongside them, they had a child sponsorship program at that time. And but our, our relationship grew so deep with the families, not just the pastor, but with the families in that church, that we really outgrew that child sponsorship organization. And they’re a great organization. But we knew that we wanted to go deeper in that community. And so in 2015, we developed our own sponsorship program there in El Salvador Wow. And it was a huge undertaking, lots of responsibilities involved there. But with those responsibility is complete joy. I mean, there’s so many people here in the States connected to families, they’re in El Salvador, on a personal level, that it’d be hard to duplicate any other place that for one thing, we’re in Texas, and El Salvador speaks Spanish. And so we have lots of Spanish speakers here in our church. And, you know, they go on trips, and we don’t have to rely 100% on translators, they can communicate at a different level. Another thing that makes that relationship, very successful is just the respect that we have for our partners there and they have for us, and so many of our members do have strong relationships with those families, but they respect our program, they respect the avenues that we ask them to go through if there’s a financial request or prayer request or a physical need. And we try to care for all the families not just the kiddos who are part of our pen pal program. That’s just what we call it is partnering with El Salvador neighbors. So it’s our pin down program. And we don’t just focus on the kids, we focus on the entire family. So mom and dad and kids who are in college really is a great way for our people to engage another culture on a very deep and personal level.
That’s that’s really exciting. So what have been, you know, as you guys have transitioned from working, obviously one child being a, you know, a 60 year old child sponsorship organization and sort of seeing so many different elements of that it’s not easy. Doing child sponsorship. It’s a challenge and There’s a lot of different things that, that play into that what are some of the challenges that you guys have run into, as you’ve transitioned from working with an organization and kind of taking this in house and managing it yourself?
Initially, the transition wasn’t too difficult. This other organization did a fantastic job of training many of the people in the community in their program, and we just adopted many of their, their, their ideas and their strategies and their organization that we just use in our own program. Because you’re right, there are challenges. In El Salvador, it’s a high crime area, people are always looking for work. And so that means we’ve got transient families who were just moving from place to place. And in our community, it might be home base. But so the whole family may leave for a year because dad found a job in a different part of the country, and then they come back. So even in those cases, we try to stay in contact with the family. Now, they don’t have the ability to have the resources and all the things that we provide through our sponsorship, but we still care and love about them. And many of them come back, many of them come back and asked to join the program again, and we gladly accept them back into to the program. Currently, we’ve got about 475 kids in it. 400 families who are part of it, and through that every member of the family gets medical attention, tutoring food for the family, at additional food if it’s needed, if their families in crisis, we have hired phenomenal staff members who helped oversee the program with tutoring and workshops and think we’ve got 22 staff members down there. And so just supporting that little community with 22 jobs that pay those their social security, we pay their health insurance, they are true members, not just someone who’s come into the church, and getting a little paycheck on the cyber, these are real jobs. We had to establish a nonprofit there in El Salvador with the government so that we could do everything properly. And of course, we would want to do that. But there was challenges in that there were attorneys involved in lots of accountability is in place to protect that. But as a result, there are lives being changed. Since 2015. When we started our program. We’ve had six of our kids graduate college, we currently have 25, in college right now. And in 2010, there was zero. As a matter of fact, it seemed in that community very hopeless. Like the kids, the teenagers knew that they were stuck there, there was no way out. Because no one ever told him that there was opportunity. No one told them that it is possible that you can go to college or a trade school, we got many in trade school as well. And I think that is one of the benefits of me, and our church, taking down teams of people who go there with a number one priority of encouraging. We just speak truth and bring hope to them that we understand it’s difficult to live work and play in El Salvador. But it’s possible God has you there for a reason. And he has a purpose for you. And so we’re so proud of our 30 Plus college students who’ve gone through their through the program, and now every single one of them continue to serve at the church. And it’s amazing, because here in the States, you can’t I don’t think there’s any church who can say 100% of their graduating seniors go to college and still come back to the church and serve every single weekend. So it’s phenomenal. That what we’re seeing through the hip hop program, the community where our families live, is kind of a mountainous area. And when the rainy season hits, mudslides occur, and there’s all kinds of dangerous situations. And, you know, we care about those families, we care that they’re safe. We’ve actually lost some parents and some children because of those mudslides and they were just buried alive. It’s heartbreaking. And so as a church here in the states working with them down there, we we try to build houses that are safe and protected out of the weather for these kids for these parents so that they don’t have to worry about their their house falling off the side of them out. So in the last 10 years or so we’ve built almost 50 houses for families as a gift from the church, not as a gift from rush Creek in the United States. But as a gift from the church, they’re in El Salvador.
And so I say that to say, our ministry, there is holistic, it’s not just focused on one area, obviously, the gospel is center. Everything that we do, including our partnerships with the city office with the police, the school is all centered around the gospel. And we love to go into the schools and play with the kids, when we have teams there have presentations for some of the grades, but then also to share the gospel. And El Salvador is not much different than the United States, the separation of church and state is there. But because they see the impact that we make in the lives of the families, they’re, we’re allowed to do those things. Because the benefit that that the school administration has seen from our teams coming down in the hope that we get the kids not just in our pen pal program, but those The Friends of the kids in our pen pal program, or now, maybe I can go to school to or maybe I can learn to trade and find a job. It’s bleeding over into all areas of the community. And it’s all because of God. It’s all because God is working here. We saw him working and we just jumped in and join him.
That’s amazing. You know, it’s one thing for an organization like like one child or a similar type of organization, to to share the tangible impact that program like child sponsorship can have on children and on a hook their families in a whole community. It’s one thing for one child to share that kind of thing. But it’s a very different thing for a church like you guys to have seen that happened and then transitioned to managing one program like that for yourselves. If you were to give, you know, explain to a another church, why you feel that child sponsorship done, right? Like it sounds to me, you know, it’s very clear that rush Creek is doing it the right way. Child sponsorship done right works, what would you tell that church,
I would tell the church no matter what size they are, start somewhere, you have to start you have to engage families, and an organization like one child would be a great place to start engaging those families. That’s where we started, I had no idea in 2010, where we would be in 2022. And 2010, I would have been perfectly content, I thought with the way things were set up, just be obedient, to follow that call, help families that are in need, and then just like God take control. It could be that, you know, a church partners with one child forever, and makes a huge impact in the community. For us, our paths a little bit different, much more involved. And if your church is able to even consider it, then consider it. See what happens beyond the partnership and it could be a child sponsorship program is the right way. But there’s other avenues to impact the community, their schools and do with city officials and different things. So yeah, go deep and communities that’s where you start to see the impact.
Rush creeks compassion ministry is doing amazing things around the world. And this is changing lives not only where they serve, but at Rush Creek as well. And here are three things to remember about that from my conversation with Brian. First, when a church fully commits to the Great Commission, amazing things happen. And again, that has happened both internally and externally. Second missions trips don’t have to be for individuals, there’s something very powerful that can happen when whole families engaged together in serving in a foreign context. And finally, missions doesn’t have to be something done only through a third party organization. While rush creeks child sponsorship program started with a ministry like one child, it grew to something that the church took on completely by itself in order to become more connected to it.
I want to thank Brian for joining me on this episode of the missions pastor podcast if you want to learn more about rush Creek Church, go to rush creek.org And thank you for listening to the missions pastor podcast this show is presented by one child. We are a global community of child champions that serves children in poverty so they can discover hope and reach their God given potential. To learn more about how your church can partner with one child to bring hope to hard play says go to one child.org/partnership
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