The Bradford's

Chris & Ashley's Blog

A New Generation of Church

A Church That Smokes, Drinks, and says Curse words???


I grew up going to church off and on most of my life but it was always segregated from my real life. Church was more of a social gathering or something to check off of my list of “to-do’s”. I’m thankful for the exposure I had, but honestly for most people church is primarily social…especially the society in which we live. Some people have trouble looking for something beyond a shallow surface desire. I admit Ive been there at times. There are not many other convenient social gathering venues in my neighborhood so people just go to church. Everyone says they have a church or have gone to church but Im realizing in most cases that’s a bunch of fluff. It’s really not true…once or twice a month attendance is not actively a part of the congregation by any means. Unless of course your job prohibits it.

Better Options

To me and my wife, we’d rather not go to church unless it’s something that actually makes a larger impact on our lives and our boys lives. For us its more than a feel good gathering on Sundays. I get bored easily so without a greater draw, my mind wanders quickly. Celebrity Christian speakers and amazing concert-like worship gatherings are great, but I lose interest in time. We have other friends and social gatherings we can go to. So, if church is just that, I’d rather sleep in on Sunday’s, wake up and go play golf. But for us, church is essential. It is essential because we have seen The Pathway Church vision literally make a direct impact on our immediate society and in our sons lives. My oldest boy is three and he knows that Jesus loves people beyond the four walls of a building. He knows it because he has witnessed it first hand. He sees church as a group of people who serve, not as a place/location, or some kind of steepled building. That’s really what the church in the Bible looks like anyway…the church buildings we see do not always represent a Biblical model of church. My son Beau loves the church! Sometimes he even refers to himself as the “pastor of The Pathway Church”! For us it’s a church for a new generation. We are not static, we are fluid.

“If the Holy Spirit were removed from the early church in the Book of Acts 90% of what they did would stop/seize to exist. If however the Holy Spirit were removed from the churches in America today 90% of what they did would continue on.” -AW Tozer

Some Eye Popping Re-search from Barna Group:
80-85% of Americas churches are plateaued or declining in growth
Only 4% of those dying churches reproduce themselves by starting new churches

Change the World

We do not have plans or a vision to build a building, we’d rather focus our efforts on changing the world. A permanent building will likely come, but it will be only out of absolute necessity. Some people can’t understand that but we are ok with that and have patience in explaining the topic. The city of Houston is the 4th largest city in the nation and the largest land massed city. It just passed New York City as the most multi national city in the U.S. with over 300 different people groups represented and at least that many languages spoken. It’s among the nations leaders in human sex and drug trafficking. Not to mention the gang activity, and two of the nations most dangerous neighborhoods, one of them a hop-skip-jump from my home. With worldwide fortune 100 and 500 companies moving their locations to the Houston skyline, and growing at a population of 2500 people per week…I’d say if you want to change the world, reach Houston! We are focused on that.

Authenticity for a New Generation

Statistics show that 20 and 30 somethings are more concerned with authenticity than anything. We ruthlessly pursue truthfulness and authenticity. We are thinkers and dreamers…many of us are smart educated folks who can see passed the fluff. If I have learned one thing in my life, Ive learned that talk is cheap. A lot of organizations including churches have mastered the art of bait and switch. They have mastered the art of selling an image with an ulterior motive. A beautiful building and brilliant marketing only guarantees two things about a church…they have great grounds keepers, and smart marketing guru’s. That may be a notch on someone’s belt but I’d rather quit ministry than have those two items consume me. Yes, I want you to come to my church. And, yes I want you to financially contribute to my church because I believe in our vision. It is effectively working. We need money and resources to do what we do. But I’m not willing to compromise integrity and depth to win the masses. The early church literally changed the culture beginning with a few authentic believers that eventually turned into masses. If it works that way for us, Im good with that. We make our budgets very public, always remain open to questions, and spend money very conservatively. I understand Im talking blanket ideas that do not represent every church (I know many great leaders and church organizations), but their is a reason that our society has lost trust in an institution that should be society’s most trusted institution.

We are not perfect by any means

So The Pathway Church is not perfect, nor will we every be, but I can say with integrity we’ll always be honest with you. I am not a perfect pastor, nor does a perfect pastor exist, but I can promise I will love you with the help of my Savior Jesus. I know some people want a pastor that presents himself as having it all together so as to be an example…that’s one way of thinking in leadership. But I know too many pastors, like really know them. So I’d just assume be myself all the time. In so many ways we are a church focused on a new generation of people. It’s a church that takes the shape of a younger “church skeptical” “de-churched” generation. Notice I didn’t say “church jaded”…we are not angry ex-church attenders, but rather de-churched and un-churched folks who want to be a part of something real and bigger than ourselves. People that come to our church are smokers, drinkers, and they sometimes say cuss words in church. We are rough around the edges, but we are real. We are a driven people, a deep thinking people, and a motivated people. We may not be the finely tuned type, but we have been touched by the Spirit of God and HE is working all things together for good in our lives. He is growing us in His Word, and moving us to mission, and spiritual transformation. We are growing followers of Jesus who believe the bible and teach the bible. We believe church should feel like a party, and we work incredibly hard to make our guests feel welcome.


God continues His good work in us and continues to use us to make a massive impact on society. We are growing by leaps and bounds. So much so we’re not sure how we’re going to handle the growth. But I’ll say this we’ll let God do whatever He wants with us and we’ll adapt as necessary! So excited about the future! May God bless all you guy in amazing ways!

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Home to the most diverse city in the nation, and leading the world in blue collar shift workers, rests Houston Texas. In a stable east Houston middle class job market, many of these refinery workers do not work for the weekend because they do not have one. It is easy to make an extra dollar with another hour of over time, and another holiday away from their family. While chasing that bigger truck, hunting lease, or fishing boat, they are frequenting the bars that close at 2 a.m. and open again at 7a.m. to accommodate the ruthless schedules. These guys are politically conservative and spiritually far from God. Many of them are very honest, hard working guys who simply need a bit of encouragement in leading their families spiritually.

John Travolta set the stage 30 years ago in the feature Urban Cowboy which depicts the life of a man in our area. The only things that have changed are a dramatic increase in population, and now religious and ethnic diversity.

In East Houston we host one of the largest populations of prostitution, drug trafficking, and gang activity in the entire nation. Exceeding 85% of these people do not attend a church, nor do they profess to know Jesus Christ on a personal level. Amidst the brokenness stands a tireless group of 75 people (The Pathway Church) relentlessly working to intercede for these people who need a Jesus encounter. We have been actively serving and leading people to Christ for a solid 10 months and now plan to transition into our next phase of life.

February 2015 The Pathway Church will have a grand opening! Our weekly community service activities, after school mentoring program, home groups, and Sunday gatherings have created avenues of communicating to the people of East Houston. Refinery workers will soon be hearing the Gospel due to our in refinery bible studies, and strategic men’s emphasis efforts. The Pathway Church vision looks to lead broken people to choose a biblical pathway to real life. Often a life lived chasing money and possessions permeates every aspect of the blue collar plant workers life. These plant workers are no longer primarily caucasian but rather transplants from all over the nation and the world. They are not only bringing theirs households to Houston but also their religious beliefs and cultures. We must respond with a genuine urgency and passion to show God’s love and grace. A new church like The Pathway Church can aggressively reach them and will remain adaptable enough to make the lost, far from God, and unchurched its number one priority.

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We are a brand new church in the city limits of Mont Belvieu Texas that seeks to start other new churches in heavily growing areas around our country and the word. Our focus is on the East Houston region. We are focused on staying heavily connected to our community and to a broad network of churches, and seek to collaborate with our greater community to accomplish more. If you would like to see our Partners and Networks copy the link below into your browser:

Philosophically we are a service-based church. Basically our serving the community stays at the forefront of our calendar and plans. We have programs and activities but they all take a back seat to our service. We believe talk is cheap…so we like to show our love by action. We don’t believe sharing the Gospel of Jesus is enough, we like to show it as well.

Theologically, we have Baptist roots. However we break most of the non-essential “Baptist-like” perceptions. Our church sticks close to the scriptures and orthodox Christian doctrine, but in function we break a lot of tradition. We teach directly from the Bible and hold that very close to our hearts. Nothing we do compromises the integrity of scripture, but all that we do focuses on reaching any kind of person. Your background, appearance, or profession make no difference to us.

For more details feel free to consult our statement of beliefs page on our website! Just copy the link below into your browser.

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Hey Friends,

This has been a long time coming, a group of 65+ (and growing) people have been serving our community now for over 9 months. Some of us already lived in Mont Belvieu/Baytown and some of us moved here to help start a new church. So why haven’t we had public services yet? Great question!

We are a service based church that has been growing through personal relationships and networking. From the very beginning of this effort Ashley and I believed God was leading us not simply to start a new church, but to start a ministry that served our community without an agenda of our own. Sunday services were only a part of what we were going to do, but our emphasis is on loving and serving our community. So now that we have established ourselves with that DNA we are ready to move forward and have Sunday services! You are all invited. It would be our privilege to have you as our guest at our preview services and big launch service!

Preview Services January 11th and 25th, launch February 8th. All @ The Eagle Pointe Recreation Complex in Mont Belvieu 10 a.m. We recommend arriving 15-20 minutes early to check in the kiddos and grab yourself a cup of coffee. I promise your kids will have a blast! We make children’s ministry a huge priority!

What are Preview Services?
These are two services where we sort of practice hosting a service. We’ll probably make a few mistakes, but this gives us some time to correct them. These two opportunities are a great opportunity to get an early peak into The Pathway Church, we want to you to come and check these out…maybe you can even volunteer and help us with our launch!

What is Launch? (February 8th, the Sunday after Superbowl Sunday)
This is the first official public gathering where we hope to have all of our systems in place and fully functioning. Its a great opportunity to invite all of your friends and family members!

So come one, come all! We hope to see you guys and are blessed to serve you!


Pastor Chris

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What’s going on right now?

Posted By on Dec 4, 2014

Before our Preview Services in January and Feb 8th launch?

Preview Services: January 11th and 25th (Eagle Pointe Recreation Complex)
Public Launch: February 8th (Eagle Pointe Recreation Complex)

Right Now
Currently we are meeting as a launch team at the Eagle Pointe Recreation Center in Mont Belvieu (Every Sunday 9:45 a.m. breakfast, 10 a.m. start), discussing core values and ministry teams. It’s kind of like an open town hall meeting each week. This is the perfect time for you to get involved. Anyone is welcome to join us and learn how to get involved and serve our community together. We always have breakfast and quality fun childcare so bring the family.

Who can help?
Truthfully, anyone! Even if you’d like to help Pathway for a fixed period of time we can place you in a ministry. Also if you like to start new things, this is a perfect setting for you. We have attracted a lot of entrepreneurial minded people. If you just want to make a financial contribution toward our efforts you can do so by pasting the link below into your browser:

Core Values: We are a service based church, come and learn what that looks like and how you can get involved in making positive change in our region.

Ministry Teams: Maybe you have a gift or talent you can offer to our service. We would love to have you help

Sign up for a ministry team now by pasting the link below into your browser!

You can also read more about us on our Website

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How to Pray

Posted By on Dec 3, 2014

Guys we are gearing up to launch this new church. This day has long been awaited and yes, we are ridiculously excited! We have determined to set ourselves up as a service based church and therefore have spent one solid year serving our community and focused on building that DNA of service into our blood. So here we are a year later and more than quadroupled in size getting ready to launch. Please continue to pray for us.

Here is how:

1.) We need protection from spiritual attack as we invade enemy territory. The devil does not want this, so we need prayer saturation.

2.) We need to build our launch team a bit more…would like 8-10 more people. We will also need some of you guys to come help us on launch day February 8th, and a few weeks/months after that. In a sense we need to borrow you! 😉 Please pray in that regard.

3.) We need three primary things that are essential to our launch. A sound system, which is roughly $5000, some visual equipment which is roughly $2500, and children’s ministry supplies, roughly $1500. Please pray about giving toward that effort.

4.) We also need roughly a 20 ft enclosed trailer for all of our equipment. Do you know someone willing to donate one? Or donate towards the purchase of one?

We ask you to pray for us, but we pray for you as well. Please let us know specifically how we can do so. We are so humbled and blessed that you guys are our extended friends and family. May God continue to bless you all this holiday

For more info check us out @


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Why Event Driven Churches are not Effective Disciple Making Movements

First off, most event driven churches do not realize they are event driven, and those that do, either refuse to admit it or make up excuses as to why it must continue.

All of my ministry experience has revolved around planning an event, getting people to attend it, and then teaching them the planned lesson. Sometimes personal ministry took place. Sometimes. “Attend this activity, come to that meeting.” I can remember days early on while serving as a youth pastor where I was required to plan a certain amount of activities so that it appeared I was an aggressive and determined youth pastor. Success was determined by business and numerical attendance, salvations and baptisms recorded on paper. I was successful. Events/Activities typically only work well (to their end/purpose) when an established crowd of people exist. Much different in church planting. We were always busy and the ministry I served grew significantly in numbers. In fact every event driven ministry I have served since then has effectively grown numerically. Several good things happened. People built relationships, loved attending, fun was had, the bible was taught, and much much more! 😉 But one thing was missing…I couldn’t put my finger on it, and honestly I had spent so long justifying that kind of ministry in my mind and I continually rationalized because of the “success” I was having.

I loved getting pats on the back and having a big crowd show up to hear me speak. Truthfully though, pretty much any competent person who is motivated and diligent can get a crowd to show up. Give him a budget and a few helpers and he can get an even bigger crowd. And yes the Sunday morning gathering/large Wednesday gathering fits within the category of an event or an activity. A good speaker, cool band, and good size budget equals large crowd. Every time. And many, likely most churches, are built on this Sunday gathering. Without this event the majority if not all of their ministries would fizzle out quickly. Where would they take the offering? How would they teach the bible? How do people get saved without this alter call? How would we effectively disciple people without Sunday school classes? God forbid we have a church that doesn’t have a concert each week! How can we grow spiritually without the band? But still with all of this at my finger tips one thing was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. All I could think about each day was the massive amount of super large wealthy churches in the Bible Belt and yet things were still utterly broken in society. Most churches were content with their sunday gatherings and an occasional service project to check the “feel good, I served a poor person” off their list. We’ll gladly participate in “Operation Christmas Child”, but no chance will we get to know the shoeless hungry kid in the apartment complex down the road. That’s too messy and requires way too much work, right? And yet it was endless insanity of doing the same thing over and over again yet getting the same results. Lot’s of people but no power from God. No miraculous transformation, or society penetration.

Honestly no one on a grand scale would have cared if we were gone tomorrow. It was more of transfer growth, christian collecting, and feel good activity. But no real penetration into society, no real transformation. Collecting but no sending. Why do some churches plant hundreds of churches and others plant none? Or one, or a couple. Collecting but no sending. In scripture I feel like there was more reproducing and sending going on then collecting and gathering. Maybe I have a week hermeneutic but I could not reconcile modern church with what I was seeing in scripture. It felt more like I was helping institutions drive their programs instead of submitting to the power of God to fuel His movement. It felt like we had man centered agendas instead of God’s agenda. Who are we to think our programs, and events, and activities and gatherings are what works? Since when did God need us to manipulate His results? I read an article by Tony Morgan where he lists six reasons people do event driven ministry. I thought it was good so Im borrowing it from him to list in this blog post:

1.) Churches do events because churches have always done events. It doesn’t matter if the event actually helps people or not, we do the event because we’re suppose to do the event.

2.) We do events because they are easy to measure. If more people show up, we assume the event was successful and helpful. How many large Christian events cause little to no real change or transformation?

3.) We do events because we’re lazy. Its a lot easier to just throw events on the calendar than it is to think about how we might effectively help people take their next steps…especially if that involves engaging people in relationships…The following is my own commentary…”people do not become true disciples at events, they become true disciples in the dirty mix and grind of every day life…marriages are not fixed at events, they are fixed one choice at a time to love your spouse through the hell of life.” Also if one has to justify his position by adding events and activity to the calendar, then there is a toxic relationship between pastor and church.

4.) We do events to justify staff positions. Staff members feel obligated to do events to prove the need for their positions…the following is my own commentary…most churches are over staffed anyway. Staff often does what a lazy pastor does not want to do, or they serve as a added name on the website to pad the church ego.

5.) We do events because we have egos. It feels good to get up in front of a group of people and teach them. We feel fulfilled……….I love preaching to big crowds, not gonna lie…but what I crave more is God fueled power and transformation.

6.) We do events because we’re afraid to say no. Many times we don’t know when to say no because we haven’t established a clear vision and strategy.

**Ive added one of my own...

7.) We do events because it fools people into thinking we have something legitimate going on so they will give their money. If it were me I would more likely invest in a God movement than a monotonous event any day. But who knows? I can expound on number two with this one. People like to give to events because it makes them feel as if they are getting a visible return on their investment. Its harder to give to a movement because movements are often subversive and not easily visible. We live in a consumeristic culture. Unfortunately we cannot change the hearts of men. We can only manipulate them. Only God can change their hearts.

The decision we must make: A creative, exciting, man driven, set of events and activities, and random missions to check off of a “feel right with The Lord” list OR a God fueled disciple making movement emphasizing biblical sending and reproduction.

At the end of the day, I have done the former and have done it well. But to be honest I’d rather have the latter or quit and go get a job that’s less messy, less stressful, and pays more. I would never want to become a man who has to pad his insecure ego by gathering a crowd of people to listen to him at a weekly event. The idea of that fancy’s me not. That’s too much work for not enough result. I’d rather hop on a wave of God-powered movement all day long.

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How did we end up moving from Deer Park to Barbers Hill to start a brand new church?

For over 5 years, Chris has felt a sense that he was being led to start a church and has patiently waited for the right timing. While serving as student pastors, Chris and Ashley completed their Master of Divinity degrees at Southwestern seminary in Fort Worth Texas. During their time in the metroplex Chris and Ashley received their training to start new churches through Northwood Church in Keller, Tx and Glocalnet. This network concentrates on planting transformational, gospel centered churches all over the world. Upon graduation, they moved to Deer Park Texas to serve on staff at the church where Chris grew up, and began ministering to young married couples. Chris grew up in Deer Park, played baseball at Deer Park High School, and was very involved in the community. Over time God began to make things clear for them. As friends and family began moving to the Mont Belvieu/Baytown area, Chris was made aware of the growing population and the need for more churches. Through research they learned that greater Houston closed the doors to over 250 churches in 2013, is on pace to close more in 2014, and yet continues to grow in population at close to 2500 people per week. With just over a decade of church staff experience, Chris knew it was time to take a leap of faith, follow God’s leadership, and put his entrepreneurial passion to use. The population allows for plenty of space and ample unchurched people.

Chris desires to start a church that will plant other churches and focuses on reproducing gospel centered, service based, and community transforming churches. Chris is beginning his doctorate studies at Southwestern seminary and looking forward to further education. They are excited at the positive receptivity from people, organizations, and leaders about a new church coming into the Mont Belvieu/Baytown area. Chris, Ashley, and Beau are a friendly, fun-loving family, with a genuine love for people. As a family their desire is primarily to see people experience an abundant life in Christ that is joy filled and satisfying. With all of the utter brokenness in our society Chris and his family are truly convinced there are plenty of people out there who are unchurched or de-churched, but still want to make a difference. We do not want to steal people from other churches, but rather to reach people who need the life and love of a church. Together, relentless, and resilient, one can make a change! There truly is a better Pathway!

***We currently gather for our launch meetings weekly on Sundays at the Eagle Point Rec Center in Mont Belvieu @ 10 a.m. (Free breakfast 9:45 a.m.) Everyone is welcome, please join us and see how you can make a difference! Fun/Safe childcare is always provided.

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