An Exciting Next Chapter for The Story Church

The Story Church's River Oaks campus will be relocating on January 1, 2022. This page will be updated frequently with news, meetings, and events related to the upcoming transition.

WEEKLY UPDATES

Wednesday, November 17 | Watch Update from Pastor Eric
Monday, November 22 | Read Update from Pastor Eric
Monday, November 29 | Watch or Read Update from Pastor Eric

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FAQ

+ Why are we moving?
About four months ago, St. Luke’s UMC leadership informed us that The Story’s time as part of St. Luke’s will come to an end no later than December 31, 2021. Their stated reasons for this decision ranged from “The Story has outgrown the St. Luke’s campus” to “cultural differences between our two congregations.”

Regardless of the reasons behind this decision, The Story congregation and our pastors have been so blessed to be a part of St. Luke’s for the last seven years, and we will be eternally grateful to God for giving us a mother-church as generous and hospitable as the St. Luke’s congregation has been. The Story Church will always thank God for the wonderful members of St. Luke’s, and we will cherish the wonderful memories we’ve made on their beautiful campus.

From our vantage point, this moment hardly feels like a departure; if anything, it is a natural next step as The Story continues to grow into the church that God is calling us to be.
+ How will our community change?
Change is never easy, and we know the road ahead will be a challenge. No matter what may come, The Story will continue to pursue the same mission to inspire non-religious people to follow Jesus. Also, The Story’s vision of becoming a multi-site, church planting engine remains unchanged, so our Timbergrove Campus will be unaffected by this move. While our mission and culture will not change, there are two significant areas of opportunity for us to consider during this transition.

First, we need a new home for our main campus in the River Oaks area. We searched diligently all summer long, and we’ve narrowed our list of potential landing spots down to just a handful. As soon as it’s appropriate for us to publicly discuss our prospects, our Board and pastors will offer a report to the entire congregation.

Second, it is possible that The Story Church will choose to affiliate with a new denomination or network of churches beyond January 1, 2022. Since our inception, The Story has been a part of the United Methodist denomination, and all of our pastors are ordained or licensed UM clergy. The UMC and its leaders have been very supportive of The Story and our pastors.

With that being said, should The Story remain United Methodist beyond January 1, the District Board of Church Location would need to approve our new location, as well as any additional campuses we hope to plant in the future. This Board generally does not permit churches to be planted within 1-2 miles of existing United Methodist congregations. Because there are already UM congregations in River Oaks, West University, Bellaire, the Museum District, Downtown, the Galleria, the Villages, and the Heights, our search for a new home anywhere near our current home would be severely restricted.

We are currently in the process of exploring various other denominations and networks, and our Board could reach a decision as early as the end of this year. Our goals are to maintain our core theology, including the centrality and uniqueness of Jesus and his Gospel, a high view of Scripture, a Wesleyan/Arminian understanding of God’s grace, an open table for Communion, and the ordination of women clergy, as well as other foundational Christian beliefs (see The Apostles Creed).
+ Will the new campus host all the same services and ministries?
Yes, and more. All along, our goal has been to find a home for our River Oaks Campus that will accommodate all of our current ministries, along with the new growth we anticipate in the future. We’re also looking forward to having a few simple luxuries that we’ve never had before, such as offices for our staff, meeting rooms for small groups, and a small recording studio for podcast and video production. We have also made it a priority to find plenty of space for our ministries with children and students!
+ Will we still be a United Methodist church?
We’re not sure. Since our inception, The Story has been a part of the United Methodist denomination, and all of our pastors are ordained or licensed UM clergy. With that being said, should The Story remain United Methodist beyond January 1, the District Board of Church Location would need to approve our new location, as well as any additional campuses we hope to plant in the future. This Board generally does not permit churches to be planted within 1-2 miles of existing United Methodist congregations. Because there are already UM congregations in River Oaks, West University, Bellaire, the Museum District, Downtown, the Galleria, the Villages, and the Heights, our search for a new home anywhere near our current home would be severely restricted.

We are currently in the process of exploring various other denominations and networks, and our Board could reach a decision as early as the end of this year. Our goals are to maintain our core theology, including the centrality and uniqueness of Jesus and his Gospel, a high view of Scripture, a Wesleyan/Arminian understanding of God’s grace, an open table for Communion, and the ordination of women clergy, as well as other foundational Christian beliefs (see The Apostles Creed).
+ What will this mean for our Timbergrove campus?
We are so excited about The Story’s Timbergrove Campus, which officially launched in January 2021, and which is experiencing a tremendous season of growth! The 9:45 service at Timbergrove is already at capacity, and we’re already recruiting a “launch team” to start an 11am service in January 2022. Together with starting a new service, we will be expanding StoryKids programming by launching K-3rd programming for both services. God willing, and as long as things go according to plan, Timbergrove should not be affected by this transition.
+ How can I help?
We need your prayers. This year has been extraordinarily taxing for our congregation, especially our leaders, staff, and pastors. Even though we are excited about where God is leading The Story, the workload of the past five months has taken a toll. Please say a daily prayer for your church, its members, and its leaders as we enter the final stretch of this transition.

As we prepare for this move, The Story also needs your financial support. As anyone who has ever moved will tell you, moving is expensive. Wherever we decide to go, our new facility will require significant upgrades, and we will need to purchase some essential equipment and supplies to make sure our new home feels like home.

While we’ve been “paying our own bills” for quite some time, this will be the first time that The Story will be operating without the safety net of a mother-church. We are asking everyone who calls The Story home to consider making a special gift to our Moving Fund between now and December 15. To make a financial commitment to this fund, please email us at: nextchapter@thestory.church.

More questions?

We want to hear them! Email our pastors at nextchapter@thestory.church