By Natalie Gonzalez
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he desire to live for Christ is far more than a mission statement housed within four walls and dusted off for Sunday or holidays.
“We exist to connect ordinary people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ that results in a life lived courageously for Him; which is simply first being, then making disciples.” The “we” to which Bobby Minor is referring is Courageous Church, where he serves as Lead Pastor and Directional Leader. It’s also a well-stated reminder of the Great Commission to which we respond as believers.
Since its launch in January of this year, the church has been boldly reaching out to the very people who make up their community and loving on them in very real, pragmatic ways. Through their own unique and creative efforts along with forging relationships with organizations like Samaritan House of Fort Worth, Freedom in Worship and Habitat for Humanity this relatively young church has given more than 1400 combined hours of service.
Courageous Church meets the day-to-day needs of others in their circles of influence by providing meals for the homeless and homebound and throwing “laundry parties” by offering free service at Laundromats for four hours while the community is entertained with DJs, bounce-houses, and food. These “grassroots” efforts impact souls outside the church building by sharing what Jesus with skin looks like to the world around them. The Courageous mission statement to; “Love God more than anything, love others the way God does, and meet the needs of DFW and beyond in courageous ways,” explodes with life in this active, vibrant congregation.
When asked what the church sees as the biggest need in DFW, Bobby points to collaboration and unity amongst local churches. He explains there is plenty of need, but insecurity and pride are barriers to accomplishing God’s good work. “While we view the role of Courageous here locally as a catalyst, we also see ourselves as connectors and as a conduit, helping other churches get on mission and getting them plugged in to opportunities to serve.” It is not a contest for bragging rights of those who can say they made it happen. God made it happen; God owns those rights hands down. Bobby stresses this point, in his desire to work with others and impact souls, by adding, “You don’t have to do everything, but just do something.”
Perhaps the once gritty and hopeless past of both Bobby and his wife, Cary, blessed these founding members with a powerful sense of purpose and mission on the other side of redemption. “I took one of the most unlikely routes to where I am today,” Bobby states, “and I am amazed everyday by a God who uses me for something like this.” Rescued from lives of self-reliance, drug abuse, and wayward partying, Bobby and Cary are now supporting their family of six by pursuing Christ full-time, managing their own schedules, and impacting lives beyond their local neighborhood. Their goal each day is to let their light shine for Jesus.
Delivering delectable sweet treats isn’t the only application for Bobby’s social media savvy and entrepreneurial proclivity. The same skills and expertise that have aided both Cary and Bobby in their business ventures are being leveraged for reaching people who don’t know Christ. Bobby shares, “I’m always thinking, my wheels are always turning, so sometimes I have to step back and make sure I’m focusing on what I need to be at that time.” Those turning wheels no doubt led to the foundation of C3 Church Marketing, an outlet that applies Bobby’s marketing savvy to helping churches connect to their local communities. “Our vision is much bigger than us,” he explains, “and will take lots more people to carry out.”
The Courageous Church pastor’s walk out the “The Minor’s Marriage Model” of reaching their community by first wholeheartedly and unabashedly serving the Lord , and then pouring into each other to strengthen their mate and ultimately equip one another to continue loving on souls in need of Christ. It is also true no ministry is without challenges. For Cary, her main challenge is a matter of managed expectations. “Always remember people are people,” she advises, “and they will let you down, and to not take it personally when it does happen.“ Ministering with grace and compassion are the simplest yet most powerful ways to demonstrate God’s love. Indeed, in our broken, weakest moments we are desperately in need of ministering. For anyone who may not know of Christ’s love, imagine the impact of a church whose feet hit the pavement to meet you right where you are just as you are: dirty clothes, empty stomach, and all, yet love you too much to leave you in this place alone.
GETTING TO KNOW CARY MINOR, THE FIRST LADY OF COURAGEOUS CHURCH
What is your role in the ministry?
My biggest role is being a support person for my husband, encourage him, and to be there for him in the fulfillment of the vision God has given him to start Courageous. At Courageous, I also oversee all of our First Impression elements. It is my job to make sure when people come to the church they are treated like VIP’s because they are.
WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF CHURCH?
After spending years in customer service with Ford and Sprint, eight years ago I started creating cakes on the side. Two years ago, I started creating cakes full-time and launched my business Cary’s Creations. I love what I do, and it gives me the freedom and flexibility to do ministry whenever and wherever I want.
It’s definitely a challenge and something about which I have to be intentional. Fortunately, God has allowed me to do my own thing, which gives me the opportunity to create my own schedule. My husband and I both share in the household responsibilities and blessing I find most helpful in accomplishing everything I need to in a day. Being married to Bobby has impacted my cake business in a major way, too, because he has such an entrepreneurial mind and is always challenging me to stretch myself. He’s also a social media guru and very creative in helping me not only in my cake business but most importantly in reaching people far from Christ.
How do you handle your role as a wife?
My walk with Christ is definitely stronger because of my marriage. I know Bobby loves God more than he loves me and that’s the way it should be. He challenges me, encourages me, and disciples me, and I’ve done things I would have never imagined doing without him. I have traveled to India three times and moved to North Carolina for six months to help restart a church. And, her I am today starting Courageous Church and seeing the impact it’s having on and in the community. As a family, we spend a lot of time together just hanging out and also serve together as often as we can. We’re very transparent and pretty much have an open door policy at our home. We love having people over.
Did you ever imagine you would one day be a pastor’s wife? What is your biggest challenge?
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be a pastor’s wife. With that being said, it’s been one of the most rewarding, exciting journeys of my life and I wouldn’t change it even if given the chance. One of the biggest challenges for me is the fact, for most of what I do on a daily basis, I am learning as I go. There’s no school for pastor’s wives, so to speak. Every day is different and every experience is unique. There are a lot of times where I’m learning on the fly and simply trusting God completely with the outcome.
Natalie Gonzalez lives in Fort Worth, TX with her husband.