Good News United Methodist Church;
A History 2002-2013
Started as a “parachute drop” church in 2001, Fred Winslow and Sharon Adair were assigned by the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church to start a congregation with the center of its missional field at the crossroads of FM 1431 and Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Cedar Park, Texas. Envisioned as a blended contemporary congregation serving children, youth and families, Good News Church held its first worship service at Block House Creek Elementary with Pastors Fred Winslow & Sharon Adair, presiding and a few core families who were found via publicized ads in the local community paper, informal gatherings and being attendees at previous churches of Pastor Winslow and Adair. The first service on February 10, 2002 was attended by a congregational group from Allen, Texas in support of the fledgling Good News group.
With the launch of services, the first members worked alongside the pastors to start ministries such as Sunday School named Sunday F.U.N. in June 2002. In the early months of Good News, the vision/mission to serve “Children, Youth, and Families” was refined and the name moved from being simply Good News Church to Good News United Methodist Church to reflect the connectional denomination.
In December 2002 the congregation hosted a community Christmas workshop for children, youth and families in the cafeteria of Blockhouse Elementary School and held three Christmas services, a 5pm service for children and then a 7pm and 11pm service for families. During 2002, the structure of the church was built from dedicated members who decided early on that the church governing structure would be in the form of teams. A Leadership Team was formed to oversee the business of the church.
2003 saw growth for Good News UMC and a Land Study Team was formed to begin looking for a permanent home for the congregation. Over the course of the next two years, members of this team would look at a total of 43 properties and make offers on three separate parcels.
In 2005, Good News United Methodist Church chartered and moved to official recognition within the United Methodist Church. Also that year, the Land Study Team located a parcel of 13.25 acres of land that was for sale. Terms were negotiated and the church membership stood in a circle and prayed for guidance before voting to purchase the property at the corner of County Road 180 and County Road 185. A capital campaign was conducted under the theme “Holy Ground.” This is the name that the membership took for the parcel and Holy Ground was purchased for $721,000. A 2,700 square foot home on the property became a meeting building and office for the congregation which continued to worship in local Leander ISD schools of Blockhouse Creek Elementary, Cox Elementary and Henry Middle School .
October 2007 brought the announcement that Pastors Fred Winslow and Sharon Adair intended to retire and the focus for the congregation fell to finding a pastor to follow our founding pastors. In November 2007 the conference named Bob Rainey as new pastor of Good News UMC. Pastor Rainey worked with the congregation to further refine our mission and vision challenging us to become more outwardly service oriented. In the summer of 2007, our youth participated in their first Central Texas Youth in Mission (CTCYM) mission trip to Berryville, Arkansas. Tim Lowke was also named to the board of Hill Country Community Ministries as part of the church focus on service.
During 2007, the congregation decided to move back to Block House Creek Elementary from Henry Middle School. Early 2008 found the church with financial problems arising from having to fulfill a budget entirely on their own without conference support, but with land payments. The decision was made to put Holy Ground on the market. In the fall of 2008, the Building for Mission Team charged with planning for a first phase building received an offer from a nursing home provider for part of the church property. The church made a counteroffer and received no response from the nursing home. Eventually, the church and the nursing home came to an agreement crafted by the Building for Mission Team and the congregation approved the sale of 4 acres. Also during this period, the City of Cedar Park annexed Holy Ground and made an offer for a strip of the property to expand East New Hope Drive. The church realized profits from these sales that enabled it to pay off the land note and bank some of the money for a first phase building in the future.
In March 2010, Good News UMC moved from Blockhouse Creek Elementary to a rental space in The Railyard shopping center behind 1431 Café. As the first permanent home, the congregation could focus on ministry and quit setting up church from a trailer each Sunday. A surprise announcement by the conference in February 2011 had Pastor Bob Rainey reassigned to Eastland and Ranger UMCs and interim pastor Gary Whitbeck was assigned to Good News UMC.
March 2011 brought the Building for Mission Team to recommend engaging consultant(s) and architects to begin the building process. Shortly thereafter, in June 2011, Pastor Steve Moss became the new pastor of Good News UMC. Planning for a building at Holy Ground began in earnest and in early 2012, a new Good News UMC mission/vision statement focusing on “Connect, Grow, Serve” became official. Thoroughout 2012 and into early 2013, along with the regular ministry of the congregation, the focus was on the building of The Discipleship Center and the renovation of the house at Holy Ground, to be rechristened The Wesley Center. On Easter Sunday 2013, Good News UMC held its first worship service in The Discipleship Center. The congregation “on the move” had come home to Holy Ground.