Taking teamwork to a new level

Kingsland Baptist Church’s second campus demonstrates the value and good stewardship of faith + community partnerships

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

  • When building a new campus, what if the church wasn’t responsible for every piece of the puzzle?
  • What if, to create their facilities, the church spent more time building relationships rather than raising funds?
  • What if the church built the puzzle with partnerships rather than with their own funds?

With the guidance of Micah Simecek, AIA, MBA, CCS, a partner at Studio RED Architects, Kingsland Baptist Church (KBC) in Katy, Texas, dared to ask these unconventional questions — and the results are a win-win-win for the church, its partners, and the surrounding community.

“The typical development model for the modern church is to plant / raise capital funds / purchase land / raise funds / build the initial building / raise funds / expand for specific ministry purposes / raise funds / repeat,” Simecek points out. “But what if the church could focus less on fundraising and more on ministry? What if they spent time building relationships that allowed them to be the center of the civic community?”

KBC leaders had the same thoughts — and now, thanks to a commitment to pursue faith + community partnerships, its second campus functions exactly as intended: as “The Big House on the Corner.”

A blank slate

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In 2015, KBC purchased nearly 69 acres of land in Katy, Texas — a suburb of Houston — for its second campus. This in itself was a forward-thinking move for a few reasons. 

At the time, the land was “nothing but rice fields, some cattle, and tilapia ponds,” recalls Executive Pastor of Administration Todd Pendergrass. “Now, it’s in the middle of hundreds and hundreds of homes and young families.” 

Another unique element of the church’s plan for the acreage was its intent, from the beginning, to partner with a property development company to sell 50 acres and keep 17. On those 50 acres, the developer would build a subdivision, and the remaining 17 acres would essentially be paid for.

Even better, when construction on the church began in 2019, all necessary utilities, drainage and detention for the church campus were already in place as part of its partnership with the developer. This saved KBC leaders hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Partnering with a developer has obviously made excellent stewardship sense for KBC, but more importantly, it meshes with the church’s vision to be a neighborhood hangout. 

With a two-story, air-conditioned indoor playground that is adjacent to the café and outdoor splash pad and large turf area / green space, as well as an outdoor playground, Simecek and his team ensured these amenities were as community-facing as possible. All are open (and highly visible) to the public, all week long.

Food & fellowship

When it came time to get a full-service café up and running, KBC leaders again called on the proven success of faith + community partnerships. 

In years past, they had partnered with Diane and Dana Roark and their daughter Heidi — owners of Great Harvest Bread Company and members of the church for more than 20 years — to give away 150 loaves after a hurricane made bread hard to find on store shelves. 

KBC leaders asked the Roarks if they would consider opening a location in the new café space. The answer was yes, and a low-cost lease arrangement was drawn up. 

The Roarks provided input to Studio RED (which has restaurant build-out experience) and KBC leaders regarding the design of the space, citing how much space was needed for equipment and so on. 

The café is an independently operated location, meaning the staffing and hours are managed by the Roarks, and all equipment belongs to the company. They make every effort to be open when the church is, but especially when it’s busy: during worship on the weekends, as well as church events — Bible studies, movie nights and even kids’ camps. For these events, Great Harvest often provides or supplements the food being served. 

According to Diane, the location has been able to turn a profit. It has also extended the bakery’s reach into the fast-growing Katy area, recapturing some customers who might otherwise have been lost to urban sprawl.  But, as she points out, her family’s motivation is much more than monetary.

“We want to help grow the church,” she says. “We love it here, and we love the concept. We want to make this work.” 


In the end, KBC’s second campus has just about everything anyone looking to connect could want — all in one place. Aside from the amenities that can be used every day, its thoughtfully designed community-focused spaces host popular monthly farmer’s markets, movie nights on the lawn, and children’s story nights (sponsored by Great Harvest). 

And it has all been made possible by embracing church-community partnerships: pooling resources, pursuing like-minded goals, and developing not only mutually beneficial, but communally beneficial, church operations.


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