the History Of redemption
In 1995, Mission Brenham (the precursor to Brenham Next) was formed through the collaboration of local Baptist churches (Fellowship, 1st, and Calvary), the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Independence Baptist Association, and the Brenham Housing Authority. The goal was to bring the “church” outside the four walls of the buildings to minister to the low-income community. Marcus Lawhon was hired as the founding Executive Director, where he served for fifteen years. The ministry included Bibles studies in the housing projects, afterschool programs, overnight and day camps, youth programs, etc.
Mission Brenham continued on after Pastor Marcus left under the leadership of the board and a new Executive Director. JAM and BLAST flourished for the next 7 years. But it all came to a screeching halt in 2017 when Mission Brenham’s administrator was arrested for embezzling over $80k. The news came out right before JAM was to begin, meaning that there were no funds for the summer. With no staff leaders, community confidence, nor funds in the bank, Mission Brenham closed.
It appeared to be the end, but from the ashes came a story of redemption. The Spirit moved and the community responded. Within 10 days of Mission Brenham’s closing, $80k of donations poured in from concerned individuals, churches and businesses. JAM was saved!
From there, Champion Fellowship took the ministries of Mission Brenham under their wing in order to stabilize and strengthen it, with the intention that it would be given back to the community. For three years both programs thrived.
In May 2020, Champion Fellowship began to search for those who loved this ministry and could help re-establish it as a non-profit, community development organization, Pastor Marcus Lawhon, DA Julie Renken, Pastor Darren Donaldson, Captain Lloyd Powell, Debbie Forland, and Principal Lakesha Morgan were asked to be a part of this new board, and all cheerfully agreed.
Throughout 2020 the organization has taken shape. Brenham Next assumed the working ministries of JAM and BLAST on January 1; with the intent to perpetuate this ministry, where over 3,000 Brenham children and their families have participated!