When you walk in the doors of Parkway Fellowship Church, you’ll find a casual, cheerful, friendly environment. Free coffee and doughnuts are available in the foyer and there’s a warm welcome from greeters.
The tightknit community of members has grown dramatically since 2002, when Senior Pastor Mike McGown and his wife Amy first launched the church with 16 other families. Shortly before that time, Mike, who had previously served on staff at another church, was attending a Purpose Driven Conference at Saddleback Church when he felt the Lord calling him to plant a church.
“I had never planted a church,” says Mike, “and I never wanted to plant a church. At the time, my wife was seven-and-a-half months pregnant with our first baby.”
Yet Mike couldn’t ignore the vision God had given him to start a Purpose Driven Church, and reach 10% of the people in the West Houston area. It was a dream to effectively serve the community of Katy, requiring him to step out in faith with these first local families.
Holding their first official service in February of 2003, Parkway Fellowship began meeting at Cinco Ranch High School. It would become their home for the next seven years. The first Sunday, 864 people showed up.
Since it was their grand opening, they knew numbers would drop, but they hoped they could stay above the 600 mark the following week. When the next Sunday rolled around, 856 people came through the doors and it was standing room only. Pastor Mike announced that they would move to two services to ease overcrowding.
During that time, the church dramatically grew and lives were transformed by Christ. The community could see the impact Parkway Fellowship was having across their area. “The Park,” as it is often called, was one of the first Purpose Driven churches in the area.
Unlike many traditional churches, weekend services at Parkway Fellowship cater to new believers. They are contemporary, last just one-hour, and include pop/rock style worship music. Kids have a secure, state-of-the-art check-in system to ensure that parents can fully take part in and enjoy their worship experience. They also leverage media and technology to enhance their services using video, social media, and more.
“We teach in a very applicable and accessible style while holding to biblical truths,” says Pastor Mike. “Our messages are packaged in sermon series that range in length from three-to-seven weeks. We’re just putting it in practical terms that everyone can understand. What you hear on Sunday can be put into practice Monday morning.”
In 2005 the church was awarded the prestigious Church Health Award from Saddleback Church. The award, given by Purpose Driven Ministries and Saddleback Church, recognizes churches for overall health—not church growth.
As pastor Mike continued to focus on church health, growth indeed materialized. In 2010, the church purchased 67 acres in Richmond, Texas where they built their Westpark Campus. Once surrounded by cow pastures and farmland, the area has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years as new homes and businesses continue to spring up on all sides of the church.
Two weeks after moving into their new building, Parkway’s attendance doubled. From 2011 to 2014, “The Park” landed on Outreach Magazine’s Top 100 Fastest-Growing Churches in America list.
“It feels very rewarding,” says Mike. “We work hard as a church to make a difference in our community. To see our growth is simply confirmation of God’s blessing.”
With the addition of the North Campus in 2014, Parkway Fellowship began to be “one church in two locations”. Because the region was expanding so rapidly, Mike knew a multi-site church would be the most effective way to impact and effectively serve the entire community.
With plans to launch a third campus, Parkway Fellowship continues to thrive and grow by implementing Purpose Driven strategies.
Now, 14 years later, Pastor Mike laughs when he says, “After all these years, there’s still plenty of PD left in me!”
To learn more about becoming a Purpose Driven Church, visit pd.church/start.