Men's Breakfast Report, November 2013

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, November 9th with Johnathan Sublet.  Johnathan sees himself as a church planting missionary but his day job is as a chemical engineer.  Johnathan grew up in the black ghetto of Dallas but was able to get an education and escape.  He came to Brazosport as a Dow engineer but now works for a different company.

He first became a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Clute, a predominantly black church.  He was hired as a youth pastor at Hope Fellowship Church in Lake Jackson.  As youth pastor he led missionary trips to Cambodia and Kenya.  He also enrolled in seminary to get a divinity degree.  After a while he found that he had to drop out of the program; the study of Greek took too much time.  He decided that his calling was to found a church in an underserved area.  He initially was going to work with another pastor to set up a church in Galveston after Hurricane Ike, where the religious community was disrupted along with the rest of the city.  However, he realized that there was also a large need in Freeport with many poor people that were not associated with any church.  He therefore sold his house in Lake Jackson and moved to the Remington Arms apartments in the East of Freeport where he could develop a community and eventually a church. 

The church he is trying to plant is called Crossover Church.  It is under the umbrella of the Evangelical Free Church of America.  He participates in a huddle with a few other evangelists that provide mutual support and ideas.  Financial support is provided locally, primarily by Johnathan himself.  He has sponsored various activities to develop the community.  One was a youth fellowship for local youth.  This attracted many children but few adults became involved.  It became a free babysitting service and was suspended.  Another activity is a community supper he hosts every other Wednesday.  He also takes cookies to any new residents of the apartments to invite them to the church.  One thing he wants to avoid is what he calls toxic charity.  This is charity that reduces the ability of the people who receive it.  An example, a man works hard to provide Christmas presents for his children, but they receive much better gifts from a welfare organization so his gifts are ignored and the man is reduced in status in the eyes of his children and himself.   

Freeport is a low income minority-majority community.  About half the residents are Hispanic.  About half the children are from single parent households.  The educational level is low.  Johnathan has worked to improve the education of children in the area.  He is on the advisory board that watches the expenditures from the last BISD bond.  He is vice president of the local chapter of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).  He is working to get NOBCChE to sponsor Stephern F. Austin School with volunteer mentors and tutors.  He encourages anyone interested to volunteer at the school.  The major need is for people to help with reading by having students read to them and helping when the student gets stuck. 

The men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be Saturday December 14th.