Growing its roots
Pastor plants new church in De Soto
Matt Maestas is caring for a small seed that he hopes will germinate and take root in the De Soto community.
"A church, just like something you put in the ground is a living organism," he said. "The desire for anyone starting or planting a church is for that church to take root in the community and grow and be a church that really has a big impact on the community around it."
About a year ago, Maestas was approached about starting a Southern Baptist Church in De Soto.
"My wife, Jessica, and I really prayed about that quite a bit, and we really felt that was something God had for us to do," he said.
So Maestas, 26, and his wife moved to De Soto in November, and in January they started the De Soto Community Church.
The church meets at The Crossing Youth Center, 33180 W. 83rd St. Its second service was Sunday morning, followed by an informational meeting Wednesday. The church members will meet again next Wednesday to perform a service in the community, although Maestas said he didn't yet know what that service would be.
The church won't have service again until 10 a.m. July 13, and an informational meeting will again follow at 6:30 p.m. July 16.
"Hopefully we'll start meeting for worship regularly in August," Maestas said.
Right now, there are about 10 core members of the church, Maestas said, but at Sunday's service about 25 people were present.
As a Southern Baptist Church, De Soto Community Church has a strong adherence to the Bible as the word of God as authoritative, and it also has a strong commitment to missions.
While there also is the De Soto Baptist Church, it is not part of the same denomination. The De Soto Baptist Church is an American Baptist Church, and while similar in that both churches involved members being baptized, Maestas said there are differences.
"The Southern Baptist church has taken a more conservative stance on social issues like homosexuality and women in the ministry, on a national level," he said. "But the way those things flush themselves out on an individual congregation basis is very, very different especially here in the heartland."
At De Soto Community Church, everything flows from its mission statement "Becoming an expression of Christ in the community to transform our neighborhood and the world."
Maestas said the church also focuses on its five core values: truth, worship, service, life and connection.
"Becoming committed to transform a community is very important to us," he said.
When attracting members, Maestas said he wasn't looking for people who already attended a church, although he recognized that will happen.
"We are really here to seek and save those that are lost," he said. "We want to find people that are unconnected or disconnected from church altogether or really more importantly disconnected from Christ.
"More than being a trendy church in town or the new church in town, we just want to be a place that reaches out to those in need."
Meeting at The Crossing gives Maestas the chance to get the word out about his church through De Soto Youth Ministries and attract some of those teenagers and their parents. He also tries to make connections throughout the community through word of mouth.
"The gospel spreads best when it spreads like a virus," he said. "It's people coming into contact with one another. Really that is what we want to be about."