|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - January 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Church of Extreme merges with Huntsville congregation
Trinity Standard - January 2009
TRINITY – Sunday, Jan. 11, marked the final gathering of Church of the Extreme in Trinity as we know it.
Pastors Shane and Tanya Hoevelman, after unanimous vote by church council members and overwhelming support by the congregation, have decided to merge with Pastors Jeff and Eileen Hackelman and the Huntsville-based Family Faith Church beginning Sunday, Jan. 18.
The decision comes six years and three months after the church began in 2002.
The Hoevelmans held the first service in their home on Oct. 27 of that year with 21 parishioners, some of which are still with them today. In a community that has more than 30 churches, what the Hoevelmans offered was unique and the focus was young people. Following each Sunday morning worship service there was a planned “extreme sport” type outing such as riding at a motocross track or going to a skate park.
\In the beginning there were neither of these facilities locally and traveling to Palestine, Conroe or Houston was normal for Sunday afternoon outings.
Soon it was very evident that skate boarding is what was attracting the kids.
“Skating was the hook for us,” says Pastor Shane, “so we knew we needed to construct something locally.”
The Hoevelmans began to vision cast with their members of building a state of the art youth facility that would not only attract teens but would offer them opportunities in extreme sports as well as life skill training and experience.
“We wanted to create opportunities for young people to build their lives with and provide them with a Biblical foundation to build it on,” says Pastor Shane.
In January 2003, just three months after they began, Church of the Extreme moved from the Hoevelman’s living room to a vacant warehouse on Hwy 19 that was formerly Rob McMurry Chevrolet. The 7,000 sq. ft. service bay offered lots of room for skating and, in short order, thanks to a considerable donation, ramp construction was underway. Kids from Trinity, Groveton, Lovelady, Riverside and Huntsville began flooding into the doors.
“We didn’t just let them skate, we conducted energetic worship services and preaching and taught kids about the love of Christ and how to honor God,” said Pastor Shane. In less than a year, Church of the Extreme was averaging over 100 students and their families coming out on Wednesday nights for church. “It was awesome to see what God was doing,” added Pastor Shane.
Within the first year the church began to look at the five acre pasture behind the building as a site for a motocross track. It offered plenty of room but needed lots of development. A family member made the first designated contribution for dirt and with the use of a loaned tractor the long, three year construction project was underway.
“We didn’t know much about track building back then, but we sure learned a lot,” Pastor Shane said. “It was due to the generosity of many people and business in the community that provided us with dirt, dozer service, and equipment rental that made the track possible. We would like to thank those people and businesses because the track became a great ‘calling card’ for us. A lot of people came to the church just because they were curious to what church with a motocross track was like.”
Before long, Church of the Extreme had a fully functioning skate park, a novice level practice motocross track, a full service snack bar and was conducting two worship services a week as well as hosting small group meetings, a monthly concert and motocross race events.
“We were seeing a lot of new faces and making a lot of new friends. God was doing some amazing things in a lot of people’s lives. Our first Father’s Day picnic, we baptized over 30 adults and teens at Huntsville State Park,” Pastor Shane said.
Attendance numbers were growing, particularly among teenagers. At one time, the average attendance age was 83% students K-12. Junior high and high schoolers made up 63% of the over all congregation. “We were hitting our target audience and we were thrilled,” Pastor Shane says, “however, it was becoming difficult to pay the bills.”
With the growing numbers came an increase in expenditures and a greater demand on the Hoevelman’s time so Shane and Tanya both decided to resign their jobs and work full time at the church. Growth was continuing and two part-time secretaries were needed to keep up with things however the finances didn’t catch up. Before long it became evident that a drastic change had to take place. The lease was just about up and there wasn’t enough support to renew.
“I never have been much of a fund raiser,” Pastor Shane said, laughing, “spending came more easily to me, I guess. Maybe that’s why I related to the teens so well.”
Hind site has revealed to the Hoevelman’s that the financial struggle was God’s way of moving them into a new phase of ministry. “We had never been real strong at developing leadership and that was something that was getting overlooked with all of the activity that was taking place,” adds Pastor Shane. “The move to our most recent location, near Burning Hope Baptist Church, provided us with an opportunity to restart,” he continued.
Spiritual growth teachings came forth helping people in the areas of leadership, spiritual gifts, finances, and relationships just to name a few.
Along with the move came a new relationship with Burning Hope Pastors Jim and Anita Parrish, who helped Church of the Extreme reestablish at 102 Emory on Hwy 356.
“We owe Pastor Jim and Mrs. Anita a great deal of gratitude. They came to our rescue when we needed it most,” the Hoevelmans said.
The Parrish’s were instrumental in introducing the Hoevelmans and Church of the Extreme to Tryon Evergreen Baptist Association (TEBA) and the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). It was these two organizations that brought some much needed financial relief that allowed the youth oriented church to get back on its feet and begin reaching teens for Christ.
“Had it not been for TEBA and BGCT Church of the Extreme would have probably ceased to exist,” Pastor Shane added.
Though the facility at the new location didn’t have space for the skate ramps or the motocross track, it did have air conditioning, which after three hot summers in the old car dealership, was an answer to prayer. However, without the extreme sport attractions in the new location, there began to be a decline in teen attendance. It was becoming evident to the Hoevelmans and the remaining parishioners exactly how critical having a skate facility was to their mission. Despite attempts at fostering new growth in other ways, new attendance numbers were flat.
While a lot of attention was begin given to developing leaders to help them fulfill their vision, the Hoevelmans realized that their ministry had become a Sunday and Wednesday church which was something that they never set out to be.
“We never wanted to just meet on Sundays and Wednesdays and that’s what we were doing mostly because of lack of funding,” says Pastor Shane. “After taking a hard look at our current state and seeking God for months on what to do, we concluded that the merger was the best option for us. Pastor Jeff and I have the same vision of reaching a community through its young people, so it just made sense,” says Pastor Shane.
Church of the Extreme members will attend worship services at Family Faith Church (FFC) in Huntsville which will provide a shuttle for those needing transportation. Please call 936-661-4632 for more details about shuttle departure time and location. In addition, Church of the Extreme will transition into a mobile ministry and will continue to serve the Trinity area through rallies and events as well as working with FFC outreach teams.
“We haven’t quit the ministry,” Pastor Shane clarifies, “We hope to be in Trinity at least once a month conducting high energy youth meetings. We would like to be utilized by Churches who are seeking to enhance their current youth ministry efforts and/or wanting to mobilize their adults to be more youth oriented.”
“We feel like we have an opportunity to get on the fast track to what was in our hearts in the beginning. We want to continue seeing lives of teens radically changed as we have in the past and by joining with FFC we will combine our efforts with an already highly effective ministry that travels the world and has already agreed to work with us in Trinity,” he added.
The Hoevelman’s want to thank all of the businesses and individuals that have helped over the years. There have been so many one time gifts as well as monthly support that enabled Church of the Extreme to send teens and adults around the world on missions trips and youth conferences as well as helping out locally with Christmas projects for orphans, offering computer training classes and participating in Mission in the Pines.
“Tanya and I are proud of what we have accomplished in Trinity and are looking forward to an even greater work,” Pastor Shane added.