Today 15 of us (from Bay City, League City, Brenham, Burton, Houston, Conroe and other parts) took a field trip to The Ark, a non-denominational church in Conroe, Texas. Pastor Alan Clayton graciously took three hours out of his day to visit with us informally about this church that he started 15 years ago (1996).

Alan comes from a Charismatic background. He planted the church with his own time and money while working a full-time job. They met in four locations over the years, including Conroe High School’s auditorium. They’re now in their own building with a worship attendance around 4,000. On an average weekend they have 800-1000 children through age 12, which presents unique challenges and opportunities. The average age of the congregation is around 45.

We discussed evangelism, discipleship, children’s and youth ministries, accountability, giving, administration, worship and more. For example, we learned that Pastor Clayton (pictured here on the right) spends most of his time in sermon prep. He preaches Sundays and midweek.

We enjoyed lunch with his very young senior staff, and discussed the differences between the culture of mainline churches and non-denoms. Many thanks to Alan and folks for their hospitality!