Third ward church - simple surroundings, majestic vision

Pastor Ojode stands in front of the simple home that serves as the base for the church's vision of restoration. The home has no A/C, there are holes underneath the faucet and the adjacent property is overgrown and overrun with roaches of every sort. 

It's not the type of place that inspires superficially. 

Still, Pastor John Ojode believes this location is a springboard for transformation, both spiritual and physical, in the Third Ward of Houston. 

"I want to see this community rise to another level," said Ojode, "I want to see lives altered by the power of the Spirit and the work of this church." 

Originally from Kenya, Pastor Ojode recently relocated to Houston after his seminary studies. His wife teaches business management at Texas Southern University and the pair, along with their children, are excited about the potential of their new house church in a community desperately in need of hope and freedom. 

On this Sunday morning the heat is just starting to rise as worship begins with a chorus, "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus." There is no accompaniment, no slides, just tattered hymnals and the voices of some 20 or so African immigrants and African Americans and their families seated on donated couches and assembled chairs. 

Even so, the chorus rings out with a simple beauty. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Nothing but the blood. After a few more songs the gathered community of missional believers hears a message from Acts 17. Roused, they discuss how they can better connect with the people around them. They envision the transfiguration of their surroundings. They trust in the promise of God to work all things together for good. They are excited about expanding the Kingdom of God. 

After worship they eat some Nigerian meat pies and fast food pizza. A couple who used to be homeless are talking about new job opportunities, their baby and their need for more reliable housing. Several members offer to help with rides, applications etc. 

Pastor Ojode said, "we started with some homeless outreach, and now we have this brother and sister with us." 

"It was simple enough to serve them and now they worship Jesus with us, it will be the same with the rest of the community; I have plans," said Ojode. 

Certainly, Pastor Ojode has a grand vision for this community and he is hard at work teaching with LINC Houston and other community partners to make it happen. For now, they continue with worship and Pastor Ojode focuses on plugging holes in the walls, keeping the fans running to cut the heat and stomping on roaches as they cross the floor. 

"There is a lot of work," said Ojode, "some of it inglorious, but it's worth it to see this community transformed by the Spirit."