Reflections of a Closed Church

Reflections of a Closed Church

One year ago this week, my wife April and I shared with the small group of partners remaining in Full Life Community Church, that we were closing the church. Our youngest daughter Charis was less than one month old and April was still on maternity leave. After nine years of planting Full Life Community Church, collectively reaching over 400 people but never amassing more than 60 people in one season, we discovered that God had a unique purpose for our church and it had been fulfilled. Full Life Community Church became a safe place for people to heal from however they’d been hurt. Some came to the church having been hurt by previous church leaders in their former church. Some came to the church having been hurt by their former spouse or significant other. Some came to the church having been hurt by their parents or extended family. In retrospect, we were the safe place for hurting people. 

Corey and April Tabor at the launch of Full Life Community Church September 11, 2011

The reality of being an emergency room, hospital, or rehabilitation center; however you may want to phrase it is, hurting people struggle to invest in others because they are in crisis mode fighting for their lives. We would never expect a person in emergency surgery for a lacerated liver to get off the operating table and assist in a surgery in the next operating room. In retrospect, those who came hurting, struggled to give as much of themselves to assist in ministry as they would had they been healthy.

God in his sovereignty, gave us the gift of hurting people knowing we would know how to love them through hurt. God in his wisdom, allowed us to steward hurting people because he knew when they healed, they would be more impactful in the kingdom. For professional and personal courtesy, I will not mention the names of former members who are doing amazing work in the city, state, and nation. I’ll just say thank you for the gift of your presence, your belief in the vision, and entrusting your spiritual care to us in the season you were there.

Yesterday, I cleared the last of what has been four different storage units since 2009. 

The bible says in Malachi 3:10, ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’

Honestly from early on in our church life, we were given items that needed to be stored including high level executive desks and military grade bookshelves. We were constantly looking for ways to give things away because God had kept his promise of pouring blessings we could not completely store.

The final storage unit number was 2020 which happens to be this year but is also the measurement used to validate perfect vision. As I packed up contact cards, offering envelopes, Discover Full Life Partnership Manuals, children’s toys, sound equipment, music stands, HDMI cables, and computer monitors; my mind start flashing back to Sunday morning finishing a sermon (because I was bi-vocationally pastoring), loading equipment in our two family cars, driving to the meeting location, unloading equipment, leading prayer for our leaders, setting up, leading worship, preaching a message, and then breaking it all down, loading it all up and bringing it all home to do it again the next week. 

As I cleared storage unit #2020, I treasured the many memories that are now stored in my heart of marriages that were restored, children that accepted Jesus, businesses that were built, and babies that were dedicated. 

On February 21, 2014, Anaia Naomi Tabor was born to us our first child, after having had a miscarriage in 2011 and finding out we were pregnant on June 6, 2013, our 10th wedding anniversary. The next day, February 22, 2014, was the first Sunday we were hosting our services in a newly leased spaced. God used gifted leaders to support us in our time of transitioning into parenthood. 

A little over a month later on March 30, 2014, we dedicated the worship space and we dedicated our daughter back to God. I had no idea that this would be one of the last times I would worship with my mother who transitioned to heaven on April 4, 2015 or that it would be the place where I would complete my Master of Ministry Leadership degree in 2017. 

I also cherished the challenging seasons of trying to monthly pay rent as it increased and annually. I cherished the seasons of depression and disappointment. I treasured the seasons of movement and transition of those who were there in the beginning, the middle and ultimately the end. As I reflected, all I could say was, “Thank you Jesus for 9 years of meaningful ministry. Thank you for the ways to challenged me to trust you when I could not trace you. Thank you for the ways you taught me to repent when I made mistakes and the ways you challenged me to love my wife as Christ loved the church and laid down his life for her. Thank you for entrusting this flock to me for this season. Thank you that I know you’re pleased and are saying well done good and faithful servant, not because I was a perfect pastor but because I was willing to do what he asked me to do. Obedience was and is my standard of success. In Genesis 6:22, the Bible says, “Noah did everything God commanded him.” 

I did not pastor perfectly, but no one can say I did not pastor passionately, persistently, and purposefully. I know with all my heart, I did my best and God was honored. 

Today, as members of Celebration Central Austin, we will dedicate our youngest daughter Charis Dawn who was our grace baby. She’s the gift that God brought out of losing my mother-in-law and father-in-law to cancer within 6 months in 2017. She’s the gift of my wife completing her second master’s degree in school administration and become an assistant principal. She the gift that reminds me, we cannot nor do we need to earn God’s love.

I always encouraged our members to mark milestones in their lives like weddings and wedding anniversaries, births and birthdays, graduations and home sales. Because as we mark milestones, we build virtual Ebenezer milestones or reminders of who God is, what he has said, and what he has done. He has been faithful in the past to complete what he began and he will do the same in this season.

So, now as I transition into ministering as a primarily speaker, author, and coach to schools, nonprofits and churches, I am looking through the windshield of amazing opportunities while glancing in my rearview mirror to remember that God can do it and he will do it again!

If I can be of service to you or your organization, don’t hesitate to contact me at www.coreytabor.com/booking or call me at (512) 710-8410, my business number or (512) 535-8672, my personal number. I am excited to be fulfilling my purpose of continuing to inform, instruct and inspire people to fulfill their purpose. 

Our weekly vlog starting February 13, 2020

Black Lives Matter in the Womb: My Journey to Understanding Abortion

Abortion is the #1 Killer of Blacks in the United States!

As part of our Black Lives Matter to God Series at Full Life Community Church, I decided to adBlack Lives Matter @flccaustindress the issue of abortion and how it is impacting the Black community for the first time at our church. I preached a sermon entitled, “Black Lives Matter in the Womb”. You can hear the sermon here.

I’m writing this blog today to share about my journey to understanding the impact of abortion of women, men and families. I started working at a Staff Educator for Austin LifeCare Pregnancy Resource Center (ALC) which is a CareNet affiliated pregnancy center that assists men and women dealing with unplanned pregnancies. ALC has been in existence since 1984 and in 1989 began Austin LifeGuard (ALG) as a preventative program that provides sexual risk avoidance education to middle school and high school students throughout Central Texas.

Part of my training to be a staff educator was to learn more about what pregnancies center provide and one of those services is decision counseling to assist a person in making an informed decision related to their pregnancy. In addition to this service, the center offers free professional counseling, free premarital counseling, free birthing classes and free parenting classes. All the class participants receive vouchers called “Baby Bucks” that can be used to “purchase” items in a boutique called Hannah’s Closet including items like baby clothes, diapers, wipes, formula, strollers, pack and plays and the like. All of this impressed me because I could see how men and women who were dealing with an unplanned pregnancy might benefit from these services. The second service that impacted me was the support groups to assist women in recovering from an abortion, miscarriage or sexual abuse. There are free groups to provide support for men and women who have been through these life altering events.

We were then given the opportunity to view two documentaries, “Blood Money” which speaks of the monetary drive in the abortion industry and “Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America” which speaks of the intentional and strategic impact of abortion on the black community. After watching these documentaries, I was informed about something I’d never really known about. I didn’t know how abortion worked in our country and now I was informed so I had to do something.

To say the least, I was impacted by this information and began to learn more. As I spoke with men and women who had been a part of an abortion decision, I was hearing the impact it had on their lives. Men who wanted their children and were not given a chance to have them and women who made a decision in the moment that they often regretted later. My heart was broken and my passion was fuel.

I immediately began to get involved in discovering what I could do. I became involved in working with our center to refer men and women to the support groups that were being offered to assist them in recovery. I began working with the Texas Alliance for Life by attending the Rally for Life and their annual banquet. Eventually, I joined their Board of Directors and now serve as the Secretary. I met with legislators who would work to create legislation that would make abortion safer for women who were considering the decision and more than anything I wanted to get the word out to other pastors and people in the Black community so I joined the EMBRACE Initiative started by Debbie Juhlke and now I serve as chair.

I am not approaching this issue blindly nor with a limited understanding of what causes people to consider abortion. I am not judging people who have made the choice, I am focused on helping people make a better choice because few people I know who have had an abortion look back at the experience positively and think, “Let’s do that again”. Our church is working to develop plans to offer a ministry to men and women who have had abortions or are considering abortions. I will continued my work in the community and provide leadership and support to other leaders to work on this issue day in and day out.

I want to encourage you to follow the four steps I laid out in my sermon as an application to this blog:

  1. Get informed – learn the facts
  2. Get impacted – move from statistics to stories
  3. Get invested – realize that this issue matters
  4. Get involved – do something to make a difference

I have seen so many people learn about this issue and use these four steps to do something about it. You can be the next person to speak truth and learn how to help others. My hope is that you have heard my heart and my desire to help and not to hurt, my desire to bring healing and not harm, my desire to bless and not curse.

Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blesses and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

I challenge us all to choose life.

Reflections on 36 years!

Birthday_candles

Today I am celebrating 36 years of being on this earth; my how time flies.  I can remember being a child thinking that the year 2000 would never come and now it has been nearly 13 years since we new millennium.  As I reflect on the past 36 years I can summarize my life in a few key words: Faith, Family and Friendships.

Faith

Texas Gospel Fellowship 10 Year Reunion
Texas Gospel Fellowship 10 Year Reunion

Most of the people in my life can tell you that my life has been based on taking many steps of faith.  On December 2, 1984, I walked down an aisle at Bethel Church of God in Christ in Abilene, Texas and made Jesus the leader of my life.  That Sunday, I came to understand that faith is not just what you believe in your mind or heart but what you do with your actions.  Since that time, I have been taking steps of faith from accepting my call to the ministry at 18 years-old, leading in Innervisions Gospel Choir at the University of Texas, establishing Texas Gospel Fellowship through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and going on staff at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

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FLCC Members at Church Under the Bridge

Each of these decisions took a new level of faith.  In the past three years, I have had to walk by faith more than any other time in my life.  Nearly three years ago, we began the journey of planting Full Life Community Church in Austin, Texas. What began as a bible study in a hotel, moved to a house in North Austin and launched in a library in Wells Branch has been more than physical moves from one building to another, it is building spiritual moves of walking by faith to see God form a community of faith out of a vision that He gave us nearly 10 years ago. I studied my life as a leader during a class called Lifelong Leadership Development through Fuller Seminary and God gave a vision for a church that was not there.  We stepped out on faith and now I am so privileged to be the Lead Pastor of Full Life Community Church, a missional, maturing and multicultural church that lives to reconcile people to God and one another.

God is establishing a community of faith that walks by faith and not by sight seeing God do things we cannot explain.  I look forward to continuing this journey of faith with this community of faith.

Family

Corey, Samuel, Troy Tabor
Corey, Samuel, Troy Tabor

I would have never had the faith I had as a child and now have as a 36 year-old man if it were not for my family.  I have been given the best immediate and extended family in the world.  God blessed me with a father who taught me to read the Bible to learn God’s view on the world instead of teaching me his view on the world.  I had a mother who has persevered through over 20 years of kidney failure and dialysis treatments.  I have a brother who is a real man who loves sharing Jesus with people who are far from Him.  I have aunts and uncles who are examples of people to who love God and love their families.  I could not have been more blessed to be raised as a member of the Tabor family.

As I became a husband in 2003, God added to my family and changed my life forever by allowing me to

Wedding Day - June 7, 2003
Wedding Day – June 7, 2003

become one in mind, body, soul and spirit with April Davis now Tabor.  April has taught me so much about what it means to love God and love unconditionally.  She has been the gift of my life that I did not deserve and could not have earned.  In June we will celebrate 10 years of marriage and I am a much better man because of my relationship with her.  She has lived out the meaning of our vows: “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”  Through the years, she has continued to grow as a woman who loves God and loves me.  I was blessed to gain new family members through the gift that her parents and extended family are to us.  God has been good to me in the family arena.  I could not ask for more real people that love me and believe in me.

Friendship

The blessing of great family has been learning how to become a good friend.  All my life, I have valued friendship more than many because I realize how invaluable real friends are.  I have been friends with my two best friends Paul Matta and Brett Coe since 7th grade.  They have been there for me through thick and thin and have prayed for me and my family in times when we were hurting and needed God’s hand to move.  They have just continued to be there for me and those that I love.  As I came to the University of Texas I was blessed with great friends through

Covenant minus 1
Covenant minus 1

Innervisions Gospel Choir and Gamma Phi Delta Christian Fraternity. My closest college friendships were forged in the heat of life as we struggled to be godly people on a campus that had many who were not seeking to look like him.  I am thankful for friends like Joseph Mosley, Asante Todd, Cedric Jones and Torik Lewis (the singing group Covenant).  I am thankful for friends like Melissa Gray and Brandy Snoddy (Yeary) who stood by me as I learned to lead in college.  To my friend and partner Sean Watkins who has been a mentee, partner and friend I cannot thank you enough for all that you inspire me to be and have challenged me to be.  Today, I believe in friendship because I have seen the rewards that come from being a friend and have experienced the risks of being a friend and can conclude that the rewards far outweigh the risks!

So many people have been a part of this journey and so many have given me the hope to believe that God can continue to use my life for his glory in the years to come.  I pray that I continue to grow as a man, follower of Christ, husband, leader, friend and partner in life.  All that I am has been formed by these three pillars in my life: Faith, Family and Friendship and for these I am thankful.

Welcome!

Corey Tabor

I want to welcome you to my new blog.  My name is Corey Tabor and I am the Founder and Lead Pastor of Full Life Community Church in Austin, Texas where we are living life to fullest.  We are missional, maturing, multicultural church that lives to reconcile people to God and one another.  My purpose in life is to inform, instruct and inspire people to fulfill their God-given purpose.  So I plan to use this blog to fufill the purpose of our church and my personal purpose.  I look foward to sharing stories and principles that allow you to live life to fullest and to be reconciled to God and others.  Feel free to post comments and share feedback.  I look foward to the journey with you.

Full Life Community Church

To learn more about Full Life Community Church go to www.befull.org.