by Kara Kistner — April 10, 2014
BROOKSHIRE —- In winter of 2010, after two suicides and 20 drug overdoses from students at Royal High School, Pastor Bobby “Tre9” Herring was asked by the assistant principal of Royal High School and a local missionary if there was anything he could do to reach the youth of Brookshire.
With numerous prayers and support, Herring began with an in-school hip hop assembly motivating and encouraging students to be themselves and make positive choices. That evening he and his wife, Amanda, led an outreach concert in the school auditorium with over 100 students responding to the altar call.
A couple months went by and in early 2011, Herring formed HD Mentoring, which began gathering students after school in the library every Thursday, but when summertime arrived there was still an absence of evangelism and outreach in the community.
“I wanted more than just singing songs, hearing a good message and inviting people to sit with me for a few hours,” said Jasmine Woodson, member of Out Tha Box Church. “I wanted more than what went on inside those four walls.”
Seeing the need for continued presence among the community, Herring and this hip hop team from Much Luvv Records, began Hip Hop Hope Thursday in summer 2012, which would meet under a huge tent in the middle of the community in an open field.
“Every Thursday night, between 70-100 people, mostly students, would come and enjoy Christian hip hop, a live DJ, free food, games, prizes and the simple gospel invitation to Christ at the end,” said Bobby.
After a year and a half of Hip Hop Hope Thursday and seasonal outreach events serving the needs of Brookshire students, Tre began to realize the churches in the community were simply not aggressively pursuing the youth in general. He began praying about the next step towards making disciples in the community. In October of 2012, through a partnership with the Riverbend Baptist Church Fulsher, Texas Baptists, San Felipe Baptist Association and the M4 Network, Out Tha Box Church was established.
“Our desire is to be an ‘Out tha Box’ Church that does not simply gather in a building on a weekly basis at a particular time,” said Bobby. “But rather to gather as a group of believers and follow the Spirit beyond the building.”
“I longed to go out and serve, my heart cried out for the opportunity to reach those who won’t ever step foot in a church,” said Jasmine. “With Out Tha Box Church, I am now able to reach those people my heart are longing for. We reach those people who are not the ‘churchy’ generation and are able to embrace them and connect them to God in a different way.”
One Sunday the church may go out into an apartment complex and do an outreach together, another Sunday they may gather at the movie theater and see the latest Christian film, but they also spend lots of time gathering together to study the scriptures through an interactive and participatory style setting.
“We are very spontaneous and will do whatever it takes to teach those who are a part of OTBC to not be a pew warmer, but to get in the field and fulfill the gospel commission,” said Bobby.
As they say at OTBC, Out is the key! John 10:3 says, “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them Out.”
“The soil in Brookshire is very hard because of years of traditional churches, racism, division, as well as drug and alcohol abuse in the urban setting,” said Bobby. “Approaching this hard soil by targeting youth rather than church members or older people, OTBC is raising up a new generation of Christ followers that will likely produce fruit that will ripen in 5-10 years, therefore changing and transforming the spiritual climate in Brookshire, Texas.”