Brad Newman and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 16 years and have 5 kids. They’ve called Amarillo, Texas, their home since 2007. Newman began serving at South Georgia Baptist Church in 2011 in various roles such as student minister, family pastor and eventually the church planting pastor.
“During that time at South Georgia, we felt God calling us to something,” he shared. “We actually were leading teams to a church plant in Denver. It had a huge impact on our lives. And we just started asking God where he was going to call us.”
In a nearby growing area of Amarillo, both Brad and Sarah could see it was lacking the presence of the gospel. There was new construction, new families moving in at a rapid speed, but it did not offer families a spiritual home. So, they decided to plant Tradewind Community Church in the heart of this developing neighborhood.
Tradewind Community Church offered its first service on Easter in 2019. The church launched regular services in September 2019, and just six months later, the COVID-19 pandemic entered the U.S. But, they continued to see God’s faithfulness in their obedience.
Between life as a family of seven and planting a new church, life can get pretty stressful and hectic.
“About a year ago, we found out we couldn’t rent the school where we were hosting services anymore,” shared Newman. “We recently moved into a new venue nearby, but there have been a lot of challenges over the last three years.”
Newman received an email in 2021 with information about the Minister's Financial Health Grant through Texas Baptists. Through the grant, eligible Texas Baptists pastors and church staff can apply for a grant that can provide much-needed relief from financial pressures.
At first, Newman did not want to apply and take away the opportunity from another pastor who may need the assistance more. He knew they could cover their bills, but with such a large family, expenses each month weighed heavily on him and Sarah. After some encouragement from a church leader, he decided to apply.
Tradewind Community Church was paired with the Highlands Christian Industries Foundation to match the grant. Alongside the grant, the church also received courses on financial literacy from the Texas Baptists.
“The financial education was encouraging and educational,” shared Newman. “While a lot of those things weren’t new to me, it was a great refresher.”
Jessica White, a member of the Tradewind finance committee also received the financial education and was able to learn new things to apply to their church. Not only did they learn new ways to steward their gifts, but also how to teach their congregation the importance of generosity and continuing to give.
“It reshaped how we do our church budget,” Newman explained. “It’s helped shape what stewardship, generosity and giving means in our church. We’ve had these conversations following the classes about things we just hadn’t thought of before.”
Impacting more than the church
As a family of seven leading a new, small church, finances are typically pretty tight for the Newman family. Things like vacations, expensive Christmas gifts and even emergencies put a strain on the budget. And in 2022, inflation has hit an all-time high.
“We’re a big family in a relatively small church,” Newman shared. “Our church provides for us incredibly well. But all of us have really experienced the shock of incredible inflation – even just in our regular grocery bills.”
The costs of basic living continue to skyrocket, leaving little room for things like a garage door breaking or an electricity bill.
“But through this gift from the Texas Baptists, it has helped stabilize us and give us the encouragement we really needed,” he shared.
According to the Ministers Financial Health team, 90% of pastors feel some level of financial stress in their family and church work. On top of that, over 30% of pastors work a second job to make ends meet. Both Brad and Sarah were filled with gratitude for the grant, not only for the financial relief, but also the ability to refocus from their finances to the church.
“We can now put our attitude and our efforts into the ministry and the church and focus on what God has given us to do,” Newman said. “It took that extra burden off and made a huge difference.”
Looking to the future
The Newman family had the opportunity to take a few days away this summer and enjoy a vacation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This mini vacation gave the family the opportunity to reconnect, recharge and come back to Amarillo with a clear mind to serve the community and their church with excitement.
“With all the wildness of relocating the church, it was a needed break for us,” he said. “We probably wouldn’t have taken this trip or have been able to go without feeling regret if it weren’t for the support from the grant.”
One church, a larger mission
Being connected to the Texas Baptists and the general convention has provided not only community to Tradewind Community Church, but a leg up to keep going.
“We’re thankful to be connected with a convention that sees its pastors and the ministry we do, and offers these resources,” Newman said. “We’re grateful as a church and we’re so grateful personally that they come alongside us and encourage us.”