The Higher Trails Church story officially started Thursday night June 2, 2004. Just weeks before, Randy Bird answered a call from God to move from evangelism to pastoring by pulling into the driveway of what was then Windy Hill Feed Store just North of Merit, Texas. While holding service in a former feed store might bother some people, it seemed natural for the laid-back and cowboy culture in the community.
Pastor Randy had started Barn Church in Hereford, Texas back in 1997, and witnessing to the feed yard cowboys was an important part of his ministry there. Since the feed yard and cowboys shipped cattle on the weekends, they always had a reason for not visiting a church on Sunday…so Randy instituted a Thursday night service to specifically reach those cowboys. This is a tradition that’s continued at Higher Trails Church.
That first Thursday night service consisted of seven people, and the next two and a half years would prove to those that were there from the beginning that nothing is impossible with God. The Thursday night services began to grow each week. The music ministry went from Randy singing a special each week, to an eight-member band. Each had visited the church and then felt led to play because they felt at home as soon as they walked in.
On November 20, 2005, the first Sunday Service and Baptisms were held. In just over a year the congregation grew from 7 to well over 100, and the feed store began to fill up. It’s not hard to recognize the hands of God leading people there. Early in 2006, Randy was told that the lease was up on the feed store and the property had been sold, he was happy to hear it because it was confirmation that God had a bigger plan. Randy had identified a large parcel of land for sale on the other side of town at the intersection of FM2194 & FM903, and the church planned on purchasing 10 acres with hopes of more if God permitted.
Confirmation of God’s plan for the sanctuary’s location came at the closing of the 10 acres. Instead of selling the property, the owner followed God’s calling to donate the 10 acres! With the lease now up at the feed store, plans for a temporary sanctuary were made. True to God’s word to provide for our every need a large tent was donated until the construction of the permanent sanctuary was complete. On Thursday, June 22, 2006, Higher Trails Church had its first Tent service.
By the end of the year, an eleven thousand square foot metal building with a seating capacity of five hundred was complete. Running water, permanent restrooms, and air conditioning were never so appreciated! Having just celebrated the church’s five-year anniversary, there have been several additions since the original sanctuary construction. The sanctuary seats 400 people, with a dedicated children, student, and event area. This multipurpose area comes complete with a stage, sound system, light show, and kitchen.
With countless salvations in the Higher Trails Church history, it’s been exciting to see God move in people's lives. We don’t know the steps of God’s path for us in the future, but one thing is for certain…if we continue to follow his direction the destination will be abundantly blessed.
At Higher Trails Church, we believe the Bible is The Word of God and the final authority in all matters of faith and life. We believe in one God that exists in three persons (The Holy Trinity): God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who shed His blood and rose on the third day to save all who believe from their sins. We believe that salvation is a free gift and available only to those that accept Him into their heart and put their faith in Jesus Christ. We believe that baptism is the means by which people are to publicly profess their faith in Christ and identify themselves with His death, burial, and resurrection.