When Randy Norris started The Station Church in Bessemer in 2006, he had no idea how God would bless the congregation or his ministry.
The church field is broad and reaches miles into metro Birmingham, Norris noted.
“Even the name is unusual,” he said. “The Station Church is actually representative of a couple of different things. With a rich train history, nearby historical markers include Parkwood Station, Brock’s Gap and Ross Bridge. With this heritage we felt ‘The Station Church’ not only tied us to our history, but it is indicative of who we are.”
A station is not a destination, Norris noted, and the word is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, a station is only a stopping place where people gather then head somewhere else. He said people gather at The Station because “God has called us to go out into the world.”
As a verb, station means being assigned to a specific place or a purpose, Norris said, and “we believe that God has stationed us here to glorify Him as we seek to impact the nations, our neighbors and the next generation.”
Baptizing a multitude
On Palm Sunday, The Station baptized 24 people of various ages.
“Because the church has met in different locations over the years, we were a portable church,” Norris recalled. “So this is the first time we’ve baptized during a Sunday worship service.”
Before that they used area pools or the creek at Tannehill State Park in McCalla. Friends at Redemption Church in Chelsea lent a portable baptistry for their last two baptism services.
“But God has blessed our church, and after baptizing the 24 people [we] purchased our own baptistry,” Norris said.
Planting a new church
Giving birth to a new church takes time, and Norris, along with his wife, Susan, and three children, planted The Station Church in 2006 along with seven other families.
Meeting in three different locations, The Station didn’t have a permanent home for the first 12 years. However, in the summer of 2018, God provided a facility. Guests soon began arriving and attendance steadily increased. Today, The Station has two worship services with attendance of more than 500.
Church leaders also recently purchased 2 1/2 acres of green space next to the church for future expansion.
Norris said there are many reasons for the growth, namely God moving in and through the people.
“The Station’s mission is to make disciples who make disciples, to impact the nations, our neighbors and the next generation.”
Missions are at the center of everything, Norris noted.
This summer three missions teams are going out to Mobile, San Antonio and Guatemala. Previous partnerships with missionaries and other ministry organizations allowed missions teams to travel to India, the Himalayas and Uganda.
In the past several years, 25% of every dollar given through the church goes back to missions.
“The Station believes that our children and students are not only the church of tomorrow — they are the church of today,” Norris declared.
Younger children have “Station Kidz” while older students attend “Station Students.”
The church uses small groups in a comprehensive disciple-making strategy called HUBs (Holy living, Unified community, Biblical knowledge) to help reach the community, Norris said.
“Breaking this down into smaller groups, called Huddles, we have developed a program where men mentor men and women mentor women. This consists of three to six individuals who meet on their own time, and through The Station’s strategy, they learn how to develop their personal relationship with Christ.”
“Cultivate Disciple-Making,” cowritten by Norris and Kevin Blackwell, The Station’s disciple-making and teaching pastor, was released Aug. 11. The book addresses how churches can develop intimacy, instruction and an impact for Christ.
“I believe people are drawn to The Station Church for a variety of reasons,” noted church member Chad Glover. “They will consistently hear Spirit-led expository preaching of God’s word every time we meet.
“Secondly, we have an aligned vision to impact the nations, our neighbors and the next generation. Lastly, we engage in authentic community, whether through worship, fellowship or service.”
“Like a greenhouse presents a perfect culture for growth, The Station offers an environment for growth in both numbers and spirituality,” Blackwell noted. “Basically, we are cultivating discipleship.
“With a missions purpose, we’re involved in the school system, the community — in fact, we at The Station are giving ourselves away,” he declared.
“We have a body of believers who believe in unity. Our pastor leads in unity. What we are doing is fundamental to the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:16–20. People will drive to where a church is alive.”