Dr. Fredricc and Pastor Kan’Dace Brock are co-founders and lead pastors of The Message Church in San Antonio, a church plant supported by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. From deep in the hearts of two Texans, they share their background and thoughts on church and ministry. To suggest a BGCT-affiliated minister to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured yourself, click here.
Where else have you served in ministry, and what were your positions there?
Dr. Brock: I acknowledged my call to ministry at age 14. Prior to the launch of The Message Church, I served as the senior pastor of True Light Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, Mich. I also served as the youth minister at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in San Antonio. While in seminary, I served as assistant to the pastor at Toliver Chapel Baptist Church in Waco. In addition to serving as one of the lead pastors of The Message Church, I also am a chaplain (Maj.) in the U.S. Air Force.
Pastor Kan’Dace: Prior to serving as one of the lead pastors of The Message Church, I served as first lady of True Light Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, Mich. In that capacity, I was active with various ministries, serving as executive director of The Promise of Hope, True Light’s community development corporation. After formally acknowledging my call to the preaching and teaching ministry, I served as an associate minister at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.
Where did you grow up?
We are natives of San Antonio.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
Pastor Kan’Dace: I was born and raised in the church. I came to acknowledge Christ at age 7, after telling my mother, “Mommy, I want to tell the pastor I know Jesus for myself.”
From a very young age, I knew God was real and wanted to serve God for the rest of my life.
Dr. Brock: Honestly, having grown up in a Baptist church, I always felt a connection to God. I have a brother who is two years older than me who was baptized at age 11. Not to be outdone, I rehearsed what I heard him tell our pastor and was baptized the following month. However, I did not have a deep understanding of what salvation meant. I consciously gave my life to Christ at age 12 at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.
Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?
Pastor Kan’Dace: I attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a Bachelor of Social Work. In 2010, I received a Master of Clinical Social Work from Norfolk State University in Virginia. I also have completed seminary courses at the Oblate School of Theology and the Mexican American Catholic College. Presently, I am a second-year Doctor of Ministry student at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Dr. Brock: I graduated from Texas Southern University, where I majored in health care administration. I pursued a Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work degree at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, graduating in 2010 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2016, I graduated from the Oblate School of Theology with a Doctor of Ministry degree in African American pastoral leadership.
Why do you feel called into ministry?
Pastor Kan’Dace: I feel called into the ministry because every time I said, “No,” God would not allow me to have peace. When I tried to run the other direction, God would prevent me through peers and mentors verbally acknowledging the call to ministry on my life.
Dr. Brock: I believe 2 Corinthians 5:14 sums up my response best; it truly is the “love of Christ” that “constrains” or “compels” me to serve the Lord.
I knew at age 12 I was called to ministry but did not verbalize it to my parents until I was 14. I’d find myself doing chores and preaching to myself. Around that time, the Scriptures also began to come alive for me in a way they never had before.
To be sure, even after acknowledging my call, I’ve done my fair share of running from the Lord. However, I can not imagine doing anything with my life other than ministry.
What is your favorite aspect of ministry? Why?
Pastor Kan’Dace: My favorite aspect of ministry is seeing lives changed through the power of the Holy Spirit. Seeing children accept Christ, babies singing the worship songs, and brothers and sisters praying for one another is a beautiful reminder of how preaching and teaching is a gift given by God. I appreciate being part of God’s plan for the building of the kingdom here on Earth.
Dr. Brock: My favorite aspect of ministry is preaching, without a doubt. I’m eternally amazed at the mysterious way God uses the Bible, mediated through flawed personalities, to change lives. As a former athlete, I played in packed stadiums full of thousands of people, but nothing compares to seeing the gospel message of Jesus Christ change one life. I especially love preaching in Black church traditions.
What one aspect of ministry would you like to change?
Pastor Kan’Dace: If I could change one aspect of ministry it would be the loneliness at times. Sometimes being a pastor can be so lonely, even though I am able to serve with my husband. There are just some challenges as a woman in ministry I have to navigate alone, and it can be so hard.
I am grateful for the connections I have made in ministry with other women who have assisted me in navigating being a wife, a mother while pastoring and a seminarian, in addition still to wanting to fulfill dreams of becoming a full-time clinician.
Dr. Brock: The one aspect of ministry I would like to change is people’s perspectives around the impact of their church participation.
I have read the research on postmodernity and the skepticism of institutions by some. However, I am convinced church participation still is vital to our lives.
People tend to thrive in healthy communities where there is a mutual care and concern for the person and institution. I wish people understood their church needs them, and they need their church.
How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?
Pastor Kan’Dace: My perspective of ministry has changed so much since formally acknowledging my call to the preaching ministry. I have always been in ministry, but it seems when you are called to preach or be married to a pastor, you are exposed to more than what the layperson is exposed.
I saw, as my pastor says, “the underbelly of the church.” Seeing the “underbelly” of the church pushed me to pray in an entirely different way for leaders and also provided me wisdom in how to handle people, places and perspectives. I have come to realize ministry is filled with imperfect people seeking to serve a perfect God.
How do you expect ministry to change in the next 10 to 20 years?
Dr. Brock: As giving shifts continue to occur, I expect more churches to hire bivocational pastors. People are giving; they just are not giving to churches like they used to. Financial transparency, integrity and strategy are going to continue to be vitally important to the church in the next 10 to 20 years.
Name the three most significant challenges and/or influences facing your ministry.
Pastor Kan’Dace: (1) Being the new church on the block, particularly in the midst of a pandemic, (2) staying connected with members without the benefit of being physically together, and (3) knowing what life will look like once we are able to return to in-person worship.
What do you wish more laypeople knew about ministry or, specifically, your ministry?
Pastor Kan’Dace: I wish laypeople knew ministry is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even when we are exhausted, God gives us the strength to keep pushing.
I also wish laypeople would offer the grace to leaders they expect to receive. Leaders are human, and while called to set an example, leaders are not perfect. I feel like the sooner laypeople can understand their leaders’ humanity, the easier some conversations and situations can be handled.
Dr. Brock: I want all people to know The Message Church is a church they should get to know. We currently are a community of about 60 people. However, we are not waiting until the numbers reflect we are a major church. I want people to know we exist to change lives and change the world through the gospel message of Jesus Christ, and we are serious about it. We put our money where our mission is.
I have the same confidence in God for The Message Church I had when my daughter was born. I was confident that if I—along with my community—nurtured her, she would thrive and grow. I feel the same about The Message Church. The Message is good ground to sow in. Keep your eyes on us.
What did you learn on the job you wish you learned in seminary?
Dr. Brock: I learned a lot about the business of the church, like budgeting, IRS requirements and church administration. I am grateful my seminary has given more emphasis to these since I graduated.
I encourage seminarians to take advantage of the myriad opportunities to explore the business of ministry prior to leading a church. God and God’s people deserve it.
What is the impact of ministry on your family?
Pastor Kan’Dace: Ministry has had a big impact on my family—particularly as church planters. We are up early and going to bed late. I had our daughter in the beginning stages of ministry; so, a lot of the meetings, planning and preparation fell on Fredricc’s shoulders. Even now, if our daughter gets sick, we have to divide and conquer.
In addition to pastoring full time, we also are bivocational, and I am in seminary. So, there are times when I feel as though I am unable to disconnect, because everything I do leads back to ministry. I have to disengage intentionally in order to stay balanced. I have to remind myself to rest and to connect with those individuals who are not connected to ministry with me.
If you were not a pastor or in ministry, what else would you do?
Pastor Kan’Dace: If I was not a pastor, I would be a full-time therapist with a private practice. I eventually hope to obtain my full credentials for private practice—as I currently am limited to practicing under someone else—but until then, I will continue to grow as a therapist and utilize the services of my full-time colleagues in private practice as resources to share with my parishioners and the world alike.
Why are you Baptist?
Pastor Kan’Dace: Had you asked me this 20 years ago, I would have said, “Because I grew up Baptist.” But now that I am a seminarian, pastor and scholar, I acknowledge I am Baptist because of the value of community and the impact the community has had on me.
Growing up, I recall the love, support and resources poured into me by church members. I was not only “Sister Council’s daughter” but I was “Sister Brown’s daughter” and “Deacon Jones’ daughter.” My church community took care of me and, when I was able to go back to my childhood Baptist church and preach for the first time, I thanked them and reminded them I was standing before them because of the prayers, tears and correction they poured into me.
I am a product of my community. One of the primary reasons I am Baptist is because of the community I’ve experienced in the Baptist church.
Dr. Brock: I was born and raised in Baptist churches and have only served Baptist churches as a pastor. I am Baptist, in large part, due to family tradition.
As an adult, however, I am consciously and intentionally Baptist because of our love for God and fidelity to God’s word as our guide. As a pastor, I appreciate the Baptist distinctive of the autonomy of the local church to move as the Holy Spirit leads without ecclesiastical hinderance.
What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?
Pastor Kan’Dace: Luke 1:37—“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
This has been my life verse since I was in college because it was a beautiful reminder nothing is impossible for God. I have overcome several challenges in life, and every time I want to throw in the towel, God reminds me, “Daughter, though it feels and seems impossible for you, I got this.”
When I have those impossible moments, I read this Scripture as a reminder that if God enabled an older woman to have a baby, then God can do whatever is in the plans for my life.
Who is your favorite person in the Bible, other than Jesus? Why?
Pastor Kan’Dace: Hannah. I can relate to her story both in the literal sense of seeking God for a child—while others around me seem to have children with ease—and in the spiritual sense of understanding the power of prayer.
Like Hannah, my husband and I tried for years to have a child, and in God’s timing, we were blessed with our daughter. Hannah’s drive, love and fervor for God has inspired me never to stop praying, never to stop seeking God and to trust that in due season God will bless the future of my womb.
Name something about you that would surprise people who know you.
Pastor Kan’Dace: I love to dance. I loving watching choreographers make up routines, teach the dances and then execute them. When I am home—which is a lot more lately due to COVID-19—I enjoy watching dancing videos. As a family, we have nights when we turn on a variety of music and just dance until we can’t dance anymore. Dancing is therapeutic for me.