LA MARQUE — The Rev. Antonio Smith will take to the streets at 4 a.m. Dec. 7 on a 50-mile walk from Houston Baptist University to the site he’d like to become his future church site in La Marque. He’ll be supported by the members of his Church For The Unchurched.

“We have people of different races, age groups and backgrounds participating in this walk, and it is truly a reflection of who we are as a church,” said Tempestt Smith, the church’s executive assistant. “We’re not just a black church or a church for young adults. We really do work hard in living up to our mission statement: Everyone belongs. Once we purchase the property, I believe we will be able to reach more people and be able to fit more people. The building has over 13 offices and classrooms, which is perfect for our thriving children’s ministry.”

The church needs $750,000 to acquire the property. That comes out to be $15,000 for each mile Smith will walk during his 17-hour hike.

“Well, physically, I have been doing more cardio to get in shape and spiritually, I’m getting a closer relationship with God where I just sit back and let things be,” said church member Niesha Hill. “I used to stress over things I couldn’t control, but now I know that God is in control of what’s going on in my life. So, I let him take the wheel. As far as donations, we are getting quite a few, and the fundraising is going well also.”

The unconventional church, which describes itself as both nondenominational and also Baptist-based, is offering T-shirts, bracelets and professionally produced commercials, which will air on social media for those who contribute at various levels.

“It’s about the Kingdom of God, and we are trying to reach as many as we can,” said Tonia R. Smith, a member of the church staff. “It’s a place where church folks can bring their unchurched friends.”

She cites various foot travels in the Bible as precedents: Elijah’s run before the storm. Abraham and Isaac’s walk to his sacrifice. The various runners who brought news of battles back to Jerusalem. Mary’s travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem (70 miles). Elijah’s run of at least 100 miles to flee Jezebel.

Rick Cousins can be reached at

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