There is a new alignment of the BGCT organization that will shape and support the Christian Life Commission. Since 2000 and the turning of the millennium, the Christian Life Commission has been prayerfully and deliberately making changes. Like notches on the kitchen door, we can see where we have grown. Our changes have added to our strong foundational history and focused us firmly on the future.
As the BGCT takes on a new, future-focused structure the CLC will relate more intentionally with related ministries both within BGCT and those in the wider Baptist family of institutions. The ministries of the BGCT will be grouped under three main centers, each focusing on a main service of the BGCT: Missions /Evangelism, Education/Discipleship and Advocacy/Care. The CLC will be in the Advocacy/Care Center (pdf) along with these related ministries: Community Missions, Restorative Justice, Chaplaincy, Disaster Relief, and relations with medical, retirement and childcare BGCT institutions. This is a good neighborhood – full of dedicated and compassionate current and future partners in ministry.
Discerning God’s leadership is not a puzzle. The scripture is compelling, and the call of dedicated loving Christian leaders as our Christian Life Commissioners has been a true reflection of the hands and feet of Christ’s love in guiding the CLC. In retrospect, it is evident that the CLC has been forging strong partnerships since its inception with friends like the TB Maston Foundation, Baptist Joint Committee and more recently with ministries and institutions within and beyond the Baptist family. Experience with many partners has prepared us for this new work.
A few reminders of some milestones in the last 10 years for CLC: expanding the staff , scope and impact of the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, opening and staffing the Austin office, creating a vital partnership with Buckner International to provide the ISAAC project for immigration ministry, creating the AMEN network and video and conference resources for substance abuse ministry, providing summer Public Policy Institute for youth, creating a mentoring home for law school, seminary and social work interns. We’ve said good-by to some terrific ministries and friends – Phil Strickland, of course, Weston Ware, Mike Lundy, Carol Bowman, Jerry Reynolds.
If you are like me, one of the first questions in your mind is “How will the CLC function in the new neighborhood and will the leader of the Advocacy/Care Center understand the unique mission of the CLC?” The CLC will continue to function exactly as it does now with an independent Commission and the same charge found in the BGCT bylaws (pdf)… and the leader of the center definitely understands the CLC. The challenge is that I will be both the Director of the CLC and the Leader of the new Advocacy/Care Center. Randel Everett called me Wade Phillips (Dallas Cowboys head coach and defensive coach). It is a dual role and will require additional staff, a clear delineation of roles and a little practice. Again, looking back to lessons learned, having managed two offices in two cities for the past several years may have been God’s way of preparing the way (some say for split personality, but I prefer multi-tasking!).
Like the scripture, we lament the need for compassion and care in the world. We strive to build up the body of Christ so that we as Texas Baptists are true Christ followers in word and deed. The CLC has pursued this mission and will continue to pursue it. It is a statement of accomplishment for the effectiveness of the CLC and its ministry that Advocacy is among the main defining concepts for the future focus. With God’s grace, we will have new partners from whom to learn and with whom to share towards a kingdom vision that can flesh out our adventurous obedience to Christ.
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