DALLAS – Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Director Randel Everett was called Dec. 5 to be pastor of First Baptist Church in Midland.
Everett, who has served as executive director since April 2008, has been serving as the interim pastor of First Baptist Church for the past several months. He will begin serving as pastor of the congregation Jan. 16.
In a video statement posted on the convention’s website, Everett thanked Texas Baptists for the opportunity to serve them as the BGCT’s executive director and indicated he believes Texas Baptists are poised to continue reaching the state for Christ. He prays that First Baptist Church, which is one of the leading supporters of missions through the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program, will be a key Hope 1:8 congregation.
“I want you to know how excited I am to continue being a part of the Texas Baptist family,” he said. “In these past three years, I’ve been able to see face-to-face what’s going on in many our churches and in our institutions. I’ve never been more excited to be part of the Texas Baptist family than I am right now. God has brought together a wonderful resource of people, of institutions, a great heritage and a great future. When we really cooperate together, we can do things like end hunger in Texas or share the hope of Christ with every person in our state. ”
During Everett’s tenure as executive director, Texas Baptists launched Texas Hope 2010, an initiative to share the gospel with every person in Texas by Easter 2010. The effort emphasized praying for non-Christians, caring for people – especially the hungry – and sharing the gospel.
As a result of the emphasis, Texas Baptists distributed more than 860,000 multimedia gospel compact discs as well as multitudes of Bibles to those who have not yet embraced the hope of Christ throughout the state.
Congregations used a variety of approaches to share the gospel. Some churches systematically knocked on every door in a designated area. Others delivered the CDs with apple pies. Others yet handed them out with homemade cookies. First Baptist Church in Lufkin handed the CDs out while serving free hot chocolate during the city Christmas parade.
For the care portion of Texas Hope 2010, Texas Baptists gave a record of more than $1.8 million to feeding the hungry through the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger. They started or increased church-based feeding efforts, meeting the needs of thousands of Texans during a tough economic period.
The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission partnered with the Baylor University School of Social Work to launch the Texas Hunger Initiative, an effort to end Texas hunger by 2015. The effort encouraged churches to provide food or meals to hungry children last summer. Numerous congregations in emphasis areas stepped and provided food for children who otherwise would have had nothing to eat.
Texas Baptists recently began building off the Hope 2010 momentum by launching Hope 1:8, an initiative based on Acts 1:8 that encourages Texas Baptists to share the hope of Christ locally, statewide and to the ends of the earth.
In addition to the evangelistic emphases, the BGCT began referring to itself as Texas Baptists following the recommendation of a long-range planning committee’s suggestion that it would be help better communicate who the convention is.
During the past BGCT Annual Meeting, messengers voted to radically alter the annual meeting format. The gathering now will focus on a specific topic each year and every five years will bring together the various ethnic and affinity group meetings for a large gathering in the summer.