The Baptist General Convention of Texas encourages, facilitates and connects churches in their work to fulfill God’s mission of reconciling the world to himself.
We are a fellowship of transformational churches sacrificially giving ourselves to God’s redemptive purpose. Continually being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Christ, we join together to transform our communities and the world. Engaging culture, we reach people where they are for an encounter with Jesus Christ.
We are on mission with God to continue Jesus’ ministry of teaching, sharing the good news and meeting human needs through our churches, institutions and organizations. Our ministries reflect the heart of Jesus.
We share a vision of the world’s peoples coming to know Jesus Christ and becoming transformed in his image. As a fellowship of diverse churches, we advance the Kingdom in ways individual churches cannot do alone and we celebrate our unity in the larger body of Christ’s church. As local churches we are called to be the presence of Christ in the world.
We accomplish our work through individuals with diverse backgrounds who love Jesus Christ and his church. Lives, families, communities and nations are transformed as ordinary Christians take extraordinary steps of faith in obedience to God.
Bible-God’s Written Word – We value the Bible as the divinely inspired record of God’s revelation of himself to us. It serves as the authoritative guide for life and ministry.
Transformational Churches – We value the church as the body called to carry out the purposes of God according to God’s will. We make every effort to develop transformational churches that help believers become Christlike and prepare them to engage culture and to advance the Kingdom of God. We value being on mission with God in our communities and in reaching a lost world.
Spiritual Formation-Discipleship – We value intimacy with God that forms the image of Christ in us. We submit our lives to be shaped by God through feeding on the Word, praying continually, sharing Christ, and living in community with other believers.
Servant Leadership – We value servant leadership that models the ministry of Jesus as he called people to become his disciples and to serve all the interests of God’s Kingdom. We are committed to the ongoing nurture and development of courageous servant leadership in our churches.
Worth of All Persons – We value every person, for all are created in God’s image. We commit ourselves to love others as Christ loves us and to serve others in Jesus’ name.
Baptist Distinctives – We value those Biblical truths that shape Baptist life and history, including the soul’s competency before God, the priesthood of each believer and all believers, the autonomy of the local church, and a free church in a free state.
Integrity – We value integrity in our lives and in our churches, demonstrated by Christ-like attitudes and actions that are consistent and evident in all we think and do. Integrity is the foundation for the mutual trust, accountability, excellence in ministry, and teamwork that marks our work together.
Inclusiveness – We value including all persons redeemed by God’s grace and called to serve in the missions and ministries of this body. We embrace the mosaic of God’s family, grateful for the richness of gifts, backgrounds and experiences.
- Start, develop and strengthen transformational churches
- Provide a comprehensive missions and evangelism strategy that encourages, facilitates and connects churches and individuals to be on mission in their communities and in the world and to participate in prayer and financial support
- Meet human needs
- Conduct research and development for cutting-edge ministries, methods and processes and for understanding multiple cultures
- Identify and develop transformational leadership for churches and affiliated ministries
- Operate and serve as a truly multicultural organization
- Christ is the head of the church
- In the Bible
- In the virgin birth of Christ, that He died for our sins, and that He was resurrected
- In the Priesthood of each believer and of all believers
- Salvation comes from Jesus Christ alone
- In reaching a lost and hurting world
- In helping churches connect with ministry partners
- In distributing BGCT cooperative program funds as directed by each church
- In the sanctity of human life
Baptist work in Texas is older than the state itself. In fact, the first Baptist service was held in 1820, a full quarter of a century before statehood. Although Baptists were among the earliest Anglo settlers in Texas, the first Baptist church was not established until 1834 when Daniel Parker led a Primitive Baptist congregation from Illinois.
Over the next six years, numerous Baptist churches were formed. In 1840 three churches organized the Union Baptist Association, the first in Texas. By 1848, many churches saw the need for a statewide body. Representatives of these churches gathered at the First Baptist Church in Anderson and formed the Baptist State Convention. In the 1850’s and 1860’s other statewide bodies were formed as a result of disagreements among the churches. The strongest of these new groups was the Baptist General Association.
By the 1880’s, many Baptists in Texas believed that Baptist work in the state could be strengthened if the statewide bodies would unite. After the smaller bodies dissolved or merged with larger ones, the Baptist State Convention and the Baptist General Association began formal merger talks in the fall of 1885. A special committee comprised of members from each group agreed to form a new consolidated body to be called the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). The first session of this new convention was held June 29, 1886.
The new convention was not without controversy. In the 1890’s, S. A. Hayden, one of the major proponents of consolidation, accused the BGCT leadership of misappropriating funds. The allegations were baseless, and Hayden was excluded from BGCT meetings. As a result, Hayden’s followers left the BGCT and formed the Baptist Missionary Association (BMA).
From its inception in 1886, the BGCT has been actively involved in education and social ministries, as well as evangelism and missions. The BGCT has supported and/or established numerous schools, including Baylor University, the world’s largest Baptist university, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (now operated by the Southern Baptist Convention), currently the largest seminary in the world. The BGCT has assisted in the development of seven hospitals, four children’s homes and five homes for the aged. The Convention also assists in starting hundreds of new churches each year as it strives to share the gospel with every person in the state of Texas.
Throughout its existence, the BGCT has weathered controversies, recessions, a major depression and wars to become the largest state convention of its kind.