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Texas Baptists dedicate new Rambler Park office space


After three days of unpacking crates and settling into new workstations, the Texas Baptists staff gathered together for a dedication of the eleventh and twelfth floors of the Rambler Park building located at 7557 Rambler Rd. in Dallas, which now houses the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

At the dedication ceremony, executive leaders recognized the dedicated work of internal employees and external partners who helped make the transition possible. The staff then joined one another in prayer for the building, the staff and for... [continue]

Texas Baptists passes Baptist Building legacy to Baylor University nursing school


DALLAS- On Wednesday, Texas Baptists held a monumental “passing the mantle” ceremony to commemorate the legacy of Texas Baptists at 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas and the future of the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON), which will soon take residency in the 100,000 square-foot building.

The August 26 ceremony featured remarks from leaders of both Baptist-affiliated organizations including Dr. David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists, and Dr. Shelley Conroy, dean and... [continue]

Boomers are turning 65 at 10,000 per day, are churches ready?


SAN ANTONIO—With the baby boomer generation turning 65-years-old at nearly 10,000 people per day, churches have the opportunity to reach a generation like they have never been reached before.

On September 9-11, Texas Baptists’ Adult Discipleship Team will host its 4th annual “Catch the Boomer Wave,” a National Boomer Ministry Conference, at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio to address how to effectively minister to boomers.

The term “baby boomers” derived after 77 million babies were born in the post World War II era from... [continue]

Disaster Recovery trip combines missions with summer fun


GALVESTON–Last week, volunteers teamed up with Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) to take part in a unique missions experience—one that allowed opportunities for mornings of servant-hearted labor and afternoons of summer entertainment.

Forty volunteers from five Texas Baptists churches spent the weekday mornings painting homes, building fences, cleaning yards and making repairs for homeowners who are still reaping the effects of Hurricane Ike, which devastated much of the Island in 2008.

In the... [continue]

FBC Carrollton Teenager Wins National Speakers’ Tournament


CARROLLTONFirst Baptist Church in Carrollton has an impressive reputation for producing award-winning Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament students. This year was no different with Hannah Mathes taking home first place in the National Speakers’ Tournament in Kingland, Georgia.

Mathes, an incoming junior at Prestonwood Academy, has been a participant in Bible Drill since fourth grade and started participating in Speakers’ Tournament in eighth grade.

“Speaking is kind of my talent, so I was able to use that opportunity to show... [continue]

Baylor University’s continued stance on sexual ethics


Recently the Baylor Board of Regents changed the language of their student conduct policy. This action has been represented in a number of ways through headlines and news reports. Judge Ken Starr, president of Baylor University, sent us the following memo to help us understand the actions of Baylor and to clarify the misunderstandings that have accompanied this action. Please note the following from Judge Starr:

Recent news reports of changes to Baylor’s sexual conduct policy have unfortunately employed sensational headlines... [continue]

African American Fellowship given a charge to keep, elects 2016 officers


Sugar Land—A lineup of passionate speakers and jubilant worship at this year’s African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference (AAFC) made for a spirit of joy and encouragement amongst guests, giving them a “charge to keep,” as the conference theme stated.

At The Fort Bend Baptist Church in Sugar Land July 14-16, hundreds of pastors and lay leaders of African American churches gathered together to take part in the conference, which featured a Tuesday night Jim W. Culp, Sr. Banquet followed by two... [continue]

African American Fellowship Emphasizes Faithfulness to God


SUGAR LAND – Amongst a chorus of amens, Pastor Oscar Epps of Community Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto brought a message of God’s unconditional faithfulness.

The African American Fellowship Conference kicked off on July 14, with the Culp Banquet, but the following morning brought a message from the president of the African American Fellowship. Epps spoke on Daniel 3, in which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are put in the furnace for not bowing to the king.

God is always able to meet our needs in every situation, but... [continue]

What is your growth plan?


If someone were to ask, “What is your growth plan for your life?” – would you have an answer? Many of us may fail to come up with an immediate response, but it is a plausible question to consider.

In the past few years, the Office of Hispanic Ministries for Texas Baptists has observed a desire within the Hispanic Baptist community for growth in leadership development. Last fall, they hosted a successful first “En Sus Manos” conference, which offered leadership trainings for English-speaking adults, Spanish-speaking adults and youth. They are offering the second... [continue]

Hispanic Baptists urged to stand firm in faith


AUSTIN – An estimated 11 million Hispanics live in Texas, with projections of Hispanics becoming the largest ethnic group in the state within a decade. Currently, there are more than 1,100 Hispanic Baptist churches seeking to share the Gospel with this ever-increasing ethnic group.

This year, Convencion Bautista Hispana de Texas was hosted by Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, June 28-30, with 1,529 registrants in attendance, including 487 messengers. Many area church members also joined for worship services, with approximately 2,100 in... [continue]

​Camp Exalted encourages spiritual growth for 290 youth


From amusing games of human foosball to deep-hearted discussions in family groups to spirit-led worship, students at Camp Exalted gained both new friendships and spiritual growth June 22-26.

Nearly 300 students attended this year’s Camp Exalted, hosted by Texas Baptists’ African American Ministries and located at Camp Copass in Denton, and 32 of them made a profession of salvation.

Camp Exalted has three goals in mind, according to Camp Director Reverend Carlos Francis from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield: “We... [continue]

Louie Giglio challenges youth at North Texas YEC


The June 19-20, North Texas Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) brought an overflowing crowd of students to Venue 510 in Burleson, where renowned pastor and author Louie Giglio gave a challenging message.

Giglio, founder of Passion Conferences and pastor of Passion City church in Atlanta, Georgia, read from Luke 7, reciting the story which records people finding themselves in a place of “holy mystery” after Jesus raised a widow’s only son from the dead.

“This story is not just a story of a boy that is raised from the dead,” Giglio told the... [continue]

Texas Baptists respond to Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage


For the first time in history the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation on Friday, June 26, creating a challenge for churches and Christian organizations that believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman.

David Hardage, executive director for Texas Baptists, which has around 5,400 affiliated Baptist churches, said: “The Baptist General Convention of Texas is committed to loving, caring and treating all people with grace and respect. Also, we continue to affirm our long held... [continue]

Leadership Texas Baptists seeking emerging leaders


DALLAS – Texas Baptists is launching Leadership Texas Baptists this fall, a new program aimed at emerging leaders. Leadership Texas Baptists is a nine-month experience to engage, equip, and inform emerging leaders from churches across the state. Pastors, staff, and lay leaders accepted into the program will gather once a month in a cohort experience to hear from and dialog with BGCT leaders.

“We are excited to launch this new initiative aimed at identifying and equipping emerging Baptist leaders from around Texas,” said Dr. David... [continue]

Culp and Spooner receive Texas Baptist Legacy Awards


INDEPENDENCE—Deep in the heart of Texas at historic Independence Baptist Church, friends, family and former co-workers of Jim Culp and Bernie Spooner gathered to honor the veteran denominational leaders at the annual Texas Baptist Legacy Awards presentation on June 7.

Culp and Spooner cumulatively devoted more than four decades to service on the Texas Baptists Executive Board staff.

“The Legacy Award acknowledges that we have seen these men sounding forth what they have received,” Executive Director David Hardage said. Culp and... [continue]

A burdened heart for the lost, Former FBC Shallowater pastor joins evangelism team


Texas Baptists welcomes Mitch Wilson, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Shallowater, as director of church evangelism.

In his 19 years of pastoring at FBC Shallowater, which is located just seven miles outside of Lubbock, Wilson developed a burden for the lost and felt a tug on his heart to research data in Lubbock County. The burden became heavier as he discovered there were 160,000 unchurched people in the county, and he began shepherding his church to engage in more evangelism... [continue]

Executive Board encouraged by testimonies of BSMs, discuss church planting increases


DALLAS – Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) directors are being missional on college campuses, a place not like any other in America, Bruce McGowan, director of Collegiate Ministries shared with Executive Board members on Monday, May 18, during their May board meeting in Dallas.

“Thousands of students are gathered together with a common purpose of getting an education, going to class, and being open and willing to dialogue,” McGowan said. “Our goal is to incarnationally meet students on campus – to go where... [continue]

TBDR seeks volunteers and funding to help Central Texas flood victims


SAN MARCOS – Following intense flooding in the Central Texas region of San Marcos and Wimberley, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is working to coordinate volunteers and funds to assist those in need. More than 400 homes have been destroyed in San Marcos, with assessment continuing in the town of Wimberley as to the number of homes damaged or destroyed.

Chris Liebrum, with TBDR, and Fred Ater, area representative, traveled to the region on Tuesday, May 26 to meet with local pastors about needs in the communities. On... [continue]

Texas Baptists assist FBC Mineral Wells following tornado damage


MINERAL WELLS – A tornado tore through downtown Mineral Wells on Tuesday, May 19, damaging First Baptist Church, along with several local businesses. The next day, Texas Baptists were on-hand ready to help in a myriad of ways. David Scott, director of Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery, Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program, and Joe Loughlin, director of Connections, traveled to the church to provide support and meet with Pastor Nathan Buchanan.

Additionally, a team from Texas Baptists Church Architecture assessed... [continue]

Cyclists weather storms to end hunger


When you are driven by a great cause, like working to end the cycle of hunger and poverty experienced by millions worldwide, a 500-mile bike ride seems a little more possible. Twenty-nine cyclists from across Texas, along with a few riders from Colorado and New York, joined together May 11-16 for the Sixth Annual Bike Out Hunger-Texas ride. This year, the team traveled from Boerne, near San Antonio, to Dallas with shared goals to raise money and awareness for hunger needs across Texas and around the world.

Funds raised by the cyclists were given to... [continue]

Disaster Recovery prepares to respond to Van tornado destruction


A deadly tornado, which struck the Texas town of Van Sunday, May 10, has affected 204 total homes. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) is on the ground assessing damage and preparing to begin volunteer mobilization.

According to the Red Cross, 62 homes were destroyed, 56 made inhabitable, 41 received minor damage, and 45 were otherwise affected. There were two fatalities and 56 residents were injured.

Texas Baptist Men, a partner organization of Texas Baptists that mobilizes immediate response teams, has chain saw teams... [continue]

Cyclists to ride 500 miles with Bike Out Hunger to raise awareness for hunger


On Monday, May 11, the Sixth Annual Bike Out Hunger will leave from Boerne, raising money and awareness for hunger needs through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. This year’s week-long route includes 29 cyclists who will ride more than 500 miles from Boerne to Dallas. The team will leave at 9 a.m. on Monday, ending the day in Fredericksburg.

For updates on the week follow at outhunger.org or on Twitter and Facebook.

Money raised will be donated to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which last year totaled... [continue]

Golf Classic brings in $15,000 for disaster recovery


Blue skies and a bright shining sun made an appearance as 265 golfers stepped onto the green of the TPC San Antonio golf course on April 27 for the second annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic.

The tournament raised an estimated $15,000 by way of donors, event fees and 17 sponsors, with Baptist Church Loan Corporation (BCLC) serving as title sponsor. All proceeds will benefit Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR).

“We’re grateful to all of our sponsors, especially BCLC who, without their help, the event wouldn’t have been... [continue]

2015 State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament winners named


Eighty-seven youth representing 35 churches competed in the Texas Baptist State Youth Bible Drill and Speaker’s Tournament May 1 and 2 at the Baptist Building in Dallas.

Prior to the competition, students competed in one of the five regional events across the state. For 2015, there were 827 participants in Bible Drill and Speaker’s Tournaments from 109 churches competing in the regional events. The highest-scoring youth from those events then traveled to Dallas for the state competition.

State winners... [continue]

Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery Update on Nepal Earthquake


In response to the devastation experienced in Nepal following the 7.9 earthquake on April 25, Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery has been in communication with several partnering Baptist entities worldwide. TBDR leaders have been working with Asia Pacific Baptist Federation and Baptist World Aid through the Baptist World Alliance to receive updates and coordinate aid.

Funds are being collected through TBDR, (Click here to give) which will be appropriated to our Baptist partners in Nepal as needs are expressed.

The Texas Baptist... [continue]

A fire set ablaze at the WMU annual meeting


Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scripture to us? Luke 24:32, GNT

For her birthday last year, IMB missionary Staci Powers’ most treasured gift was having her husband hold her hands without letting go. The fact that he had forgotten it was her birthday did not matter at that moment.

Four days later, on July 10, 2014, Staci held her husband Jeff’s hands for the last time as cancer took over his body.

Last weekend, Staci boldly stood on stage at the Woman’s Missionary Union... [continue]

CLC opens doors for advocates to interact at the Capitol


AUSTIN – Advocates work for the best interest of all, the voiceless, or marginalized, Kathryn Freeman, director of public policy for the Christian Life Commission, shared with attendees at CLC Advocacy Day.

The event was hosted on April 9, at the First United Methodist Church in Austin, across the street from the State Capitol building. Listen to a review of the day here:

Executive Director David Hardage was in attendance for the day, giving a welcome to Advocacy Day attendees. Hardage was encouraged by the... [continue]

​Disaster Recovery offers affordable Galveston mission trip and vacation for the whole family


During the week of July 26-31, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) will be hosting its first-ever family mission trip to Galveston Island, where volunteers will have an opportunity to spend mornings on the worksite and afternoons on vacation.

“While all ages and types of people are invited, we wanted to focus on ‘families on mission,’” said Marla Bearden, disaster response specialist for Texas Baptists. “Spending time as a family, serving others in Jesus’ name, is a wonderful way for... [continue]

Prepare your church for same-sex marriage ruling


The U.S. Supreme Court is ready to consider the issue of same-sex marriage, and the court’s eventual ruling could affect how the State of Texas defines marriage. If change occurs, it will affect the relationship of all Texas Baptist churches in their dealings with local, state, and federal laws.

The Christian Life Commission supports the biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman for a lifetime commitment. This has been the marriage standard for Christians dating back two millennia, and reflects an even longer... [continue]

Missions Foundation welcomes Dr. Jerry Carlisle as Vice President


Texas Baptists will welcome Dr. Jerry Carlisle to the position of Vice President for the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) starting April 16.

Carlisle comes to Texas Baptists after serving 13 years as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Plano, as well as adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University (DBU) for 11 years. Prior to that, he held a variety of pastoral and ministerial positions in Texas and Missouri.

In his new role, Carlisle will work with donors to help raise funds for the ministries Texas... [continue]

States need RFRA matching federal model, like Texas


The Christian Life Commission staff believes it is wise for each state to pass RFRA laws or constitutional amendments that mirror the federal RFRA language. The Texas RFRA mirrors the federal RFRA, both passed with bipartisan support and reflecting an appropriate balance between religious freedom and government interests.

The CLC is proud to have worked on passage of the Texas RFRA 16 years ago. We believe respect for religious freedom is an important part of our democracy, and separation of church and state is a foundational... [continue]

Student disaster recovery responds to Tulsa tornadoes


In response to Wednesday night’s tornadoes that brought devastation to many homes and families in Tulsa, Oklahoma, BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery has announced a mission opportunity for students to help the city in its road to recovery.

Reports from CNN reveal the storms took one life, left dozens injured across the state and caused massive devastation in the Tulsa area and some damage in other cities including Moore, which is still in recovery from the catastrophic 2013 tornadoes.

As a branch of Texas Baptists... [continue]

Texas Baptists contribute over $17,000 to winterize and bring the Gospel to Syrian refugees


Through generous offerings, Texas Baptist churches and individuals have contributed over $17,600 to the Texas Baptists’ Winterization Project, which is helping bring warmth and the Gospel to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

The vision behind the Winterization Project began developing in August of last year when Matt Snowden, chair of the missions mobilization team for Texas Baptists; Mike Stroope, associate professor of Christian missions at George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco; and... [continue]

Texas Baptists contribute over $17,000 to winterize and bring the Gospel to Syrian refugees


Through generous offerings, Texas Baptist churches and individuals have contributed over $17,600 to the Texas Baptists’ Winterization Project, which is helping bring warmth and the Gospel to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

The vision behind the Winterization Project began developing in August of last year when Matt Snowden, chair of the missions mobilization team for Texas Baptists; Mike Stroope, associate professor of Christian missions at George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco; and Steve... [continue]

Love in deed: Churches embrace timely opportunity for refugee ministry


HOUSTON—Now is a time, like no other, to be prepared to minister with refugees, Mark Heavener, specialist for Texas Baptists’ intercultural ministry, told guests at the Feb 27-28 Love in Deed: Refugee Ministry Summit held at Chinese Baptist Church in Houston.

In 2014, a total of 7,214 refugees arrived in Texas from 65 countries. Statistics reveal that one-third of those settled in Houston, making the city a wide open door for refugee ministry.

“Clearly God has chosen the state of Texas and the city of... [continue]

Executive Director serves as Pastor of the Day for Texas Senate


On Tuesday, March 10, Texas Baptists’ Executive Director Dr. David Hardage is serving as the Pastor of the Day for the Texas Senate, and prayed during the legislative session, beginning at 11 a.m. Thank you for being in prayer for him as he represents Texas Baptists in the Capitol building.

To hear his prayer, watch the video below. Sen. Royce West, representing the 23rd Senatorial District for Dallas County, introduced Dr. Hardage before he prayed.

HSU, Logsdon Seminary and Texas Baptists encourage and equip women in ministry


The 2015 Women in Ministry Conference, hosted by Hardin-Simmons University, Logsdon Seminary and Texas Baptists, was held on Friday, February 20, 2015. The Ninth Annual conference drew women and men alike, from across the state to help encourage, equip for ministry and support exploration of women leadership roles in a variety of contexts.

Meredith Stone, instructor of Christian ministry and director of ministry guidance, along with Dr. Bob Ellis, associate dean and professor of Old Testament of... [continue]

February 2015 Executive Board Review


DALLAS – Amidst ice and freezing temperatures, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas convened February 22-24 for their spring meeting.

During Tuesday’s combined business session, President Kathy Hillman encouraged the board members to be equipped to move forward as Texas Baptists. Using a compass, map and GPS, Hillman noted Biblical examples of preparation. “The right people must have the right tools, at the right time, for the right situations,” she said.

Dennis Russell, from the First Baptist Church of Amarillo, was elected... [continue]

​Did You Know It Pays to Prey on the Poor In Texas?


An unexpected medical bill, car trouble, buying school supplies, a funeral or a summer utility bill—one or many of these expenses have pushed countless Texans to the financial brink. Needing a way to meet the unexpected expense, many families turn to payday and auto title lenders who are all too happy to profit off of people’s misfortune.

Usually payday and auto-title borrowers are already financially fragile and rather than being a lifesaver these loans become an anchor. Payday loans are unsecured short-term loans that simply... [continue]

BGCT Executive Board approves resolution on transgender issues


DALLAS—At its Feb 23-24 meeting in Dallas, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas unanimously approved a resolution on transgender issues, declaring gender is determined biologically, not psychologically.

The request to consider the resolution came from several Texas Baptist university presidents stating the need to apply for a Title IX exemption from the United States Department of Education in dealing with accommodations for transgender students. Their application would be strengthened with a... [continue]

Hardage announces convention restructure to BGCT Executive Board


DALLAS – Texas Baptists is preparing for a convention reset, Executive Director Dr. David Hardage announced at the Feb. 23 Executive Board meeting in Dallas, as they seek to best serve the state and churches in an ever-changing world.

This past year has produced big changes for the convention as the Executive Board made an agreement to sell the Baptist Building in Dallas in May 2014, signed a lease on a new office space in December 2014, finalized the sale of the building January 2015, and will begin operating under a new... [continue]

State of the State


On February 17, Governor Greg Abbott gave his first State of the State address. The State of the State was first given by Governor J. Pickney Henderson in 1845, after Texas joined the Union. The State of the State is required by the Texas Constitution and is given at the beginning of each regular legislative session.

The State of the State is used by the Governor to lay out a vision for the state over the next two years and designate emergency items. Usually lawmakers cannot pass bills in the first 60 days unless it is an emergency appropriation or on the Governor’s... [continue]

Removing obstacles to evangelism


When Leslie Strobel became a Christian, she was so excited about the new life she had in Christ. But, she was also heavily burdened for her husband, Lee. A self-proclaimed atheist who actively pursued hedonism and pleasure over spiritual matters, Lee was far from Christ and Leslie worried that he would never be able to come to faith.

Within two years—after an intense investigation seeking to disprove the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Christianity, along with the results of numerous prayers from his wife—Lee found himself kneeling... [continue]

Teaching men to fish


The adage is well-known: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Texas Baptists are both “giving fish” and “teaching to fish” — physically and spiritually — by providing $103,000 to equip IMB missionaries to teach people how to sustain a fish farm in South America and meet other needs around the globe.

When Gus Reyes, director of Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission, was seeking help to allocate funds from The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, he reached out through the... [continue]

CLC Advocacy Day


CLC Advocacy Day will be held Thursday, March 5, at First United Methodist Church, Family Life Center, 302 W. 13th St., Austin, TX 78701.

The CLC Advocacy Day is an opportunity for you to participate in the work of the CLC. Your voice is vital to our success so please join Kathryn Freeman and Dr. Gus Reyes for their first CLC Advocacy Day in Austin!

Schedule for the Day

  • 9:30-11 a.m. Legislative Briefing The Legislative briefing is an opportunity to hear from experts on some of the top legislative issues facing our state including predatory lending,
... [continue]

CERI aids families affected by flooding in Sri Lanka


BATTICALOA , SRI LANKA — On December 23, 2014, nearing the tenth anniversary of the devastating 2004 tsunami that claimed more than 226,000 souls and left Indonesia’s island nations and the lives of their people utterly destroyed, BCFS’ overseas division Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) received notification of torrential rainfall in Sri Lanka. In only a few days, the rains sparked massive flooding and mudslides across the region, driving thousands out of their homes — and CERI into action.

Since responding... [continue]

Texas Baptists sign lease for new Dallas office space


Texas Baptists executives signed a lease agreement on December 29, 2014, for new office space in Dallas approximately eight miles north of its current building location.

More than two years ago, Baylor University approached Texas Baptists executives in regards to purchasing the Baptist Building on 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas for its Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

On May 20, 2014, executives approved the sale of the building and on January 22, 2015, the sale was finalized. Baylor University is paying $8 million in cash and... [continue]

Texas Baptists celebrate MLK Day by packing 23,000 meals


DALLAS—The phrases, “Vitamins!” “Protein! and “Vegetables!” echoed across the concrete walls of Texas Baptist Men’s Dixon Mission Equipping Center as 175 Texas Baptist volunteers packed 23,000 meals on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to send to Liberia.

The event served as part of a Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) initiative to send food packets to Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa where starvation has become a crisis.

Volunteers came from all part of Texas, including Shertz, Lawn and Huntsville to pack boxes... [continue]

Connections


Department: Connections Team

Explain your ministry:

The Connections Team builds relationships with pastors and church leaders, connecting them to the resources, programs and ministries available through the Texas Baptists.

What are the different aspects of Connections?

Pastor/Church Connection, directed by Joe Loughlin

    1. Building relationships with pastors in order to connect them with the resources, programs and ministries available to help them do their job.
    2. Facilitating connections between Pastor Search Committees and potential ministry
... [continue]

Angie Carter


It all starts with a relationship. Most people won’t respond to something that doesn’t feel genuine – be real, vulnerable, and honest, and God will do the rest

Name: Angie Carter

Spouse: Nathan

Children: None, just a cat

Ministry: Hispanic Evangelism

Position: Events Coordinator

Number of years: 10.5, will be 11 in the summer

Where did you grow up?

Elsa, TX in the Rio Grande Valley

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was in the 4th grade and I remember it was at a... [continue]

Texas Baptists loving neighbors through Hunger Offering


This month, the Christian Life Commission is set to distribute funds to 117 ministries throughout the state of Texas and more than 67 international ones through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. That is a reflection of the generosity of Texas Baptists, an indication about the contents of their hearts.

Feeding people who don’t have enough to eat and helping others to climb out of poverty is part of our obedience to Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Doing so in a way that maximizes the support we can offer to... [continue]

Ebola and starvation in West Africa: Nearly 998,000 meals arrive with more on the way


It was a joyful holiday season for many Liberians and Sierra Leoneans as they received 997,920 pre-packaged rice and high-nutrition meals sent by Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) in partnership with multiple ministries.

The first container of 142,560 meals, trucked in from South Africa in partnership with Virginia Baptists, came just in time for Christmas and New Year’s. Photos bear witness to grateful Liberian children and families holding the food packets at Zion Praise Baptist Church... [continue]

New opportunities in a new year


In Isaiah, the Lord tells the Israelites that His servants will faithfully bring forth justice to the nations and describes them as a light to the nations capable of opening blind eyes, breaking the chains of the oppressed, and setting captives free (Isaiah 42:1-9, Isaiah 58). As the 84th Legislative Session is set to begin next Tuesday, we have a new opportunity to engage in this kingdom work at the Capitol. Here are just a few of the policy priorities the Christian Life Commission will be focused on in the upcoming session:

  • Ending the financial
... [continue]

The Long Haul


I want to tell you a story about my friend Larry Venable. Larry has been pastor of Freeman Heights Baptist Church for 31 years. 31 years in the same church, coming to same office, ministering in the same community. This community, Central and West Garland has changed significantly through the years; it has become much more ethnically and socially diverse.

In fact, when Larry first arrived in 1983 this was already beginning to happen. Most guys in situations like his might just bide their time until they are able to find a new place of ministry – an easier spot to do the... [continue]

‘Tis the season—for refugees—to merely survive


For many in the United States, ‘tis the season to cozy up by the fireplace with family and friends. ‘Tis the season to sing merry Christmas tunes and to be grateful for freedom, relatives and Grandma’s cooking.

But for Syrian refugees who have had to flee to safety in Lebanon, ‘tis the season to fight brutal winter temperatures in their houses made of plywood, tarp or tents and hope they can find food to eat each day. ‘Tis the season to survive.

A writer from Tearfund, a charity passionate about tackling poverty, recently recorded... [continue]

Political leaders still need to address immigration issues


Recently, President Obama announced steps he is taking to help undocumented immigrants living in our country. The executive action increases border security in addition to providing temporary relief for some families and individuals.

Despite the President’s actions, the immigration system remains broken and in need of significant attention. We still need a permanent, holistic immigration bill that secures the borders, affirms families, treats people with dignity, and gives clarity with regards to status in this country.

My hope... [continue]

School and church work together to help build stronger families in their community


FORT WORTH—Parents in a community on the north side of Fort Worth are spending one hour a week for 13 weeks in their children’s classrooms, gaining a unique education of their own.

This is the second term for what is called Parent University, where parents learn skills for raising their children, held at Manuel Jara Elementary School. Last April, 29 parents graduated from the program. This November, 21 of those came back for a second course, and 44 parents signed up for the first.

A little... [continue]

East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network


We realized our old methods of helping were not really providing people with the help they truly needed. In fact, some of our solutions were creating problems because they made people dependent on us.

Church: Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, TX

Pastor: Dr. David O. Dykes

Initiative: East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

We have completely revamped our method of helping people in poverty. Instead of operating a clothes closet, a utility... [continue]

Matt Snowden


“Joy. I love teaching on joy. The joy of the Lord is so powerful. It is a stream in the desert.” -Pastor Matt Snowden

Name: Matt Snowden

Wife: Meredith Snowden

Children: Molly Katherine and Wes Snowden (ages 8 and 7)

Church: First Baptist Church Waco

Number of years: Four and I/4 years

Attendance: We have an active membership of 805

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi.

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I became a Christian at 11. I was... [continue]

African American Fellowship admires God as a God of justice


WACO—Though revenge seems sweet and payback fair, God commands His followers to let Him take control of the situation, Pastor John Ogletree from First Metropolitan Church in Houston told guests at the African American Fellowship of Texas worship rally on Nov. 16.

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Waco hosted the rally preceding the 2014 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Visitors engaged in worship facilitated by the Antioch choir and a sermon based off Romans 12:17-21.

“This message is to people who know something... [continue]

Dramatic presentations part of this year’s annual meeting


“Theatre for the Mind and Spirit” is coming to the Texas Baptist annual meeting Monday, Nov. 17. This is how Bruce Kuhn describes his dramatic presentations. Kuhn will be part of the morning and evening worship services at the Waco Convention Center.

Bruce’s presentations bring Scripture alive. The words are literally from the biblical text, but Bruce helps them breathe with human passion. Below are 2 seven-minute videos of Bruce presenting a portion of the Gospel of Luke and Tales of Tolstoy, and there are other... [continue]

‘The Blind Side’ couple to end BGCT Annual Meeting


The BGCT Annual Meeting this year will end with a special event on the Baylor University campus. Baylor President Ken Starr will host a “conversation” with Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy, the couple featured in the book and movie, “The Blind Side.”

It is part of the university’s “On Topic” series of events at Waco Hall. Tickets are required but are free and will be available Sunday and Monday, Nov. 16-17, at Waco Convention Center during the BGCT Annual Meeting. Tickets also will be available Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Waco Hall before the event.

“The... [continue]

Kathryn Freeman


Name: Kathryn Annette Freeman

Ministry: Christian Life Commission

Position: Director of Public Policy

Where did you grow up?

Grand Prairie, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I became a Christian at seven years old. I remember learning about inviting Jesus into my heart at Vacation Bible School. I remember being very excited about taking the pre-baptism class and obsessively wearing my salvation bracelet until it fell off.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Texas A&M... [continue]

Ministry Profile: Christian Life Commission


Department: Christian Life Commission

Staffers: Gus Reyes, Director; Ferrell Foster, Director of Ethics & Justice, Coordinator, Texas Baptist Hunger Offering; Kathryn Freeman, Director of Public Policy; Marilyn Davis, Congregational & Commission Specialist; Joyce Gilbreath, Hunger Offering Specialist; Julie Valentine, Ministry Assistant

Explain your ministry:

The CLC addresses ethical and public policy issues in order to help Texas Baptists follow Christ in their everyday lives. Each Baptist comes to his or her own conclusions... [continue]

Live the Difference: around the world


This year’s Annual Meeting theme is “Live the Difference.” We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here’s what Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, had to say:

What does it mean to Live the Difference? Authors Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts say. “If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, He calls you a missionary! You may never go halfway around the world, but because of God’s work in you, you are on mission.”*

For me, living the difference means being on... [continue]

Houston subpoenas raise religious liberty concerns


The City of Houston gained national attention last week as a result of subpoenas sent to five local pastors seeking “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by or approved by you or in your possession.”

CLC Director Gus Reyes spoke out against these subpoenas because they appeared to be designed to intimidate pastors and make them think twice about speaking on this critical social issue. Texas Baptists President Jeff... [continue]

Inspiring the next generation, youth ministry as a divine appointment


ARLINGTON: Youth ministry is a calling that comes along with great trials but even greater rewards, including seeing the salvation of young souls and the opportunity to inspire a generation of future leaders.

Speakers at the 2014 Youth Ministry Conclave on Oct. 13-15 focused on youth ministry as a calling and encouraged leaders to recognize it as a divine appointment. Conclave is sponsored by Texas Baptists and supported through the Cooperative Program with ethnic scholarships provided by Mary Hill Davis... [continue]

Ellis Orozco


When I was working as an engineer, God made it clear that I was in the wrong place; He wanted me to prepare myself to serve him for the rest of my life. I have never regretted it and have never looked back! -Ellis

Name: Ellis Orozco

Wife: Priscilla Ruth Orozco

Children: Gabriel Antonio Orozco (22); Michael Andrew Orozco (16); Celeste Iliana Orozco (15)

Church: First Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas

Number of years: 5 and a half

Attendance: 1200

Where did you grow up?

Pasadena, Texas

How old were you when you became a... [continue]

Run:4Justice


As a church we committed to a partnership to curtail sex trafficking in Cambodia. Then, last year we also partnered with two other churches for an area-wide Choose Life 5k to raise funds for multiple crisis pregnancy centers in the Tarrant Country area. -Pastor Joe Sanchez

Church: 121 Community Church

Pastor: Ross Sawyers

Initiative: Run:4Justice

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

Hosting and co-hosting fundraising runs for Justice and Life issues.

How did you recognize this need?

Our two... [continue]

CLC director expresses concern regarding Houston subpoenas


Gus Reyes, director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, has released the following statement regarding the City of Houston’s subpoenas sent to five churches:

“We are glad Mayor Annise Parker now agrees with critics that the initial City of Houston subpoenas were overly broad.

“The U.S. Constitution protects religious freedom, and that includes the right of pastors and church members to speak on social and community issues without fear of intimidation by the government.

“We now wait to see what city officials do next.... [continue]

Texas Baptists prepare to Live the Difference


WACO – Texas Baptists’ annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco will be an opportunity to see what it means to truly “Live the Difference.” The meeting, to be held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme verse from 1 John 2:6 with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.

“This is an exciting time for our convention as we pave the way for our future and focus on what it means for us to ‘live the difference,’” said Executive Director David Hardage.... [continue]

Live the Difference: on social media


This year’s Annual Meeting theme is “Live the Difference.” We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here’s what Katie Swafford, director of Counseling Services, had to say:

I’m browsing through Facebook this morning when I see the status update of a childhood friend. This friend is describing how she doesn’t feel that people treat her as she deserves to be treated.

Makes a few comments about how she perceives herself to be a good person who is fun to be around, yet feels as if the world takes her... [continue]

Ebola crisis leads to starvation; Texas Baptists send 570,000 meals in response


SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Though media is flooded with news of the Ebola crisis, a calamity nearly as fatal—starvation—has risen in West African countries due to the virus. In response to this dire need, Dallas-based Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), in partnership with Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri, shipped 250,000 meals to Monrovia, Liberia on Thursday, Oct. 9, to help bring relief to the crisis.

When the container of food, holding 44,000 pounds of prepackaged meals, arrives to Monrovia in... [continue]

Texas Baptist Hunger Offering needs end-of-year boost


Texas Baptists are generous, but our giving to fight hunger and poverty has lagged this year. Through August, Texas Baptists gave $548,395 through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. That’s a lot of money, but it is significantly less than we gave last year — $727,877 or 75.3 percent.

As we give millions of dollars to support church programs, it is important to remember that Jesus said care for the poor is a key indicator that a person is seeking to follow Him. When we seek to follow Christ we will have a Spirit-inspired burden to... [continue]

Saying thanks to your pastor


Being a pastor can many times be a thankless job. One works seemingly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – going from meeting to counseling session to hospital visit. Not to mention the time needed to prepare for Sunday’s sermon, Wednesday’s Bible study, a luncheon for Senior Adults and a youth fellowship on Friday night.

Between all of the week’s activities, there are also opinions from church members on everything from the color of the carpet in the sanctuary to the dessert served on Wednesday night.

Pastor’s hear it all – but two words they may not hear very... [continue]

Understanding the city and the culture


Cities are known for their cultures and for their role of influence in societies. Also, there are other forces, which are constantly shaping the city and its cultures. But today, it is crucial for us to understand the city, the communities within the city and their cultures in order to collaborate in ministry and serve the different groups who live, work and visit the city.

I believe the basic elements of culture are languages, artifacts, practices, values, institutions and stories.

We all contribute towards the creation of culture, and culture... [continue]

Executive Board approves purchase of BUA property


DALLAS – During the September 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved for the convention to purchase 12.87 acres of land in San Antonio currently owned by the Baptist University of the Americas. The land will be purchased for $4.373 million, with an additional cash payment of $200,000 to pay off two bank loans held by the university.

“Thank you for walking alongside them [BUA] in this time of need,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “We will continue... [continue]

Bill Arnold


Name: Bill Arnold

Spouse: Margaret

Children: Meredith and Jonathan Grandchildren: Ryan, Mason, Jake, and Hank

Ministry: Providing financial resources for Texas missions

Position: President of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation

Number of years: 30

Where did you grow up?

Memphis, Tennessee

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

Eight years old at an RA camp on the Mississippi coast.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Mississippi College

If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?... [continue]

Texas Baptist Missions Foundation


Department: Texas Baptist Missions Foundation

Staffers: Bill Arnold, President; Larry Thomas, Vice President; Bob Feather, Consultant; Marcy Strube, Donor Relations Coordinator; Rita Griffith, Administrative Assistant

Explain your ministry:

The Missions Foundation works with individuals that want to financially support missions in Texas and around the world. We do this by receiving cash and noncash gifts as well as by working with people who want to include missions in their estate plans.

What are the different aspects of the TBMF?

Working... [continue]

Internet Church and you


Live streaming, podcasting, providing worship services online…there are many different ways for churches today to offer online options for their congregations. What works for one church may not work for another, but there are a myriad of options available for churches interested in providing an online community, connections and resources to their members. Lake Pointe Church in Dallas is hosting the iMinistry Conference on October 14-16 and I will be attending this conference to learn more about options available for our Texas Baptist churches.

I visited... [continue]

Southern Dallas historic freedman town welcomes cowboy culture


Just six miles south of downtown Dallas is Joppa Community, an area where former slaves gathered to celebrate their first taste of freedom in the 1860s and now is the present-day home of Buffalo Soldiers Cowboy Church.

When the freedmen settled there nearly 150 years ago, they named the area after the biblical city of Joppa, which means “beautiful.” They bought property and built homes on the banks of the Trinity River. Though the area is now less than thriving, the residents embrace the rich culture and history and... [continue]

3 ways to guard from a major mess up in a missional lifestyle


Pet training, or “obedience school for dogs,” is held in a very distracting place for your dog to walk. I am referring to the dog training class at PetSmart. In our class, the trainer is a young man who handled bomb dogs in the military. He attempts to help us train our new dog Marley. While, this is an excellent endeavor and he does a good job in teaching us to train Marley, every 7 minutes he also attempts to sell me a new PetSmart product. I guess we should have probably expected this. The problem is when the trainer… [continue]

Texas Baptists promote educational initiatives for Sept. 18 giving day


DALLAS -Texas Baptists are taking part in North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 18 by highlighting two initiatives in the North Texas community. Funds given toward the Baptist General Convention of Texas will help build an outdoor classroom at Truett Elementary School in Dallas and a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton.

As stated on northtexasgivingday.org, “North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event that provides nonprofits opportunity to gain expose to—and... [continue]

Vision 6000


Church: First Baptist Church of El Paso

Pastor: Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr.

Initiative: “Vision 6000”

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

“Vision 6000” seeks to stir the imagination and dreams of our people to envision touching the lives of 1% of the population of El Paso with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This vision statement challenges us to maximize our effectiveness at our home base, but also to stimulate the desire to plant new churches and ministries across the region. If we don’t think and dream big we will probably settle for business... [continue]

Pastor Oscar Epps


Name: Oscar D. Epps, Sr.

Spouse: Belenthia

Children: Destany, Oscar Jr., Aderius

Church: Community Missionary Baptist Church, Desoto, TX

Number of Years: 21

Attendance: 3,000

Where did you grow up?

Dallas, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was 10 years old and very eager to be baptized.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Dallas Baptist University

If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?

Honorary Doctorate and am... [continue]

Tears, Courage and New Beginnings


Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor’s degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.

When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was captivated by... [continue]

THE BIG DOG and 5 ways to effectively knock on doors


Clap, Clap, Clap, “This will make the dog leave us alone.” This was trick the pastor of a church meeting in our building was telling me would help keep a very large, very scary, very loud dog from jumping all over us the minute we walked through the gate. At the moment we pensively walked through the gate I certainly hoped this trick, which he learned on the mission field would actually work. We lived through this one without a scratch, and a couple of thousands other doors as a major attempt to reachour neighbors with the gospel... [continue]

Conference inspires ministry leaders to


More than 250 individuals from churches across the country “caught the boomer wave” at the second annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 4-5 at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Hosted by Texas Baptists Bible Study/ Discipleship Team, the conference shed light on the need for better ministry amongst the baby boomer generation.

Conference leaders pointed out baby boomers, born in the years 1946 to 1964, are now turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, and will continue to for the next 18 years.

Keynote speaker Amy... [continue]

Burrito Blog


While waiting in line at a Welcome Week event, Jenny and Cole met two international students, Lucy and Yorick, who just recently arrived in Texas from China. They made a discovery – the pair had never before eaten a burrito.

This is Texas. The land of Tex-Mex. Without thinking very long or hard about it, I can name six different burrito and taco restaurants within a five minute drive of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). And for Cole, who eats burritos as often as possible, typically multiple times a week, even being in Texas for just two weeks without having a... [continue]

Lay down your burdens


This story is 3 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Sexual abuse – An uncomfortable phrase for most of us and a horrific experience and reality for far too many. In Christian circles, these words are not talked about very much. Whether it is the fear of the unknown, shame, disgust, naiveté or something else, there seems to be a common theme of silence.

Yet when we see others struggle, we have a tendency to talk about that. Many who have been sexually abused find themselves dealing with issues... [continue]

Seeds of destruction: the city of West


Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor’s degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.

When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was... [continue]

​Texas Baptists raise $182,000 for hunger through Mother’s Day Offering


DALLAS – Texas Baptists gave more than $182,000 to help end hunger and poverty through the Second Annual Mother’s Day Hunger Offering. These gifts are used for hunger relief and anti-poverty programs both in Texas and abroad.

“As Texas Baptists we heed God’s call to minister to those in need, in Texas and around the world,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director.

The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering strives to show the power of God’s love to those in need. Ministries supported through the offering range from feeding... [continue]

A fascinating day in the Quilombola village


On August 9, Linda Freeman (a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth) and Bertha Vaughn (a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Houston) joined seven other Texas Baptist church leaders through the African American Ministry. Each followed the call to serve eight days in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. Here the team did door-to-door evangelism and held Bible studies for Quilombola villagers under a shade tree. Read Freeman’s and Vaughn’s testimony as they recall unforgettable experiences from the village visits.

Linda Freeman

BRAZIL... [continue]

No they’re not here


No they’re not here. No they’re not here. No they’re not here.” This is the response that the folks at Grace Temple Baptist Church of Dallas received as they walked down 10th St. on a hot summer day. They were looking for the apartment managers of the many apartment buildings located on their street. Finally, when they arrived at the very last building, someone was willing to talk with them.

Grace Temple has a dynamic AWANA Program, which reaches dozens of children each week. They desired to expand this program into the apartments on the same street as their... [continue]

Fajita Feed


No, we aren’t feeding fajitas. We are feeding students. About 1,800 of them, in the middle of campus, at lunch time, on the first day of the semester. The Father has blessed the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to be a part of its official “Welcome Week” activities, and Fajita Feed is one of the biggest!

At 9 a.m., the BSM at UTD staff and student leaders began setting up tables and tents and carrying cartloads of water bottles and cookies. We were also blessed with the Texas Baptist Men, who came with the food, and volunteers from... [continue]

TBMF celebrates 30 years of making a difference


DALLAS—The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) celebrated 30 years of giving toward missions and ministries with a luncheon held at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.

In 1984, TBMF began as a two-year experiment to raise additional funds for new churches. Thirty years later, the Foundation has worked with over 33,000 different donors to support 250 mission projects all over Texas and around the world.

Outlining the beginnings of TBMF, Dr. Bill Pinson, former executive director for Texas Baptists, described the time when... [continue]

CCDA vision trip to McAllen


How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things. Romans 10:15

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery hosted a leadership group of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) on a vision trip to the border which allowed the group to see first-hand the crisis plaguing the unaccompanied minors and family units along the U.S. Border in McAllen, Texas. The group witnessed how God is at work in the midst of the crisis along the border.

Although the situation appears to be bleak and many children, youth and adults suffer through the... [continue]

Construction nears completion for 16 Filipino pastors’ homes


ILOILO CITY, the Philippines – In January, Texas Baptist churches were asked to respond to a great need in the Philippines following damage cause by Typhoon Haiyan. A request was sent out from Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery for churches to help raise $80,000 for the rebuilding of 16 pastors’ homes. Pledges filed in quickly, with the remaining eight being made during the February 25 executive board meeting.

This summer, Civil Engineer Fred Golveo was sent by the First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City to... [continue]

A Church on Mission


A new neighborhood, a new school, and a new place without the foundation of family and a familiar community—all of us know how hard that would be for a young person. Yet one little girl’s mother, Tasha, was praying and asking God to bring a church into her daughter’s life, a church where she could find Christ and be a disciple in that faith.

Enter the Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Garland, a Texas Baptist church whose youth group and church body had recently been renewed in its commitment to reach the surrounding neighborhood for Christ. The youth group at... [continue]

Where the healing begins


This story is 2 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Sexual abuse is a sensitive subject and many times hearing about the pain and struggles loved ones have experienced through this type of abuse can be extremely difficult. Many people can be prone to want to gloss over the hard details and look for the silver lining or try and tie a little bow on the story and move on. However, for those suffering from sexual abuse, this is far from what they actually need.

There is power in the spoken... [continue]

Attorney named CLC’s director of public policy


AUSTIN – Kathryn Freeman has been named director of public policy for Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission (CLC).

The CLC helps Texas Baptists, churches, communities and government leaders give voice to critical issues in society from a Christian and biblical perspective. Freeman will lead the CLC’s efforts related to government and legislation.

“I’m very encouraged that we will have Kathryn alongside Dr. Gus Reyes and Ferrell Foster as a strong presence in Austin at the legislative session this next spring,” said David... [continue]

Alaska: Making an impact


Allison Dufour, a student at Stephen F. Austin State University, served in Alaska with Go Now Missions.

It has been just over a week since my return home from Alaska back. This last week has been a whirlwind emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I have slowly begun to process the changes in my life since spending a summer in Alaska. I have often thought about how I could impact the people of Anchorage, but what I did not expect is how much of an impact they would make on me.

Since leaving Alaska, I have noticed how much the Lord changed me as a person.... [continue]

Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem


VICTORIA – Through discovering a community need and a partnership with the local food bank, Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Victoria has begun a feeding program that is making an impact in both the city and the church.

“We believe that the church is not supposed to be an institution that caters to itself,” said Montari Morrison, pastor of Greater Mount Calvary. “The church is always supposed to be a resource to the community. Our message is supposed to go outside of the walls and not only be a spiritual help but also a physical help.”

Since... [continue]

Boldly sharing Christ in South Asia


B.B., a student from Texas A&M University, served with Go Now Missions in South Asia this summer.

Well jet lag is a beast. It’s currently 5 a.m. and I can’t sleep because I’ve crossed about 11 time zones to get home, but in this quiet darkness when I find myself alone in my living room, what better thing is there to do than think about the wonderful things that my God has done this summer. So this update will be sort of different than my others, for instance it’s probably going to be a lot longer because I need to tell you about the events of the past... [continue]

The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary


Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.

The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed’s ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan... [continue]

New York: Busy summer ends


Sadly, our summer interns are leaving New York City. It was such a privilege to serve with these 15 young adults for two months. I learned so much from them. Helping coordinate this summer internship was a privilege and a blessing. It feels different now that our Metropolitan New York Baptist Association mission house is empty.

The past two months, our associational mission house was full – not only with our summer interns, but also with mission teams from all over the United States. They were here to serve at the different churches in New York City.

Diana Mao,... [continue]

Quebec: Afraid to believe


Trying to communicate camp rules and activities to the French campers was challenging enough. Keeping the campers focused and interested during devotional time is a whole different ball game – especially when I’m trying to discuss a chapel message that was given in a language that I don’t understand.

After starting the week off with uninterested campers begging to go play instead of talk about God, I couldn’t help but be frustrated and growing impatient at my inability to reach my group of girls. I couldn’t understand why my girls were so cold to Christ and why... [continue]

Embracing Central American families in Laredo


LAREDO – As River Ministry Coordinator Mario Garcia drives Central American families back and forth from the Greyhound bus station nearly every day, he cannot help but think of the paralyzed man Jesus healed in Mark 2.

“It’s not that he needed to walk. It’s that he needed salvation,” he said. “The people I’m working with need Christ.”

Garcia, director of missions for Laredo Baptist Association and River Ministry coordinator, is one of many Texas Baptists who have opted to embrace the families that have been seeking refuge from Honduras,... [continue]

Because of where you have been


This story is 1 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Tricia Martin* was a fun-loving preacher’s kid in the 1970s who played outside constantly and never met a stranger. Though she was small for her age, she never felt inferior or out of place, that was just the way God made her. She grew up in a loving, Christ-centered home and knew she was accepted and valued.

When she was eight years old, Tricia was sexually abused by one of the men in her church, a man whom she knew and trusted.... [continue]

Orlando: When the world comes to us


Central Florida is fortunate to be blessed with more than 50 million souls to minister to throughout the year.

Orlando has broken its record of people passing through the city with 59 million people, representing different cultures, ethnicities, languages and races. It is beautiful to imagine the hearts that could be touched, seeds that could be planted and souls that could be saved.

What is even better is the thought that one changed soul can change a nation or area. As we spread the gospel to one person, that one person can spread it in their home, and... [continue]

A Christian view on the border crisis


If one were to put 10 Baptists in a room, one would come up with 15 different opinions on something. The political issue of immigration is no different. In this blog, Dr. Ken Coffee points us beyond the politics of the current border crisis situation to an opportunity for ministry. Take a moment to read the perspective of a man who has lived his life in Christian missions.

Read Dr. Coffee’s blog…

Ken Coffee is the Former Associate Director of the State Mission Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas

Vancouver: A summer of sowing seeds ends


Here in Vancouver, we’ve been hanging out with some university students every Thursday this summer to play Ultimate Frisbee. They’ve let us join in supporting their team, even though not all of us play. They’ve let us come along to dinner with them after games. And now I can finally say that they let us share the gospel.

On a recent Thursday, I talked with three of the girls over dinner about what I believe and how Christianity differs from other religions. I shared with them the gospel and planted seeds of news they hadn’t heard before. We’re... [continue]

England: God had other plans


I was super-sad to leave Manchester. I had grown to love the missionaries, my teammate, the church I attended and the non-Christians I had befriended. I was flying back to Texas alone.

I was tired from staying up late saying goodbyes to everyone, and I had an early-morning flight. By the time I got on my flight from London to Texas, I was ready to sleep, watch movies and just shut out the rest of the world for the next 10 hours. That was not God’s plan for my flight.

Even before the plane took off, I was comfy in my seat with my neck pillow. Then the cutest... [continue]

BSM nears $2 million goal for new facility


The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma has issued a $400,000 challenge grant to Texas Baptists to complete the funding for a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building on the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT). The building, which will cost $2,000,000 to construct, will be built on the site of the old BSM building.

The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation has been coordinating the fundraising effort. “Added to what Texas Baptists have already given, we need only $100,000 to reach the goal so construction can begin,” said Larry... [continue]

Massachusetts: Lessons from a cupcake


It should come as no surprise to me that God is continuing to teach me through the tiny tots I so enjoy being with. But one lesson was far more subtle than usual, and it has taken me a few days reflection on an adorable moment to recognize how childlike we should be when approaching God’s throne.

It was a Thursday. The church was having a party in the park. As usual, I was running around with a few of the kids. One in particular had attached himself to me for the evening. I was carrying him on my hip, running around, doing all kinds of ridiculous... [continue]

Pastors rally in prayer at the border


MCALLEN-Over 50 Hispanic pastors, leaders and family members gathered in McAllen July 26, to pray over the current circumstances regarding the Central American families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The prayer event served as the kickoff of “For His Children,” an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Convoy of Hope, Buckner International and Somebody Cares International to help meet physical and spiritual needs of the minors and families.“God’s word affirms His people working, worshiping and... [continue]

Georgia: Well done, my good and faithful servant


These are the words we all long to hear. “You did well my Daughter, come rest with me for eternity to come.” There will be a time that comes when we stand in front of our Maker, as He evaluates the life we’ve lived, and the work we’ve done for His kingdom. If there’s one thing that should stir our affections and spur us on to good works, this should be it. It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m back in College Station, Texas, sitting at my favorite coffee shop, on my favorite couch at Sweet Eugene’s, dwelling on my 6 1/2 weeks at The Living Vine in… [continue]

Following Christ involves welcoming children


Parents will do just about anything to help their children. In Central America, parents are trying to help their children in ways that may seem odd and downright unwise to those of us in the United States, but their circumstances are very different. Their children’s lives are at stake.

Drugs, violence, and lawlessness threaten to engulf their children, so they do what must be heartbreakingly difficult — they send them away on a long, perilous journey to a place that seems to offer hope for their children. Many of those children make it, and... [continue]

Texas Baptists offer aid for border crisis in Rio Grande Valley


MCALLEN-The border issue: some call it a crisis, some call it a disaster, but to many Texas Baptists, it is an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

All eyes turned to the doorway as Daniela Cruz* and her two daughters, Lorena* and Carmen*, stepped inside Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. Volunteers with various religious backgrounds clapped and cheered as the girls entered.

It is a welcoming gesture, said Nadia Chapa, volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities who is hosting the relief... [continue]

Georgia: Resting in his hands


It is hard to really describe what we do here at The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home. It is one of those things that you can’t really understand it until you are actually doing it, living it. But I think this story really sums up exactly what is going on here.

Saturday, July 19th, was visitation day. The girls spent the morning doing their chores and then later in the afternoon, they were allowed to go out on visitation with family, if that was at all possible. We had one girl going on visitation, one girl who spent each day at the hospital with her baby in... [continue]

Connecticut: The Story of Kenny


A few weeks ago I got to have a conversation with a good friend of ours named Kenny at the soup kitchen. Kenny is probably mid-60s, military veteran who grew up in Norwich, Connecticut. When we first met him he shared with us that there were two things that he did not discuss with people: religion and politics. A few days later, we got to hang and chat with Kenny a little bit more and we were just making simple casual conversation. He started to ask what we had been up to the day before, and let’s just say that opened up a huge door.

Zach began to tell him that... [continue]

Alaska: Satisfying physical and spiritual hunger


It is hard to believe I have now been serving with Alaska Missions in the Last Frontier for almost two months. There have been many up and downs, but through it all The Lord had moved in miraculous ways. After spending a week serving in Kodiak, Alaska, our team took a ferry back to the mainland, eventually settling in Anchorage. This is where we have been serving for the last 6 weeks and will be until August.

We spend our mornings doing service projects in the community, which include light construction and a lot of cleaning. I would not... [continue]

Sixty quilts handmade and delivered with love


VILLA FRANCA, Spain – Even when verbal communication seems impossible, there’s one language that is spoken by all: love. It can be spoken through hugs, laughter and 60 quilts hand-made by Texas Baptist women.

The quilts were a part of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) of Texas initiative “Covered with Love” in which they presented the request for 50 quilts for the Evangelical Baptist Retirement Home in Villa Franca, Spain.

Together women within WMU, Texas Baptist staff, and local Baptist churches, donated their time and their stitching skills to... [continue]

Call to prayer: responding to the crisis


SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — As a former Texan, my heart goes to the border of Texas. As a born-again Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to compassionate action for those who are suffering right now as a result of the immigration crisis, especially the children.

Due to the gigantic nature of this entire issue, most of us become paralyzed or even intimidated by it. By no means do I imagine myself as an authority on this very complex issue, but as one American and Christian leader, I must respond.

As the medical community would sort through the issues... [continue]

Hispanic Baptists seek ways to help border crisis


MCALLEN — The crisis along the Texas/Mexico border regarding more then 47,000 unaccompanied children was on the hearts and minds of those attending Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas in McAllen this week.

“It is necessary for us to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis affecting tens of thousands finding themselves abandoned and in need of basic necessities,” said Jesse Rincones, executive director of Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, during the Monday morning session. “We are here to express our commitment as Hispanic Baptists... [continue]

Rebuilders of walls, restorers of streets


CORPUS CHRISTI – Impact City Church in Corpus Christi was planted by Felix Trevino, a worker at Valero Refinery, and his wife, Sara, as a response to a need for a missional church in the community of South Texas. They are a part of the Corpus Christi Baptist Association and a member of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“This was a fairly new concept to the culture of South Texas,” said Felix. “There weren’t too many churches at the time who were focused on building a body of believers on small groups and disciple making versus mass... [continue]

Understanding Intentional Interim Ministry


DALLAS – The interim period between one pastor leaving and the next pastor arriving can be a special time of God moving in a congregation. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the next person to arrive, the interim time creates a wonderful opportunity to address issues, questions, concerns, vision and the church’s health.

Throughout Texas Baptists there are a total of 88 trained Intentional Interim Pastors, 25 currently in training and 10 active pastors in the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE). Whether a church needs a traditional... [continue]

Starting a Legacy


INDEPENDENCE – On Sunday morning, June 1, at the oldest continuously running Baptist church in Texas, Robert E. Dixon and Dr. Paul W. Powell were honored for the legacies they started and what they became through the Texas Baptist Legacy Award.

Bryan Finley, a member of First Baptist Church of Kerrville, led the group in Bible study and posed the question, “When does a legacy begin?” Through scripture and biblical personalities like Abraham, Moses, Joshua and others, he summed up the answer with, “Legacy begins by starting something God directed. It continues when others... [continue]

Executive Board approves building sale, agreement with STSCS


DALLAS -Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board convened on Mon., May 19, and Tues., May 20. Several decisions were made, including the sale of the BGCT’s Dallas facility to Baylor University for $16 million. For more information on the building sale, click here.

“The discussions and sale of the building is a spiritual and stewardship decision,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “As the face of Texas continues to change, so will the way we do church, the way we do convention and the way we collaborate to reach... [continue]

Thank you for giving to Mother’s Day Hunger Offering


Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014, marked the conclusion of the Christian Life Commission’s Mother’s Day Hunger Offering initiative. With a goal of raising $1 million on this day, churches from across the state joined hands to help beat the cycle of hunger and poverty not only in Texas, but around the world. Final tallies will be made as donations continue to pour in throughout the month.

Last year marked the first annual Mother’s Day offering as a part of the greater, year-around Texas Baptists Hunger Offering and raised over $250,000. This year, we are... [continue]

Miracles don’t just happen in the Bible


Joseph Parker, pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, in Austin, received a heart transplant on Jan. 23, 2013, following more than ten years of heart issues. Two weeks ago, he was able to meet the family of the donor who saved his life. He shared his story with the Executive Board during their meeting on Monday, Feb. 24.

One of the nurses asked when the doctor came into my room, “Where was the heart from?” The surgeon said, “Not far, I just need to go get it.” The only thing I knew was that there had been some vehicular accident that lead to the... [continue]

Texas Baptists give record $953,000 toward Hunger Offering


DALLAS – Texas Baptists gave more than $953,000 to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in 2013 to help address hunger and poverty issues around the world. This is the largest amount raised through the offering since its creation in 1995, and an increase of $200,000 from 2012.

“I am humbled by the generosity of churches and individuals around the state who chose to give to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “Without them, we, as an organization could not do what we do. Thank you to all of... [continue]

Memorial set for HSU Senior Taylor Huff


Memorial service arrangements for Taylor Huff have been set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at the Church on Rush Creek: Green Oaks Campus, 2350 S.W. Green Oaks Blvd., in Arlington, TX, 76017.

Huff passed away in a pedestrian/vehicle accident in Abilene early Sunday. He was a member of the Hardin-Simmons football team and was a senior exercise science major.

“These guys will honor Taylor by taking the field,” said Hardin-Simmons University head coach Jesse Burleson in a news conference this morning as he discussed the difficulty of... [continue]

Community Resurrection


WACO – The resurrection of Christ continues to reverberate throughout inner city communities across the nation, according to presenters at the No Need Among You Conference.

“We are part of a beautiful movement committed to making God’s love manifest,” said Shane Claiborne, who ministers in Philadelphia. “Resurrection wasn’t just an event that happened 2,000 years ago; it is something we participate in every day. Now we can live in the confidence that life is more powerful than death.”

The author and founding member of The Simple Way said God has revitalized the area... [continue]

Texas Baptists’ chaplaincy releases guidelines regarding same-sex issues


DALLAS – Texas Baptists’ Chaplaincy Relations Office issued guiding principles to its endorsed chaplains regarding same-sex issues in the wake of the military repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Supervisors have asked many of Texas Baptists’ approximately 200 military chaplains for guidelines from their endorser regarding how they can minister to same-sex couples.

Chaplains must follow military regulations, but also are bound to the... [continue]

Fight rages beyond battlefield; chaplains on frontline


WAXAHACHIE – Military personnel’s fight rages well beyond the battlefield, and chaplains are on the frontlines.

In 2012, military suicides hit a record high since the armed forces began tracking such tragedies. Self-inflicted military deaths outnumbered deaths that took place in combat. The rate is down slightly in 2013 – 161 potential suicides happened this year – but a military suicide takes places about every 18 hours.

Many times, chaplains are the first wave of defense against suicide, said U.S. Navy Chap. Fred McGuffin, who is... [continue]

Executive Board approves 2014 convention budget


DALLAS – The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board approved a $40.4 million 2014 budget for the convention.

The budget reflects essentially flat church giving through the convention’s Cooperative Program, $2.29 million in investment income and $1 million less to be raised by the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation.

Total Cooperative Program from Texas Baptists for 2014 is forecast to be $48.95 million, including $11.3 million to the Southern Baptist Convention, $1.0 million to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and $1.8 million for... [continue]

‘The Art of Black Preaching’


SAN ANTONIO – The energetic call and response style of African American preaching garners the attention of those who have witnessed its finest practitioners.

But “the art of Black Preaching” is found in the heart of its message: transformation is possible through Christ.

Pastors call African American churches to cling faithfully to Christ, no matter how difficult circumstances become, Kinney said. Historically, African American preachers have done this well through trials and struggles.

“The black preacher never loses focus that I am to take what’s broken and... [continue]

Lebanese partnerships spread hope and aid to Syrian refugees


Spiritual revival is taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis.

With the escalating disputes in Syria, many are fleeing to neighboring countries to escape the crossfire. Media reports depict the great suffering and desperation, yet “God is doing great things in the midst of a great crisis,” said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society. “The church is in revival in Syria. We are able to reach people we never dreamt of before.”

Costa acknowledges that the situation is extremely dangerous, but he has... [continue]

Baby Boomers: A harvest waiting to take place


ALLEN – The largest cohort of Americans also happens to be the one that’s living longer than all those who came before it.

That’s no coincidence, claims Amy Hanson, the featured speaker at a conference entitled “Catching the Baby Boomer Wave,” sponsored by Texas Baptists’ Bible Study/Discipleship Department, First Baptist Church in Allen, Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

“I don’t think that’s by accident,” she said. “I think God is up to something. He’s raising up a... [continue]

Executive Board votes to sell Glorieta Texan Lodge


The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board unanimously voted to sell the Texan Lodge at the Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico and invest the revenue in convention-sponsored youth camps.

The board voted to sell the lodge for $100,000 to Glorieta 2.0, a Christian camp group that is buying the conference center from LifeWay Christian Resources. The BGCT will then create a “quasi-endowment” with the funds, which will produce $4,000-5,000 year to support BGCT youth camps such as Camp Exalted and Camp Fusion.

Texas... [continue]

Loving Oklahoma volunteers help victims rebuild and restore


A series of tornadoes in May of this year devastated parts of Oklahoma, taking lives and flattening houses. Two and a half months later, residents still have needs as they try to restart their lives.

On August 5-10, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery partnered with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and World Vision to help meet many of those needs through the recovery effort Loving Oklahoma.

More than 130 volunteers scattered across a widespread area from El Reno to Shawnee, Okla. to aid in debris pick-up, house construction, donation... [continue]

Conference set to gear churches for boomer wave


The baby boomer wave is upon senior adult ministries, and people from all across the country are registering to “catch it” with the National Boomer Ministry Conference Sept. 5-6.

At First Baptist Church in Allen, participants will have a full schedule of breakout sessions, general sessions and entertainment.

Baby boomers remain the largest population group, now ranging in ages 49-67, said Keith Lowry, Texas Baptists’ single adult/family ministry/senior adult specialist. They tend to have a different mindset than the previous generation when... [continue]

CLC 83rd Session Report


Christian Life Commission Final Report: 83rd Regular Legislative Session

During each legislative session, the Christian Life Commission (CLC) works to promote sound public policy on a variety of fronts important to Texas residents. The following is a list of bills the CLC actively followed, supported and, in some cases, opposed during the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature.

In this edition: Predatory Lending Food Policy Gambling/Texas Lottery Human Trafficking Public Education Adult Education Immigration Advanced Directives Stay Informed

PREDATORY... [continue]

Pray. Just pray.


Have you ever felt like a catalyst? A catalyst is “an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action”. So put simply, a catalyst is something that helps the bigger something happen faster.

I feel as if I’ve been that for the past 6 weeks. I say this not to boast, but to share how God has humbled me. Here in East Asia, there are already people working to make God’s name known and I feel that God just picked me up and placed me in the middle of it all and said “Pray. That is all. Just Pray.”

“Pray Continually” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 17

There were many times when I... [continue]

Hispanic Baptists in Texas Looking Toward Future


SAN ANTONIO – Hispanic Baptists are well-positioned to focus on what God has laid on their hearts for the convention’s future, said Jesse Rincones, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas executive director.

“I thank God I’ve had the opportunity to serve for the last three years,” Rincones said of serving as president and more recently executive director. “It’s been a historic time, a time of transition.”

Since signing the unification agreement with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 2010, Hispanic Baptists have celebrated their... [continue]

Unified, Texas Baptists seek to carry out Great Commission


SAN ANTONIO – Fulfilling the Great Commission requires Texas Baptists to work united for the cause of Christ, according to presenters in the final worship service of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.

The Great Commission is Christ’s command to His followers, said Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield. They are to be doctors for the sick, people who bring the ill to a place of healing.

“I believe that’s our mandate,” he said, preaching from Romans 12:3-4. “I believe that’s our call. I believe we must be... [continue]

African American Fellowship visions future, studies new age statistics


SAN ANTONIO – African American Baptists were challenged to look into the future with a new set of lenses as they gathered together at this year’s Culp Banquet, celebrated during the Texas Baptists Family Gathering.

Photo: From left to right: Oscar Epps, President; Ponce L. Brown, Vice President; Glen J. Samuels, Secretary; Elmo Johnson, Treasurer; Michael Evans, Former President

Nat Irvin II, professor of management at the University of Louisville, recalled a childhood memory when an unfortunate incident with glass... [continue]

God has called Texas Baptists to a mission


SAN ANTONIO – Texas Baptists have been called to reach the state for Christ – a task that must be completed.

Featured speakers from the second evening worship service of the Family Gathering, reminded meeting participants that God has called Christians to reach their communities, their state and beyond.

To do that requires believers to have an intense focus on the mission at hand, said Bedilu Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church in Garland. Each action they take, every work of ministry they perform must help expand God’s kingdom.... [continue]

Breaking the chains of darkness, revisited


This summer, I have reverently been praying for divine appointments in South Asia. Honestly, my heart hurts deeply for this place. My biggest prayer is for His truth to be shared and embraced in the darkest corners of South Asia.

Last week, we were prayer walking around a Hindu temple in the city. These temples are incredibly dark places. Imagine yourself walking into a temple where people are convulsing and chanting to the daily animal sacrifices.

Darkness is heavy on your chest as you walk barefoot on the “holy”, blood, and dirt stained floor.... [continue]

2013-2014 Officers Elected to the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas


Hispanic Baptists elected the first female convention president in their 103-year history this morning.

The announcement came after two rounds of voting. The first – a race between Daniel ‘Tiny’ Dominguez, current president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention; Bea Mesquias, member of United Baptist Church in Harlingen; and Manuel Rios, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Monte Calvario in San Antonio – did not result in a clear majority.

The runoff was a close race; Mesquias won with 100 votes, versus Rios’ 97.

Mesquias has a... [continue]

Hardage: Thank you, Texas Baptists


SAN ANTONIO – The breadth of Texas Baptists’ ministry is wide, and its commitment to sharing the gospel is deep.

For all that they are doing, Texas Baptists’ Executive Director David Hardage gives thanks. Because congregations are generous with their resources in their communities and through Texas Baptists, ministry is possible.

“You make a difference, Texas Baptists,” he said. “On behalf of the lives you touched and the lives you helped, let me just say ‘Thank you.’”

Speaking during the Baptist General Convention of Texas business session of the Family... [continue]

Messengers grant board authority to consider building sale


SAN ANTONIO — Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting elected officers and granted the BGCT Executive Board and an ad hoc committee authority to consider sale of the Baptist Building in Dallas.

In the second day of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering and during the first BGCT business session, messengers re-elected Jeff Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, to a second term as president by acclamation.

Messengers also elected by acclamation Kathy Hillman of Waco as first vice president,... [continue]

Guarneri: Bible calls Christians to embrace diversity


SAN ANTONIO – The bible calls believers to embrace diversity, not just tolerate it, according to Julio Guarneri, who presented the Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting sermon July 14. Using Acts 1:8 and Revelation 7:9 as his guiding texts, Guarneri, pastor for Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, preached that God’s heart and vision for the church is inclusivity. Acts 1:8 delivers Jesus’ stated purpose for the church: to reach “the ends of the earth,” Guarneri said. This can – and often does – mean crossing… [continue]

Common Ground at the Cross of Christ


SAN ANTONIO – Christians should seek unity because of their desire for and delight in the Lord, Earl Grant, pastor of Covenant Church in San Antonio, shared in the opening session of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.

“Diversity is a given because diversity is the inherent mix,” he said. “It is the inclusion or intentional integration that makes the mix work well.”

“You need to know you are saved, and because of your salvation you can handle it,” Grant explained. “You have been called and cleansed by God. You have been washed in the blood.”

He went on... [continue]

Johnson discusses Dr. Seuss and diversity


SAN ANTONIO — With children gathered around and a Dr. Seuss book in hand, Baptist General Convention of Texas President Jeff Johnson added a metaphorical twist to this year’s presidential message.

Johnson began his message at the Texas Baptists Family Gathering, an event that brought together the diverse Texas Baptist family, by reading The Sneetches, a Dr. Seuss story where the sneetches learn a valuable lesson about peaceful coexistence between one another regardless of their diverse appearance. Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in... [continue]

Jespersen named urban missions director


DALLAS — Texas Baptists has named Ryan Jespersen director of urban missions.

With a majority of the population living in urban, inner-city areas, Jespersen believes these communities need more outreach, which he plans to encourage through his new position.

“You’re typically not going to have as strong of churches in the inner-city,” he said. “My goal is to eventually ‘call out the called’ of young people who want to pastor and work in urban churches.”

In his new role, Jespersen will provide leadership and guidance for short-term, mid-term and... [continue]