Executive Board announces financial support for pastors, approves new chaplaincy partnership


DALLAS – “We must stay centered, keeping our hearts and our minds on Jesus,” President Danny Reeves told Executive Board members during the Feb. 21-22 meeting in Dallas. Responding to recent factors around the world and the seeming messiness of life, Reeves encouraged fellow Texas Baptists to turn to Christ and point others to Him for direction.

Steve Vernon, associate executive director, announced that Texas Baptists has received a $1 million implementation grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to participate in its National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.

Through the grant, Texas Baptists will create a Center for Ministerial Excellence, which will conduct regional financial retreats for pastors and laity, award financial grants to pastors facing economic challenges and recruit a statewide network of financial planners to help Texas Baptists pastors seeking financial advice.  

The 90-member governing board approved several recommendations including a recommendation from the Institutional Relations Committee to establish a new partnership with the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) for chaplaincy endorsement and training.

Todd Combee, a retired military chaplain and representative from BGAV, will join the Chaplaincy Endorsement Council for Texas Baptists to facilitate the partnership. Combee was present at the meeting and noted, “Virginia Baptists are very excited about this partnership, allowing us to minister to chaplains in our area, as well as Virginia Baptist chaplains who will be a part of this process.”

The board also approved a recommendation from the Cultural Engagement Committee that the Korean Baptist Fellowship of Texas become a recognized fellowship of Texas Baptists. Recognized fellowships within Texas Baptists are defined as a state-wide group of at least 20 congregations supportive of the BGCT which have organized themselves into fellowship with officers and regular meetings. Presently, there are more than 80 Korean churches within the Korean Baptist Fellowship of Texas.

Pastor Myung Lee, president of the Korean Fellowship and pastor of Hanbit Baptist Church in Carrollton, was present at the meeting to represent the fellowship. The recommendation will be referred to the Annual Meeting for final approval.

Executive Board Chair David Russell brought a recommendation from the Executive Committee to consider churches outside of harmonious cooperation. The vote, which was approved by a 63-6 majority, fulfilled the obligation set forth by the churches of the Convention at last year’s Annual Meeting. The Board found three churches to be outside of harmonious cooperation with the churches of the Convention.

“While we are grieved by this happening, we are eager to return our focus to the crucial ministry of the Convention. Texas Baptists remain welcoming, loving and respectful to all, and we continue to help churches fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission in Texas and around the world,” said Executive Director David Hardage.

Earnings from the JK Wadley Foundation, totaling $480,000, were reinvested into ministries for a Houston Area Missionary, building maintenance for Collegiate Ministries, BOUNCE student disaster recovery, Western Heritage and the new Texas Tech Baptist Student Ministry fundraising campaign.

Rick Clopton and Russell Dunn, both of First Baptist Church of Garland, were approved to fill vacancies on the Institutions Audit Committee.

Hardage emphasized the great, collaborative work he witnesses happening across the state. He encouraged board members to pray for 350 junior high and high school students serving with BOUNCE student disaster recovery in Houston, and more than 1,000 college students who will serve through Beach Reach at South Padre Island in March.

“When you touch a life, you implement generational change,” Hardage said. “Join us in praying for God to move through these ministries at spring break.”

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