Texas Baptists are engaging in new outreach opportunities with people groups in Texas and beyond, shared Executive Director David Hardage during his Monday evening report at Annual Meeting. Hardage introduced several key leaders overseeing new ministry opportunities.
“As you know, Texas is a changing state, becoming very diversified and we can talk about that in a variety of ways,” Hardage said. “Culture and ethnicity are at the top of the list.”
A growing population of refugees are entering Texas each year. Leonid Regheta joined Texas Baptists’ staff to oversee Project:Start, a refugee resource center serving 30,000 refugees in the Dallas-area of Vickery Meadow. A refugee himself, Regheta understands the immediate needs immigrants have when they first arrive in the U.S. Through Project:Start, refugees are connected with much-needed resources such as clothing, food, housing and much more.
“We want these refugees to know Jesus Christ as their Savior,” Hardage said.
Another ministry-emphasis aimed at reaching Texans with the Gospel is unApologetic conferences, providing churches with information on how to contend for faith in an ever-changing culture. Hardage introduced Leighton Flowers, who will now oversee apologetic conferences.
“We want to remove the hurdles to evangelism,” Flowers said. “Through the art of persuasion, we are appealing to the heart and the mind. It helps people understand why we believe what we believe.”
More than 147 unreached people groups reside around the Amazon in Brazil. In an effort to reach this region, Texas Baptists have entered into an official agreement with Brazilian Baptists, Hardage reported. Through the new Missionary Adoption Program (MAP), churches can co-sponsor an indigenous missionary in the Amazon, along with a partnering Brazilian church.
Hardage introduced special guests Dr. Vanderlei Marins, president of Brazilian Baptist Convention and Fernandao Brandão, executive director of the Brazilian National Mission Board. Texas Baptists staffer Jair Campos, originally from Brazil, will assist in connecting churches with missionaries.
“We hope you will prayerfully consider how your church can support a missionary in Brazil, the Amazon and beyond,” Yardage said.
Also introduced were a staff member working as a cross-cultural mobilizer and Tom Tillman, director of Music and Worship. Both staff members available are available to equip and train churches in ministry.
“It’s going to take more ways and more people to reach the world for Christ than what we are doing now,” Hardage said.
While Hardage preaches in different congregations, “every Sunday, one thing remains the same,” he said. “Our pastors are diligently preaching the Gospel. Thank you churches, thank you pastors. God bless you.”