This article was updated on Feb. 3, 2020.
ANDERSON—Texas Baptists Institutional Legacy Day recognized Baylor University for 175 years of exemplary Christian higher education. The recognition, which took place during a worship service at the historic Anderson Baptist Church on Jan. 26, honored the faith and commitment of Baylor leadership, both past and present. It also celebrated the partnership between the university and Texas Baptists.
Texas Baptists Associate Executive Director Craig Christina presented the award to Baylor President Linda Livingstone.
“There are two things that have always inspired Baptists to work together, and those two things are, first of all, missions… and the second cause is education. And in particular theological education,” Christina said. “Texas Baptists saw fit 175 years ago to form Baylor University… and we are so proud of Baylor University. We’re so proud of who they are and what they do today. They are a place where we can send our future ministers of the Gospel, our future doctors and lawyers, our future people who will work and serve the people of God.”
Baylor University and its counterpoint, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, were founded in 1845 at Independence, TX by Texas Baptists. Together, they were the first Baptist university in Texas and the oldest institutional partner of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
In 1886, Baylor moved to Waco and merged with Waco University to create present-day Baylor University. Since then, the campus has grown to approximately 1,000 acres and educates over 15,000 students annually. Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in the state.
In recent years, Baylor launched a new academic strategic plan, Illuminate, which focuses on combining a Christian environment, transformative education, high-quality research and nationally honored arts and athletics program to illuminate a future filled with promise, both for the students and for the lives they will impact.
“We feel like it is a privilege for Baylor to continue to grow and develop as an institution, as a significant Christian research university, to help the state of Texas, the country and the world to produce individuals who care deeply about their faith and about making a difference in the world,” Livingstone said.
During the service, worship was led by three students from Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
Todd Still, dean of Truett Seminary, delivered a sermon from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 about faithfulness. He reminded those in attendance of God’s great faithfulness and encouraged them to be faithful to God in response.
“The stories of God’s faithfulness to a group of struggling Baptists on the shores of the Brazos outnumber the stars,” Still said, as he recalled how Baylor’s founders had big dreams for the university, and how God faithfully provided for them.
A strong partnership
Today, Still said, the Lord continues to provide for Baylor. Still thanked the Anderson Baptist Church congregation for being a part of the Lord’s provision through their gifts through the Cooperative Program.
“By virtue of your offerings week after week after week to a Cooperative Program, you may not recognize it, but you are training the next generation of ministers and missionaries. You are giving towards a scholarship fund,” he said.
Still also thanked the church for hosting Institutional Legacy Day, and presented Pastor Kyle Childress with a special annotated Bible.
In 1848, twenty-two churches gathered together in Anderson, TX to form a Baptist state convention in Texas. Then in 1886, five Baptist state conventions merged together in Waco to form the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Since then, Texas Baptists has partnered with more than 27 education, health and human care institutions. Institutional Legacy Day was started in 2018 to celebrate these partners.
The partnership between Texas Baptists and Baylor is one that continues to hold strong.
“We have had a long and flourishing relationship with [Texas Baptists] that continues to be very, very strong today,” Livingstone said. “Thank you for the recognition and the support you give.”