During their annual fall grant review, Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Council gave more funds to help churches and support Texas Baptists missions and ministries for 2019 than ever before.
“We are so appreciative of the Foundation donors who make it possible for us to assist these ministries,” said Bill Arnold, TBMF president. “The grants that we funded will allow churches to share the love of Christ all around the state with people of different ages, different language groups and different spiritual needs. While the Foundation supports many other ministries, it is exciting to have these funds available to additional projects.”
The 31 grants, funded by undesignated donor gifts totaling $502,550, will support new and continued work for Texas Baptists ministries, as well as projects for Texas Baptist Men and the WMU of Texas. Among the projects funded, the grants will help provide KidsFaith discipleship guides for adults leading children who are new believers, support for BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery, and expansion of the Texas Baptist Church Planting Center residency programs.
Texas Baptists Counseling Services, through the Connections Team, was awarded $20,000 to assist churches in the development of counseling-related ministries. Katie Swafford, director of Counseling Services, said they were also awarded a grant last year and expects the funds to go to similar programs this year. Churches who are interested in utilizing grant money will submit an application and undergo a review process.
“In 2017, some of the funds were used to cover the cost of curriculum for churches who wanted to start grief ministries,” she said. “One church used funds to set up a library of mental health resources. Another church received funds to cover the cost of training the minister, a lay-leader and their spouses in marriage counseling so they could help couples seeking counseling in their area.”
Swafford said she wants to see the grant extend the ministry of the church beyond the church walls.
“Some people will never step into a church, but if you have these ministries that can meet needs such as helping them deal with grief or anxiety and marriage help, that can allow the church to extend out into the community,” she explained. “Once these people’s mental/emotional needs are met, the hope is that their interest is peaked enough that they can begin to engage within the church as well.”
The $20,000 awarded to Texas Baptists Church Starting will help fund Church Planting Centers, which serve as incubators for training and launching new church planters who may not have any other formal theological training.
John Silva, church starter for service area 1, oversees one of these programs in El Paso and will be launching another in Lubbock in 2019.
“It’s a 52-week training program for potential church planters, which we call residents,” he explained. “They go through the program as a cohort, doing 10 hours a week together in a classroom setting and seven hours of mentoring under the direction of a pastor or church leader.”
Participants learn about corporate development, spiritual accountability and visioning among other things. Currently, five residents and their spouses are going through the program in El Paso.
The grant will offset some of the cost of materials, rental space and speakers for these programs across the state.
TBMF’s primary mission is to work with individual donors to facilitate investment in a variety of innovative ministries. The annual grants awarded by TBMF allow donors to make an eternal impact through ministries about which they may not know. For more information, visit texasbaptists.org/tbmf.