WACO–More than 1,700 messengers and visitors attended the 132nd Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco where they were equipped and encouraged to live compelled for Christ. Messengers adopted a 2018 total budget over $37 million, passed a number of resolutions, and through speaking, worship, workshops and fellowship, were urged to live out Great Commandment and the Great Commission in every aspect of their lives.
“Be compelled to seek God’s will, search God’s word and support God’s work. This is the heartbeat of Texas Baptists,” said President Danny Reeves during his Monday morning address.
Budget approved, resolutions highlight national issues
Messengers approved a recommendation for the 2018 total budget of $37,135,129, which is up more than 1% from the previous year. While Cooperative Program Texas giving is expected to remain unchanged, forecasted increases in investment income and revenue account for the slight increase in total budget. The 2018 Texas World Missions Initiatives and Partnerships Allocation of $1.61 million was also approved.
Officer elections for 2017-2018 bookended the business session on Monday afternoon with Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church of Corsicana, re-elected as president; Joe Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Lewisville, re-elected as first vice president; and Jim Heiligman, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bryan, re-elected as second vice president. Additional elections included Doug Powell as recording secretary and Bernie Spooner as Secretary of the Corporation.
In other business, David Russell, chair of the Executive Board, moved for the adoption that the relationship between the BGCT and Baptist Community Services of Amarillo be changed from an affiliated institution to an institution related by Special Agreement, and the motion passed.
Eight resolutions were brought before messengers by the Resolutions Committee. Topics addressed appreciation of hosts, appreciation to convention officers and staff, racial reconciliation, international religious persecution, the tragedy at FBC Sutherland Springs, civil discourse, support of families who adopt children and sexual harassment and assault. All resolutions were adopted by the messengers by votes of affirmation.
Executive Director highlights good work
To bring recognition and awareness to this year's most prominent ministry and evangelism efforts during his Monday evening report, Executive Director David Hardage recognized notable leaders who partner with Texas Baptists.
Those Hardage recognized included Tamiko Jones, newly-elected executive director-treasurer, WMU of Texas; Mickey Lenamon, executive director, Texas Baptist Men, who shared about Hurricane Harvey Disaster Recovery efforts; Katie Sciba, governing board officer from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, who presented a check for $50,000 to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts; Ray Clark, CFO, North American Mission Board, who presented $250,000 for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts; and Ray and Lauralee Lindholm and Pastor Matt Zamudio, pastor of Windsor Park Baptist Church, DeSoto, representing Ethiopian churches connected with Texas Baptists work.
Speakers and workshops inform and inspire
Drawing from Ephesians 2:10, featured speaker Will Mancini, author, church strategist and founder of the church consulting firm Auxano, encouraged Texas Baptists to think vivid, imaginative thoughts and dream big dreams. “You have a nameable, knowable, special assignment from God,” Mancini said.
Delvin Atchison, director of Texas Baptists Great Commission Team, was the featured speaker for the Tuesday morning. “God invites us to peer at our possibilities from His perspective,” Atchison said, encouraging Texas Baptists to see human views from a heavenly perspective.
With a focus on living compelled to share the Gospel, workshop leaders covered topics from evangelism and discipleship strategies to ministry to refugees and working to end hunger. Following the tragic shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, an additional workshop addressing church safety and security was added to the schedule. Led by David Adams, director of Church Administration and Special Projects, and John Litzer, legal consultant, the Tuesday morning workshop presented practical tools and resources to create an emergency operations plan, and allowed for discussion of legal policies affecting churches.
“Prepare now,” Adams said. “There is no reason to put it off. Our churches need calm assurance from their leaders that steps are being taken…This is a discipleship issue. It’s about doing all we can to show a broken world what it looks like to be secure in Christ.”
The 2018 Texas Baptists Family Gathering will be held in Arlington July 29-31, bringing together joint sessions of Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, the African American Fellowship Conference and the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas in harmonious celebration.