DALLAS—Texas Baptists expanded missions partnerships with two state conventions, committing to assist with church planting and revitalization efforts with the Northwest Baptist Convention, serving Washington, Oregon, and Northern Idaho, and the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. The partnerships became official on January 1, 2019, and will each last for three years.
“We aren’t just serving Texas, we are serving Texas Baptists, wherever they want to work,” said Tom Howe, director of Urban Missions and Partnerships for Texas Baptists.
Howe encouraged Texas Baptists churches and pastors to begin praying about opportunities to support mission efforts and church starting in Michigan and the Northwest. Opportunities include sending mission teams, partnering financially, and committing to pray for specific mission points.
Not only are Texas Baptists committing to do work in Michigan and the Northwest, but church leaders from the two areas also planning to support mission efforts in Texas. One area of immediate connection is through Texas Baptists River Ministry which stretches along the Texas and Mexico border. Currently, churches from Michigan are collecting items for hygiene kits to provide to refugees and deportees who are served daily by River Ministry missionaries.
The partnership with Michigan Baptists will include church starting support, church revitalization and replanting support, and a specialized focus connecting healthy, evangelistic urban pastors of Texas churches with church leaders in the Detroit area. The new relationship emphasizes forming a strong alliance between the BGCT and BSCM to facilitate growth and strength in disciple-making churches in Michigan. Additionally, the Detroit Proposal aims to use a three-fold strategy to engage communities, leading churches to be attractional, relational and missional.
“Detroit is a city that has had great decline but that is poised for a great rebound. We can be a part of that,” said Howe. “Besides Detroit, we will be helping churches and pastors throughout all of Michigan to start, strengthen, and grow.”
In October, Roy Cotton, Texas Baptists’ director of African American Ministries, took a group of pastors to Detroit to meet with local ministers and discuss innovative ways to reach communities. Future trips are planned to continue the work of encouraging and strengthening the inner city churches.
Texas Baptists’ Executive Director David Hardage attended the Northwest Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in November to announce the new partnership with NBC. In addition to partnering with Collegiate Ministry, Texas Baptists will also invite affiliated churches and associations to partner with church starts in the Northwest for financial assistance, mission trips, block parties, and training for pastoral staff and deacons. Leadership development will be another component of the partnership to facilitate innovation and creativity among leaders serving in the region.
Texas Baptists began sending student missionaries to serve in the Northwest in 1958. Go Now Missions student missionaries have consistently served in the region since 1990. Recently, Texas Baptists Student Ministries (BSMs) sent teams to serve in various capacities to strengthen collegiate ministry and will continue to do so through the new partnership. Students from BSMs in the Northwest have also participated in mission trips to Texas, on campuses such as Tarleton State University in Stephenville.
Pastors and Directors of Missions interested in exploring partnerships in either region are invited to attend vision trips this spring: Portland, Oregon: January 27-30; Seattle, Washington: February 24-27; Detroit, Michigan: April 10-13; Eastern Washington: May 5-8, and Southern Oregon: May 19-22. For more information, contact Tom Howe, director of Urban Missions and Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (214) 828-5278.