Texas Baptists messengers approve $35.1 million budget, re-elect slate of officers


WACO–All three convention officers were re-elected to serve for a second term during the Monday morning business session at the 134th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Monday in Waco. 

Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, was re-elected President of Texas Baptists. Evans was nominated by Carlos Francis, messenger from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield.

Francis described Evans as a hard worker and a servant leader. He noted that Evans is a devoted husband and father and a gifted pastor.  

“Dr. Evans continues to give his time and his talents by following the Great Commission and living the Great Commandment,” Francis said.

Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland, was re-elected as First Vice President. Ward Hayes, messenger from Valley Grove Baptist Church in Stephenville, nominated Burden for the position. Hayes spoke of Burden’s devotion to his church and the Lord and described him as an encouraging friend, a faithful servant and an amazing leader. 

“He is a man of integrity, and I believe a man after God’s own heart. Dr. Burden has a heart…for Texas Baptists,” Hayes said.

Messengers also elected Jason Atchley, pastor of Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock, to serve as the Second Vice President. Atchley was nominated by Evans, who said of Atchley, “he’s a loving father, he’s a man that loves the Lord and he’s passionate about touching the hearts of men and women around Texas and this country.”

All officers ran unopposed and were unanimously elected by the 769 registered messengers in attendance.

Dennis Young, Executive Board chair, gave an update on business conducted by the Executive Board during 2019. Young highlighted a change in the certificate of formation for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; funding for church starting and campus missionary interns; a one-time bonus for BGCT staff of up to $1.2 million; reallocation of J.K. Wadley Endowment fund earnings to support MinistrySafe programs, Collegiate Ministries building maintenance, campus missionary interns, Western Heritage and Mission work to Muslims; and renaming of a Counseling Subsidy for Clergy Sexual Abuse quasi-endowment.

The 2020 budget was introduced by Jim Reed, controller and assistant treasurer for Texas Baptists. He explained how the money given to the Cooperative Program was being used in ministry and thanked those who contributed. Reed highlighted River Ministry and Collegiate Ministries and explained that thousands of lives were being impacted by the ministries supported by the Cooperative Program. He also shared that River Ministry Director Daniel Rangel passed away eight days before the meeting and asked for prayers for the Rangel family.

Messengers approved the $35.1 million budget with the percentage allotment of the adopted budget to continue at 79% BGCT and 21% Worldwide, with each church selecting the recipient(s) of the Worldwide portion. The recommendation for 2020 Texas World Missions Initiatives and Partnership Allocation was $1,150,000.

“Your support of the Cooperative Program leads to changed lives. Thank you so much,” Reed said.

Janice Trujillo, a messenger from Second Baptist Church of Corpus Christi, submitted a motion to create “Texas Churches Care Day,” a day encouraging churches to take up a special offering to support the work of River Ministry along the Texas/Mexico border. The motion was referred to the Committee on Annual Meeting for consideration. 

Other business included approval of a change in the Relationship Agreement between the Baptist Church Loan Corporation and the BGCT, and the approval of nominations from the Committee on Committees and the Committee on Nominations for Boards of Affiliated Ministries. 

David Adams, director of Discipleship, introduced members of Leadership Texas Baptists Cohort 5, including: Deon Archer; Bill Barrera, Jr.; Joshua Conner; Nathan Escamilla; Eric Hernandez; Israel Loachamin; Brandon McCarroll; Richard Nassar; Jassmine Posada; Omar Rivera; Christopher Willis II; Cameron Wilson; and Morgan Woodard.  

The business meeting was closed by Kimberly Wirt, Mission and Mature Adults minister of First Baptist Church in Hurst, who led the benediction and closing prayer.

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