River Ministry assisting influx of migrants in Piedras Negras
by Kalie Lowrie, News Director on February 15, 2019 in news
A recent influx of 1,800 Central American migrants into the community of Piedras Negras, Mexico, has caused Texas Baptists River Ministry missionaries to spring into action. ...
UMHB honored in inaugural Texas Baptists Institutional Legacy Day
by Texas Baptist Communications on January 31, 2019 in news
Attendees at the inaugural Texas Baptists Institutional Legacy Day on Sunday, Jan. 27, witnessed a celebration of faith and providence when Executive Director David Hardage recognized the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) for 174 years of service in Christian higher education...
Texas Baptists joins Ramsey Solutions to provide financial training for churches
by Kalie Lowrie on January 29, 2019 in news
This year, Texas Baptists join with Ramsey Solutions to help churches provide financial training to their members. Together with the Southern Baptist Convention, Ramsey Solutions Financial Peace University (FPU) leader materials are being offered at a discounted rate of $99. Additionally, Texas Baptists’ Center for Ministerial Excellence will provide $20 per kit through a grant received from the Lilly Endowment to support financial literacy within churches. The total cost for church leaders will be $79...
FBC Waxahachie supports launch of new BSM at Navarro College at Waxahachie
by Guest Author on January 22, 2019 in news
"We aren't just the first campus ministry there, we are the first student organization to be on that campus, as well...
Texas Baptists form missions partnerships with Northwest and Michigan Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on January 15, 2019 in news
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. ...
Project: Start continues ministering to refugees at Christmas
by Guest Author on December 18, 2018 in news
As many gather with loved ones this Christmas season, Texas Baptists remember those who may be in need. Refugees are one group of people who often struggle in America...
Texas Baptists awarded highest number of baptisms for third consecutive year
by Guest Author on December 7, 2018 in news
The Texas Baptists were awarded “Highest Number of Baptisms” in the country for the third year in a row by the North American Missions Board for the 2017 calendar year. The recorded number of baptisms was 25,451...
Border Summit encourages Texas and Mexican Baptists to share the Gospel beyond borders or limits
by Kalie Lowrie on November 26, 2018 in news
More than 100 people joined together in Matamoros on November 17 to discuss the importance of ministry along the Texas/Mexico border at a Border Summit co-hosted by Texas Baptists and the Seminario Teológico Bautista Cosme G. Montemayor...
BSM Director sees God’s provision through life-changing circumstances
by Guest Author on November 15, 2018 in news
On April 5, 2018, BSM Director Cody Shouse sat in Austin traffic on the way home from The University of Texas at Austin’s Longhorn BSM weekly Bible study. Unexpectedly, his car was hit from behind by another vehicle going 60 miles per hour, resulting in a serious accident...
New Hope Church celebrates 150th anniversary by giving back
by Analiz G Schremmer on November 13, 2018 in news
Usually, the person with a birthday receives presents. But when New Hope First Baptist Church in Cedar Park turned 150 years old, they decided to do things a little differently....
310 travel with Singing Men of Texas to New York for music and ministry
by Analiz G. Schremmer on November 9, 2018 in news
The Texas Baptists Singing Men of Texas (SMOT) took a trip to New York last month with 310 participants to spread the Gospel and perform in concert at Carnegie Hall alongside contemporary Christian artist Steve Green....
Texas Baptists to co-host Border Summit and continue ministry to refugees along border
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2018 in news
Texas Baptists are involved in ongoing ministry along the border between Texas and Mexico through River Ministry missionaries. On Nov. 17, Texas Baptists will join with Mexican Baptists for a Border Summit symposium in Matamoros to discuss ways to respond to the needs along the border...
TBMF Council approves ministry grants totaling $502,550
by Analiz G. Schremmer on October 31, 2018 in news
Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Council broke a record this year, giving more funds to help churches and support Texas Baptists missions and ministries for 2019 than ever before...
Texas Tech Groundbreaking Launches Construction for New BSM Building
by Analiz G. Schremmer on October 25, 2018 in news
The new building will be a place where students can not only come and read the Bible and draw close to Christ, but also a catalyst out of which students can reach the Tech campus and really the world...
TBM responds to Texas flooding in Llano and Marble Falls
by Texas Baptist Men on October 19, 2018 in news
With the expected rain this weekend, flooding could get worse and there are about 300 homes that have been affected by high water already...
Texas Baptist Men Responding in Florida
by Texas Baptist Men on October 12, 2018 in press releases
Texas Baptist Men volunteers are deploying Saturday morning, October 13, to respond to the devastation left by Hurricane Michael. ...
Levi Price named Outstanding Interim Pastor for 2018
by Kalie Lowrie on October 11, 2018 in news
Dr. Levi W. Price received the 2018 MWD Award as the outstanding interim pastor of the year for the Texas Baptists Interim Ministry Network. The award was presented during the Fall Update continuing education training for Interim Ministry held at Dallas Baptist University on Oct. 4. ...
BHFSA presents $1 million grant, 2019 budget approved at September board meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on September 25, 2018 in news
During the September meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio (BHFSA) presented a $1 million grant to Texas Baptists focused on church and church leaders’ health initiatives in South Texas. ...
Texas Baptists receives $1 Million to Fund Church Health Initiatives
by Kalie Lowrie on September 25, 2018 in news
The Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio (BHFSA) awarded a $1 million grant, to be used over five years, to Texas Baptists (Baptist General Convention of Texas) focused on church and church leaders’ health initiatives in South Texas...
Texas Baptist Men send disaster relief volunteers to N.C.
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 20, 2018 in news
On Sept. 20, Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief sent their first group of volunteers, including 13 men and women, to Bayboro, North Carolina, in response to damage caused by Hurricane Florence....
Life trailer provides community outreach for local churches
by Guest Author on September 11, 2018 in news
Throughout the vast expansion of land, Robert Wheat, the director of missions for the association, wanted the churches to have a mobile resource to reach people in need of the Gospel. After months of dreaming, Wheat envisioned a ‘Life Trailer’ that was mobile and versatile for churches to utilize in reaching their communities...
Texas Baptists welcome Eric Hernandez to the Great Commission Team
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 5, 2018 in news
Eric Hernandez recently joined Texas Baptists Great Commission Team as the new Apologetics Lead & Millennial Specialist...
Churches see God’s provision as rebuilding from Harvey continues at one year mark
by Kalie Lowrie on August 31, 2018 in news
Blue tarps still cover roofs in need of repair in communities like Rockport, near Corpus Christi, and Bevil Oaks, north of Beaumont. Abandoned homes are interspersed among the remodeled on many streets. One year after Category 4 Hurricane Harvey wrecked and ravaged the Gulf Coast of Texas from August 25-September 1, 2017, signs of renewal and hope are evident in the Texas Baptists churches serving along that path of the storm...
Texas Baptists welcomes Oza Jones as Evangelism Associate for African American Ministries
by Kirsten McKimmey on August 13, 2018 in news
Oza Jones has joined the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team as the new Evangelism Associate for African American Ministries & Church Revitalization as of Monday, July 23...
Stronger together at the Culp Banquet
by Kirsten McKimmey on August 9, 2018 in news
On Monday evening, Texas Baptists African American Ministries presented the 25th Anniversary Culp Banquet, honoring the legacy of Dr. James W. Culp, Sr., who went to be with the Lord on July 22. ...
TBMF honors three outstanding servants at Family Gathering
by Guest Author on August 8, 2018 in news
A full house gathered on July 30, for the annual Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) Luncheon, held in Arlington, Texas, as a part of the 133rd Annual Meeting of Texas Baptists. This year, the luncheon honored three outstanding servants whose commitment to the Kingdom of God has impacted thousands around the state of Texas and beyond...
Family Gathering a celebration of unity, diversity for Texas Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on August 1, 2018 in news
A celebration of unity and diversity took place in Arlington July 29-31 as 2,054 messengers and visitors filled their seats at the table to worship, fellowship and conduct business at the 2018 Texas Baptists Family Gathering and Annual Meeting...
Convención highlights message of family, elects officers
by Analiz G Schremmer on August 1, 2018 in news
The Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas convened as part of the the 2018 Family Gathering July 30-31 in Arlington. The joining of Texas Baptists fellowships and conventions inspired an annual message on the biblical family heard by 233 registered messengers and numerous visitors...
Reeves encourages Texas Baptists to pass the baton
by Kalie Lowrie on August 1, 2018 in news
Just as Abraham passed his legacy on to his son Isaac, President Danny Reeves encouraged Texas Baptists to pass the baton of leadership on to upcoming generations. Reeves’ challenge was presented during his final presidential address at the 133rd Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas at the 2018 Family Gathering in Arlington...
Hardage highlights missions and disciple-making call of Texas Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on July 31, 2018 in news
Texas Baptists are taking the Good News across the state, country and world, reported Dr. David Hardage during his Executive Director’s Report at the 2018 Family Gathering Monday evening. ...
New convention officers look forward to unity, sharing Christ
by Kalie Lowrie on July 30, 2018 in news
"This year will be all about unity and sharing the Gospel," said newly-elected President Michael Evans. "We do that from our different platforms, different places and different faces, but the bottom line is Jesus. He binds us together."  ...
Texas Baptists welcomes Dr. Steve Mullen as Director of Theological Education
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 24, 2018 in news
Dr. Steve Mullen joined the Texas Baptists staff this summer as the new Director of Theological Education. In his role with Texas Baptists, Mullen will plan and coordinate the work of the Theological Education Council; oversee the ministerial financial assistance program; and build bridges among churches, educational institutions and the convention, among other responsibilities...
The Legacy of Super Summer Continues
by Stephanie Arosemena on July 19, 2018 in news
Since its inception in 1974, Super Summer started not as a camp, but as a week of training students in evangelism to know and share the Gospel. Over the decades, many things have changed, but the vision of Super Summer remains focused on teaching students to know and share the Gospel. ...
FBC Dallas Senior James Hardin wins 2018 National Speakers’ Tournament
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 9, 2018 in news
James Hardin of First Baptist Dallas won this year’s National Invitational Speakers’ Tournament, held on June 14-15 at Mountain Park First Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Josh Britton of First Baptist Church of Allen also competed in the High School Bible Drill portion of the tournament while Joseph Stalcup of First Baptist Church Breckenridge competed in Youth Bible Drill...
Family Gathering to unite Texas Baptists in Arlington
by Kalie Lowrie on June 28, 2018 in news
For the second time, joint sessions of Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, the African American Fellowship Conference and the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas will join together in harmonious celebration for a three-day event...
Ministry opportunities amidst border situation
by Kalie Lowrie on June 23, 2018 in news
Following a call to prayer, and an urging to contact elected officials, ministry opportunities in McAllen and Laredo/Nuevo Laredo are available to Convention churches who desire to meet the needs of those impacted by the recent immigration situations...
Leadership Texas Baptists cohort 3 recognized at Executive Board Meeting
by Kirsten McKimmey on May 29, 2018 in news
The third cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists was honored during Texas Baptists’ Executive Board Meeting on May 21. The graduation celebration, held during Monday evening’s session, awarded and recognized the 11 emerging young leaders for their hard work and dedication during the nine-month long program...
Go Now student missionaries commissioned for summer missions
by Kirsten McKimmey on May 24, 2018 in news
Two hundred students and their families gathered on May 20 for the Go Now Missions Commissioning Service held at Dallas Baptist University. The service was an opportunity for families and friends to worship alongside the student missionaries before leaving for mission across the world...
2018 State Bible Drill and Speakers' Tournament Winners Named
by Kirsten McKimmey on May 23, 2018 in news
Dallas Baptist University recently hosted the annual Texas Baptists Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament State Finals. ...
Executive Board affirms statement of peace at May meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on May 22, 2018 in news
During the May 22 meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, members affirmed a statement from Executive Director David Hardage encouraging Texas Baptists to seek peace in the midst of violent times in America. ...
Texas Baptists welcome Dustin Payne as new Church Starter for Area 3
by Kirsten McKimmey on May 21, 2018 in news
Texas Baptists welcomes Dustin Payne as the New Church starter for Area 3 in Southeast Texas including Katy, Houston, Galveston, Beaumont and College Station...
Texas Baptists partners with NBCA to host Annual Tent Revival in Dallas
by Kirsten McKimmey on May 14, 2018 in news
The National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc. held their Annual Tent Revival from April 23-26 at East Gate Baptist Church in Dallas. This was the first year for Texas Baptists to partner with the NBCA to help host this event...
Congreso urges youth to pursue God’s call
by Guest Author on May 1, 2018 in news
As Victoria Lopez shared her testimony, members of the crowd dabbed their eyes to wipe away tears. The 16-year-old told the crowd of approximately 3,200 at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, that she continues to look to God while fighting cystic fibrosis, a progressive genetic lung disease. She said through all her hospital stays, infections and surgeries, she has relied on God for help...
“Giving Your Money Purpose” Retreat offers education and inspiration
by Guest Author on April 30, 2018 in news
Texas Baptists offered pastors and their church members the opportunity to be refreshed and reminded of biblical stewardship, including personal and church budgeting. The first of five “Giving Your Money Purpose” day retreats in 2018 was held on Saturday, April 21, at Houston Baptist University...
WMU encourages believers to pursue God’s Gospel calling
by Kirsten McKimmey on April 26, 2018 in news
The Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas (WMU) hosted their Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration on April 13-14 at First Baptist Church Georgetown. The focus of this meeting was to pursue God’s Gospel-calling. The event challenged attendees to make an impact in their communities for the Kingdom through passionately telling His story, creatively empowering leaders and obediently engaging the world for Christ...
Texas Baptists to honor Dr. Ken Coffee and Dr. Virginia Connally with Legacy Awards
by Kirsten McKimmey on April 23, 2018 in press releases
Each year, deep in the heart of Texas, Texas Baptists meet on the first Sunday in June at the historic Independence Baptist Church to honor individuals who have represented Texas Baptists exceedingly well...
Texas Baptists hosts Foster Care Summit to address immediate needs in Texas
by Kalie Lowrie on April 20, 2018 in news
Texas Baptists leadership hosted a Foster Care Summit on Mon., Apr. 16 to discuss the foster care crisis in Texas and seek ways for partnering churches and ministries to get involved. Opening the meeting, Executive Director David Hardage discussed the escalating crisis over the past few years and his desire to see Texas Baptists join together to make a difference...
Texas Baptists partners with BGAV to host Pastoral Training Event
by Kirsten McKimmey on April 12, 2018 in news
For the first time, Texas Baptists Chaplaincy Relations is adding an additional opportunity for their annual Pastoral Training Event, to be held in Williamsburg, Virginia. The event, typically held in the fall in Texas, allows chaplains to maintain a high level of proficiency in pastoral care ministry while giving them a time for spiritual renewal, continuing education, networking and fellowship...
Leighton Flowers named new Evangelism Lead for Texas Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on April 4, 2018 in news
Leighton Flowers was named Evangelism Lead for Texas Baptists on April 2. No stranger to Baptist life, Flowers has served on staff with the Convention since 2003, overseeing key evangelistic ministry initiatives including Super Summer, Youth Evangelism Conferences, Hot Hearts, See You At the Pole, [un]Apologetic conferences and more...
Micah 6:8 conference encourages believers to love neighbors and display God’s holiness
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2018 in news
A diverse crowd of more than 300 united in worship and heeded the call to live in right relationships with God, self, others and creation at the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission’s Micah 6:8 Conference March 23-24 in Sugar Land, Texas...
Hundreds serve on Spring Break missions through pancakes, drywall and prayerwalking
by Kalie Lowrie and Kirsten McKimmey on March 21, 2018 in news
The combined missions efforts of Texas Baptists over Spring Break involved more than 1,400 middle, high school and college students engaged in ministry across the United States. Projects ranged from rebuilding homes in Houston damaged by Hurricane Harvey, providing free van rides and pancakes to fellow college students in South Padre Island and engaging in evangelistic efforts alongside church planters in New York City...
580 students spent week of spring break helping Houston bounce back from Hurricane Harvey
by Kirsten McKimmey on March 13, 2018 in news
From March 12-13 & March 15-16, the 580 students and student leaders volunteering with BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery completed projects such as installing drywall, insulation, siding, painting and flooring for homeowners who had been affected by the disaster...
Executive Board aims for agility in meeting needs, reaching next generation for Christ
by Kalie Lowrie on February 20, 2018 in news
The Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas approved a motion on Tuesday to form a committee to research ways in which the Convention could be more agile in response to emerging needs...
BGCT removes CBF from giving form, affirms view of biblical marriage
by Texas Baptists Communications on February 20, 2018 in news
The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board voted Tuesday to accept a joint-recommendation from the Finance and Administration Support Committees to remove the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship from its church giving forms...
BGCT remueve a CBF de la forma de contribución y afirma el matrimonio bíblico
by Texas Baptists Communications on February 20, 2018 in news
La Junta Ejecutiva de la Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) votó el martes 19 de febrero para aceptar la recomendación de los Comités de Finanzas y Apoyo Administrativo de remover al Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) de la forma que usan las iglesias para designar sus contribuciones...
Hosting after Harvey
by Guest Author on February 20, 2018 in harvey response
Almost 20 years ago, waters flooded Southeastern Texas as the effects of the Pacific Hurricane Madeline reverberated across the United States. As volunteers rushed toward the devastation, First Baptist Church of Victoria opened their doors to host the first responders. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, their heart to host remains...
Texas Baptists welcomes Tom Howe as Director of Urban Missions
by Kirsten McKimmey on February 12, 2018 in news
“It's a blessing to have Tom Howe on the Missions Team,” said Josue Valerio, director of the Missions Team. “Tom is a team player that brings his pastoral giftedness, experience and creativity, and a spiritual leader who trusts that God's Spirit is in the midst of whatever reality we face.&rdquo...
Texas Baptists welcomes John C. Halton as Senior Consultant of TBMF
by Kirsten McKimmey on February 6, 2018 in news
We are pleased to have John as a part of the Missions Foundation team. He brings extensive development experience and will be working with donors west to Kerrville and east to College Station. He is a committed Baptist layman with a heart to help people use their resources to make a difference for God's kingdom...
Texas Baptists awarded NAMB evangelism award
by Kirsten McKimmey on January 31, 2018 in news
Texas Baptists was recently recognized by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) with an evangelism award for the “Highest Number of Baptisms” for the 2016 calendar year. Texas Baptists churches had a recorded 28,765 baptisms, making this the second year in a row for Texas Baptists to receive this national award. ...
Texas Baptists welcomes Daniel DeLeon as new Area 3 Representative
by Kirsten McKimmey on January 19, 2018 in news
DALLAS -- Texas Baptists welcome Daniel DeLeon as the new Area 3 Representative of the Rio Grande Valley, from Del Rio to Brownsville, as of January 2.
“Living on the US-Mexico border gave me the opportunity at a very young age to get involved in ministry in exciting ways. My first experiences in ministry included times when I had to translate Bible stories from English into Spanish. God used my bilingual skills to overcome the language barrier, and it was then when I began to enjoy bringing people together, but most importantly connecting them with the message of Jesus,” said DeLeon.
Fluent in both English and Spanish, DeLeon...
Texas Baptists welcomes Steve Massey as Vice President of TBMF
by Kirsten McKimmey on January 16, 2018 in news
DALLAS -- Texas Baptists welcomes Steve Massey as the new Vice President of Texas Baptist Mission Foundation (TBMF) as of January 2.
"I am so pleased to have Steve on our staff. His experience as a development officer and a committed churchman will fit well on the Missions Foundation team," said Bill Arnold, president of TBMF.
He began his career serving in various roles in the corporate world before transitioning into full-time ministry. He served for six years as Vice President of Development for Buckner International, and most recently, as Vice President of Development for e3 Partners/I Am Second. Massey has a Bachelors of...
Green Acres Baptist Church provides encouragement, resources to FBC Hull after Hurricane Harvey
by Kirsten McKimmey on December 20, 2017 in news
It started raining on Friday, August 25, in Hull, Texas. By Sunday night, the water began to invade homes and buildings, compromising the town’s safety. The rains, a result of Hurricane Harvey, didn’t stop until Wednesday, the town was paralyzed until Thursday. The terror remained long after.
Like many churches, FBC Hull served as a first responder to this tragic natural disaster, and their focus was the surrounding communities.
“We were focusing on people in their homes here,” said John Guedry, pastor of FBC Hull. “When people who already in the last days of August didn’t know if they would be able to afford rent for September...
Equipping people for Gospel talk
by Texas Baptists Communications on December 14, 2017 in news
“The future of the world depends on the average believer being able to proclaim the message of the Gospel,” said John Meador during his Monday morning workshop at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. ...
Texas Baptists welcome Bob Billups as Publisher of BaptistWay Press
by Kirsten McKimmey on December 14, 2017 in news
DALLAS–Texas Baptists welcomes Bob Billups as the new Publisher of BaptistWay Press.
“Bob brings a wealth of BGCT experience and wonderful talent to the task,” said Associate Executive Director Steve Vernon. “BaptistWay Press is one of the best publications of its type anywhere. The writers and editing are superb. Bob brings to the publisher's role experience in relationships with many churches and church leaders across the state as well as entrepreneurial skills to promote the Connect 360 literature and other products in the BaptistWay line.”
BaptistWay Press is the publishing branch of Texas Baptists, providing Bible study...
Time to rebuild His house
by Guest Author on December 1, 2017 in news
One hurricane, one faith and one website was all it took to unite First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie and Trinity Baptist Church of Aransas Pass.
After Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, “we immediately … spent time in our worship service praying for our brothers and sisters,” said Dr. Bill Skaar, pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie...
For Beaumont church, Hurricane Harvey relief reflects heart for community
by Guest Author on November 29, 2017 in news
By John Hall, contributing writer
During the first service at Westgate Memorial Baptist Church following Hurricane Harvey’s devastating visit to Beaumont, Pastor Raymond McHenry made a promise to his congregation: He would not shave until every one of the four dozen families affected by the storm in the church was helped.
A beard emerged across McHenry’s face, but it would not be there long at the rate his congregation is responding. The stewardship committee approved $1,000 gifts to each affected family quickly after the storm to provide some immediate help. Church members have donated items, given financially to the relief...
Shining in the community in the midst of a disaster strike
by Guest Author on November 27, 2017 in news
By Kaitlyn DeHaven, Baylor University student
Rose City Baptist Church in Vidor, Texas, was in the process of rebuilding its church when disaster struck once again. Last year, the church suffered a catastrophic loss when 80 percent of the church burned down in a fire. Before Hurricane Harvey hit, it was three weeks away from reopening.
Tony Wilcoxson, pastor of Rose City Baptist, said that while there was a lot of hurt and pain that happened in his community, this aspect actually happened to be a blessing in disguise, because they had just put a new septic system in, which had provided them with 20,000 pounds of sand that could...
FBC Refugio Regains Footing After Harvey
by Guest Author on November 22, 2017 in news
By Analiz G. Schremmer
Ninety to 95 percent of buildings in the small town of Refugio were damaged during Hurricane Harvey. That includes First Baptist Church Refugio, which lost most of its roof to the strong winds, rendering the building unusable.
“The storm essentially blew about three-quarters of the roof off the sanctuary, so the sanctuary was a total loss,” said FBC Pastor T. Wayne Price. “Our educational building was about one-fourth damaged. We still do not have the exact numbers, but we are talking about an interior rebuild. Everything in the sanctuary was destroyed.”
Price said the majority of his congregation was...
God carrying the church through Hurricane Harvey
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 15, 2017 in news
Bevil Oaks, a small town located in Jefferson County on the outskirts of Beaumont, is a relatively quiet place. The neighborhoods are beautiful, the community is active and the people are kind. However, these characteristics did not protect the town from the harsh reality of Hurricane Harvey.
The rain began Friday, Aug. 25. As the storm grew worse, Robert Ring, worship pastor of First Baptist Church of Bevil Oaks, decided to make the call to cancel their Sunday morning church service.
“On Sunday, water began coming up into friends’ yards, and we weren’t sure how high the water would be getting. For us, the main part of Harvey...
Texas Baptists compelled towards God’s will, word and work
by Kalie Lowrie on November 14, 2017 in news
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...
Challenging Texas Baptists to change the world by looking up
by Lauren Hollon Sturdy on November 14, 2017 in annual meeting
Delvin Atchison closed out the 2017 Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting Tuesday morning by calling Texas Baptists to “peer at our possibilities from God’s perspective.”
He preached from Genesis 15:1-5, a passage that deals with a conversation between Abram and God right after Abram has won a military victory. In spite of this win, Abram was grappling with his disappointment that God had not yet fulfilled His promise of providing descendents.
Atchison highlighted four statements from God to Abram that apply to Texas Baptists today.
First, He tells Abram “fear not.” Atchison points out that it’s an interesting moment for that...
Gregory discusses preaching to persuade
by Lauren Hollon Sturdy on November 14, 2017 in news
Trying to separate preaching from persuasion is a false dichotomy, said Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University.
Persuasion has gotten a bad rap lately, often because it has become associated with manipulation or even coercion, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It was almost a motto for Paul’s ministry, Gregory said.
Paul was always trying to persuade, from his first stop in each new town speaking to the Jews at the local synagogue to the Gentiles with his Areopagus address.
“When you seek to persuade, you’re preaching with a desire to change or reinforce attitude or behavior,&rdquo...
Church security basics and preparing for the unexpected
by Ruth Whorton on November 14, 2017 in news
An additional workshop addressing church safety and security was added to the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting schedule following the tragic shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. 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 to discuss legal policies that influence churches.
“Use people in your church who know your church, community and law enforcement, and use people outside your church to help you prepare,” said Adams.
There will not...
I Was a Stranger
by Courtney Reeves on November 14, 2017 in news
The Vickery Meadow area of Dallas is often referred to as “the Little United Nations.” On any given day, refugees and immigrants from Burma, Iran and the Congo can be found trying to make ends meet. This community is where Project: Start Refugee Resource Center, supported by Texas Baptists, engages in daily ministry.
Project: Start Director Leonid Regheta led a workshop Tuesday morning at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, teaching fellow believers about the plight of refugees in the city of Dallas and how they can help “the least of these.”
For Regheta, it is a personal issue. As a child, he and his family fled the Ukraine...
Mancini challenges churches to dream big
by Lauren Hollon Sturdy on November 14, 2017 in news
A dream can move the people of God to do incredible things for the kingdom of God, but most churches aren’t dreaming big enough. Will Mancini’s keynote address at the Monday evening worship session of the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting urged leaders to seek clarity and specificity on their “special assignment from God.”
Mancini is an author, church strategist and founder of the non-profit church consulting group, Auxano. He said most churches he consults with have mission statements that are too broad and vague, relying on phrases such as “making disciples,” “glorifying God,” or “reaching more people in the next five...
Living Compelled to end hunger together
by Ruth Whorton on November 14, 2017 in news
During the Monday afternoon workshop session of the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual meeting, Jeremy Everett, senior director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, shared a compelling message on the need for Christians to unite against the rampant issue of hunger in Texas, the United States and across the world.
Everett works to educate and equip individuals with practical strategies to end hunger for those who are in need within their own communities. He opened the workshop by asking those in attendance about their personal experience with hunger ministry. From across the room, people from around Texas shared about food pantries, backpack...
Hardage bears witness to the good work of Texas Baptists
by Kirsten McKimmey & Kalie Lowrie on November 14, 2017 in annual meeting
Texas Baptists participate in a vast array of life-changing work every day. To bring recognition and awareness to this year's most prominent ministry and evangelism efforts during his Monday evening report at the 2017 Annual Meeting, Executive Director David Hardage recognized notable leaders that 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...
Church Unique: Strengthening Your Culture
by Courtney Reeves on November 14, 2017 in news
Will Mancini, author and church strategist, presented the ideas published in his book Church Unique to an afternoon workshop on Monday, Nov. 13, at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Mancini, who has worked as a church consultant for 17 years, declared each church is as unique as a snowflake with many different needs.
He began the session speaking on the “cloning conference” epidemic many churches fall victim to. “You can’t go to a conference and cut and paste a playbook. Make your own playbook,” said Mancini.
In order to make a playbook, churches must have a clear vision of who they are as a church and what they wish to...
Texas Baptists officers re-elected to second terms
by Courtney Reeves on November 13, 2017 in annual meeting
WACO–Officer elections bookended the business session of the 132nd Texas Baptists Annual Meeting Monday afternoon in Waco. Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church of Corsicana, was re-elected president; Joe Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Lewisville, was re-elected first vice president; and Jim Heiligman, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bryan, was re-elected as second vice president.
With First Vice President Fields presiding, Reeves was nominated for his second term as President of the convention by Bobby Bell, a messenger from First Baptist Church of Edna and district judge. Prior to his pastorate at...
Robert Pinder, Bob Feather and First Baptist Belton honored by Texas Baptist Mission Foundation
by Lauren Hollon Sturdy on November 13, 2017 in news
Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) honored two individuals and one church Monday at its annual missions awards luncheon.
Don Cramer presented the Adventurer Award to Robert H. Pinder.
“I wanted you to get a glimpse of his heart, so I asked him two questions,” Cramer said. “The first question was, ‘What was the most rewarding experience of your ministry?’”
“Pinder said, ‘Starting four churches in Argentina and training six young deacons how to share their faith.’ That stood out among everything he’s done. Then I said, ‘How would you summarize your life and ministry?’ He said, ‘Seeing people come to know Jesus and maturing...
Texas Baptists urged to remain centered on Christ
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 13, 2017 in news
“How on earth did we ever get into this mess?”
Danny Reeves, president of Texas Baptists, confronted the audience with this sobering question during his presidential address at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
“Between national debt, natural disasters, shootings and terrorists attacks, it seems like our culture is in complete disintegration. Some days I feel like I’ve had enough. The word that would sum this up is catastrophe.”
He continued, “Brothers and sisters in Christ, the question I ask you today is a recurring question Texas Baptists has been trying to answer all year long: In the midst of chaos in our world, what...
Cross-cultural, cross-generational communication in Hispanic churches
by Lauren Hollon Sturdy on November 13, 2017 in news
The United States has the second largest Hispanic population of any country in the world. This represents a huge opportunity for Texas Baptists in particular, said Rolando Rodriguez, director of Hispanic Ministries, in his Monday morning workshop at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
In the session, “Preaching to Reach Hispanics in Texas,” Rodriguez said the biggest challenge is finding ways to minister effectively to the diverse generations within the Hispanic community.
The first generation was born outside the United States and Spanish is used in the home most of the time. This generation tends to be very traditional and...
Churches to be recognized for faithful cooperative program giving at 2017 Annual Meeting
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 13, 2017 in news
As Texas Baptists are called to live “Compelled” at this years’ Annual Meeting, nine churches were recognized for their Cooperative Program giving. Since 1925, the Cooperative Program has provided the fuel to fund mission work in Texas, the United States and all around the world.
“The Cooperative Program is effective because of the generosity of thousands of Texas Baptists churches working together,” said Chris Liebrum, director of the Office of Cooperative Program Ministry. “The churches we recognize at Annual Meeting represent giving among nine categories of church size and ethnicity, all exemplary in their commitment to mission...
A Theology of Caring in the church
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 13, 2017 in news
“What is a theology of care? How is this appropriate in our church and our lives?” asked Rev. Byron Stevenson, pastor of The Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land, at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting workshop, “A Theology of Caring.” Stevenson opened the workshop with a time of prayer and worship to God, for “He is good and He is kind.”
The encouragement he shared was anchored in Matthew 9:35-36, when Jesus was moved with compassion for the multitudes.
“One of the things that blesses our church are the five pillars of faith our church is built upon - trust, faith, kindness, liberal giving and compassion,” said Stevenson. “And...
Christian Community Development, the mission trip that doesn't go away
by Ruth Whorton on November 13, 2017 in news
“The people with the problem must be part of the solution to the problem,” shared Jimmy Dorrell, pastor of Church Under the Bridge and executive director of Mission Waco, during the “Caring for the least of These” workshop presented Monday morning at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
Dorrell detailed how he grew up without need and was blessed with more than he wanted. Upon arriving in Waco and attending college at Baylor University, his perspective changed. For the first time in his life, he saw real poverty.
“Our background is our glasses,” Dorrell said. “It shapes how we see things.” The lens Dorrell continually looked...
African American Rally encourages vibrant, not tepid Christianity
by Ruth Whorton on November 13, 2017 in news
The 2017 Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting began with an impassioned crowd Sunday night at the African American Fellowship Worship Rally. Toliver Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Waco brimmed as members of different congregations came together to worship the Lord through song and teaching. The night was filled with enthusiastic preaching and passionate praise.
The praise team from Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church of Waco began the night with worship. Dr. Jim Heiligman, 2nd vice president of Texas Baptists, and pastor of First Baptist Church, Bryan, brought greetings from Texas Baptists and shared, “I am convinced that...
Cowboy Church Rally encourages attendees to pray big
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 13, 2017 in news
Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and grandparents alike gathered on a beautiful Sunday night at Top Hand Cowboy Church in Valley Mills, Texas for a time of fellowship and to kick off the 132ndTexas Baptists Annual Meeting. The smell of southern barbecue filled the air and laughter and conversation flowed freely throughout the room as the church hosted the annual Cowboy Church Roundup on Nov. 12 in Waco.
Inside the church, a banner with vibrant red letters listed the church's main priorities: “Prayer, Bible study, serving God & others, and missions.” At the bottom of the banner read Matthew 22:37-40, the foundational verses of the...
Hispanic Baptists worship, emphasize being compelled to action
by Lauren Hollon Sturdy on November 13, 2017 in news
The Texas Baptists Hispanic family gathered Sunday night at Iglesia Bautista Maranatha in Waco to worship together, hear from pastors around the state, and encourage one another to live Compelled for Christ. The rally was one of three held on the first evening of the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
The first sermon of the evening focused on evangelism.
“A church in action is evangelism; a church in action is reaching the lost,” said Israel Villalobos, associate pastor of Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving.
If Texas Baptists want to be churches in action, Villalobos said, they need to look to Jesus’ example.
How to care for trauma survivors Q&A
by Katie Swafford on November 10, 2017 in faith
Unfortunately, in our very broken world, we all too frequently hear about tragedies at home and abroad. These events can have significant impact on the mental and emotional health and well-being of those involved and, in fact, have an impact on you and me. To help us all better understand trauma, I reached out to one of our network counselors, Brady Robinson, LPC-S, who specializes in coping with trauma for a brief Q & A session.1. How do I know if I have experienced trauma?
Trauma in a traditional sense of the word implies that one has experienced a real or perceived threat to their life or physical integrity. This can also...
Developing an emergency operations plan for your church
by David Adams and John Litzler on November 8, 2017 in news
The recent shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs reminded us again that even sacred spaces can be unsafe. We should also be reminded that congregations of all sizes and locations should take steps to address the possibility that unimaginable violence could happen. So how can we “expect the unexpected?”
Create an emergency operations plan (EOP) designed especially for your church. While sample plans may help identify the scope of your plan, your church is unique in its location, buildings, schedule, activities, and culture. Therefore, you must develop your own plan with the help of others.
In creating a planning...
God’s people responding in a time of disaster
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 1, 2017 in news
- During the storm, Iglesia Bautista Redencion experienced 30 inches of flooding, resulting in over $100,000 in damages
- Through donated resources, the church has been ministering to the community around them
- With the help of partner churches, $20,000 has been raised to go toward the church rebuilding process
HOUSTON–“We couldn’t believe it. We never thought this would happen. We were here in the church worshiping the night before the flood, and we could have never imaged what was to come,” said Pastor Jesus Guillen of Iglesia Bautista Redencion of Houston.
After the storm subsided, Pastor Guillen was not able to get back...
Texas Baptists Welcome Dr. Steven Dominy as Area 8 Representative
by Kirsten McKimmey on October 30, 2017 in news
The Texas Baptists Connections Team welcomes Dr. Steve Dominy as the new Area 8 Representative for the Dallas area on Nov. 1.
“We are very excited that Dr. Dominy is joining our team,” said Director of Connections Dowell Loftis. “He deeply loves the Lord and His Church. Having been a pastor for many years himself, he understands the unique challenges and pressures our pastors face each and every day.”
Dominy received his Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry from George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
He pastored churches in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas for a combined 22...
TBMF to honor Robert Pinder, Robert Feather and FBC Belton
by Kirsten McKimmey on October 25, 2017 in news
This year at the annual Mission Awards Luncheon, Texas Baptist Mission Foundation will honor Robert H. Pinder, Robert O. “Bob” Feather and First Baptist Church of Belton for the outstanding impact they have made in Texas Baptists ministry.
The three awards given include the Adventurer Award for Leadership in Missions, the Innovator Award for Creativity in Missions and the Pioneer Award for Service in Missions.
Pinder will receive the Adventurer Award, which honors an individual or organization who advanced missions through outstanding financial support or leadership in ministry opportunities.
Pinder’s passion for missions led...
The Body of Christ unified during Harvey aftermath
by Kirsten McKimmey on October 24, 2017 in news
- From the hours after Hurricane Harvey, FBC Nederland has reached out to serve their community
- FBC Nederland is one TBM/Texas Baptists Volunteer Village where churches can send volunteer teams to help with recovery efforts
- They total number of meals prepared and sent out from the church was just over 318,000
NEDERLAND–“Things really started to get bad on Tuesday night (Aug. 29). It started raining here, and it was raining hard. I kept thinking, ‘this is going to settle down, just like any other storm,’ but it didn’t. About 10:00 p.m., we were at our house, flooded in. We couldn’t get out,” said Jason Burden, pastor of...
Congregation loses everything but hope
by Guest Author on October 17, 2017 in news
By Analiz G. Schremmer, Contributing Writer
“Winter is coming.” That is the phrase that Pastor David Maldonado kept repeating. It was a plea for help; a cry to God. Maybe both.
In August, Iglesia Bautista Jesus de Nazaret in Houston was struck by Hurricane Harvey. The church building took on three feet of water and almost everything inside was destroyed.
“We saved one of the speakers, two microphones and my guitar,” Maldonado said. “Now, on Sundays my brother-in-law brings another guitar that he borrowed and my brother borrows a base.” It is just enough to hold a worship service in the church pavilion every Sunday since the...
Loving the least of these amidst Harvey destruction
by Kirsten McKimmey on October 13, 2017 in news
For Metrey Pheap Baptist Church in Houston, floods are nothing new. However, as they are recovering from Hurricane Harvey, this church is working harder than ever to serve those in need.
In both 2003 and 2005, the church experienced extensive flooding, resulting in a combined $30,000 worth of damage. This past August, the destruction of Hurricane Harvey caused double the damage, with an estimated repair cost of $60,000. Though this is the third time the church has flooded, it is the first time they are experiencing a total loss.
“The first day we were was able to come and see the church after the storm, everyone cried,” said Ty...
Texas Baptists encouraged to live compelled at Annual Meeting in Waco
by Kirsten McKimmey on October 12, 2017 in news
Texas Baptists are celebrating their call to “Live Compelled” at this years’ Annual Meeting in Waco, Nov. 12-14. For up-to-date information including schedule, speakers, business and more, go to texasbaptists.org/annualmeeting. Online registration for your church is available until Nov. 1.
“In the Bible our New Testament ancestors were compelled by the Spirit, compelled to preach, and compelled to contend for the faith,” said Danny Reeves, Texas Baptists president and pastor of First Baptist Church of Corsicana. “However, the most striking proclamation came from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:14. Paul wrote, ‘For Christ’s...
Compassion and service after the hurricane
by Guest Author on October 4, 2017 in news
By John Hall, Contributing Writer
When disaster strikes, First Baptist Church in Athens jumps into high gear.
The congregation often responds to needs in the wake of disaster through Texas Baptist Men. So when it saw the widespread devastation left behind by Hurricane Harvey, it did what comes naturally – sought to meet the needs of hurting people.
“A lot of church members have friends down there, they have family down there that’s been affected,” said Steve Akin, the church’s minister of missions.
Because of the proximity of the damage, First Baptist Church and other area congregations worked together through Southeast Texas...
FBC Mineola joins other churches rallying around Pine Drive Baptist Church in Dickinson
by Guest Author on October 2, 2017 in news
By John Hall, Contributing Writer
The devastation sustained by Pine Drive Baptist Church in Dickinson can be summed up with one word: Total.
“We’ve got a sanctuary,” Pastor Ted Duck said. “Then we have a separate building that’s a gymnasium/activity center. Then we have a Christian school, which is where our offices are. We got 51 inches of water. It wiped out everything we have. Everything.”
Everything except the congregation’s belief in God. In the wake of the storm, God continues to meet the church’s needs in remarkable ways. Congregations from across Texas and scattered across the United States have donated money, materials...
BSM volunteers from across Texas help with Harvey Recovery
by Guest Author on September 29, 2017 in news
By Analiz G. Schremmer
When they walked into this house, one thing was clear to the volunteers from the University of Houston’s Baptist Student Ministry: The homeowner was overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.
“There were dead fish in the house,” said UH BSM Director Shannon Rutherford. “The drywall hadn’t been taken down. No progress had been made yet, even though it had been several days since the storm.
“We asked the homeowners how they were doing. They just stared and looked like, ‘I don’t know.’ So we told them, ‘We can do this together. We can take this out and there is a plan to start over.’”
About 25 students from UH...
Executive board approves 2018 proposed budget, sale of UT BSM building
by Kalie Lowrie on September 27, 2017 in news
DALLAS–During the September meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, directors approved numerous recommendations including the proposed 2018 budget, the sale of The University of Texas Baptist Student Ministry property and a loan for the Baptist University of the Americas.
The proposed budget, which will be presented for approval by messengers to the Annual Meeting Nov. 12-14 in Waco, totals $37.135 million and includes $29.6 million from Texas Cooperative Program, $4.65 million from investment income and $2.88 million from other revenue sources. Jill Larsen, CFO and treasurer, noted that giving is...
Texas Baptist family circles around new pastor, church affected by Hurricane Harvey
by Guest Author on September 25, 2017 in news
by John Hall, Contributing Writer
Ryan Chandler’s first pastorate began like few – if any – others. To begin with, it began before it started.
Chandler moved to Orange Aug. 26, more than two weeks before he was to become pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. Three days later, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 20 inches of rain on the city, flooding homes and destroying cars.
The pastor-to-be and his family evacuated to San Antonio. He returned to a city largely without power or water Sept. 3.
“It was just crazy around Orange,” he said. “Our house wasn’t flooded, thank goodness. But the city was a disaster zone. Streets were...
TBM/Texas Baptists Volunteer Villages open for groups to serve Harvey-affected areas
by Kalie Lowrie on September 21, 2017 in news
HOUSTON–Three Texas Baptist Men/Texas Baptists Volunteer Villages are now open and accepting groups to serve in Harvey-affected areas. TBM and Texas Baptists are partnering to invite volunteer groups to work on homes and churches damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flooding throughout Houston and East Texas.
Mickey Lenamon, TBM executive director, urged groups to participate, saying, “We are open for business, but we can only do as much work as we have volunteers to do it.”
TBM/Texas Baptists Volunteer Village locations include First Baptist Church of Nederland, Sugar Land Baptist Church and Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy...
FBC Huffman provides shelter, resources and hope in the midst of Harvey Recovery
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 20, 2017 in news
Even as darkness fell and waters were rising on Aug. 25 when Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the people of God quickly came together to be the glimmering beacon of hope that Texas needed.
The following Sunday, Pastor Mike Martin of First Baptist Church of Huffman made several visits around town before the heavy rains hit. He stopped at the local volunteer fire department and told them the church was available if they needed help. Within an hour, the fire department contacted him and asked if the church could be used as a shelter.
By the time the storms arrived in Huffman, a small town in Harris County, members of the church...
Sharing the love of Christ in both word and deed at Friendship Baptist Church
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 20, 2017 in news
The cost of school supplies can add up quickly, and the list is exhaustive. Churches like Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony have aimed to help solve this problem by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through both word and deed.
Every year, the youth department, the health and wellness ministry, members and volunteers at Friendship Baptist Church work fervently to put on their annual Health Fair – Free School Supplies and Back to School Youth Rally.
As it says in the name, this event is so much more than a back-to-school drive. It’s a full day on their church campus that prepares their youth for the back to school...
National Boomer Ministry Conference compels baby boomers to come and see
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 18, 2017 in news
“Reaching 50-year-olds is the same thing that reaches 24-year-olds - invite them to come and see. If you personally know the King, then compel them to come in,” said Todd Wagner, senior pastor of Watermark Church in Dallas, at the National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 7.
He continued, “The mark that is going to reach all people of every generation is love. Without love, nothing matters.”
More than 117 church leaders and volunteers from 58 churches and organizations learned skills and techniques to engage the boomer generation in ministry at the fifth annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 6-8 at Park Cities...
Texas Baptists join with 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative for Speak Freedom Texas
by Kalie Lowrie on September 18, 2017 in news
DALLAS–On Nov. 5, Texas Baptists is joining with the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) for Speak Freedom Texas, a statewide day of prayer and awareness-raising for religious minorities around the globe facing persecution.
“We are challenging all 5,300 churches affiliated with Texas Baptists to designate Sunday, Nov. 5, for Speak Freedom Texas,” said Randel Everett, president and founder of 21CWI and former executive director of Texas Baptists.
“When we started 21CWI, one of the main goals was to awaken the church in America to the cries of the persecuted church around the world. Because I am a Texas Baptist and a lot...
Texas Baptists to support Project: Start for North Texas Giving Day
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 13, 2017 in news
On Sept. 14, as people across the Metroplex give to various community organizations through North Texas Giving Day, Texas Baptists are encouraging donations to Project: Start, a refugee resource center located in Vickery Meadow.
With over 30 different languages spoken, their needs are as diverse as the community itself.
Over the last 12 months, Project: Start has impacted close to 300 families, either directly with referrals or by creating capacity for others to assist and minister to refugee families.
“We are excited to serve those that come through our doors just as much as we are thankful for opportunities to impact dozens...
Texas Baptists encouraged to exceed Mary Hill Davis Offering goal to provide Harvey relief efforts
by Kalie Lowrie on September 11, 2017 in news
The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering is September 10-17, 2017. With a statewide goal of $3.6 million, the offering will go to support mission endeavors around Texas through strategic partnerships in 2018. In response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in South Texas, all gifts given above the offering goal will be designated to provide disaster assistance to impacted areas through Texas Baptist Men and Texas Baptists.
“Texas Baptists are a generous and compassionate people,” said Carolyn Porterfield, WMU of Texas interim executive director-treasurer. “We believe God will bless every...
CLC’s One conference encourages unity and racial reconciliation among Christians
by Kalie Lowrie on September 8, 2017 in news
GRAND PRAIRIE – More than 175 Texas Baptists gathered Aug. 26 to pursue racial healing in the wake of a turbulent year of clashes between white, black, and Hispanic Americans.
“The Lord placed this event on my heart last spring because I felt like the Church had not done enough to be a part of the solution,” said Kathryn Freeman, director of public policy for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission.
The event at First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie sought to equip church leaders and lay members to engage in racial reconciliation in their communities.
“The thing about racial reconciliation is that it’s a process. One...
Texas Baptists at work to provide Harvey relief efforts through partnerships
by Kalie Lowrie on September 2, 2017 in news
The devastation Ryan Rush, senior pastor of Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, has witnessed in recent days is heartbreaking.
“We’ve seen hundreds of our neighbors lose everything they owned, and the idea of the work ahead is overwhelming. The thing that sustains us, however, is the incredible way this disaster has brought together the Body of Christ as we seek to share the love of Jesus with our community,” Rush said.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas Aug. 25 as a category four hurricane, causing unprecedented destruction. Damage in Texas stretches from Corpus Christi to Beaumont, with an estimated...
BOUNCE revises schedule to serve in Harvey-affected areas
by Kalie Lowrie on September 1, 2017 in press releases
DALLAS–In response to the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, BOUNCE, the student disaster recovery ministry of Texas Baptists, has revised the 2018 schedule for spring break and summer mission trips to solely serve Harvey-affected areas along the Gulf Coast.
“We have revised our BOUNCE schedule to mobilize student youth groups to Harvey-affected areas for long-term recovery efforts,” said David Scott, director of BOUNCE. “Our BOUNCE Advisory Group agreed this is reason BOUNCE was created. We also had full support from our ministry partners in the cities of Birmingham, Waco, Fort Worth, Lubbock and Bartlesville...
Developing a love for God’s Word through Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament
by Kirsten McKimmey on August 31, 2017 in news
“Bible Drill has given me a love for the Bible and an understanding that I need to consistently be in God’s Word to understand His Will for my life,” said Katie Davidson, Bible Drill participant. “It’s given me more confidence in myself. I was initially quiet, scared to get in front of people and talk in general, but Bible Drill encouraged me get out of my comfort zone and do things I had never done before, including teaching others about Jesus.”
For Davidson and Anna Kemp, First Baptist Church of Allen students, Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament is so much more than memorizing words on a page. For them, these events have...
Texas Baptists response to Hurricane Harvey
by Kalie Lowrie on August 28, 2017 in press releases
Updated message posted on August 28, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the Gulf Coast has been catastrophic, and the storm is likely to cause additional damage for days to come. Some 13 million Texans are currently under a flood watch or warning.
At this time, we are supporting Texas Baptist Men in their disaster relief efforts. TBM units are deployed to several areas across the Gulf Coast and are providing meals as well as shower and laundry services. More than 7,000 trained volunteers are on active alert and ready to respond.
Many of our Texas Baptists churches are actively involved in relief and recovery efforts...
Texas Baptists’ Childhood Summit equips leaders to remember the joy
by Kirsten McKimmey on August 16, 2017 in news
Children need to know and experience love. They need consistent adults and leaders in their lives who are willing to seek to understand them and meet them where they are. That is what the Texas Baptists’ Childhood Ministry Summit sought to accomplish - to equip ministers in childhood leadership to clearly and meaningfully plan, effectively teach and learn to value how children and preschoolers learn so they might have a genuine relationship with God.
“Trust is the foundation piece for almost every single thing we do in our lives. If trust is not wired in a child by 14 months, it’s much harder to accomplish. It takes many...
Loftis named Director of Texas Baptists Connections Team
by Kalie Lowrie on July 31, 2017 in news
DALLAS–Dowell Loftis has been named the new director of the Texas Baptists Connections Team. Loftis joined the Texas Baptists staff in February 2016 as an area representative for the Dallas area.
“Dr. Loftis is a long-time Texas Baptist who has served the Kingdom with distinction in many roles, including as a successful pastor, experienced board member and valued hospital chaplain,” said Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage. “Dr. Loftis is a highly capable leader who is well known and respected throughout the State of Texas and beyond.”
Previously, Loftis served as a chaplain for Baylor University Medical Center in...
Go Now partnership allows Korean students to serve in Texas
by Guest Author on July 26, 2017 in news
By Ruth Whorton
Jinjoo Oh is a university student. She works two jobs, has a curiosity for new cultures, and she is active in her local church. She has a deep love for God and missions with a smile that radiates. She feels lonely sometimes, but clings to prayer. She had an experience this summer that redefined and expanded her view of our God.
While she is a college summer missionary serving with Go Now missions, she is not from Texas or even from America. Jinjoo is from South Korea.
Jinjoo traveled 6,777 miles from South Korea to Texas, arriving in Austin on May 29. Through the summer, she served with youth and children at...
Texas Baptists welcome Tom Revilla as Central Texas Church Starter
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 25, 2017 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists Church Starting welcomes Tom Revilla as the new church starter for Area 6, Central Texas. This area spans from Austin to Central East Texas.
“I am excited to have Tom Revilla join our Church Starting Team,” said Paul Atkinson, director of Church Starting. “Tom brings high levels of experience in all aspects of church leadership. His recent work with Buckner International and Life Church of San Antonio have given him a set of skills which will benefit his work with new church starts in Central Texas. Texas Baptists is fortunate and blessed to welcome Tom Revilla to the Texas Baptists staff.”
The method does not change the message
by Guest Author on July 24, 2017 in news
By Ruth Whorton
In a society that is seeing a decline in the number of youth who attend church, news of effective evangelism outreach is an encouragement to all. First Missionary Baptist Church (FMBC) in Fort Worth saw the Lord work in ways far beyond expected at the beginning of the summer through a summer concert, where 22 youth came to know the Lord.
The Saturday after school ended in Fort Worth, FMBC hosted Christian rap and hip-hop artists at their first ever Summer Jam concert. The event was hosted for youth in the community who were not involved in church.
The heart behind the concert came from an effort to “get out of...
African American Fellowship celebrates togetherness at annual convention
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 18, 2017 in news
The 2017 African American Fellowship Conference (AAFC) was held from July 10-13 at Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Tyler. This year’s theme was Harambee: Bringing Us Together, drawn from Psalm 133:1.
“The Harambee theme was borrowed from the East African nation of Kenya. It means ‘all put together.’ Things really do go better when Christ’s followers work together,” said Dr. Roy Cotton, director of African American Ministries.
The event commenced with a Sweet Hour of Prayer (SHOP) on Monday evening.
“AAFC could not have started in a better way. Anything we do, we want to bathe it in prayer before we get started,” commented...
Texas Baptists host historic presentation of Uzbek Bible
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 18, 2017 in news
DALLAS–Texas Baptists, alongside the Institute for Bible Translation (Moscow, Russia) and Global Heart Ministries (Plano, TX), recently hosted a historic presentation of the first translation of the Holy Bible into the Uzbek language.
Uzbekistan, listed among countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith, has never seen a full translation of the Bible in their language. However, through the work of the Institute for Bible Translation, that has changed.
Now, for the first time in the history of Uzbekistan and its people around the world, Uzbeks will have the complete Bible in their language. This is...
The continued ministry of Super Summer
by Guest Author on July 10, 2017 in news
By: Ruth Whorton
Twenty-one years ago, John Davison attended Super Summer for the first time. Then, in 1997, he accepted God’s call on his life to ministry while at Super Summer. Davison is now the middle school pastor at Sherman Bible Church and brings students to Super Summer year after year.
He is very invested in Super Summer because of the incredible impact the ministry makes around the state through the students who attend.
“Super Summer stirs student’s affections for Christ. Knowing there are others who are on the same mission as they are motivates them,” Davison said.
Super Summer taught Davison the importance of...
Texas Baptist Elijah Brown elected General Secretary of BWA
by Kalie Lowrie on July 7, 2017 in news
Elijah Brown, executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, was elected to serve as the next General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. Brown is the first Texas Baptist to serve in this capacity, and at the age of 36, the youngest person to be elected to the position. The election took place on July 7 at the BWA General Assembly held in Bangkok, Thailand.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to become the ninth General Secretary of the BWA, an organization that has borne witness to Jesus Christ and the reality of one Lord, one faith and one baptism since 1905,” said Brown. “Over the last 10 years, Dr....
Convención celebrates 100 years of UFM, approves bylaw changes
by Kalie Lowrie on June 30, 2017 in news
SAN ANTONIO –The 100th Anniversary of Union Femenil Misionera de Texas (UFM) was celebrated during Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas in San Antonio June 25-27. The sanctuary of Trinity Baptist Church was filled as past presidents lined the stage and Raquel Contreras, director of Casa Bautista de Publicaciones in El Paso, delivered a message.
Primera Iglesia Bautista San Marcos, the birthplace of UFM, hosted a celebration on June 24. UFM Executive Director Bea Mesquias and her husband, Richard, also presented a $100,000 endowment in recognition of the anniversary to further the ministry’s impact. The couple saw a great need...
A place to stay, a path to restoration
by Kalie Lowrie on June 19, 2017 in news
ABILENE - After the six-hour drive from Lufkin to Abilene, Roseanne Welch was thankful for the warm welcome she received as she walked in the door of the Eunice Chambless Hospitality House.
“I felt like I was coming to visit my family,” Welch said. “Everyone was so kind and welcoming from the moment we arrived. It felt like home.”
This was the first trip Welch made to visit her son, who is incarcerated in the French Robertson Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, since he was transferred from Huntsville to Abilene. As a single mom, with one son still at home, Welch’s budget was tight. Before hearing about the...
Honoring the legacy of Dr. Paul Stripling and Elmin Howell
by Kirsten McKimmey on June 6, 2017 in news
INDEPENDENCE - Friends and family of Dr. Paul Stripling and Elmin Howell gathered together in Independence, Texas, on June 4 to honor their lives and legacies in Texas Baptists ministry at the 2017 Texas Baptists Legacy Awards.
Executive Director David Hardage began the awards ceremony at the historical site of Independence Baptist Church by sharing from Matthew 5:16, setting the stage for the two Legacy Award recipients.
Drawing from the verse, Hardage expressed that it is not our choice to let our light shine, but rather our obligation as Christians. In all the works we do, we are to be noticed by the world. “Our shining is...
Go Now student missionaries commissioned to serve from Arlington to Zambia
by Kalie Lowrie on June 5, 2017 in news
“The genius of the Great Commission is that every one of us is entrusted with the Gospel, and we can share it and teach others to share it,” Gary Stidham, BSM Director at the University of Texas at Arlington, shared with a room filled with Go Now student missionaries and their family members on May 21.
Two hundred thirty students were commissioned during the Go Now Missions Commissioning service, held at Dallas Baptist University, with a total of 278 students to serve on mission trips during the summer. The Go Now students completed a weekend of training and orientation in advance of the commissioning.
"It is amazing to see...
Corpus Christi Hosts First [un]Apologetic Conference
by Analiz Schremmer on June 2, 2017 in news
First Baptist Church Corpus Christi hosted its first [un]Apologetic conference south of Highway I-10 on May 5- 6. Three hundred and five people were present.
Brian Hill, pastor of FBC Corpus Christi, said he prayed for over a year for an [un]Apologetic conference to take place in his church. His hopes are that the event "energizes and emboldens" his congregation to better share their faith.
"In an ever growing secular society we cannot just assume people believe God exists and that the Bible is authoritative. We need to be ready to explain why we believe these truths and apologetics helps to remove those roadblocks in...
May meeting of Executive Board includes finale of uplifting outcomes
by Kalie Lowrie on May 23, 2017 in news
DALLAS - The May Executive Board meeting closed Tuesday with success stories shared by a number of Texas Baptists staff. The flurry of two-minute reports covered recent events, new ministry initiatives and professions of faith, making clear to board members that God is moving in and through the Convention and its churches.
Executive Board Chair David Russell noted at the conclusion of the May board meeting, held in Dallas, “It is a blessing to see our staff coordinating lay-people and churches in these efforts. There are a lot of feet doing this work, not just our dollars. We are doing a great work through the state and...
Texas Baptists to host Hispanic Education Fair in San Antonio
by Kalie Lowrie on May 16, 2017 in news
SAN ANTONIO – In an effort to provide resources and motivation for Hispanic students to excel in education, Texas Baptists is holding the Educate Texas Hispanic Education Fair at Life Church of San Antonio on June 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch for the first 250 registrants will be free.
“The goal of this day is to provide training and resources for parents and students to help students reach their full educational potential,” said Gabriel Cortes, director of Texas Baptists’ Hispanic Education Initiative and coordinator of the event.
While the Hispanic high school dropout rate has decreased significantly in the past few...
FBC Allen students take first place in State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament
by Kalie Lowrie on May 8, 2017 in news
(Pictured above) First place winners at the Texas Baptists Bible Drill and Speaker’s Tournament were all from First Baptist Church of Allen, including (left to right) Gracie Daugherty, Anna Kemp and Katie Davidson.
This year, the first place winners in all three categories at the Texas Baptists State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament were from First Baptist Church of Allen. Gracie Daugherty took first place in Youth Bible Drill for 7-9th grades, Katie Davidson won High School Bible Drill for 10-12th grades and Anna Kemp took first place in the Speakers’ Tournament.
Eighty-four students competed in tournament on April 30 held...
Change Maker conference empowers students to grow in faith
by Kalie Lowrie on May 4, 2017 in news
Blessie Kurpati remembers strapping Bibles to her body as a young girl, covering them in an oversized dress and running through the airport to smuggle the precious books into the Middle Eastern country where her family lived. As she shared her testimony in front of 2,400 at the Texas Baptists’ Change Maker Student Conference powered by Congreso, she challenged students not to let fear dictate how they followed Jesus.
“I want to encourage you to take advantage of the freedom we have in America to spread the Gospel,” Kurpati said. “Let God break your heart for what breaks His and reach out to your neighbors, your friends, your...
Golf Classic Creates Connections, Brings Awareness
by Analiz Schremmer on May 3, 2017 in news
The Fourth Annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic was as much a reunion as it was a sporting event.
“We have senior pastors and other church staff, camp and associational directors, institutional leaders, and so many others who participate,” said David Adams, Texas Baptists director of church administration and special projects. “The fellowship is really great to experience, and I have been amazed at how many players come every year from all over the state.”
The Golf Classic took place on April 24 at the Golf Club of Houston with 235 participants from across Texas. Teams were comprised of church ministers, associational leaders...
Texas Baptists leaders attend Brazilian Baptist Convention, meet MAP partners
by Kalie Lowrie on May 1, 2017 in news
Four Texas Baptists leaders recently traveled to Belem, Brazil, to attend the Brazilian Baptist Convention to formalize the partnership between the two conventions for the Missionary Adoption Program (MAP). Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage was accompanied by Danny Reeves, Texas Baptists president, Josue Valerio, director of missions and Jair Campos, director of MAP for Texas Baptists.
“I was so thankful to express, on behalf of our Texas Baptists family, how deeply committed we are to seeing the lost evangelized in the Amazon region,” said Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church of Corsicana.
In addition to...
Texas Baptists to honor Elmin Howell and Paul Stripling with Legacy Awards
by Analiz Schremmer on April 17, 2017 in news
This June, Texas Baptists is proud to honor two people who have helped mold the direction and effectiveness of Baptist ministry. The 2017 Legacy Award recipients will be Elmin Howell, founder of Texas Baptists’ River Ministry, and Dr. Paul Stripling, executive director emeritus of the Waco Baptist Association.
Howell helped make it possible for all people, not just clergy, to serve those in need. In 1968, he launched River Ministry for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, to meet the spiritual and physical needs of people on both sides of the border.
During his tenure, 670 churches in Texas and in Mexico plus two new Baptist...
Texas Baptists churches partner to provide water for struggling Liberian community
by Analiz Schremmer on April 10, 2017 in news
Not everyone has easy access to one of the most basic resources – water.
About 25,000 people in Brewerville, Liberia have to walk five to 10 miles a day to get drinking water. Sometimes, the water isn’t even clean.
Tom Howe, pastor of Birdville Baptist Church, in Fort Worth, learned of the need in Lott Carey Mission (LCM) through the donations his church made to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering because LCM is one of the recipients.
The church was moved by the need in Liberia and decided to give to the LCM water tower on top of their Texas Baptist Hunger Offering donation.
On March 26, Birdville Baptist partnered with...
WMU Annual Meeting: His people – redeemed, restored and released
by Guest Author on April 3, 2017 in news
By John Hall
MIDLAND – Stacey Williams walked into the Christian Women’s Job Corps office in Dublin in 2001 a struggling single mom desperately looking for help.
She was welcomed into the loving extended family of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas program, where volunteers encouraged her, fostered her relationship with Christ and equipped her with job skills.
Sixteen years later, Williams is one of a multitude of changed lives in the 20 years CWJC programs have served women in need. She and her husband worked through their marital issues and reunited. Their children are flourishing. She works as a director of human...
Texas Baptists welcome two new Connections Team staff members
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2017 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists recently welcomed two new staff members to the Connections Team. Tim Marrow is the new Area Representative for Area 6, serving the Central Texas region, and Anthony Cobbs joins the staff as a Church Starter for Area 3 in Southeast Texas.
For 21 years, Marrow pastored the First Baptist Church of West Albuquerque, NM. In Oct. 2011, he and his family relocated to Plainview, where he pastored the First Baptist Church of Plainview, a position he held until joining the Texas Baptists staff.
In his new role, Marrow will serve as a connection point for Central Texas churches to Texas Baptists. This will include...
Texas Baptists mobilized to influence lawmakers at 2017 Advocacy Day
by Kalie Lowrie on March 9, 2017 in news
AUSTIN - Christian engagement in politics and culture should be directed by a love of God and practice of discipleship, attendees learned at the recent Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission Advocacy Day.
The event, held at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin on Feb. 28, featured keynote speakers Gabe Lyons, founder of Q and co-author of Good Faith, and Vincent Bacote, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College.
“The purpose of Advocacy Day is to help Christians and particularly Texas Baptists engage in public policy and politics from a biblical worldview,” said...
Christian Life Commission recognizes State Rep. Ashby with Micah 6:8 Justice Award
by Kalie Lowrie on March 3, 2017 in news
AUSTIN - The Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission (CLC) honored State Representative Trent Ashby, of Lufkin, with the 2017 Micah 6:8 Justice Award on Wednesday, March 1, during a reception held at the State Capitol. The award was presented in conjunction with the CLC’s Advocacy Day, a time of workshops, training and advocacy engagement for more than 200 Texas Baptists.
In presenting the award, CLC Director Gus Reyes said Ashby was selected, “for his commitment to the common good of public education, and his advocacy on behalf of the 5.4 million children attending Texas public schools.”
Ashby currently chairs the...
Texas Baptists form chaplaincy partnership with Virginia Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on February 27, 2017 in news
DALLAS – At the Texas Baptists executive board on Feb. 22, a recommendation was approved to begin a partnership for chaplain endorsement on behalf of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV). Todd Combee, a retired military chaplain from Virginia, was present at the meeting to affirm the partnership.
“Virginia Baptists are very excited about this partnership allowing us to minister to chaplains in our area, as well as BGAV chaplains who will be a part of this process,” said Combee, pastor of New Bethesda Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, VA.
During the Texas Baptists Chaplain Endorsement Council meeting on Feb. 21,...
Executive Board announces financial support for pastors, approves new chaplaincy partnership
by Kalie Lowrie on February 22, 2017 in news
DALLAS – “We must stay centered, keeping our hearts and our minds on Jesus,” President Danny Reeves told Executive Board members during the Feb. 21-22 meeting in Dallas. Responding to recent factors around the world and the seeming messiness of life, Reeves encouraged fellow Texas Baptists to turn to Christ and point others to Him for direction.
Steve Vernon, associate executive director, announced that Texas Baptists has received a $1 million implementation grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to participate in its National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.
Through the grant, Texas Baptists will...
Texas Baptists joins with FBC Waxahachie to send $10,000 in relief to drought-stricken Kenya
by Kalie Lowrie on February 22, 2017 in news
When Vaughn Ross, mission team member at First Baptist Church of Waxahachie, received word from Pastor Simon Mwangi in Nairobi, Kenya that the three-year drought in North-Central Kenya was transitioning from severe to acute, he reached out to his church and Texas Baptists for support.
Mwangi, pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church in Nairobi, reports that immediate intervention is needed for close to 54,000 Samburu people who are facing starvation. Koinonia Church and FBC Waxahachie have a partnership to minister to the Samburu people in Maralal and Mwangi has been updating the Texas church on increasingly dangerous conditions for the...
Texas Baptists awarded $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment to assist pastors
by Kalie Lowrie on February 21, 2017 in news
DALLAS – The Baptist General Convention of Texas has been awarded a $1 million implementation grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to participate in its National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.
Through the grant, Texas Baptists will create a Center for Ministerial Excellence, which will conduct regional financial retreats for pastors and laity, award financial grants of up $5,000 to pastors facing economic challenges and recruit a statewide network of financial planners to help Texas Baptists pastors seeking financial advice.
“As a pastor, I am well aware that financial struggles can impact a...
Christian Life Commission to host Advocacy Day in Austin for Texas Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on February 8, 2017 in news
AUSTIN - Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission will host 2017 Advocacy Day Feb. 28-March 1 in Austin for ministers, leaders, students and advocates. Workshops and general sessions will be held at Hyde Park Baptist Church Tuesday, Feb. 28, and appointments with legislative offices will take place at the Capitol building Wednesday, March 1.
Featured speakers for Advocacy Day include Vincent Bacote, professor at Wheaton College, and Gabe Lyons, co-author of Good Faith (2016), unChristian (2007) and author of The Next Christians (2010). Workshops will feature a variety of pivotal policy issues including religious liberty...
Teaching children the power of worship
by Kalie Lowrie on February 3, 2017 in news
Worship involves an intimate relationship with God, Kathleen Chapman told attendees at Children’s Worship University (CWU), hosted by Texas Baptists Music & Worship at First Baptist Church Lewisville on Jan. 20-21. Chapman, author of Teaching Kids Authentic Worship, served as the featured speaker at the training event for Preschool and Children's choir and worship leaders.
“When you start worshipping, your life will be forever changed,” Chapman said.
Chapman shared that many times it is easier for a child to understand the concept of worship because of their belief systems.
“They [children] don’t come in with the doubts and...
Green Acres hosts church safety workshop for Texas Baptists church leaders
by on February 2, 2017 in news
TYLER -- Texas Baptists, a state-wide denomination, is hosting the first of nine regional Church Safety Workshops at Green Acres Baptist Church on February 9. The workshop will be led by MinistrySafe founder and president Greg Love. MinistrySafe is a national and industry leader in sexual abuse risk reduction with a mission to protect children and those who serve them.
“Texas Baptists takes very seriously the safety of children at church,” said Dr. David Hardage, Texas Baptists executive director. “We are taking a proactive approach in providing the proper training for church leaders to ensure a safe environment for children.”
Mustaches raise $17,000 for missions on two Central Texas university campuses
by Kalie Lowrie on January 19, 2017 in news
An unconventional fundraising strategy for missions has made a big impact on two Central Texas university campuses. The Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser brought in a combined $17,000 on the campuses of Tarleton State University in Stephenville and Howard Payne University in Brownwood through the Baptist Student Ministries.
The fundraiser has an easy premise. Teams of students grow beards (or wear fake mustaches) during the month of November and gain pledges and gifts for Go Now Missions. At the end of the fundraising time, the teams with the highest fundraising totals are exempt from spinning the dreaded Mustache Wheel of Doom...
Dallas teen works to make a difference in community: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story
by Kalie Lowrie on January 12, 2017 in news
Mu was born in Southeast Asia and came to the United States with her family as refugees in 2007. As they settled in the Dallas area, her family found help and support from a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministry known as H4R. The ministry provided her family with help filling out government paperwork, ESL classes, assistance with homework and much more.
While she was in junior high, Mu attended a camp for refugee students hosted by H4R and accepted Christ as her Savior. Although her family background was Buddhist, several of her siblings made professions of faith as well. She began to grow in her faith and found encouragement...
Cuban partnership forming a greater global connection for Texas Baptists Congreso
by Kalie Lowrie on December 8, 2016 in news
Bayamo, CUBA - Two Texas Baptists leaders from the Great Commission Team recently returned home from a week of ministry and missions in Cuba, approximately one week before the death of Fidel Castro.
For Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for Texas Baptists’ Great Commission Team, it was a return to the country of his birth. It was also a place he fled at the age of five with his family, following threats from the government regarding his father’s opposition to Castro’s leadership. Two of his uncles were killed by Castro’s regime. His older brother was also denied exit from the country alongside his family and was held in Cuba for...
What the new overtime regulation means for your church-Updated 11/29/16
by John Litzler on November 29, 2016 in news
The new salary requirement for an exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules for overtime pay will not take effect December 1.
On November 22, a federal judge from Sherman, TX, issued an injunction halting the enforcement of a change to the "salary test" for an exemption to the FLSA rules for overtime pay. Currently, in order to satisfy the salary test a "white collar" employee must make $455 a week ($23,660 annually). That amount was set to increase to $913 a week ($47,476 annually) beginning December 1. The district court ruling means that the salary test will not change, for the time being.
It is important for...
Texas Baptists gather in Waco for 131st Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on November 15, 2016 in 2016 annual meeting
Texas Baptists joined together for the 131st Annual Meeting Nov. 13-15 in Waco, focusing on “Celebrating Service” through worship and business sessions, workshops and a variety of events with 1,157 messengers and 663 visitors in attendance.
Messengers approved the 2017 Texas Baptists budget of $36.6 million, used to fund ministries, missions and institutional partnerships all focused on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Monday’s business session, officers for 2016-2017 were elected including Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, as president; Joseph Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in...
Hardage shares new ministries, expanding work of Texas Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on November 15, 2016 in news
Texas Baptists are engaging in new outreach opportunities with people groups in Texas and beyond, shared Executive Director David Hardage during his Monday evening report at Annual Meeting. Hardage introduced several key leaders overseeing new ministry opportunities.
“As you know, Texas is a changing state, becoming very diversified and we can talk about that in a variety of ways,” Hardage said. “Culture and ethnicity are at the top of the list.”
A growing population of refugees are entering Texas each year. Leonid Regheta joined Texas Baptists’ staff to oversee Project:Start, a refugee resource center serving 30,000 refugees in...
Texas Baptists elect officers for 2016-2017
by Kalie Lowrie on November 14, 2016 in news
Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas elected a new slate of officers Nov. 14. Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, was elected president. Last year, Reeves served as second vice president of the convention. Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church of Nederland, nominated Reeves for the position.
“Danny will be a president we can believe in,” Burden said. “He will be a president we can follow whose example will be of such a high standard that we will strive to be a better convention and better people.”
Since 2011, Reeves has been senior pastor at FBC Corsicana. Previously, he served as...
Nine churches to be recognized for Cooperative Program Giving during 2016 Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on November 7, 2016 in news
DALLAS - This year, during Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting in Waco, nine churches will be recognized for their Cooperative Program giving. Since 1925, the Cooperative Program has provided the fuel to fund missions work in Texas, the United States and around the world.
"Over the past 91 years Texas Baptists have seen God do some amazing things through the unselfish giving of partnering churches," said Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program Ministry.
Five churches will be recognized for top giving based upon church size, including: Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler; Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Abilene; Bacon Heights...
How 25 chickens transformed a family - a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story
by Kalie Lowrie on October 20, 2016 in news
Soontorn Inthayok is a day laborer and part-time guard, serving as the primary wage earner for his family in Northern Thailand. The 49-year-old provides for his older sister, who is mentally disabled, and his son, who is attending technical college. He also overcomes his personal disability to bring home earnings of approximately $300 US dollars per month. While Soontorn works extremely hard, often the monthly expenses of food, utilities and tuition are more than what he earns.
When Soontorn learned he was selected to participate in the SDSU Chicken and Cattle Farming Project, he was elated. He received training on budgeting...
Youth ministers at Conclave encouraged to promote racial reconciliation within churches
by Kalie Lowrie on October 14, 2016 in news
Racial reconciliation should begin through believers in the church, according to Bryan Carter, pastor of Concord Church in Dallas. Rather than relying on law enforcement, or looking to the government and society to break down racial tensions, Carter and Jeff Warren encouraged youth ministers to promote change within their own congregations. The two pastors were interviewed by Jane Wilson, youth discipleship specialist, during the Leadership Tuesday session of Youth Ministry Conclave on October 11 in Arlington.
“I would encourage you, as student pastors, to lead the way. Lead from the bottom up,” Warren, pastor of Park Cities...
Dan Curry joins Texas Baptists as Area Representative in North Texas
by Kalie Lowrie on October 11, 2016 in news
Texas Baptists welcomed Dan Curry to the staff as the new Area Representative for Area 9 from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls, effective Monday, October 3. As an Area Representative, Curry will serve as a connection to local churches and ministers in the area, providing help whenever a need arises such as for training, during a pastorless period or assistance with declining or plateaued churches. Click here to view a map of our Area Representatives.
Curry has served in ministry across Texas for more than four decades, with pastorates in Coahoma, Tahoka and a longtime tenure of 24 years at South Oaks Baptist Church in Arlington. He has...
Texas Baptists to celebrate service at Annual Meeting in Waco
by Kalie Lowrie on October 10, 2016 in news
Texas Baptists are “Celebrating Service” at the Annual Meeting in Waco Nov. 13-15, recognizing the work of partnering institutions. The program features world-class workshops and exceptional speakers, as well as wonderful worship music and exhibits that tell Texas Baptists’ stories.
Sunday, November 13, kicks off with several evening rallies including Hispanic Ministries, African American Ministries, Cowboy Churches and BSM leaders.
Cleophus LaRue, Princeton Theological Seminary’s Francis Landey Patton Professor of Homiletics, will preach Monday evening’s sermon. Lee Strobel, New York Times best-selling author and professor of...
Executive board approves 2017 proposed budget, other business for upcoming Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on September 29, 2016 in news
The Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas convened September 26-27 in Dallas and approved numerous recommendations including the 2017 proposed budget of $36.638 million.
Gerald Caldwell, chair of the Finance Committee, and Jill Larsen, Texas Baptists’ CFO, presented the estimated $29.6 million in Cooperative Program giving and $4.4 million in investment income to the board. The estimate is based on a predicted $1.4 million reduction in Cooperative Program giving and a slight decrease in investments due to a drop in oil prices. The proposed budget also included $1.3 million to be allocated to Cooperative...
Texas Baptist Mission Foundation awards $242,000 in ministry grants
by Kalie Lowrie on September 26, 2016 in news
DALLAS - The Texas Baptist Mission Foundation has awarded $242,000 in grants to be used for ministry by Texas Baptists ministry staff in 2017.
In August, the TBMF Council considered and approved 28 grant requests, funded by undesignated donor gifts, to be used for ministry projects by Texas Baptists, Texas Baptist Men and WMU of Texas.
“We are so thankful for our donors and their generosity,” said Bill Arnold, president of the Foundation, “These grants help fund new and creative ways of ministry that could not otherwise happen.”
Projects range from small church scholarships for church architecture consultations to Disaster...
Texas Baptists urged to support state missions; meet $4 million Mary Hill Davis Offering goal
by Kalie Lowrie on September 1, 2016 in news
The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering will be held September 11-18, 2016. With a statewide goal of $4 million, the offering will go to support missions endeavors around Texas through strategic ministry partnerships.
David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists, is urging churches to support the offering. “I’m asking each church to double their gift to the Mary Hill Davis Offering this year,” Hardage said. “The work of the Mary Hill Davis Offering sends and supports our state-wide missionaries. As we engage a changing culture with new and different challenges, we need to work together to...
Summit attendees learn how to care for families with special needs children
by Kalie Lowrie on August 19, 2016 in news
When Jason and Maggie Whitt shared about the impact of special needs ministry during the Childhood and Family Ministry Summit on August 12, they spoke from their personal experience parenting their 7-year-old daughter, Camille.
"It is important for the awareness to be heightened for families of children with special needs,” Whitt shared on Friday evening at First Baptist Church of Arlington, where the retreat was held. “This will raise the awareness of the entire church."
The Childhood and Family Ministry Summit, with 375 ministers in attendance this year, has prepared leaders on how to become better teachers, ministers and...
A campground committed to the Lord: How Go Now students are sharing the Gospel in Spain
by Kalie Lowrie on July 28, 2016 in news
Priscille Murphy and Naraim Enriquez are serving as Go Now missionaries at Alfa & Omega camp in Denia this summer, watching the Lord at work in mighty ways in a region where Christianity is scarce.
Almost 60 years ago, American missionaries established Alfa & Omega camp on the southern coast of Spain, in the town of Denia. At the time of its establishment, Christians in the region were under persecution for their faith and the Iglesia Evangelica Bautista La Trinidad connected with the camp only had a handful of members.
Pastor Jorge Pastor of Iglesia Evangelica Bautista recalls the day the land was purchased as a small child and...
Jason Bryant joins Texas Baptists staff as Western Heritage Consultant and Church Starter
by Kalie Lowrie on July 20, 2016 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists welcomed Jason Bryant to the staff as the new Western Heritage consultant and church starter, effective Monday, July 18.
Bryant has served as pastor of Triple S Cowboy Church in Palestine since 2011, when he planted the church in the area. He was also a church planter with 3C Cowboy Fellowship in Salado, which he planted in 2006. Additionally, he has served as a clinician and director at Cowboy camps in the past, as well as a coach for fellow pastors.
“Jason has successfully planted and pastored two Cowboy churches,” said Joe Loughlin, director of Texas Baptists Connections Team. “On our team, he will...
2016 African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference Highlights
by Kalie Lowrie on July 12, 2016 in news
The 2016 African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference was held from June 27-July 1 at Friendship Baptist Church in The Colony.
“I saw the African American Fellowship Conference as a great success but also the beginning of our focus to bring unity and strength to the ministry of the nearly 900 churches which comprise the African American Fellowship,” said African American Fellowship of Texas President Dr. Ponce Brown. “The conference was unique in that we began with a prayer vigil on the opening night. We had an awesome time in the very presence of the Lord. The challenges of life in this world were answered as we were...
Highlights from 2016 Hispanic Convencion
by Kalie Lowrie on July 5, 2016 in news
The Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas Annual Meeting was held June 26-28 at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. Here are some highlights from the gathering:
- Congratulations to the newly elected officers of Convención Bautista Hispana of Texas: President Rolando Aguirre (of McAllen), 1st Vice President Vincent Gonzales (of Dallas), 2nd Vice President Ruben Burguete (of Caldwell) and Secretary Carmen Gaytan (of McAllen).
- Sunday night worship service attendance was 1,900, including youth and children.
- The annual sermon preached by Dr. Alfonso Flores titled, "Onward Christian Soldiers."
- East Texas
Texas Baptists welcome new church starter for North East Texas
by Kalie Lowrie on June 29, 2016 in news
DALLAS - Clay Jacobson has joined the Texas Baptists Church Starting staff as a new church starter for Area 4, covering North East Texas region from Dallas to Texarkana.
“I am very excited to have Clay join our team,” said Paul Atkinson, director of Church Starting. “He adds a dimension we need in perspective, training and passion for being a part of a church starting movement. I believe we will be able to push back the lostness of Texas with men like Clay on our team.”
Jacobson brings a well-rounded set of experiences, including previously serving as pastor of Lamar Street Baptist Church in Sweetwater; assistant network...
Texas Baptists bring BSM to Guadalajara University
by Leah Reynolds on June 20, 2016 in news
Home to over 116,000 students, the University of Guadalajara lies in Guadalajara, the state capital of Jalisco, Mexico, which has a mere 1% Christian population.
For over 15 years, the university was without a Baptist ministry presence. In recent years, Texas Baptists, in partnership with the Baptist Convention in Guadalajara has helped develop a Baptist Student Ministry on the campus, in hopes of engaging college students with the Gospel.
College students are open to question and wonder, said Director of Texas Baptists River Ministry Daniel Rangel, making it a prime location for ministry.
The ministry started in 2014, when the...
Texas Baptists raise over $26,000 to aid Syrian refugees in Lebanon
by Leah Reynolds on June 9, 2016 in news
Generous contributions, totalling $26,800, from Texas Baptist individuals and churches helped numerous Syrian refugees survive yet another cold winter and spring in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.
Donations were given through the Texas Baptists’ Refugee Relief Project, which originated in October 2014 through a partnership between Texas Baptists and the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD).
The funds raised this winter and spring through the project will help support local Lebanese churches in their mission to be the hands and feet of Christ to the millions of Syrians who have been fleeing to Lebanon since...
Texas Baptists honor Sam Prestidge and Tillie Burgin with Legacy Awards
by Kalie Lowrie on June 6, 2016 in news
It was a historic day in a historic town as Samuel W. Prestidge, Jr., retired director of Church Music for Texas Baptists, and Tillie Burgin, founder of Mission Arlington, were honored with the 2016 Texas Baptists Legacy Award during a special worship service at Independence Baptist Church on June 5.
Independence Baptist Church, the oldest continuously active Baptist church in the state of Texas, typically meets across the street in a newly constructed building, but each year on this Sunday, the congregation joins with Texas Baptists from across the state to meet in the original sanctuary.
Sitting on a pew once notably occupied...
Executive Board hosts graduation of emerging young leaders, revises administrative support policies
by Communications Staff on May 25, 2016 in news
On Monday night of the May 23-24 Executive Board meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, ten individuals received trophies and certificates of graduation from the first cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists.
Leadership Texas Baptists, which met for the first time last fall, is a nine-month program experience to engage, equip and inform emerging leaders from churches across the state. Participants gathered once a month to hear from and dialog with Baptist leaders as well as gain leadership training and experience.
The second cohort is set to convene this September, with applications due June 15, 2016.
Struck by tragedy, family learns to be grateful for each new day
by Leah Reynolds on May 23, 2016 in news
The Blanco River was only supposed to rise to 17 feet the night of May 23, 2015, but Theresa Graves felt an uneasiness. She opted to stay awake while her family slept peacefully in their riverside Wimberley house.
Graves was monitoring her phone app, which displayed updates about water levels, when the predicted numbers nearly doubled.
“At 11:45 that night,” she recalled, “the levels jumped from 17.4 feet to 34 feet in one update. At that point, I knew we needed to go.”
Graves rushed to wake up her two children, Christian and Rachel, and her husband, Mike. They, along with their four pets, miraculously escaped the...
What the new overtime regulation means for your church
by Rollie Richmond on May 19, 2016 in news
On May 17, 2016*, the Obama administration announced that it will increase the salary threshold for determining if an employee is eligible for overtime pay to $47,476.00 annually. This is an increase from the current threshold of $23,660.00 and this new regulation goes into effect on December 1 of this year.
This new regulation doesn’t change the duties tests for the various current overtime exemptions (such as administrative, executive, professional), but it does significantly raise the pay threshold and the pay threshold must be met in order for the duties tests to be in consideration.
What does this all me to our Texas...
Youth compete for top spot at 2016 State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament
by Leah Reynolds on May 11, 2016 in news
During the month of April, 819 youth representing, 115 Texas Baptist churches, showcased their talents in finding and reading Bible verses and reciting speeches through five regional Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournaments.
On April 30, regional winners competed for the top spot at the State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament, held at Dallas Baptist University.
Ninety-three youth, representing 37 churches, competed at the state tournament. The following students took home first and second place:
Youth Bible Drill (7 – 9th grades) 1st Place - William Horton, First Baptist Church in Dallas 2nd Place - Bethany Leamons, Fairy...
Golf Classic raises $15,000 to help promote positive mental health through counseling
by Leah Reynolds on May 6, 2016 in news
Stepping out on the green with golf clubs in hand and friends beside is not only beneficial to physical health but also promotes positive mental health, according to Texas Baptists Director of Counseling Services Katie Swafford, M.A., L.P.C.-S.
During the third annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic, held on April 25 at the Dallas Athletic Club in Dallas, 261 individuals from around the state competed to promote their own physical and mental health and to also raise support for Texas Baptists Counseling Services.
The tournament raised an estimated $15,000 by way of donors, event fees and sponsors, with BCFS serving as the title...
Congreso youth compelled to be changemakers
by Leah Reynolds on April 29, 2016 in news
“When you’re young and you love Jesus, the world cannot handle you,” New York youth minister Daniel Sanabria, said to a crowd of over 3,000 youth at Congresso on April 22-24 at the Ferrell Center at Baylor University.
“God wants to take us to a different level,” Sanabria, also founder of God Belongs in My City, said, ”not a different level of ministry, but a different level of living for Him.”
Sanabria’s call for youth to live differently in the world coincided with Congreso’s evident theme of being a “changemaker.”
“A changemaker is one who leverages his or her influence of Christ for the betterment of the world,” Joshua del...
Sam Prestidge and Tillie Burgin to receive 2016 Legacy Awards
by Leah Allen on April 27, 2016 in news
Countless Texas Baptist men and women have dedicated much of their lives to ministry in Texas, setting an example of faithful servitude and passion for spreading the Gospel.
Every June, Texas Baptists honors two individuals who have have left and are continuing to leave a legacy through their everyday lives.
This year, we are pleased to present Sam W. Prestidge, Jr., founder of Singing Men of Texas, and Tillie Burgin, founder of Mission Arlington, with Texas Baptists Legacy Awards.
Prestidge‘s legacy dates back to age 14, when he felt God’s call to ministry. He obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Sacred Music from...
Fire for evangelism great amongst growing Hispanic community
by Leah Reynolds on April 21, 2016 in news
According to the 2010 census, 38 percent of Texas’ population was Hispanic. That percentage is likely higher now and is projected to increase in years ahead, creating a greater opportunity for evangelism in and amongst the Hispanic community.
Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for Texas Baptists, observes the Hispanic Christian community regularly and said there is an evident yearning for knowing God well and spreading His message of hope.
This observation has been confirmed in the past two months as over 2,000 Hispanic church leaders, students and children gathered in churches around the state to be trained and encouraged to...
A journey for justice detailed during Micah 6:8 Conference
by Kalie Lowrie on April 7, 2016 in news
SAN ANTONIO - As Jen Hatmaker described her own journey into becoming passionate about justice issues to attendees at the Micah 6:8 Conference, she detailed an experience of brokenness where she and her husband left their boots at the altar of a church, to be given to homeless people, and walked with barefeet to their car on a cold Easter night. It was a transformational moment which shaped their walk with God and people from that point forward.
The keynote speaker for the inaugural conference, hosted by the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, Hatmaker shared over two days about her experiences advocating for the needs of...
Youth group travels to minister’s hometown to rebuild flood-damaged homes
by Leah Reynolds on March 31, 2016 in feature
WIMBERLEY, TX--When Bobby Catt, minister of students at First Baptist Church in San Angelo, discovered a student mission trip opportunity in Wimberley, he knew he had to sign up his youth group right away.
Catt called the small town, with a population just over 2,500, home for many formative years. Last Memorial Day weekend, numerous Wimberley residencies sustained severe damage after record amounts of rainfall caused flooding across Central Texas.
Nine days after the flood, Catt and three members from his church traveled to Wimberley to begin relief work.
Nearly 10 months later, he heard about a spring break mission trip...
Houston's brokenness: College students respond to the mega city's greatest needs
by Leah Reynolds on March 24, 2016 in feature
HOUSTON--Home to nearly 2.2 million people, Houston is labeled the fourth most populous city in the nation and has over 145 languages spoken. Along with its large population and immense diversity comes more startling statistics:
- Houston has more victims of human trafficking than any other U.S. city.
- 6,300 people are without a home on any given night in Houston.
- Crime reports showed 283 people were murdered in Houston in 2015.
- There are more than 1 million foreign born residents in the Houston metro area, accounting for one in four of the population.
Over spring break, 130 college students embraced the city and its...
Texas Baptists names new director of African American Ministries
by Leah Reynolds on March 10, 2016 in feature
DALLAS—Dr. Roy Cotton, from Dallas, has been named Director of African American Ministries for Texas Baptists.
Cotton assumed his new role March 1 and became the fourth director, after having served as interim director since September 2015.
More than 900 African American churches cooperate with Texas Baptists, and Cotton said he is looking forward to connecting with even more churches in this new position.
"I am most excited about connecting African American pastors and churches with Texas Baptists," he said.
As director, Cotton will serve as a liaison working with the African American Fellowship of Texas and the...
New facility brings new opportunities for North Texas BSM
by Leah Reynolds on March 2, 2016 in news
DENTON--Friends, alumni and students of the University of North Texas Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) celebrated the grand opening of of new, fully funded $2.3 million BSM building on Saturday.
In its over 50 years of existence, the BSM has hosted thousands of free lunches and worship services, seeing many students come to know Christ and even more deepen their level of faith and knowledge of God's Word.
When the UNT BSM first opened its doors in 1960, the student population was around 6,700. Today, the student body has reached over 37,000. Not only did the original building begin experiencing structural problems, but it...
Executive Board approves preventative education and training regarding clergy sexual misconduct
by Kalie Lowrie on February 25, 2016 in feature
DALLAS - In a proactive approach to address clergy sexual misconduct through prevention education and training, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas voted to revise current policy at the recent February 22-23 board meeting.
Vernon Stokes, chairman of the Administration Support Committee, presented the recommended policy change, in response to research provided by an internal review of procedures. Rollie Richmond, director of human resources, oversaw the internal review which included assessing the effectiveness and challenges inherent with the current website resources, counseling support and misconduct...
Texas Baptists welcomes new team lead for Music and Worship
by Leah Reynolds on February 19, 2016 in feature
From an early age, Tom Tillman learned he had a natural musical ability. Since then, his life has encompassed a vast array of musical experiences.
Texas Baptists welcomes Tillman, former Music and Worship Pastor for First Baptist Church in Conroe, as the new Music and Worship Lead.
"I was literally one of those kids that grew up being at the church every time the doors were open," Tillman said. "I was always eager to do musical things, whether it was children's choir or handbells and then eventually playing piano, organ, singing and leading ensembles in the main services of worship."
In his new role with Texas...
Safety from war does not come without struggle—bringing hope to Syrian refugees
by Leah Reynolds on February 18, 2016 in feature
The terror and violence became unbearable. At 4 a.m. around two years ago, Yusuf and Fatima Assad* gathered their nine children and left their house, possessions and comfort to search for a better life, away from bombings and turmoil.
The Assad family is just one of millions who have fallen victim to the unrelenting civil war in Syria, which first struck the nation four years ago. Since then, close to 1.08 million registered Syrian refugees have settled in Lebanon, located just west of Syria.
There was no turning back. Seconds after they left, Yusuf looked back, only to see a bomb destroy their house and everything in it. They moved...
Texas Baptists to host Hispanic evangelism events for students and adults
by Leah Reynolds on February 16, 2016 in news
The Texas Baptists Hispanic Evangelism team is gearing up for a busy but invigorating year, complete with evangelism training opportunities for Latino churches around the state.
Both students and adults will have opportunities to gain valuable evangelism training through regional Renovación Hispanic Evangelism Conferences and through Congreso, a youth evangelism conference. Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team, said he is excited for what is in store for each upcoming event.
"This year's conferences will serve as a call to our hispanic congregations to prayer for revival and greater...
Choices and consequences: The newest study from Connect 360
by Scott Stevens on February 15, 2016 in baptistway press
Choices and their inevitable consequences. We just can't seem to get around them. Whether it's the food we choose to eat, the speed we choose to drive, the relationships we choose to enter, the people we choose to follow, or the habits we choose to form; we all live with the positive and negative consequences of our choices. Fortunately, God has provided us an "owner's manual" that can serve to guide our choices. The Bible contains stories of real people, their choices, and the resulting consequences.
The Books of Joshua and Judges are full of such stories – stories of courageous faith and miraculous victories as well as stories of...
These gleaming, little eyes
by Leah Reynolds on February 15, 2016 in news
Look at these gleaming little eyes. Gripping, aren't they?
Though a sparkle glistens, these eyes have seen what no eyes should ever see.
These eyes saw a bomb detonate yards away as they fled their Syrian home at 4 a.m. over a year ago.
They saw airplanes fly above which triggered tears and the verbal response, "They're coming! They're coming to bomb us!"
They saw crowded buses and tired feet during the two days of transit to cross the Syria/Lebanon border.
They saw their new home—a wooden frame, covered with a flimsy nylon tarp—and two "rooms" to house nine pairs of sibling and parent eyes.
These eyes saw a frigid winter, with 60...
When disaster strikes
by Leah Reynolds on February 15, 2016 in news
What looked to be a typical, rainy spring weekend quickly turned tragic. The rains, heavier than usual, created a 40-foot wall of water that came barreling down the river, wiping houses off their foundations and thrusting cars into trees. The flood in San Marcos Memorial Day weekend 2015 would go down in history as the highest flood recorded in Texas.
But when news of the damage shook the community, First Baptist Church in San Marcos was armed and ready to respond.
Two and a half years ago, volunteers from the church assisted with disaster recovery following the West fertilizer plant explosion. When they returned home, they felt...
Raising Highly Capable Kids program sees continued growth around the state
by Leah Reynolds on February 10, 2016 in news
FORT WORTH—With flowers in hand, students at W.J. Turner Elementary School in Fort Worth assembled in the school's auditorium last week to witness an extraordinary sight—their parents' graduation.
Seventeen parents took the stage to receive their diplomas for completing 13 weeks of classes based around the curriculum Raising Highly Capable Kids (RHCK), which teaches parents skills for raising their children.
In 2013, Pastor Rafael Berlanga, from Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, introduced the program for the first time to Manuel Jara Elementary School, located just two miles away from Turner Elementary.
Two former pastors to serve as Area 8 representatives
by Leah Reynolds on February 8, 2016 in news
DALLAS--Over 900 Texas Baptists churches are located in the North Texas region surrounding Dallas, also known as Area 8, where diversity is vast and culture is ever-changing.
Texas Baptists has recently welcomed former pastors John Nguyen and Dowell Loftis to partner together as part-time area representatives for Area 8, which encompasses counties as far north as Grayson and Fannin Counties and as far south as Leon County.
The duo will work together to build relationships with pastors, key church leaders and directors of missions for Dallas area associations. They will also be available to fill pulpits and preach on behalf...
Baptist University of the Américas to relocate entire campus
by Guest Author on February 8, 2016 in news
SAN ANTONIO – Baptist University of the Américas (BUA) students will enjoy a modern campus when they move into one building that provides more square footage and up-to-date facilities for Fall 2016.
The 68-year-old university on the Southside that educates Hispanic ministers from 23 countries is relocating its entire campus operations and personnel this summer.
The university is moving from the eight outdated buildings to a medical office building built in 2006 that has been unused due to foreclosure.
BUA has been on its campus at I-35 South and Palo Alto Road since 1965 and has launched a fundraising campaign to raise...
TBDR mobilizes 450 volunteers to N. Texas tornado relief
by Leah Reynolds on January 12, 2016 in news
ROWLETT: Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) mobilized 450 volunteers over the past two weekends to Rowlett and Garland in response to the tornadoes which rattled several North Texas communities Dec. 26.
Willing volunteers transported bricks, mangled furniture and tree limbs from the disaster zones to the street curbs, working a combined total of 1,100 man-hours.
In Rowlett, the city government requested TBDR organize a Volunteer Reception Center at First Baptist Church. Though TBDR traditionally steps in during the long-term recovery phase, they chose to accept the request to aid the city with immediate relief.
Hunger Offering partners with Baugh Foundation for refugee relief in Serbia
by Kalie Lowrie on December 2, 2015 in news
AUSTIN - December 2, 2015 - In response to an overwhelming number of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe and through a generous gift from the Baugh Foundation, the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering sent $15,000 to Serbia on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to provide aid for refugee relief.
The funds will be used by Baptist partners in Serbia for food, transportation, hygienic materials, shoes, waterproof jackets and other supplies for refugees. Currently, partners are assisting approximately 2,000 refugees a day through volunteer efforts and donations.
When the refugee crisis began to impact Europe in September, the Christian Life Commission staff...
Autonomy—A key principle in Baptist diversity and unity
by Blake Killingsworth on November 18, 2015 in news
One of the key distinctives of a Baptist church, suggested Julio Guarneri during the Annual Meeting of Texas Baptists, is the concept of local church autonomy, rooted in the free access to God granted through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Guarneri, who serves as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, utilized Thomas Friedman's work, "The World is Flat", as a way to consider the role of hierarchy in the church. Whereas the work of globalization transformed the world from being large and disconnected to being interconnected and small, or as Friedman put it, flat, the work of the cross transformed mankind's access to God through...
Singing Men of Texas celebrate 40 years of impact on music and worship
by Kalie Lowrie on November 17, 2015 in news
More than 1,200 attendees gathered on Tuesday evening to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Singing Men of Texas [SMOT], providing a beautiful ending to the 130th Annual Meeting for Texas Baptists. Hosted by Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church, in Allen, the concert featured 275 singers, with representatives from all six regional chapters.
Musical selections ranged from "Who Can Satisfy My Soul," by Jernigan, to "Your God Will Come" by Fielding/Morgan/Williamson.
Jay Ghormley, conductor from SMOT South, shared about the mission work of the combined choirs over the past 40 years, including their most recent trip to Ukraine in April...
Missions update showcases wide range of Texas Baptists partnerships
by Lauren Sturdy on November 12, 2015 in news
The Tuesday afternoon worship session at the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting featured a broad update on many of the missions efforts the convention has identified as priorities.
Without the generosity of convention churches, none of these projects would be possible. without the generosity of convention churches, the first order of business was expressing gratitude, saying thanks and recognizing the generosity and selfless giving evident across the state.
Chris Liebrum, director of the Office of Cooperative Program Ministry for Texas Baptists, honored nine churches throughout Texas for their dedicated giving to the Cooperative...
Three students awarded scholarships for reflections on Baptist Distinctives
by Courtney Hackett on November 12, 2015 in news
In the Tuesday morning session of the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, Steve Vernon, associate executive director for Texas Baptists, introduced the winners of Texas Baptists' first sermon and essay scholarship contests.
Baylor University senior Nate Hilgenkamp was the winner of the sermon contest, and was provided the opportunity to share his sermon over Luke 1.
Hilgenkamp began by telling the audience about his apartment at Baylor, which he shares with seven of his friends. He mentioned that six of the eight roommates share one bedroom, by choice, in which Hilgenkamp's own mattress was on the floor of the closet. He explained that...
When words are not enough
by Lauren Sturdy on November 11, 2015 in news
"Do this in remembrance of me." These words of Christ reverberate in the ears of His followers.
He commands action. When words are not enough and language reaches its limit, Christians enter into Christ's suffering and death through the symbolism of the Lord's Supper.
On Monday night, Texas Baptists gathered to take, eat and remember Jesus Christ, while Joel Gregory and Ralph West's powerful preaching on the Lord's Supper invited all to reflect on the times "when words are not enough."
"[The Lord's Supper] is not just a mental exercise in intellectual dexterity," said West, senior pastor at Church Without Walls in Houston. "It's also...
Our Great Salvation: A Unifying Concept for Life and Baptists
by Blake Killingsworth on November 10, 2015 in news
During the Annual Meeting of Texas Baptists, Todd Still, dean and professor at Baylor University's Truett Seminary, provided a workshop on the concept of salvation and how it has been broadly understood throughout Texas Baptist life in the 20th Century.
Utilizing Hebrews 2:1-4 as a starting passage, Still focused the group on the "great salvation" afforded to mankind through the message of Jesus Christ. He then turned his attention to the Baptist Faith and Message, both the 1963 and 2000 versions, and how this salvation had been described in those confessions.
"Interestingly, these statements are more or less identical," Still...
Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Honors Three at Annual Luncheon
by Blake Killingsworth on November 10, 2015 in news
The 2015 Mission Awards Luncheon sponsored by the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation took place during the Annual Meeting of Texas Baptists in Frisco on Nov. 9.
Greeting those who had gathered for the luncheon held at ParkwayHills Baptist Church, Bill Arnold, president of TBMF, thanked those who had supported the Foundation through the years and recognized past award recipients. He also welcomed to the microphone Sam Dennis, senior pastor of ParkwayHills, who provided a welcome from the church and the opening prayer.
"Your being here is serendipitous for us as a church because we were a product of missions work and the...
Annual Meeting sermon: In an ever-changing world, dissension matters
by Leah Reynolds on November 10, 2015 in news
Life is more than just football games and weather forecasts. God made us spiritual beings and therefore spiritual discussions matter, said Taylor Sandlin, pastor of Southland Baptist Church in San Angelo, during the annual sermon for the 2015 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
At the Monday morning worship session held at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, the Grand Chorus, a choir of college students from Dallas Baptist University, commenced the service with joyous singing, which echoed across the concrete walls of the arena.
Sandlin followed with the annual sermon and directed the audience's attention to Mark 12:28-34, where Jesus, after...
Building Community Through the Observance of the Lord's Supper
by Courtney Hackett on November 10, 2015 in news
There is not a Gospel message, which cannot be shared around the table, according to presenters at "Beyond Words: Building Community Through the Observance of the Lord's Supper", an Annual Meeting workshop led by Jennifer Garcia Bashaw, assistant professor of religion, and Emily Row Prevost, director of ministry guidance and assistant professor of leadership, both at East Texas Baptist University.
Bashaw began by laying historical groundwork for the institution and practice of the Lord's Supper within the early church. Concerning the institution, Bashaw looked largely at Matthew 26:26-29 and 1 Corinthians 11 as she discussed the...
Advocacy for 'the least of these' as evangelism
by Lauren Sturdy on November 10, 2015 in news
You're standing on a riverbank looking up at a roaring waterfall. You watch as person after person washes over the edge and plunges 100 feet into the water. They're drowning. You can pull them out and try to save them one at a time, or you can climb to the top and figure out why people are falling over the waterfall in the first place.
This hike to the top — searching for the cause and striving for change — is a good analogy for advocacy, said Kathryn Freeman, director of public policy for the Christian Life Commission.
"Advocacy is another way to serve 'the least of these,'" Freeman said. "It's one thing to give hungry...
The essence of Christianity is the Lordship of Christ
by Annie Wells on November 10, 2015 in news
Jesus is the most significant person to live on the face of the world, Paul Powell, dean emeritus at George W. Truett Seminary, shared during a Monday afternoon workshop at the Annual Meeting in Frisco. Speaking on the Lordship of Christ, Powell shared how integral Jesus was in the history of the world.
"The name of Jesus," said Powell, "is not merely written in history, but plowed into history."
Powell explained the importance of the confession that Jesus is Lord and supported the claim through evidence rooted in scripture.
Who Jesus is and what He has done will be proclaimed throughout the whole earth in the coming...
Baptism in today's church
by Annie Wells on November 10, 2015 in news
On Monday morning of the 2015 Annual Meeting, Stephen Stookey, a fellow of B.H. Carroll Theological Institute, and Dr. Alan Lefever, director of the Texas Baptists Historical Collection, led a workshop on "Believer's Baptism and Church Membership."
Baptism has been the center of the faith since before the Christian church was formed. Presenters asserted if baptism started with John baptizing Jesus, how is that to be imitated in the Church today?
Lefever addressed two areas of conflict concerning baptism: the age of accountability and how churches handle like faith and order.
Historically, infants were baptized through the sprinkling...
Evangelism efforts produce good fruit in Texas
by Lauren Sturdy on November 10, 2015 in news
Though he's new to his role in the convention, Great Commission Team Director Delvin Atchison already has big dreams for what Texas Baptists can accomplish in our state and beyond.
During Monday's evangelism luncheon at Annual Meeting, Atchison preached on "dreaming in league with God" and the story of Joseph in Genesis 37.
"We're committed to changing the world through Texas," he said. "If we're going to dream in league with God, we must seek our dreams from the divine. The text says Joseph dreamed a dream that God gave him. God is still in the dream-giving business, and you would do yourself a favor to seek your dreams...
Hardage thanks Texas Baptists for commitment to impacting the state
by Kalie Lowrie on November 10, 2015 in news
Texas Baptists are engaged in exciting work around the state, according to Executive Director David Hardage's report during Monday's business session at the Annual Meeting.
Hardage introduced several staffers beginning new work around the state of Texas. David Scott serves as director of BOUNCE, a student-led disaster recovery effort for students from 6th grade through college. Scott invited churches to send their students to join in trips during Spring Break and in the summer of 2016 for disaster recovery and community rehabilitation projects.
Elizabeth Biedryzcki has begun a new venture serving as the South Texas regional...
Texas Baptists elect diverse panel of officers for second consecutive year
by Leah Reynolds on November 9, 2015 in news
FRISCO–For the second consecutive year, Texas Baptists messengers have elected a diverse officer panel with René Maciel, president of the Baptist University of the Americás [BUA], elected as President.
The election was held during the Monday afternoon business session of the 130th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which took place at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco Nov. 8-10.
Also elected to the panel were Bedilu Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church of Dallas, who was elected First Vice President after previously serving as Second Vice President, and Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist...
Why Baptists are a people of freedom
by Courtney Hackett on November 9, 2015 in news
The pursuit of freedom has long been a driving force for Baptists, according to a panel discussion on Monday morning led by Dr. Stacey Conner, Bill Tillman and Steve Vernon. "Baptist Freedom – Model for the 21st Century" was one of multiple workshops held at Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Dr. Conner serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church Muleshoe, and Tillman and Vernon both serve with Texas Baptists, as Director of Theological Education and Associate Executive Director, respectively.
Vernon began the discussion by laying out the history regarding the Baptists' pursuit of freedom through the years.
He explained that "Baptists...
African American Fellowship encourages an attitude of humbleness and wisdom
by Rachel Hendricks on November 9, 2015 in news
THE COLONY—We may do things differently, we may think differently, we may worship in different styles, we may speak different languages, but God calls us to one Gospel, Dr. Ponce L. Brown, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and president of the African American Fellowship, encouraged guests at the African American Fellowship of Texas worship rally on Nov. 8.
Friendship Baptist Church in The Colony hosted the rally preceding the 2015 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Visitors engaged in worship facilitated by the Friendship choir and a sermon based off 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 given by Friendship pastor Rev. Gregory C. Trotter.
Hispanic Baptists rally around Baptist Distinctives
by Lauren Sturdy on November 9, 2015 in news
Hispanic Baptists gathered Sunday night at a rally, which marked the end of the Hispanic leadership conference and the beginning of the broader Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
"This year's focus is the Baptist distinctives; we're emphasizing who we are as Baptists and what makes us unique," said Rolando Rodriguez, director of Hispanic Ministries for Texas Baptists. "And our distinctives are not only what make us unique – they make us strong biblically, spiritually and as a denomination."
Between worship music sets, the evening's speakers elaborated on three Baptist distinctives: Jesus is Lord, the priesthood of the believer...
McLeod awarded for exceptional leadership in Intentional Interim Ministry
by Leah Reynolds on November 6, 2015 in news
DALLAS—Dr. Jimmy McLeod, Intentional Interim Ministry pastor of Park Central Baptist Church in Dallas, was presented the 2015 Maples, Williamson, Daehnert (MWD) Award by the Texas Baptists' Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM) Network for his faithful work to the ministry.
On Oct. 13, McLeod became the seventh recipient of the MWD Award, which is given annually to pastors who have completed the IIM training and have shown exemplary leadership, vision and mentoring in their churches and with ministers.
"Dr. McLeod has demonstrated his unique gifts in encouragement, unifying congregations and mentoring leaders," said Karl...
Texas Baptists respond to Syrian Refugee Crisis
by Leah Reynolds on November 4, 2015 in news
With little more than clothes on their backs, displaced Syrian families are fleeing their war-torn homeland daily, seeking refuge as far away as the United States.
But some neighboring countries have been welcoming refugees since the Syrian conflict first began in 2011. The United Nations records that close to 1.08 million registered Syrian refugees have settled in Lebanon, a small country just west of Syria, totaling to nearly one-fourth of the Lebanese population.
In response to the crisis, Texas Baptists have come alongside their close partner, the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD), to bring relief to...
Texas Baptists Great Commission Team to undergo staff changes
by Leah Reynolds on November 2, 2015 in news
Effective Nov. 1, the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team will undergo staff changes under the direction of Dr. Delvin Atchison, who assumed the role of director in mid-September.
Dr. David Hardage, executive director for Texas Baptists, announced the formation of the Great Commission Team at the February Executive Board Meeting along with the presentation of the convention restructure. Hardage envisioned the team to combine the Evangelism, Discipleship, and Music and Worship Teams so they may collaboratively better address the discipleship process and evangelism training for churches.
Along with this formation came the need to fill...
Nine churches to be recognized for Cooperative Program giving during Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on October 29, 2015 in news
DALLAS - This year, during the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Frisco, nine churches will be recognized for their Cooperative Program giving. Since 1925, the Cooperative Program has provided the fuel to fund missions work in Texas, the United States and around the world.
"There is no way to measure, this side of heaven, the kingdom impact made by the sacrificial giving of thousands of Texas Baptists churches participating in CP over the last 90 years," said Chris Liebrum, director of the Office of Cooperative Program Ministry.
Five churches will be recognized for top giving based upon church size, including: Green Acres Baptist...
Texas Baptists to observe Baptist roots at Annual Meeting
by Leah Reynolds on October 2, 2015 in news
FRISCO—Texas Baptists are examining their roots at the Nov. 8-10 annual meeting with the theme "Deep Roots: Living Legacy."
The meeting at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco and will center around Colossians 2:6-7, with a special emphasis placed on the Baptist Distinctives.
"This year, we'll examine Baptist Distinctives and share the reasons we choose to be Baptist," explained Kathy Hillman, BGCT president. "Together we'll explore our deep roots and celebrate our living legacy through inspiring worship, enlightening workshops and educational exhibits."
Registration will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, followed by various rallies hosted by...
Executive Board recommends $35.42 million budget for 2016
by Leah Reynolds on October 1, 2015 in news
DALLAS- At the Sept. 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved to recommend a 2016 net budget of $35.42 million to messengers at the Nov. 8-10 Annual Meeting.
The budget will rely on $31 million in Cooperative Program receipts from churches, a decrease of $900,000 from the 2015 budget. It also requires $4.42 million in investment income, a $1.82 million increase from 2015 made available in part due to invested proceeds from the sale of the Baptist Building.
The total budget, anticipating $300,000 from the North American Mission Board and revenue from other...
Larsen named finalist for CFO of the Year award
by Leah Reynolds on September 28, 2015 in news
Texas Baptists' Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Jill Larsen has been named a finalist for Dallas Business Journal's CFO of the Year award.
Larsen was selected and named a finalist by a panel of independent judges after being nominated by a close business friend. She will join 28 other financial executives Oct. 26 at the CFO of Year Awards program in Dallas, where category winners will be announced.
The past year has brought an abundance of new challenges and opportunities for Larsen as she managed two substantial projects for the Texas Baptists—restructuring the 2015 budget and steering the office relocation.
Texas and Mexico Baptists partner to rebuild border town of Acuña, Mexico
by Leah Reynolds on September 24, 2015 in news
Four months ago, a devastating tornado ripped through the city of Acuña, Mexico and hit with a ferocity that has not been witnessed in more than 100 years.
Baptists in both Texas and Mexico are gearing up to assist in recovery efforts for the city through "Acuña Rebuild." Partners include Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), First Baptist Church in Del Rio, First Baptist Church in Acuña, Texas Baptists River Ministry and Eagle Pass-based Mission Border Hope.
The six-second twister was a part of the same weather cell that impacted Houston, San Marcos and other Central Texas towns over Memorial Day weekend this year. The tornado...
Atchison named director of Great Commission Team
by Leah Reynolds on September 18, 2015 in news
DALLAS–On Sept. 16, Texas Baptists welcomed Delvin Atchison, former pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Waco, as director of the Great Commission Team.
Dr. David Hardage, executive director for Texas Baptists, announced the formation of the Great Commission Team as part of the convention restructure at the February Executive Board meeting. The team is a combination of the Evangelism and Discipleship Teams, which will collaboratively better address the discipleship process and evangelism training for churches.
In Atchison's new role, he will help the two teams merge. He desires to see the team work together to inspire enthusiasm...
Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery to respond to Myanmar summer flooding
by Leah Reynolds on September 17, 2015 in news
Dr. Mang Tiak of Houston could not eat or sleep for days when she heard news that flooding in late July wrecked her Myanmar hometown.
"Many people were suffering," she explained. "It really hit me, and I felt like I needed to do something."
The floods, which were caused by monsoons and a typhoon, brought destruction to all but two of the 14 states in Myanmar, (also known as Burma). The disaster reportedly affected one million people across the country, displacing many of them.
Tiak and her husband, Rev. Dr. Thong Kho Lun, are pastors at Greater Houston Burmese Christian Fellowship where a majority of the members also migrated from...
Texas Baptists dedicate new Rambler Park office space
by Leah Reynolds on September 3, 2015 in news
After three days of unpacking crates and settling into new workstations, the Texas Baptists staff gathered together for a dedication of the eleventh and twelfth floors of the Rambler Park building located at 7557 Rambler Rd. in Dallas, which now houses the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
At the dedication ceremony, executive leaders recognized the dedicated work of internal employees and external partners who helped make the transition possible. The staff then joined one another in prayer for the building, the staff and for partners in ministry, including the 5400 BGCT-affiliated churches.
Jill Larsen, treasurer/CFO for Texas...
Texas Baptists passes Baptist Building legacy to Baylor University nursing school
by Leah Reynolds on August 26, 2015 in news
DALLAS- On Wednesday, Texas Baptists held a monumental "passing the mantle" ceremony to commemorate the legacy of Texas Baptists at 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas and the future of the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON), which will soon take residency in the 100,000 square-foot building.
The August 26 ceremony featured remarks from leaders of both Baptist-affiliated organizations including Dr. David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists, and Dr. Shelley Conroy, dean and professor of LHSON.
"Texas Baptists have been blessed by this building for close to 30 years," Dr. Hardage said. "God has used it...
Boomers are turning 65 at 10,000 per day, are churches ready?
by Leah Reynolds on August 14, 2015 in news
SAN ANTONIO—With the baby boomer generation turning 65-years-old at nearly 10,000 people per day, churches have the opportunity to reach a generation like they have never been reached before.
On September 9-11, Texas Baptists' Adult Discipleship Team will host its 4th annual "Catch the Boomer Wave," a National Boomer Ministry Conference, at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio to address how to effectively minister to boomers.
The term "baby boomers" derived after 77 million babies were born in the post World War II era from 1946 to 1964. For the next 14 years boomers will be stepping into retirement and turning 65.
Disaster Recovery trip combines missions with summer fun
by Leah Reynolds on August 4, 2015 in news
GALVESTON–Last week, volunteers teamed up with Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) to take part in a unique missions experience—one that allowed opportunities for mornings of servant-hearted labor and afternoons of summer entertainment.
Forty volunteers from five Texas Baptists churches spent the weekday mornings painting homes, building fences, cleaning yards and making repairs for homeowners who are still reaping the effects of Hurricane Ike, which devastated much of the Island in 2008.
In the afternoons, the volunteers spent their free time playing miniature golf, going to the beach, visiting Pleasure Pier,...
FBC Carrollton Teenager Wins National Speakers’ Tournament
by Linley McCord on July 28, 2015 in news
CARROLLTON – First Baptist Church in Carrollton has an impressive reputation for producing award-winning Bible Drill and Speakers' Tournament students. This year was no different with Hannah Mathes taking home first place in the National Speakers' Tournament in Kingland, Georgia.
Mathes, an incoming junior at Prestonwood Academy, has been a participant in Bible Drill since fourth grade and started participating in Speakers' Tournament in eighth grade.
"Speaking is kind of my talent, so I was able to use that opportunity to show that," Mathes said.
Participants selected a topic from a given list to speak on and then build a speech...
Baylor University's continued stance on sexual ethics
by Guest Author on July 24, 2015 in news
Recently the Baylor Board of Regents changed the language of their student conduct policy. This action has been represented in a number of ways through headlines and news reports. Judge Ken Starr, president of Baylor University, sent us the following memo to help us understand the actions of Baylor and to clarify the misunderstandings that have accompanied this action. Please note the following from Judge Starr:
Recent news reports of changes to Baylor's sexual conduct policy have unfortunately employed sensational headlines that have created misunderstandings about our policy.
In fact, Baylor's sexual conduct policy...
African American Fellowship given a charge to keep, elects 2016 officers
by Leah Reynolds on July 20, 2015 in news
Sugar Land—A lineup of passionate speakers and jubilant worship at this year's African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference (AAFC) made for a spirit of joy and encouragement amongst guests, giving them a "charge to keep," as the conference theme stated.
At The Fort Bend Baptist Church in Sugar Land July 14-16, hundreds of pastors and lay leaders of African American churches gathered together to take part in the conference, which featured a Tuesday night Jim W. Culp, Sr. Banquet followed by two days of worship services, workshops, exhibit displays and the introduction of the 2016 state officers.
African American Fellowship Emphasizes Faithfulness to God
by Linley McCord on July 20, 2015 in news
SUGAR LAND – Amongst a chorus of amens, Pastor Oscar Epps of Community Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto brought a message of God's unconditional faithfulness.
The African American Fellowship Conference kicked off on July 14, with the Culp Banquet, but the following morning brought a message from the president of the African American Fellowship. Epps spoke on Daniel 3, in which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are put in the furnace for not bowing to the king.
God is always able to meet our needs in every situation, but Epps challenged his audience to consider what happens in people's hearts and minds if it feels like He does...
What is your growth plan?
by Leah Reynolds on July 20, 2015 in news
If someone were to ask, "What is your growth plan for your life?" – would you have an answer? Many of us may fail to come up with an immediate response, but it is a plausible question to consider.
In the past few years, the Office of Hispanic Ministries for Texas Baptists has observed a desire within the Hispanic Baptist community for growth in leadership development. Last fall, they hosted a successful first "En Sus Manos" conference, which offered leadership trainings for English-speaking adults, Spanish-speaking adults and youth. They are offering the second annual conference this November.
"In this conference, we focus a lot on...
Hispanic Baptists urged to stand firm in faith
by Kalie Lowrie on July 2, 2015 in news
AUSTIN - An estimated 11 million Hispanics live in Texas, with projections of Hispanics becoming the largest ethnic group in the state within a decade. Currently, there are more than 1,100 Hispanic Baptist churches seeking to share the Gospel with this ever-increasing ethnic group.
This year, Convencion Bautista Hispana de Texas was hosted by Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, June 28-30, with 1,529 registrants in attendance, including 487 messengers. Many area church members also joined for worship services, with approximately 2,100 in attendance on Sunday evening.
"From the challenging messages in the pulpit, to the informative...
Camp Exalted encourages spiritual growth for 290 youth
by Leah Reynolds on July 2, 2015 in news
From amusing games of human foosball to deep-hearted discussions in family groups to spirit-led worship, students at Camp Exalted gained both new friendships and spiritual growth June 22-26.
Camp Exalted has three goals in mind, according to Camp Director Reverend Carlos Francis from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield: "We want to introduce someone to Christ, to make them a disciple and teach them to make others disciples," he...
Louie Giglio challenges youth at North Texas YEC
by Leah Reynolds on June 29, 2015 in news
The June 19-20, North Texas Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) brought an overflowing crowd of students to Venue 510 in Burleson, where renowned pastor and author Louie Giglio gave a challenging message.
Giglio, founder of Passion Conferences and pastor of Passion City church in Atlanta, Georgia, read from Luke 7, reciting the story which records people finding themselves in a place of "holy mystery" after Jesus raised a widow's only son from the dead.
"This story is not just a story of a boy that is raised from the dead," Giglio told the students. "This is a picture of the Gospel."
Through salvation, he explained, God brings the dead...
Texas Baptists respond to Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage
by Leah Reynolds on June 26, 2015 in news
For the first time in history the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation on Friday, June 26, creating a challenge for churches and Christian organizations that believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
David Hardage, executive director for Texas Baptists, which has around 5,400 affiliated Baptist churches, said: "The Baptist General Convention of Texas is committed to loving, caring and treating all people with grace and respect. Also, we continue to affirm our long held understanding of the biblical view of marriage as that between one man and one woman."
In the ruling, the Supreme Court...
Leadership Texas Baptists seeking emerging leaders
by Kalie Lowrie on June 23, 2015 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists is launching Leadership Texas Baptists this fall, a new program aimed at emerging leaders. Leadership Texas Baptists is a nine-month experience to engage, equip, and inform emerging leaders from churches across the state. Pastors, staff, and lay leaders accepted into the program will gather once a month in a cohort experience to hear from and dialog with BGCT leaders.
"We are excited to launch this new initiative aimed at identifying and equipping emerging Baptist leaders from around Texas," said Dr. David Hardage, Texas Baptists executive director. "Our hope is that Leadership Texas Baptists will be...
Culp and Spooner receive Texas Baptist Legacy Awards
by Linley McCord on June 16, 2015 in news
INDEPENDENCE—Deep in the heart of Texas at historic Independence Baptist Church, friends, family and former co-workers of Jim Culp and Bernie Spooner gathered to honor the veteran denominational leaders at the annual Texas Baptist Legacy Awards presentation on June 7.
Culp and Spooner cumulatively devoted more than four decades to service on the Texas Baptists Executive Board staff.
"The Legacy Award acknowledges that we have seen these men sounding forth what they have received," Executive Director David Hardage said. Culp and Spooner could not contain the message of the Gospel, and everyone has seen that truth, he said.
A burdened heart for the lost, Former FBC Shallowater pastor joins evangelism team
by Leah Reynolds on June 9, 2015 in news
Texas Baptists welcomes Mitch Wilson, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Shallowater, as director of church evangelism.
In his 19 years of pastoring at FBC Shallowater, which is located just seven miles outside of Lubbock, Wilson developed a burden for the lost and felt a tug on his heart to research data in Lubbock County. The burden became heavier as he discovered there were 160,000 unchurched people in the county, and he began shepherding his church to engage in more evangelism opportunities.
"I really believe that God then expanded my heart and that burden for the lost in the whole state instead of just Lubbock...
Executive Board encouraged by testimonies of BSMs, discuss church planting increases
by Kalie Lowrie on May 28, 2015 in news
DALLAS - Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) directors are being missional on college campuses, a place not like any other in America, Bruce McGowan, director of Collegiate Ministries shared with Executive Board members on Monday, May 18, during their May board meeting in Dallas.
"Thousands of students are gathered together with a common purpose of getting an education, going to class, and being open and willing to dialogue," McGowan said. "Our goal is to incarnationally meet students on campus - to go where they are."
Board members heard reports from several BSM directors during the Monday evening session, sharing stories of God's...
TBDR seeks volunteers and funding to help Central Texas flood victims
by Kalie Lowrie on May 27, 2015 in news
SAN MARCOS - Following intense flooding in the Central Texas region of San Marcos and Wimberley, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is working to coordinate volunteers and funds to assist those in need. More than 400 homes have been destroyed in San Marcos, with assessment continuing in the town of Wimberley as to the number of homes damaged or destroyed.
Chris Liebrum, with TBDR, and Fred Ater, area representative, traveled to the region on Tuesday, May 26 to meet with local pastors about needs in the communities. On Wednesday, Marla Bearden, TBDR specialist, and other representatives met with Texas Baptist Men to develop a strategy...
Texas Baptists assist FBC Mineral Wells following tornado damage
by Kalie Lowrie on May 22, 2015 in news
MINERAL WELLS – A tornado tore through downtown Mineral Wells on Tuesday, May 19, damaging First Baptist Church, along with several local businesses. The next day, Texas Baptists were on-hand ready to help in a myriad of ways. David Scott, director of Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery, Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program, and Joe Loughlin, director of Connections, traveled to the church to provide support and meet with Pastor Nathan Buchanan.
Additionally, a team from Texas Baptists Church Architecture assessed the structural damage sustained to the Welcome Center, Youth Room, and Family Life Center. The team was able to...
Cyclists weather storms to end hunger
by Kalie Lowrie on May 21, 2015 in news
When you are driven by a great cause, like working to end the cycle of hunger and poverty experienced by millions worldwide, a 500-mile bike ride seems a little more possible. Twenty-nine cyclists from across Texas, along with a few riders from Colorado and New York, joined together May 11-16 for the Sixth Annual Bike Out Hunger-Texas ride. This year, the team traveled from Boerne, near San Antonio, to Dallas with shared goals to raise money and awareness for hunger needs across Texas and around the world.
Funds raised by the cyclists were given to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which supports 180 ministries worldwide through...
Disaster Recovery prepares to respond to Van tornado destruction
by Leah Reynolds on May 13, 2015 in news
A deadly tornado, which struck the Texas town of Van Sunday, May 10, has affected 204 total homes. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) is on the ground assessing damage and preparing to begin volunteer mobilization.
According to the Red Cross, 62 homes were destroyed, 56 made inhabitable, 41 received minor damage, and 45 were otherwise affected. There were two fatalities and 56 residents were injured.
Texas Baptist Men, a partner organization of Texas Baptists that mobilizes immediate response teams, has chain saw teams in the area and is working to clear debris from homes.
First Baptist Church in Van is serving as a Red Cross...
Cyclists to ride 500 miles with Bike Out Hunger to raise awareness for hunger
by Communications on May 10, 2015 in news
On Monday, May 11, the Sixth Annual Bike Out Hunger will leave from Boerne, raising money and awareness for hunger needs through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. This year's week-long route includes 29 cyclists who will ride more than 500 miles from Boerne to Dallas. The team will leave at 9 a.m. on Monday, ending the day in Fredericksburg.
Money raised will be donated to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which last year totaled approximately $900,000 and impacted more than 180 ministries around the world. The goal of the Hunger Offering is to bring an end...
Golf Classic brings in $15,000 for disaster recovery
by Leah Reynolds on May 8, 2015 in news
Blue skies and a bright shining sun made an appearance as 265 golfers stepped onto the green of the TPC San Antonio golf course on April 27 for the second annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic.
The tournament raised an estimated $15,000 by way of donors, event fees and 17 sponsors, with Baptist Church Loan Corporation (BCLC) serving as title sponsor. All proceeds will benefit Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR).
"We're grateful to all of our sponsors, especially BCLC who, without their help, the event wouldn't have been possible," said Chris Liebrum, tournament director and director of TBDR. "We're glad we can host the...
2015 State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament winners named
by Leah Reynolds on May 6, 2015 in news
Eighty-seven youth representing 35 churches competed in the Texas Baptist State Youth Bible Drill and Speaker's Tournament May 1 and 2 at the Baptist Building in Dallas.
Prior to the competition, students competed in one of the five regional events across the state. For 2015, there were 827 participants in Bible Drill and Speaker's Tournaments from 109 churches competing in the regional events. The highest-scoring youth from those events then traveled to Dallas for the state competition.
State winners include:
Youth Bible Drill (7 – 9th grades)
1st Place - Tie - William Horton, First Baptist Church in Dallas and...
Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery Update on Nepal Earthquake
by Kalie Lowrie on April 27, 2015 in news
In response to the devastation experienced in Nepal following the 7.9 earthquake on April 25, Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery has been in communication with several partnering Baptist entities worldwide. TBDR leaders have been working with Asia Pacific Baptist Federation and Baptist World Aid through the Baptist World Alliance to receive updates and coordinate aid.
Funds are being collected through TBDR, (Click here to give) which will be appropriated to our Baptist partners in Nepal as needs are expressed.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering has already approved $15,000 for anti-poverty and hunger needs in Nepal, which will be sent...
A fire set ablaze at the WMU annual meeting
by Leah Reynolds on April 22, 2015 in news
Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scripture to us? Luke 24:32, GNT
For her birthday last year, IMB missionary Staci Powers' most treasured gift was having her husband hold her hands without letting go. The fact that he had forgotten it was her birthday did not matter at that moment.
Four days later, on July 10, 2014, Staci held her husband Jeff's hands for the last time as cancer took over his body.
Last weekend, Staci boldly stood on stage at the Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration, fighting back tears as she told her story....
CLC opens doors for advocates to interact at the Capitol
by Kalie Lowrie on April 21, 2015 in news
AUSTIN - Advocates work for the best interest of all, the voiceless, or marginalized, Kathryn Freeman, director of public policy for the Christian Life Commission, shared with attendees at CLC Advocacy Day.
The event was hosted on April 9, at the First United Methodist Church in Austin, across the street from the State Capitol building. Listen to a review of the day here:
Executive Director David Hardage was in attendance for the day, giving a welcome to Advocacy Day attendees. Hardage was encouraged by the response for the day, noting, "Anybody who is here who isn't familiar with the CLC will learn more about...
Prepare your church for same-sex marriage ruling
by John Litzler on April 16, 2015 in culture
The U.S. Supreme Court is ready to consider the issue of same-sex marriage, and the court's eventual ruling could affect how the State of Texas defines marriage. If change occurs, it will affect the relationship of all Texas Baptist churches in their dealings with local, state, and federal laws.
The Christian Life Commission supports the biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman for a lifetime commitment. This has been the marriage standard for Christians dating back two millennia, and reflects an even longer biblical heritage.
On Tuesday, April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider cases from...
Missions Foundation welcomes Dr. Jerry Carlisle as Vice President
by Leah Reynolds on April 7, 2015 in news
Texas Baptists will welcome Dr. Jerry Carlisle to the position of Vice President for the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) starting April 16.
Carlisle comes to Texas Baptists after serving 13 years as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Plano, as well as adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University (DBU) for 11 years. Prior to that, he held a variety of pastoral and ministerial positions in Texas and Missouri.
In his new role, Carlisle will work with donors to help raise funds for the ministries Texas Baptists and TBMF support. He plans to maintain a similar mindset in this job as he has had all along as...
States need RFRA matching federal model, like Texas
by Gus Reyes, Kathryn Freeman and Ferrell Foster on April 2, 2015 in clc
The Christian Life Commission staff believes it is wise for each state to pass RFRA laws or constitutional amendments that mirror the federal RFRA language. The Texas RFRA mirrors the federal RFRA, both passed with bipartisan support and reflecting an appropriate balance between religious freedom and government interests.
The CLC is proud to have worked on passage of the Texas RFRA 16 years ago. We believe respect for religious freedom is an important part of our democracy, and separation of church and state is a foundational Baptist distinctive.
Religious freedom is not a partisan issue. We believe it is possible to...
Student disaster recovery responds to Tulsa tornadoes
by Leah Reynolds on March 27, 2015 in news
In response to Wednesday night's tornadoes that brought devastation to many homes and families in Tulsa, Oklahoma, BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery has announced a mission opportunity for students to help the city in its road to recovery.
Reports from CNN reveal the storms took one life, left dozens injured across the state and caused massive devastation in the Tulsa area and some damage in other cities including Moore, which is still in recovery from the catastrophic 2013 tornadoes.
As a branch of Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), BOUNCE provides the opportunity for student ministries to help communities bounce...
Texas Baptists contribute over $17,000 to winterize and bring the Gospel to Syrian refugees
by Leah Reynolds on March 20, 2015 in news
Through generous offerings, Texas Baptist churches and individuals have contributed over $17,600 to the Texas Baptists' Winterization Project, which is helping bring warmth and the Gospel to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The vision behind the Winterization Project began developing in August of last year when Matt Snowden, chair of the missions mobilization team for Texas Baptists; Mike Stroope, associate professor of Christian missions at George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco; and Steve Seaberry, director of partnerships for Texas Baptists, visited Lebanon with the intention of strengthening bonds with the Lebanese Society for...
Love in deed: Churches embrace timely opportunity for refugee ministry
by Leah Reynolds on March 12, 2015 in news
HOUSTON—Now is a time, like no other, to be prepared to minister with refugees, Mark Heavener, specialist for Texas Baptists' intercultural ministry, told guests at the Feb 27-28 Love in Deed: Refugee Ministry Summit held at Chinese Baptist Church in Houston.
In 2014, a total of 7,214 refugees arrived in Texas from 65 countries. Statistics reveal that one-third of those settled in Houston, making the city a wide open door for refugee ministry.
"Clearly God has chosen the state of Texas and the city of Houston to be the center of His work of redeeming refugees," Heavener said. "I believe we are in the center of God's...
Executive Director serves as Pastor of the Day for Texas Senate
by Leah Reynolds on March 10, 2015 in news
On Tuesday, March 10, Texas Baptists' Executive Director Dr. David Hardage is serving as the Pastor of the Day for the Texas Senate, and prayed during the legislative session, beginning at 11 a.m. Thank you for being in prayer for him as he represents Texas Baptists in the Capitol building.
To hear his prayer, watch the video below. Sen. Royce West, representing the 23rd Senatorial District for Dallas County, introduced Dr. Hardage before he...
HSU, Logsdon Seminary and Texas Baptists encourage and equip women in ministry
by Cheryl Sawyers on March 2, 2015 in news
The 2015 Women in Ministry Conference, hosted by Hardin-Simmons University, Logsdon Seminary and Texas Baptists, was held on Friday, February 20, 2015. The Ninth Annual conference drew women and men alike, from across the state to help encourage, equip for ministry and support exploration of women leadership roles in a variety of contexts.
Meredith Stone, instructor of Christian ministry and director of ministry guidance, along with Dr. Bob Ellis, associate dean and professor of Old Testament of Logsdon Seminary, organized this year's event for more than 180 people from as far as Houston, San Antonio and Corpus...
February 2015 Executive Board Review
by Kalie Lowrie on February 26, 2015 in news
DALLAS - Amidst ice and freezing temperatures, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas convened February 22-24 for their spring meeting.
During Tuesday's combined business session, President Kathy Hillman encouraged the board members to be equipped to move forward as Texas Baptists. Using a compass, map and GPS, Hillman noted Biblical examples of preparation. "The right people must have the right tools, at the right time, for the right situations," she said.
Dennis Russell, from the First Baptist Church of Amarillo, was elected as the new Vice Chairperson for the board, filling the vacancy left by Ernest...
Did You Know It Pays to Prey on the Poor In Texas?
by Kathryn Freeman on February 26, 2015 in public policy
An unexpected medical bill, car trouble, buying school supplies, a funeral or a summer utility bill—one or many of these expenses have pushed countless Texans to the financial brink. Needing a way to meet the unexpected expense, many families turn to payday and auto title lenders who are all too happy to profit off of people's misfortune.
Usually payday and auto-title borrowers are already financially fragile and rather than being a lifesaver these loans become an anchor. Payday loans are unsecured short-term loans that simply require a job and access to a bank account. Payday lenders are not required to determine the...
BGCT Executive Board approves resolution on transgender issues
by Leah Reynolds on February 26, 2015 in news
DALLAS—At its Feb 23-24 meeting in Dallas, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas unanimously approved a resolution on transgender issues, declaring gender is determined biologically, not psychologically.
The request to consider the resolution came from several Texas Baptist university presidents stating the need to apply for a Title IX exemption from the United States Department of Education in dealing with accommodations for transgender students. Their application would be strengthened with a statement from the BGCT addressing the issue.
Pronouncing the Bible as the authority for faith and practice for the...
Hardage announces convention restructure to BGCT Executive Board
by Texas Baptists Communications Staff on February 23, 2015 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists is preparing for a convention reset, Executive Director Dr. David Hardage announced at the Feb. 23 Executive Board meeting in Dallas, as they seek to best serve the state and churches in an ever-changing world.
This past year has produced big changes for the convention as the Executive Board made an agreement to sell the Baptist Building in Dallas in May 2014, signed a lease on a new office space in December 2014, finalized the sale of the building January 2015, and will begin operating under a new structure, effective by May 1, 2015.
Hardage explained the restructuring of Texas Baptists is based on the new...
State of the State
by Kathryn Freeman on February 21, 2015 in news
On February 17, Governor Greg Abbott gave his first State of the State address. The State of the State was first given by Governor J. Pickney Henderson in 1845, after Texas joined the Union. The State of the State is required by the Texas Constitution and is given at the beginning of each regular legislative session.
The State of the State is used by the Governor to lay out a vision for the state over the next two years and designate emergency items. Usually lawmakers cannot pass bills in the first 60 days unless it is an emergency appropriation or on the Governor's list of emergency items. The designation of something as an...
Removing obstacles to evangelism
by Kalie Lowrie on February 4, 2015 in news
When Leslie Strobel became a Christian, she was so excited about the new life she had in Christ. But, she was also heavily burdened for her husband, Lee. A self-proclaimed atheist who actively pursued hedonism and pleasure over spiritual matters, Lee was far from Christ and Leslie worried that he would never be able to come to faith.
Within two years--after an intense investigation seeking to disprove the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Christianity, along with the results of numerous prayers from his wife--Lee found himself kneeling in his bedroom accepting Jesus as his Savior. Years later, standing before a...
Teaching men to fish
by Anne Harman on January 26, 2015 in news
The adage is well-known: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Texas Baptists are both "giving fish" and "teaching to fish" — physically and spiritually — by providing $103,000 to equip IMB missionaries to teach people how to sustain a fish farm in South America and meet other needs around the globe.
When Gus Reyes, director of Baptist General Convention of Texas' Christian Life Commission, was seeking help to allocate funds from The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, he reached out through the Baptist Hispanic network. IMB's Hispanic Mobilization team eagerly...
CLC Advocacy Day
by Kathryn Freeman on January 23, 2015 in news
CLC Advocacy Day will be held Thursday, March 5, at First United Methodist Church, Family Life Center, 302 W. 13th St., Austin, TX 78701.
The CLC Advocacy Day is an opportunity for you to participate in the work of the CLC. Your voice is vital to our success so please join Kathryn Freeman and Dr. Gus Reyes for their first CLC Advocacy Day in Austin!
Schedule for the Day
- 9:30-11 a.m. Legislative Briefing The Legislative briefing is an opportunity to hear from experts on some of the top legislative issues facing our state including predatory lending, immigration, and public education.
- 11:15 a.m.- 1 p.m. Legislative
CERI aids families affected by flooding in Sri Lanka
by Leonard Favela on January 23, 2015 in news
BATTICALOA , SRI LANKA — On December 23, 2014, nearing the tenth anniversary of the devastating 2004 tsunami that claimed more than 226,000 souls and left Indonesia's island nations and the lives of their people utterly destroyed, BCFS' overseas division Children's Emergency Relief International (CERI) received notification of torrential rainfall in Sri Lanka. In only a few days, the rains sparked massive flooding and mudslides across the region, driving thousands out of their homes — and CERI into action.
Since responding to the tsunami a decade ago, CERI has operated a foster care program in two of the hardest hit cities...
Texas Baptists sign lease for new Dallas office space
by Leah Reynolds on January 22, 2015 in news
Texas Baptists executives signed a lease agreement on December 29, 2014, for new office space in Dallas approximately eight miles north of its current building location.
More than two years ago, Baylor University approached Texas Baptists executives in regards to purchasing the Baptist Building on 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas for its Louise Herrington School of Nursing.
On May 20, 2014, executives approved the sale of the building and on January 22, 2015, the sale was finalized. Baylor University is paying $8 million in cash and is financing $5 million with Texas Baptists totalling to $13 million. In addition, there is non-cash...
Texas Baptists celebrate MLK Day by packing 23,000 meals
by Leah Reynolds on January 21, 2015 in news
DALLAS—The phrases, "Vitamins!" "Protein! and "Vegetables!" echoed across the concrete walls of Texas Baptist Men's Dixon Mission Equipping Center as 175 Texas Baptist volunteers packed 23,000 meals on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to send to Liberia.
The event served as part of a Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) initiative to send food packets to Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa where starvation has become a crisis.
Volunteers came from all part of Texas, including Shertz, Lawn and Huntsville to pack boxes of food packets. Each packet contained enough vitamins, proteins, vegetables, and rice to feed six people...
Texas Baptists loving neighbors through Hunger Offering
by Jordan Corona on January 15, 2015 in christian life commission
This month, the Christian Life Commission is set to distribute funds to 117 ministries throughout the state of Texas and more than 67 international ones through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. That is a reflection of the generosity of Texas Baptists, an indication about the contents of their hearts.
Feeding people who don't have enough to eat and helping others to climb out of poverty is part of our obedience to Jesus' command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Doing so in a way that maximizes the support we can offer to ministries working with hungry people is a Christian responsibility.
Financial support through the Hunger...
Ebola and starvation in West Africa: Nearly 998,000 meals arrive with more on the way
by Leah Reynolds on January 9, 2015 in news
It was a joyful holiday season for many Liberians and Sierra Leoneans as they received 997,920 pre-packaged rice and high-nutrition meals sent by Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) in partnership with multiple ministries.
The first container of 142,560 meals, trucked in from South Africa in partnership with Virginia Baptists, came just in time for Christmas and New Year's. Photos bear witness to grateful Liberian children and families holding the food packets at Zion Praise Baptist Church near the capital city Monrovia.
When the Ebola epidemic struck the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea...
New opportunities in a new year
by Kathryn Freeman on January 8, 2015 in christian life commission
In Isaiah, the Lord tells the Israelites that His servants will faithfully bring forth justice to the nations and describes them as a light to the nations capable of opening blind eyes, breaking the chains of the oppressed, and setting captives free (Isaiah 42:1-9, Isaiah 58). As the 84th Legislative Session is set to begin next Tuesday, we have a new opportunity to engage in this kingdom work at the Capitol. Here are just a few of the policy priorities the Christian Life Commission will be focused on in the upcoming session:
- Ending the financial exploitation of the poor
- Protecting victims of human trafficking
- Advocating for a "just"
The Long Haul
by Ryan Jespersen on January 7, 2015 in you are the missionary
I want to tell you a story about my friend Larry Venable. Larry has been pastor of Freeman Heights Baptist Church for 31 years. 31 years in the same church, coming to same office, ministering in the same community. This community, Central and West Garland has changed significantly through the years; it has become much more ethnically and socially diverse.
In fact, when Larry first arrived in 1983 this was already beginning to happen. Most guys in situations like his might just bide their time until they are able to find a new place of ministry – an easier spot to do the work, but not Larry. Larry has stuck it out through the...
‘Tis the season—for refugees—to merely survive
by Leah Reynolds on December 16, 2014 in news
For many in the United States, 'tis the season to cozy up by the fireplace with family and friends. 'Tis the season to sing merry Christmas tunes and to be grateful for freedom, relatives and Grandma's cooking.
But for Syrian refugees who have had to flee to safety in Lebanon, 'tis the season to fight brutal winter temperatures in their houses made of plywood, tarp or tents and hope they can find food to eat each day. 'Tis the season to survive.
We visited one extended family of...
Political leaders still need to address immigration issues
by Gus Reyes on December 11, 2014 in christian life commission
Recently, President Obama announced steps he is taking to help undocumented immigrants living in our country. The executive action increases border security in addition to providing temporary relief for some families and individuals.
Despite the President's actions, the immigration system remains broken and in need of significant attention. We still need a permanent, holistic immigration bill that secures the borders, affirms families, treats people with dignity, and gives clarity with regards to status in this country.
My hope is for our legislative leaders to work together with the President to bring resolution to the immigration...
School and church work together to help build stronger families in their community
by Leah Reynolds on December 5, 2014 in news
FORT WORTH—Parents in a community on the north side of Fort Worth are spending one hour a week for 13 weeks in their children's classrooms, gaining a unique education of their own.
This is the second term for what is called Parent University, where parents learn skills for raising their children, held at Manuel Jara Elementary School. Last April, 29 parents graduated from the program. This November, 21 of those came back for a second course, and 44 parents signed up for the first.
A little over two years ago, Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, which is located just a few blocks down, adopted the elementary school and...
African American Fellowship admires God as a God of justice
by Leah Reynolds on November 17, 2014 in news
WACO—Though revenge seems sweet and payback fair, God commands His followers to let Him take control of the situation, Pastor John Ogletree from First Metropolitan Church in Houston told guests at the African American Fellowship of Texas worship rally on Nov. 16.
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Waco hosted the rally preceding the 2014 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Visitors engaged in worship facilitated by the Antioch choir and a sermon based off Romans 12:17-21.
"This message is to people who know something about being a victim," Ogletree told the audience. "As believers, we have to understand it's alright to be a...
Hispanic Baptists Rally Inspires Attendees to “Live the Difference”
by Lauren Sturdy on November 17, 2014 in news
On a bitter cold November night, Hispanic Baptists exchanged warm greetings and friendly handshakes in the Paul W. Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary for their annual rally, which kicked off the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting on Nov. 16.
Church planting consultant and evangelist Roland Lopez preached from Acts 8:26-35 and used Philip the disciple as a model of what it means to "live the difference."
Lopez said Philip exemplifies a follower of Christ who lives the difference in three ways.
First, he was described as, "a man who was sensitive to the Spirit of the Lord." When an angel came to Philip to instruct him...
Dramatic presentations part of this year's annual meeting
by Ferrell Foster on November 13, 2014 in christian life commission
"Theatre for the Mind and Spirit" is coming to the Texas Baptist annual meeting Monday, Nov. 17. This is how Bruce Kuhn describes his dramatic presentations. Kuhn will be part of the morning and evening worship services at the Waco Convention Center.
Bruce's presentations bring Scripture alive. The words are literally from the biblical text, but Bruce helps them breathe with human passion. Below are 2 seven-minute videos of Bruce presenting a portion of the Gospel of Luke and Tales of Tolstoy, and there are other videos listed on his website.
A number of Texas Baptists saw Kuhn's presentations at...
'The Blind Side' couple to end BGCT Annual Meeting
by Ferrell Foster on November 5, 2014 in christian life commission
The BGCT Annual Meeting this year will end with a special event on the Baylor University campus. Baylor President Ken Starr will host a "conversation" with Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy, the couple featured in the book and movie, "The Blind Side."
It is part of the university's "On Topic" series of events at Waco Hall. Tickets are required but are free and will be available Sunday and Monday, Nov. 16-17, at Waco Convention Center during the BGCT Annual Meeting. Tickets also will be available Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Waco Hall before the event.
"The Blind Side" tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager turned first round draft pick...
Live the Difference: around the world
by Sandy Wisdom-Martin on October 27, 2014 in news
This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, had to say:
What does it mean to Live the Difference? Authors Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts say. "If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, He calls you a missionary! You may never go halfway around the world, but because of God's work in you, you are on mission."*
For me, living the difference means being on mission day in and day out.
At WMU of Texas, our passion is also our purpose. We make...
Houston subpoenas raise religious liberty concerns
by Kathryn Freeman on October 23, 2014 in christian life commission
The City of Houston gained national attention last week as a result of subpoenas sent to five local pastors seeking "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by or approved by you or in your possession."
CLC Director Gus Reyes spoke out against these subpoenas because they appeared to be designed to intimidate pastors and make them think twice about speaking on this critical social issue. Texas Baptists President Jeff Johnson, Executive Director David Hardage and Reyes also joined other Baptist leaders from around...
Inspiring the next generation, youth ministry as a divine appointment
by Leah Reynolds on October 21, 2014 in news
ARLINGTON: Youth ministry is a calling that comes along with great trials but even greater rewards, including seeing the salvation of young souls and the opportunity to inspire a generation of future leaders.
Speakers at the 2014 Youth Ministry Conclave on Oct. 13-15 focused on youth ministry as a calling and encouraged leaders to recognize it as a divine appointment. Conclave is sponsored by Texas Baptists and supported through the Cooperative Program with ethnic scholarships provided by Mary Hill Davis Offering for state missions.
"It's not about your ability, but your availability," said Ed Newton, Conclave speaker and...
CLC director expresses concern regarding Houston subpoenas
by Ferrell Foster on October 15, 2014 in church state
Gus Reyes, director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, has released the following statement regarding the City of Houston's subpoenas sent to five churches:
"We are glad Mayor Annise Parker now agrees with critics that the initial City of Houston subpoenas were overly broad.
"The U.S. Constitution protects religious freedom, and that includes the right of pastors and church members to speak on social and community issues without fear of intimidation by the government.
"We now wait to see what city officials do next. We hope they display a renewed commitment to religious liberty and recognize that efforts meant to...
Texas Baptists prepare to Live the Difference
by Kalie Lowrie on October 14, 2014 in news
WACO – Texas Baptists' annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco will be an opportunity to see what it means to truly "Live the Difference." The meeting, to be held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme verse from 1 John 2:6 with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.
"This is an exciting time for our convention as we pave the way for our future and focus on what it means for us to 'live the difference,'" said Executive Director David Hardage. "In this exciting age of diversity, I think it fitting to focus our attention on what it...
Live the Difference: on social media
by Katie Swafford on October 13, 2014 in news
This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Katie Swafford, director of Counseling Services, had to say:
I'm browsing through Facebook this morning when I see the status update of a childhood friend. This friend is describing how she doesn't feel that people treat her as she deserves to be treated.
Makes a few comments about how she perceives herself to be a good person who is fun to be around, yet feels as if the world takes her for granted or just gives her an "ehh, maybe" rating. She proceeded to ask for...
Ebola crisis leads to starvation; Texas Baptists send 570,000 meals in response
by Leah Reynolds on October 9, 2014 in disaster
SPRINGFIELD, Missouri - Though media is flooded with news of the Ebola crisis, a calamity nearly as fatal—starvation—has risen in West African countries due to the virus. In response to this dire need, Dallas-based Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), in partnership with Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri, shipped 250,000 meals to Monrovia, Liberia on Thursday, Oct. 9, to help bring relief to the crisis.
When the container of food, holding 44,000 pounds of prepackaged meals, arrives to Monrovia in four to six weeks, Liberian Baptist churches will distribute the supplies to rural communities and to hospitals. An...
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering needs end-of-year boost
by Ferrell Foster on October 9, 2014 in christian life commission
Texas Baptists are generous, but our giving to fight hunger and poverty has lagged this year. Through August, Texas Baptists gave $548,395 through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. That's a lot of money, but it is significantly less than we gave last year -- $727,877 or 75.3 percent.
As we give millions of dollars to support church programs, it is important to remember that Jesus said care for the poor is a key indicator that a person is seeking to follow Him. When we seek to follow Christ we will have a Spirit-inspired burden to care for those who suffer. If we don't, something's wrong with our spiritual life.
Despite the lag in...
Saying thanks to your pastor
by Kalie Lowrie on October 2, 2014 in faith
Being a pastor can many times be a thankless job. One works seemingly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - going from meeting to counseling session to hospital visit. Not to mention the time needed to prepare for Sunday's sermon, Wednesday's Bible study, a luncheon for Senior Adults and a youth fellowship on Friday night.
Between all of the week's activities, there are also opinions from church members on everything from the color of the carpet in the sanctuary to the dessert served on Wednesday night.
Pastor's hear it all - but two words they may not hear very much are "Thank you." Think about it. When is the last time you stopped and...
Understanding the city and the culture
by Josue Valerio on October 1, 2014 in missions mobilization
Cities are known for their cultures and for their role of influence in societies. Also, there are other forces, which are constantly shaping the city and its cultures. But today, it is crucial for us to understand the city, the communities within the city and their cultures in order to collaborate in ministry and serve the different groups who live, work and visit the city.
I believe the basic elements of culture are languages, artifacts, practices, values, institutions and stories.
We all contribute towards the creation of culture, and culture re-creates the city and its inhabitants. This is why it is important to understand how the...
Executive Board approves purchase of BUA property
by Kalie Lowrie on October 1, 2014 in news
DALLAS - During the September 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved for the convention to purchase 12.87 acres of land in San Antonio currently owned by the Baptist University of the Americas. The land will be purchased for $4.373 million, with an additional cash payment of $200,000 to pay off two bank loans held by the university.
“Thank you for walking alongside them [BUA] in this time of need," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “We will continue to pray for them and seek God to meet their needs. This is a great way to help one of our...
Internet Church and you
by Kalie Lowrie on September 29, 2014 in comm shop
Live streaming, podcasting, providing worship services online…there are many different ways for churches today to offer online options for their congregations. What works for one church may not work for another, but there are a myriad of options available for churches interested in providing an online community, connections and resources to their members. Lake Pointe Church in Dallas is hosting the iMinistry Conference on October 14-16 and I will be attending this conference to learn more about options available for our Texas Baptist churches.
I visited with Nate Merrill, Internet campus pastor for Lake Pointe, last week; he...
Southern Dallas historic freedman town welcomes cowboy culture
by Leah Reynolds on September 25, 2014 in news
Just six miles south of downtown Dallas is Joppa Community, an area where former slaves gathered to celebrate their first taste of freedom in the 1860s and now is the present-day home of Buffalo Soldiers Cowboy Church.
When the freedmen settled there nearly 150 years ago, they named the area after the biblical city of Joppa, which means "beautiful." They bought property and built homes on the banks of the Trinity River. Though the area is now less than thriving, the residents embrace the rich culture and history and nickname the community of 17 streets "Joppy."
On a recent hot August day, some of those residents put on their...
3 ways to guard from a major mess up in a missional lifestyle
by Ryan Jespersen on September 22, 2014 in you are the missionary
Pet training, or "obedience school for dogs," is held in a very distracting place for your dog to walk. I am referring to the dog training class at PetSmart. In our class, the trainer is a young man who handled bomb dogs in the military. He attempts to help us train our new dog Marley. While, this is an excellent endeavor and he does a good job in teaching us to train Marley, every 7 minutes he also attempts to sell me a new PetSmart product. I guess we should have probably expected this. The problem is when the trainer tells us to walk Marley dog around the store, we are obviously walking around a pet store, which has two things...
Texas Baptists promote educational initiatives for Sept. 18 giving day
by Leah Reynolds on September 17, 2014 in news
DALLAS -Texas Baptists are taking part in North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 18 by highlighting two initiatives in the North Texas community. Funds given toward the Baptist General Convention of Texas will help build an outdoor classroom at Truett Elementary School in Dallas and a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton.
As stated on northtexasgivingday.org, "North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event that provides nonprofits opportunity to gain expose to—and start relationships with—new donors, and for people in North Texas to come together to raise as much money as...
Tears, Courage and New Beginnings
by Guest Author on September 15, 2014 in disaster
Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor's degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master's degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.
When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was captivated by their kindness, and mainly, by the way they handled a difficult time in life....
THE BIG DOG and 5 ways to effectively knock on doors
by Ryan Jespersen on September 15, 2014 in you are the missionary
Clap, Clap, Clap, "This will make the dog leave us alone." This was trick the pastor of a church meeting in our building was telling me would help keep a very large, very scary, very loud dog from jumping all over us the minute we walked through the gate. At the moment we pensively walked through the gate I certainly hoped this trick, which he learned on the mission field would actually work. We lived through this one without a scratch, and a couple of thousands other doors as a major attempt to reachour neighbors with the gospel of Christ.
Some have said that knocking on doors is not the way you reach people for Christ anymore....
Conference inspires ministry leaders to
by Leah Reynolds on September 12, 2014 in news
More than 250 individuals from churches across the country "caught the boomer wave" at the second annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 4-5 at First Baptist Church in Dallas.
Hosted by Texas Baptists Bible Study/ Discipleship Team, the conference shed light on the need for better ministry amongst the baby boomer generation.
Conference leaders pointed out baby boomers, born in the years 1946 to 1964, are now turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, and will continue to for the next 18 years.
Keynote speaker Amy Hanson spoke on various subjects such as the changing landscape of adult ministry, how to begin a boomer...
by Guest Contributor on September 10, 2014 in go now missions
While waiting in line at a Welcome Week event, Jenny and Cole met two international students, Lucy and Yorick, who just recently arrived in Texas from China. They made a discovery - the pair had never before eaten a burrito.
This is Texas. The land of Tex-Mex. Without thinking very long or hard about it, I can name six different burrito and taco restaurants within a five minute drive of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). And for Cole, who eats burritos as often as possible, typically multiple times a week, even being in Texas for just two weeks without having a burrito seemed wrong.
So four of us took Lucy and Yorick to...
Lay down your burdens
by Katie Swafford on September 8, 2014 in counseling services
This story is 3 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.
Sexual abuse - An uncomfortable phrase for most of us and a horrific experience and reality for far too many. In Christian circles, these words are not talked about very much. Whether it is the fear of the unknown, shame, disgust, naiveté or something else, there seems to be a common theme of silence.
Yet when we see others struggle, we have a tendency to talk about that. Many who have been sexually abused find themselves dealing with issues involving drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, panic...
Seeds of destruction: the city of West
by Guest Author on September 8, 2014 in disaster
Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor's degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master's degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.
When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was captivated by their kindness, and mainly, by the way they handled a difficult time in life....
Texas Baptists raise $182,000 for hunger through Mother’s Day Offering
by Kalie Lowrie on September 5, 2014 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists gave more than $182,000 to help end hunger and poverty through the Second Annual Mother's Day Hunger Offering. These gifts are used for hunger relief and anti-poverty programs both in Texas and abroad.
“As Texas Baptists we heed God's call to minister to those in need, in Texas and around the world," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering strives to show the power of God's love to those in need. Ministries supported through the offering range from feeding programs in local churches to job training for single mothers and improved water and sanitation resources for...
A fascinating day in the Quilombola village
by Guest Author on September 4, 2014 in news
On August 9, Linda Freeman (a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth) and Bertha Vaughn (a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Houston) joined seven other Texas Baptist church leaders through the African American Ministry. Each followed the call to serve eight days in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. Here the team did door-to-door evangelism and held Bible studies for Quilombola villagers under a shade tree. Read Freeman's and Vaughn's testimony as they recall unforgettable experiences from the village visits.
BRAZIL - It was a fascinating day. We visited two of the Quilombola villages. In the last village we...
No they're not here
by Ryan Jespersen on September 2, 2014 in you are the missionary
"No they're not here. No they're not here. No they're not here." This is the response that the folks at Grace Temple Baptist Church of Dallas received as they walked down 10th St. on a hot summer day. They were looking for the apartment managers of the many apartment buildings located on their street. Finally, when they arrived at the very last building, someone was willing to talk with them.
Grace Temple has a dynamic AWANA Program, which reaches dozens of children each week. They desired to expand this program into the apartments on the same street as their church. They begin to pray and ask God to allow that to happen. The...
by Guest Author on September 2, 2014 in go now missions
No, we aren't feeding fajitas. We are feeding students. About 1,800 of them, in the middle of campus, at lunch time, on the first day of the semester. The Father has blessed the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to be a part of its official "Welcome Week" activities, and Fajita Feed is one of the biggest!
At 9 a.m., the BSM at UTD staff and student leaders began setting up tables and tents and carrying cartloads of water bottles and cookies. We were also blessed with the Texas Baptist Men, who came with the food, and volunteers from local churches who helped serve up lunch so our student...
TBMF celebrates 30 years of making a difference
by Leah Reynolds on August 29, 2014 in news
DALLAS—The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) celebrated 30 years of giving toward missions and ministries with a luncheon held at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.
In 1984, TBMF began as a two-year experiment to raise additional funds for new churches. Thirty years later, the Foundation has worked with over 33,000 different donors to support 250 mission projects all over Texas and around the world.
Outlining the beginnings of TBMF, Dr. Bill Pinson, former executive director for Texas Baptists, described the time when the need to raise more funds first became apparent and the vision began to focus on creating the...
CCDA vision trip to McAllen
by Gerald Davis on August 28, 2014 in for the children
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things. Romans 10:15
Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery hosted a leadership group of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) on a vision trip to the border which allowed the group to see first-hand the crisis plaguing the unaccompanied minors and family units along the U.S. Border in McAllen, Texas. The group witnessed how God is at work in the midst of the crisis along the border.
Although the situation appears to be bleak and many children, youth and adults suffer through the journey, the hand of God is obviously at work as He carries hundreds of lives to...
Construction nears completion for 16 Filipino pastors’ homes
by Kalie Lowrie on August 28, 2014 in news
ILOILO CITY, the Philippines – In January, Texas Baptist churches were asked to respond to a great need in the Philippines following damage cause by Typhoon Haiyan. A request was sent out from Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery for churches to help raise $80,000 for the rebuilding of 16 pastors' homes. Pledges filed in quickly, with the remaining eight being made during the February 25 executive board meeting.
This summer, Civil Engineer Fred Golveo was sent by the First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City to oversee the construction projects for the homes. Golveo and his wife spent three months overseeing the 16...
A Church on Mission
by Ryan Jespersen on August 27, 2014 in you are the missionary
A new neighborhood, a new school, and a new place without the foundation of family and a familiar community—all of us know how hard that would be for a young person. Yet one little girl's mother, Tasha, was praying and asking God to bring a church into her daughter's life, a church where she could find Christ and be a disciple in that faith.
Enter the Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Garland, a Texas Baptist church whose youth group and church body had recently been renewed in its commitment to reach the surrounding neighborhood for Christ. The youth group at Eastern Hills decided that one way they could reach their community...
Where the healing begins
by Kalie Lowrie on August 26, 2014 in counseling services
This story is 2 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.
Sexual abuse is a sensitive subject and many times hearing about the pain and struggles loved ones have experienced through this type of abuse can be extremely difficult. Many people can be prone to want to gloss over the hard details and look for the silver lining or try and tie a little bow on the story and move on. However, for those suffering from sexual abuse, this is far from what they actually need.
There is power in the spoken word. For sexual abuse survivors like Tricia Martin*, sharing with her...
Attorney named CLC’s director of public policy
by Leah Reynolds on August 25, 2014 in news
AUSTIN – Kathryn Freeman has been named director of public policy for Texas Baptists' Christian Life Commission (CLC).
The CLC helps Texas Baptists, churches, communities and government leaders give voice to critical issues in society from a Christian and biblical perspective. Freeman will lead the CLC's efforts related to government and legislation.
“I'm very encouraged that we will have Kathryn alongside Dr. Gus Reyes and Ferrell Foster as a strong presence in Austin at the legislative session this next spring," said David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists.
Freeman earned her bachelor's degree in English from...
Alaska: Making an impact
by Guest Author on August 18, 2014 in go now missions
Allison Dufour, a student at Stephen F. Austin State University, served in Alaska with Go Now Missions.
It has been just over a week since my return home from Alaska back. This last week has been a whirlwind emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
I have slowly begun to process the changes in my life since spending a summer in Alaska. I have often thought about how I could impact the people of Anchorage, but what I did not expect is how much of an impact they would make on me.
Since leaving Alaska, I have noticed how much the Lord changed me as a person. One of the biggest ways this happened was God improved my work ethic....
Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem
by Leah Reynolds on August 18, 2014 in news
VICTORIA - Through discovering a community need and a partnership with the local food bank, Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Victoria has begun a feeding program that is making an impact in both the city and the church.
"We believe that the church is not supposed to be an institution that caters to itself," said Montari Morrison, pastor of Greater Mount Calvary. "The church is always supposed to be a resource to the community. Our message is supposed to go outside of the walls and not only be a spiritual help but also a physical help."
Since April 2014, volunteers from Greater Mount Calvary, as well as neighboring churches...
Boldly sharing Christ in South Asia
by Guest Author on August 15, 2014 in go now missions
B.B., a student from Texas A&M University, served with Go Now Missions in South Asia this summer.
Well jet lag is a beast. It's currently 5 a.m. and I can't sleep because I've crossed about 11 time zones to get home, but in this quiet darkness when I find myself alone in my living room, what better thing is there to do than think about the wonderful things that my God has done this summer. So this update will be sort of different than my others, for instance it's probably going to be a lot longer because I need to tell you about the events of the past three weeks and then sum up what the Lord has been teaching me this summer. So...
The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary
by Guest Author on August 14, 2014 in missions mobilization
Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.
The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed's ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan Jespersen at email@example.com or (214) 828-5278.
Oh July...it started quietly, but was...
New York: Busy summer ends
by Guest Author on August 13, 2014 in go now missions
Sadly, our summer interns are leaving New York City. It was such a privilege to serve with these 15 young adults for two months. I learned so much from them. Helping coordinate this summer internship was a privilege and a blessing. It feels different now that our Metropolitan New York Baptist Association mission house is empty.
The past two months, our associational mission house was full - not only with our summer interns, but also with mission teams from all over the United States. They were here to serve at the different churches in New York City.
Diana Mao, cofounder and president of Nomi Network, spoke to our interns about her...
Quebec: Afraid to believe
by Guest Author on August 12, 2014 in go now missions
Trying to communicate camp rules and activities to the French campers was challenging enough. Keeping the campers focused and interested during devotional time is a whole different ball game - especially when I'm trying to discuss a chapel message that was given in a language that I don't understand.
After starting the week off with uninterested campers begging to go play instead of talk about God, I couldn't help but be frustrated and growing impatient at my inability to reach my group of girls. I couldn't understand why my girls were so cold to Christ and why they didn't seem moved at all by the stories of his love and sacrifice...
Embracing Central American families in Laredo
by Leah Reynolds on August 12, 2014 in news
LAREDO - As River Ministry Coordinator Mario Garcia drives Central American families back and forth from the Greyhound bus station nearly every day, he cannot help but think of the paralyzed man Jesus healed in Mark 2.
"It's not that he needed to walk. It's that he needed salvation," he said. "The people I'm working with need Christ."
Garcia, director of missions for Laredo Baptist Association and River Ministry coordinator, is one of many Texas Baptists who have opted to embrace the families that have been seeking refuge from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cuba.
Maria*, from Honduras, told Garcia she fled her home after her...
Because of where you have been
by Kalie Lowrie on August 11, 2014 in counseling services
This story is 1 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.
Tricia Martin* was a fun-loving preacher's kid in the 1970s who played outside constantly and never met a stranger. Though she was small for her age, she never felt inferior or out of place, that was just the way God made her. She grew up in a loving, Christ-centered home and knew she was accepted and valued.
When she was eight years old, Tricia was sexually abused by one of the men in her church, a man whom she knew and trusted. She did not understand the things she was asked to do, but it did not seem right...
Orlando: When the world comes to us
by Guest Author on August 11, 2014 in go now missions
Central Florida is fortunate to be blessed with more than 50 million souls to minister to throughout the year.
Orlando has broken its record of people passing through the city with 59 million people, representing different cultures, ethnicities, languages and races. It is beautiful to imagine the hearts that could be touched, seeds that could be planted and souls that could be saved.
What is even better is the thought that one changed soul can change a nation or area. As we spread the gospel to one person, that one person can spread it in their home, and then “Bam!" From right here in America, we have reached China, North Korea or...
Vancouver: A summer of sowing seeds ends
by Guest Author on August 8, 2014 in go now missions
Here in Vancouver, we've been hanging out with some university students every Thursday this summer to play Ultimate Frisbee. They've let us join in supporting their team, even though not all of us play. They've let us come along to dinner with them after games. And now I can finally say that they let us share the gospel.
On a recent Thursday, I talked with three of the girls over dinner about what I believe and how Christianity differs from other religions. I shared with them the gospel and planted seeds of news they hadn't heard before. We're making the most of these relationships in our final days here by spending time with them...
England: God had other plans
by Guest Author on August 6, 2014 in go now missions
I was super-sad to leave Manchester. I had grown to love the missionaries, my teammate, the church I attended and the non-Christians I had befriended. I was flying back to Texas alone.
I was tired from staying up late saying goodbyes to everyone, and I had an early-morning flight. By the time I got on my flight from London to Texas, I was ready to sleep, watch movies and just shut out the rest of the world for the next 10 hours. That was not God's plan for my flight.
Even before the plane took off, I was comfy in my seat with my neck pillow. Then the cutest 2-year-old sat right next to me. I thought, “Well, there goes my sleep...
BSM nears $2 million goal for new facility
by Leah Reynolds on August 5, 2014 in news
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma has issued a $400,000 challenge grant to Texas Baptists to complete the funding for a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building on the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT). The building, which will cost $2,000,000 to construct, will be built on the site of the old BSM building.
The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation has been coordinating the fundraising effort. "Added to what Texas Baptists have already given, we need only $100,000 to reach the goal so construction can begin," said Larry Thomas, vice president of the Foundation. "If we can get the additional money soon...
Massachusetts: Lessons from a cupcake
by Guest Author on August 5, 2014 in go now missions
It should come as no surprise to me that God is continuing to teach me through the tiny tots I so enjoy being with. But one lesson was far more subtle than usual, and it has taken me a few days reflection on an adorable moment to recognize how childlike we should be when approaching God's throne.
It was a Thursday. The church was having a party in the park. As usual, I was running around with a few of the kids. One in particular had attached himself to me for the evening. I was carrying him on my hip, running around, doing all kinds of ridiculous things you do when playing with toddlers.
Wanting and not wanting a cupcake
And at one...
Pastors rally in prayer at the border
by Leah Reynolds on August 1, 2014 in news
MCALLEN-Over 50 Hispanic pastors, leaders and family members gathered in McAllen July 26, to pray over the current circumstances regarding the Central American families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border.
The prayer event served as the kickoff of "For His Children," an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Convoy of Hope, Buckner International and Somebody Cares International to help meet physical and spiritual needs of the minors and families."God's word affirms His people working, worshiping and praying in unity," said Gus Reyes, director of the Christian Life Commission. "This event...
Georgia: Well done, my good and faithful servant
by Guest Author on July 31, 2014 in go now missions
These are the words we all long to hear. "You did well my Daughter, come rest with me for eternity to come." There will be a time that comes when we stand in front of our Maker, as He evaluates the life we've lived, and the work we've done for His kingdom. If there's one thing that should stir our affections and spur us on to good works, this should be it. It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm back in College Station, Texas, sitting at my favorite coffee shop, on my favorite couch at Sweet Eugene's, dwelling on my 6 1/2 weeks at The Living Vine in Savannah, GA. If there's one thing that rang true throughout my time there it was this...
Following Christ involves welcoming children
by Ferrell Foster on July 30, 2014 in immigration
Parents will do just about anything to help their children. In Central America, parents are trying to help their children in ways that may seem odd and downright unwise to those of us in the United States, but their circumstances are very different. Their children's lives are at stake.
Drugs, violence, and lawlessness threaten to engulf their children, so they do what must be heartbreakingly difficult -- they send them away on a long, perilous journey to a place that seems to offer hope for their children. Many of those children make it, and they cross the border into their place of deliverance -- the United States.
Texas Baptists offer aid for border crisis in Rio Grande Valley
by Leah Reynolds on July 28, 2014 in news
MCALLEN-The border issue: some call it a crisis, some call it a disaster, but to many Texas Baptists, it is an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
All eyes turned to the doorway as Daniela Cruz* and her two daughters, Lorena* and Carmen*, stepped inside Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. Volunteers with various religious backgrounds clapped and cheered as the girls entered.
It is a welcoming gesture, said Nadia Chapa, volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities who is hosting the relief center in McAllen. It is how they greet each family who enters the facility, assuring them it is a safe place where...
Georgia: Resting in his hands
by Guest Author on July 27, 2014 in go now missions
It is hard to really describe what we do here at The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home. It is one of those things that you can't really understand it until you are actually doing it, living it. But I think this story really sums up exactly what is going on here.
Saturday, July 19th, was visitation day. The girls spent the morning doing their chores and then later in the afternoon, they were allowed to go out on visitation with family, if that was at all possible. We had one girl going on visitation, one girl who spent each day at the hospital with her baby in NICU, leaving three girls that we were going to get to take to the...
Connecticut: The Story of Kenny
by Guest Author on July 25, 2014 in go now missions
A few weeks ago I got to have a conversation with a good friend of ours named Kenny at the soup kitchen. Kenny is probably mid-60s, military veteran who grew up in Norwich, Connecticut. When we first met him he shared with us that there were two things that he did not discuss with people: religion and politics. A few days later, we got to hang and chat with Kenny a little bit more and we were just making simple casual conversation. He started to ask what we had been up to the day before, and let's just say that opened up a huge door.
Zach began to tell him that we were at our weekly Bible study and that we were studying the book of...
Alaska: Satisfying physical and spiritual hunger
by Guest Author on July 24, 2014 in go now missions
It is hard to believe I have now been serving with Alaska Missions in the Last Frontier for almost two months. There have been many up and downs, but through it all The Lord had moved in miraculous ways. After spending a week serving in Kodiak, Alaska, our team took a ferry back to the mainland, eventually settling in Anchorage. This is where we have been serving for the last 6 weeks and will be until August.
We spend our mornings doing service projects in the community, which include light construction and a lot of cleaning. I would not typically choose painting a strangers office as my first thing to do in the morning, but the...
Sixty quilts handmade and delivered with love
by Leah Reynolds on July 22, 2014 in news
VILLA FRANCA, Spain - Even when verbal communication seems impossible, there's one language that is spoken by all: love. It can be spoken through hugs, laughter and 60 quilts hand-made by Texas Baptist women.
The quilts were a part of Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) of Texas initiative "Covered with Love" in which they presented the request for 50 quilts for the Evangelical Baptist Retirement Home in Villa Franca, Spain.
Together women within WMU, Texas Baptist staff, and local Baptist churches, donated their time and their stitching skills to the cause. Within five months, they finished more quilts than needed and prayed over each...
Call to prayer: responding to the crisis
by Guest Author on July 15, 2014 in news
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- As a former Texan, my heart goes to the border of Texas. As a born-again Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to compassionate action for those who are suffering right now as a result of the immigration crisis, especially the children.
Due to the gigantic nature of this entire issue, most of us become paralyzed or even intimidated by it. By no means do I imagine myself as an authority on this very complex issue, but as one American and Christian leader, I must respond.
As the medical community would sort through the issues as they treat multiple people in a triage unit, we may need to do the same...
Hispanic Baptists seek ways to help border crisis
by Kalie Lowrie on July 3, 2014 in news
MCALLEN -- The crisis along the Texas/Mexico border regarding more then 47,000 unaccompanied children was on the hearts and minds of those attending Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas in McAllen this week.
"It is necessary for us to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis affecting tens of thousands finding themselves abandoned and in need of basic necessities," said Jesse Rincones, executive director of Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, during the Monday morning session. "We are here to express our commitment as Hispanic Baptists to provide assistance, awareness and prayer for those in need."
Hispanic Baptist President Bea...
Rebuilders of walls, restorers of streets
by Kara Kistner on June 27, 2014 in news
CORPUS CHRISTI - Impact City Church in Corpus Christi was planted by Felix Trevino, a worker at Valero Refinery, and his wife, Sara, as a response to a need for a missional church in the community of South Texas. They are a part of the Corpus Christi Baptist Association and a member of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
"This was a fairly new concept to the culture of South Texas," said Felix. "There weren't too many churches at the time who were focused on building a body of believers on small groups and disciple making versus mass evangelism and the seeker friendly attractive model."
Along with working countless hours a...
Understanding Intentional Interim Ministry
by Kara Kistner on June 4, 2014 in news
DALLAS - The interim period between one pastor leaving and the next pastor arriving can be a special time of God moving in a congregation. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the next person to arrive, the interim time creates a wonderful opportunity to address issues, questions, concerns, vision and the church's health.
Throughout Texas Baptists there are a total of 88 trained Intentional Interim Pastors, 25 currently in training and 10 active pastors in the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE). Whether a church needs a traditional interim pastor or an intentional interim pastor, Texas Baptist's Intentional Interim...
Starting a Legacy
by Rand Jenkins on June 2, 2014 in news
INDEPENDENCE - On Sunday morning, June 1, at the oldest continuously running Baptist church in Texas, Robert E. Dixon and Dr. Paul W. Powell were honored for the legacies they started and what they became through the Texas Baptist Legacy Award.
Bryan Finley, a member of First Baptist Church of Kerrville, led the group in Bible study and posed the question, "When does a legacy begin?" Through scripture and biblical personalities like Abraham, Moses, Joshua and others, he summed up the answer with, "Legacy begins by starting something God directed. It continues when others who are directed by God to join the initiator who embraces...
Executive Board approves building sale, agreement with STSCS
by Kalie Lowrie on May 20, 2014 in news
DALLAS -Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board convened on Mon., May 19, and Tues., May 20. Several decisions were made, including the sale of the BGCT's Dallas facility to Baylor University for $16 million. For more information on the building sale, click here.
"The discussions and sale of the building is a spiritual and stewardship decision," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. "As the face of Texas continues to change, so will the way we do church, the way we do convention and the way we collaborate to reach the state with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Twenty-five years ago, God directed our leaders to build...
Thank you for giving to Mother's Day Hunger Offering
by Jay Netherton on May 14, 2014 in news
Mother's Day, May 11, 2014, marked the conclusion of the Christian Life Commission's Mother's Day Hunger Offering initiative. With a goal of raising $1 million on this day, churches from across the state joined hands to help beat the cycle of hunger and poverty not only in Texas, but around the world. Final tallies will be made as donations continue to pour in throughout the month.
Last year marked the first annual Mother's Day offering as a part of the greater, year-around Texas Baptists Hunger Offering and raised over $250,000. This year, we are eager to see how God has provided for this life-changing ministry through your...
Miracles don't just happen in the Bible
by Kalie Lowrie on March 6, 2014 in news
Joseph Parker, pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, in Austin, received a heart transplant on Jan. 23, 2013, following more than ten years of heart issues. Two weeks ago, he was able to meet the family of the donor who saved his life. He shared his story with the Executive Board during their meeting on Monday, Feb. 24.
One of the nurses asked when the doctor came into my room, "Where was the heart from?" The surgeon said, "Not far, I just need to go get it." The only thing I knew was that there had been some vehicular accident that lead to the death of my donor.
So I received that new heart and went through cardiac rehab...
Texas Baptists give record $953,000 toward Hunger Offering
by Kalie Lowrie on February 13, 2014 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists gave more than $953,000 to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in 2013 to help address hunger and poverty issues around the world. This is the largest amount raised through the offering since its creation in 1995, and an increase of $200,000 from 2012.
"I am humbled by the generosity of churches and individuals around the state who chose to give to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. "Without them, we, as an organization could not do what we do. Thank you to all of you who gave of your resources. We are extremely grateful. Your gifts are changing lives across our...
Memorial set for HSU Senior Taylor Huff
by Kalie Lowrie on November 11, 2013 in news
Memorial service arrangements for Taylor Huff have been set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at the Church on Rush Creek: Green Oaks Campus, 2350 S.W. Green Oaks Blvd., in Arlington, TX, 76017.
Huff passed away in a pedestrian/vehicle accident in Abilene early Sunday. He was a member of the Hardin-Simmons football team and was a senior exercise science major.
"These guys will honor Taylor by taking the field," said Hardin-Simmons University head coach Jesse Burleson in a news conference this morning as he discussed the difficulty of thinking about football after losing a long-time member of the Cowboys.
Burleson and two...
by Kalie Lowrie on October 16, 2013 in news
WACO - The resurrection of Christ continues to reverberate throughout inner city communities across the nation, according to presenters at the No Need Among You Conference.
"We are part of a beautiful movement committed to making God's love manifest," said Shane Claiborne, who ministers in Philadelphia. "Resurrection wasn't just an event that happened 2,000 years ago; it is something we participate in every day. Now we can live in the confidence that life is more powerful than death."
The author and founding member of The Simple Way said God has revitalized the area in which he lives as believers have reached out to their neighbors...
Texas Baptists' chaplaincy releases guidelines regarding same-sex issues
DALLAS - Texas Baptists' Chaplaincy Relations Office issued guiding principles to its endorsed chaplains regarding same-sex issues in the wake of the military repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the U.S. Supreme Court's striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Supervisors have asked many of Texas Baptists' approximately 200 military chaplains for guidelines from their endorser regarding how they can minister to same-sex couples.
Chaplains must follow military regulations, but also are bound to the guidelines set forth by their endorsing body, which the military has pledged not to infringe upon. The Baptist General...
Fight rages beyond battlefield; chaplains on frontline
WAXAHACHIE - Military personnel's fight rages well beyond the battlefield, and chaplains are on the frontlines.
In 2012, military suicides hit a record high since the armed forces began tracking such tragedies. Self-inflicted military deaths outnumbered deaths that took place in combat. The rate is down slightly in 2013 - 161 potential suicides happened this year - but a military suicide takes places about every 18 hours.
Many times, chaplains are the first wave of defense against suicide, said U.S. Navy Chap. Fred McGuffin, who is assigned to the Marine Corps in New Orleans. Junior chaplains "deal with it often."
Executive Board approves 2014 convention budget
DALLAS - The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board approved a $40.4 million 2014 budget for the convention.
The budget reflects essentially flat church giving through the convention's Cooperative Program, $2.29 million in investment income and $1 million less to be raised by the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation.
Total Cooperative Program from Texas Baptists for 2014 is forecast to be $48.95 million, including $11.3 million to the Southern Baptist Convention, $1.0 million to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and $1.8 million for worldwide portion of the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program. The Board also approved the...
'The Art of Black Preaching'
SAN ANTONIO - The energetic call and response style of African American preaching garners the attention of those who have witnessed its finest practitioners.
But "the art of Black Preaching" is found in the heart of its message: transformation is possible through Christ.
Pastors call African American churches to cling faithfully to Christ, no matter how difficult circumstances become, Kinney said. Historically, African American preachers have done this well through trials and struggles.
"The black preacher never loses focus that I am to take what's broken and provide a word to bring it back together," John W. Kinney, dean of the...
Lebanese partnerships spread hope and aid to Syrian refugees
by Kalie Lowrie on September 23, 2013 in news
Spiritual revival is taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis.
With the escalating disputes in Syria, many are fleeing to neighboring countries to escape the crossfire. Media reports depict the great suffering and desperation, yet "God is doing great things in the midst of a great crisis," said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society. "The church is in revival in Syria. We are able to reach people we never dreamt of before."
Costa acknowledges that the situation is extremely dangerous, but he has also seen God working in mighty ways and His name being glorified.
"God is at...
Baby Boomers: A harvest waiting to take place
ALLEN - The largest cohort of Americans also happens to be the one that's living longer than all those who came before it.
That's no coincidence, claims Amy Hanson, the featured speaker at a conference entitled "Catching the Baby Boomer Wave," sponsored by Texas Baptists' Bible Study/Discipleship Department, First Baptist Church in Allen, Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
"I don't think that's by accident," she said. "I think God is up to something. He's raising up a generation."
As Baby Boomers continue entering their retirement years, they have the time to serve in...
Executive Board votes to sell Glorieta Texan Lodge
The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board unanimously voted to sell the Texan Lodge at the Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico and invest the revenue in convention-sponsored youth camps.
The board voted to sell the lodge for $100,000 to Glorieta 2.0, a Christian camp group that is buying the conference center from LifeWay Christian Resources. The BGCT will then create a "quasi-endowment" with the funds, which will produce $4,000-5,000 year to support BGCT youth camps such as Camp Exalted and Camp Fusion.
Texas Baptists' Treasurer Jill Larsen said the endowment would continue the type of work the funds were...
Loving Oklahoma volunteers help victims rebuild and restore
by Guest Author on August 15, 2013 in news
A series of tornadoes in May of this year devastated parts of Oklahoma, taking lives and flattening houses. Two and a half months later, residents still have needs as they try to restart their lives.
On August 5-10, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery partnered with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and World Vision to help meet many of those needs through the recovery effort Loving Oklahoma.
More than 130 volunteers scattered across a widespread area from El Reno to Shawnee, Okla. to aid in debris pick-up, house construction, donation sorting and other needs. Many came in church groups and some came as individuals.
According to Daniel Cana...
Conference set to gear churches for boomer wave
by Guest Author on July 31, 2013 in news
The baby boomer wave is upon senior adult ministries, and people from all across the country are registering to "catch it" with the National Boomer Ministry Conference Sept. 5-6.
At First Baptist Church in Allen, participants will have a full schedule of breakout sessions, general sessions and entertainment.
Baby boomers remain the largest population group, now ranging in ages 49-67, said Keith Lowry, Texas Baptists' single adult/family ministry/senior adult specialist. They tend to have a different mindset than the previous generation when it comes to finding a church home and often are turned off by the term "senior adult." Most...
CLC 83rd Session Report
by Ferrell Foster on July 26, 2013 in news
Christian Life Commission Final Report: 83rd Regular Legislative Session
During each legislative session, the Christian Life Commission (CLC) works to promote sound public policy on a variety of fronts important to Texas residents. The following is a list of bills the CLC actively followed, supported and, in some cases, opposed during the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature.
In the 83rd Legislative Session, the CLC...
Pray. Just pray.
by Guest Author on July 24, 2013 in news
Have you ever felt like a catalyst? A catalyst is "an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action". So put simply, a catalyst is something that helps the bigger something happen faster.
I feel as if I've been that for the past 6 weeks. I say this not to boast, but to share how God has humbled me. Here in East Asia, there are already people working to make God's name known and I feel that God just picked me up and placed me in the middle of it all and said "Pray. That is all. Just Pray."
"Pray Continually" - 1 Thessalonians 5: 17
There were many times when I would sit down and pray for God to allow us to share with those...
Hispanic Baptists in Texas Looking Toward Future
by Guest Author on July 23, 2013 in news
SAN ANTONIO - Hispanic Baptists are well-positioned to focus on what God has laid on their hearts for the convention's future, said Jesse Rincones, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas executive director.
"I thank God I've had the opportunity to serve for the last three years," Rincones said of serving as president and more recently executive director. "It's been a historic time, a time of transition."
Since signing the unification agreement with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 2010, Hispanic Baptists have celebrated their centennial, made changes to some of their bylaws, established the volunteer position of executive...
Unified, Texas Baptists seek to carry out Great Commission
SAN ANTONIO - Fulfilling the Great Commission requires Texas Baptists to work united for the cause of Christ, according to presenters in the final worship service of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.
The Great Commission is Christ's command to His followers, said Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield. They are to be doctors for the sick, people who bring the ill to a place of healing.
"I believe that's our mandate," he said, preaching from Romans 12:3-4. "I believe that's our call. I believe we must be passionate about bringing men and women into the kingdom of the most high God."
There are people in every...
African American Fellowship visions future, studies new age statistics
by Guest Author on July 16, 2013 in news
SAN ANTONIO - African American Baptists were challenged to look into the future with a new set of lenses as they gathered together at this year's Culp Banquet, celebrated during the Texas Baptists Family Gathering.
Photo: From left to right: Oscar Epps, President; Ponce L. Brown, Vice President; Glen J. Samuels, Secretary; Elmo Johnson, Treasurer; Michael Evans, Former President
Nat Irvin II, professor of management at the University of Louisville, recalled a childhood memory when an unfortunate incident with glass caused blindness in one of his eyes.
"Just because you have eyesight doesn't mean you aren't blind," he said as he walked...
God has called Texas Baptists to a mission
SAN ANTONIO - Texas Baptists have been called to reach the state for Christ - a task that must be completed.
Featured speakers from the second evening worship service of the Family Gathering, reminded meeting participants that God has called Christians to reach their communities, their state and beyond.
To do that requires believers to have an intense focus on the mission at hand, said Bedilu Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church in Garland. Each action they take, every work of ministry they perform must help expand God's kingdom. To maximize their impact, Christians must work together in a spirit of unity.
Breaking the chains of darkness, revisited
by Guest Author on July 16, 2013 in news
This summer, I have reverently been praying for divine appointments in South Asia. Honestly, my heart hurts deeply for this place. My biggest prayer is for His truth to be shared and embraced in the darkest corners of South Asia.
Last week, we were prayer walking around a Hindu temple in the city. These temples are incredibly dark places. Imagine yourself walking into a temple where people are convulsing and chanting to the daily animal sacrifices.
Darkness is heavy on your chest as you walk barefoot on the "holy", blood, and dirt stained floor. Hundreds of people are shoving you to make their daily sacrifices to their idols as they...
2013-2014 Officers Elected to the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas
by Guest Author on July 15, 2013 in news
Hispanic Baptists elected the first female convention president in their 103-year history this morning.
The announcement came after two rounds of voting. The first - a race between Daniel 'Tiny' Dominguez, current president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention; Bea Mesquias, member of United Baptist Church in Harlingen; and Manuel Rios, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Monte Calvario in San Antonio - did not result in a clear majority.
The runoff was a close race; Mesquias won with 100 votes, versus Rios' 97.
Mesquias has a long resume of accomplishments in Baptist life. She has served on the boards of the Woman's Missionary Union of Texas...
Hardage: Thank you, Texas Baptists
SAN ANTONIO - The breadth of Texas Baptists' ministry is wide, and its commitment to sharing the gospel is deep.
For all that they are doing, Texas Baptists' Executive Director David Hardage gives thanks. Because congregations are generous with their resources in their communities and through Texas Baptists, ministry is possible.
"You make a difference, Texas Baptists," he said. "On behalf of the lives you touched and the lives you helped, let me just say 'Thank you.'"
Speaking during the Baptist General Convention of Texas business session of the Family Gathering, Hardage shared glimpses of what Texas Baptists are doing throughout...
Messengers grant board authority to consider building sale
by Guest Author on July 15, 2013 in news
SAN ANTONIO -- Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting elected officers and granted the BGCT Executive Board and an ad hoc committee authority to consider sale of the Baptist Building in Dallas.
In the second day of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering and during the first BGCT business session, messengers re-elected Jeff Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, to a second term as president by acclamation.
Messengers also elected by acclamation Kathy Hillman of Waco as first vice president, René Maciel of San Antonio as second vice president, Bernie Spooner of Coppell as secretary of the...
Guarneri: Bible calls Christians to embrace diversity
by Guest Author on July 14, 2013 in news
SAN ANTONIO - The bible calls believers to embrace diversity, not just tolerate it, according to Julio Guarneri, who presented the Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting sermon July 14. Using Acts 1:8 and Revelation 7:9 as his guiding texts, Guarneri, pastor for Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, preached that God's heart and vision for the church is inclusivity. Acts 1:8 delivers Jesus' stated purpose for the church: to reach "the ends of the earth," Guarneri said. This can - and often does - mean crossing geographic boundaries, but it also means crossing cultural boundaries close to home. Samaria was not a...
Common Ground at the Cross of Christ
by Guest Author on July 14, 2013 in news
SAN ANTONIO - Christians should seek unity because of their desire for and delight in the Lord, Earl Grant, pastor of Covenant Church in San Antonio, shared in the opening session of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.
"Diversity is a given because diversity is the inherent mix," he said. "It is the inclusion or intentional integration that makes the mix work well."
"You need to know you are saved, and because of your salvation you can handle it," Grant explained. "You have been called and cleansed by God. You have been washed in the blood."
He went on to share that as Texas Baptists, "we come to a common ground at the cross of...
Johnson discusses Dr. Seuss and diversity
by Guest Author on July 14, 2013 in news
SAN ANTONIO -- With children gathered around and a Dr. Seuss book in hand, Baptist General Convention of Texas President Jeff Johnson added a metaphorical twist to this year's presidential message.
Johnson began his message at the Texas Baptists Family Gathering, an event that brought together the diverse Texas Baptist family, by reading The Sneetches, a Dr. Seuss story where the sneetches learn a valuable lesson about peaceful coexistence between one another regardless of their diverse appearance. Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, grasped the children's attention on the stage as the screens displayed picture-book...
God's power shown through His church, people
SAN ANTONIO - God's plan for expanding His kingdom entails working through the lives of people in His church in such a way that they testify about Him, according to Victor Rodriguez, pastor of Life Church of San Antonio.
The former Baptist General Convention of Texas president was the featured preacher during the Hispanic rally that kicked off the Family Gathering, a bringing together of the diverse body of Texas Baptists.
The rally was filled with energetic worship and Rodriguez's poignant preaching, which encouraged Texas Baptists to share the gospel in their communities. God desires a relationship with every person. To do that, He...