Kingdom work is often the result of common people doing uncommon work in the unlikeliest of places for the most unlikely of people. This is certainly true when you consider a call to be a leader in ministry. It is evermore real as you consider Texas Baptists’ work.
As we think of the work we will do, most ministers in training whom I know picture a life of ministry that involves a church similar to the one where we developed in our faith. But, Kingdom work can be uncommon.
Until about 18 months ago, I personally did not know Pastor Jim Furgerson or of the town of Tilden. This eventually became the unlikely people group and place for my current assignment. This small, unincorporated town is like no other place I have ever lived. People are cautious, but once they get to know you, they open their arms and hearts to you. The community is reminiscent of what heaven will be: warm, inviting and filled with love for one another—a hidden gem.
It’s been the little things, like having morning coffee with men at the local watering hole, or celebrating the service of our local law enforcement officers and EMS volunteers which have provided me opportunities to lead as Jesus led, getting to know the hearts of the people. It’s all in the relationships. For me,the future of Texas Baptists is here, embedded in rural Texas, serving as a natural starting point for leadership and discipleship development.
Undeniably, metro areas are vital to continue the work of reaching the unchurched and the lost in our great state and beyond. However, I would like to add the potential power of the rural areas cannot be denied and are great avenues to prepare relentless ambassadors for the Kingdom.
Imagine what God can do through a pastor that is trained, serving in the local congregation of a town like Tilden or Daisetta, focusing on discipleship and in-depth training on subjects like apologetics and spiritual formation.
Without a doubt, many people in the congregation will remain in the little community where the minister serves, but think of the children, youth, and college-ready young men and women sitting in those worship centers. Imagine the impact when the rural congregation sends well-equipped believers off to college, many of which are in metro areas to find a career.
I testify to this fact in my own journey. From being a 12-year-old raised in Southeast Texas, to attending college for my undergraduate degree, I am the result of Texas Baptists’ presence in a small town.
As a result of being called to Tilden Baptist Church, I was introduced to Leadership Texas Baptists: A training and networking program focused on upcoming leaders from congregations across Texas. This series of events is the result of rural area congregations with a God-given vision that extends far beyond ranch fields, local school sports, and reaches to the “ends of the earth” in service to God’s Kingdom.
José Carlos Garduño Ramírez serves as Associate Pastor at Tilden Baptist Church and was a member of the Leadership Texas Baptists Cohort 1. For more information and Leadership Texas Baptists, contact David Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214.828.5253.