Training eternally-focused churches in community ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on January 16, 2018 in great commandment
The First Baptist Church of Valley Mills sits atop a hill in a community of around 1,200 residents. While the church has engaged in ongoing community ministry since its inception, Pastor John Wheatley was interested in finding new ways to minister. He approached the Baylor University School of Social Work and was soon connected with Travis Engel, a social work intern who began serving with the church in the fall of 2016.
One of Engel’s first tasks was to conduct a community assessment by creating an asset map of the community with the help of an assessment team which was made up of people from the church and the community... [continue]
Entrenar iglesias eternamente enfocadas en ministerios a la comunidad
by Kalie Lowrie on January 16, 2018 in great commandment
La Primera Iglesia Bautista de Valley Mills se encuentra en la cima de un monte en una comunidad de alrededor de 1,200 residentes. A pesar de que la iglesia ha participado continuamente en ministerios a la comunidad desde sus comienzos, el Pastor John Wheatley estaba interesado en encontrar maneras nuevas para servir. Él se comunicó con la Escuela de Trabajo Social de la Universidad de Baylor y pronto le conectaron con Travis Engel, un trabajador social quien comenzó a servir en la iglesia en el otoño del 2016... [continue]
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... [continue]
Collaboration facilitates community impact
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2017 in vol 5 issue 6
When Blanca Salinas attended a gathering of Baptist partners in San Antonio last February, she made connections which helped expand the reach of her ministry. At the meeting, Salinas, site coordinator for STCH ministries, shared about two programs she coordinates–Jobs for Life and Faith & Finances.
Jobs for Life is a job-readiness ministry that equips individuals to transition from unemployed to employed.
“Throughout the 12-week course, we also help equip people spiritually,” said Salinas. “This is a faith-based curriculum that explores people’s faith and spirituality. It speaks to far more than just the practical skills we... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
LA CONFERENCIA ‘UNO’ DE LA COMISIÓN FOMENTA LA UNIDAD Y LA RECONCILIACIÓN
by Kalie Lowrie on September 18, 2017 in clc espanol
GRAND PRAIRIE –Más de 175 bautistas de Texas se reunieron el 26 de agosto buscando sanidad racial a raíz de un turbulento año de confrontaciones entre estadounidenses blancos, negros e hispanos.
“El Señor puso este evento en mi corazón la primavera del año pasado porque sentí que la iglesia no había hecho lo suficiente para ser parte de la solución”, dijo Kathryn Freeman, Directora de Política Pública de la Comisión de Vida Cristiana de los Bautistas de Texas.
El evento, que se llevó a cabo en la First Baptist Church de Grand Prairie, buscaba equipar a los líderes... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Seeing God at work through 50 years of River Ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on September 11, 2017 in vol 5 issue 5
In 1967, the Baptist General Convention of Texas recognized the 2 million people living along the border of Texas and Mexico as an important mission point and launched the Rio Grande Mission Thrust with $250,000 allocated for missions opportunities. Texas Baptists responded to the call of God to minister to those along the Rio Grande river and 50 years later, River Ministry is still vibrant and life-changing.
In September 1967, just six months after the Rio Grande Mission Thrust initiative began, Hurricane Beulah ripped through the Texas and Mexico border resulting in the displacement of 300,000 Americans and Mexicans from their... [continue]
Meet Osvaldo and Vanessa Lerma: River Ministry Missionaries in the Valley
by Kalie Lowrie on September 11, 2017 in vol 5 issue 5
Osvaldo and Vanessa Lerma have served as Texas Baptists River Ministry missionaries in the Rio Grande Valley for a combined 25 years. From the colonias in Mission to the beaches of South Padre Island, the Lermas coordinate ongoing ministry on both sides of the border. Vanessa works primarily in McAllen, Harlingen and Mission, while Osvaldo covers the Brownsville region. They easily put 100-200 miles on their cars each day as they work with different ministry partners across their territory.
Building trust and deepening relationships with local pastors is a key-component of ministry, according to Osvaldo. He checks in each month... [continue]
Snapshots of present-day River Ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on September 11, 2017 in vol 5 issue 5
Training church leaders for impact
Daniel Rangel joined with Mario Gonzalez, director of Texas Baptists Multi-housing and House Congregations, to train house church leaders on ministering to new congregations in Laredo. Church leaders learned skills for small group Bible study, 4xFour evangelism, Study Bible resources as well as help with sermon outlines. Texas Baptists River Ministry missionaries facilitate many training opportunities on both sides of the border. Other training opportunities include “No Mas Violencia,” teaching how to stop physical and emotional violence in families, neighborhoods, schools and city streets... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
BOUNCE revises schedule to serve in Harvey-affected areas
by Kalie Lowrie on September 1, 2017 in press release
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... [continue]
Texas Baptists response to Hurricane Harvey
by Kalie Lowrie on August 28, 2017 in press release
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... [continue]
Texas Baptist CLC to host racial reconciliation event in Grand Prairie
by Kalie Lowrie on August 23, 2017 in press release
For Immediate Release
GRAND PRAIRIE–The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission will host a one-day conference on racial reconciliation Aug. 26. The event, “One: Unity not Uniformity,” will be at First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
The guest speaker will be Tasha Morrison, founder of “Be the Bridge,” a ministry to equip and provide tools for those who are actively involved in taking the next steps toward racial unity. One: Unity not Uniformity is designed to equip church leaders and lay members to engage in the work of racial reconciliation in their communities.
“Christian leaders need to come together and... [continue]
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... [continue]
Project:Start helps Kenyan church expand capacity for refugee ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 spotlight
In January, members of Upendo Baptist Church in Garland gathered to pray and fast that God would grow their church.
Only a week later, Pastor Shadrack Ruto was connected to 60 people in search of a new church home. The initial three visitors to the church were not from a Kenyan background, like the majority of the church membership, but were refugees from the Central African Republic who lived within 10 miles of the church. The families had recently moved to the United States from refugee camps. Ruto heard story after story of trauma and need from the families and the church leaders gathered to see how they could help.
Intercultural churches connect people groups to the Gospel
by Kalie Lowrie on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 spotlight
By Kalie Lowrie and Analiz G. Schremmer
In heaven, people of every tongue, tribe and nation will worship together, yet we tend to separate ourselves out when congregate. At first glance, it may seem wrong to serve separately, but when you put yourself in the shoes of a recent immigrant, trying to navigate around a foreign culture and an unknown language, it makes perfect sense.
“If you go visit a church where you can’t understand the language, and the culture is confusing, how are you going to meet Christ?” asked Intercultural Ministries Director Patty Lane. “Even if you do somehow meet Christ, how are you going to get discipled... [continue]
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.... [continue]
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... [continue]
UN LUGAR DONDE HOSPEDARSE, UN CAMINO A LA RESTAURACIÓN
by Kalie Lowrie on June 26, 2017 in clc espanol
ABILENE – Después de un viaje de seis horas de Lufkin a Abilene, Roseanne Welch estaba agradecida por la calurosa bienvenida que recibió cuando entró en Eunice Chambless Hospitality House. (Casa de hospitalidad Eunice Chambless, en español, ECHH, por sus siglas en inglés).
“Sentí como si fuera a visitar a mi familia”, dijo Welch. “Todos fueron muy amables y nos dieron la bienvenida desde el momento que llegamos. Se sintió como estar en casa”.
Ese fue el primer viaje que Welch hizo para visitar a su hijo, quien está encarcelado en la unidad French Robertson del Departamento de Justicia Criminal de Texas, ya que fue... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Singing Women of Texas to host Texas Lone Star Mission Tour
by Kalie Lowrie on June 2, 2017 in press release
DALLAS – The Singing Women of Texas, Texas Baptists’ affiliated women’s choir, is hosting the Texas Lone Star Mission this June to benefit charities around the state.
The tour will take place from June 19-26. Concert locations include First Baptist Church, San Marcos; First Baptist Church, San Antonio; Calvary Baptist Church, Lubbock; First Baptist Church, Plainview; and First Baptist Church, Wylie.
The Singing Women of Texas was founded in 1994 as a one-performance choir. Today, 23 years later, there are eight chapters across the state comprised of church staff members, church choir members and music educators. All eight... [continue]
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... [continue]
Keys to a Gospel-centered summer: Q&A with the Great Commission Team
by Kalie Lowrie on May 22, 2017 in great commission
Summer church ministry may look and feel a little different than other times of the year. From camps and kids programs to sports clinics and block parties, opportunities to engage your community with the Gospel are endless. We sat down with our Great Commission Team leaders to ask their perspective on all things evangelism and discipleship. Here’s what they shared:
What summertime ministry made the biggest impact on you as a young person?
Delvin Atchison: It was Vacation Bible School. I came from a small town and small towns didn’t have a lot of camps, mind you this is 40 years ago, but we did have Vacation Bible School. It was... [continue]
Making the mystery of the Gospel known at Super Summer
by Kalie Lowrie on May 22, 2017 in great commission
To make the mystery of the Gospel known to unbelievers requires remembering what it was like to be lost, Shannon Hopkins told a room of 200 Super Summer leaders in preparation for upcoming camps.
Hopkins, a missionary to Honduras, returns to Texas each summer to serve as an assistant dean one week of Super Summer as an opportunity to give back to a those who invested so much in his life.
As he dissected the heart of this year’s Super Summer theme “Making the mystery of the Gospel known” for deans, assistant deans and the other camp leadership, Hopkins encouraged each person to remember what it means to be a foreigner and an... [continue]
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... [continue]
Texas Baptists and MinistrySafe to provide free child sexual abuse prevention training in Dallas
by Kalie Lowrie on May 10, 2017 in press release
DALLAS – Texas Baptists, a state-wide denominational convention of more than 5,300 congregations, is partnering with MinistrySafe, a national leader in sexual abuse risk reduction, to provide nine regional child sexual abuse prevention training workshops throughout 2017.
Dallas County Cowboy Church will host one of nine Church Safety Workshops on Thurs., May 11. The workshop, which is free of charge to church leaders around the Metroplex, will be offered from 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and registration is required. Additional information is available at texasbaptists.org/ministrysafe.
“Texas Baptists takes very seriously the safety of... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Meeting needs on the border: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering story
by Kalie Lowrie on April 25, 2017 in great commandment
Many people who live in Agua Dulce, a small community in the southeast region of El Paso, have limited access to food and medical care. A large percentage of the community consists of undocumented immigrants and many families do not have fathers and husbands to provide for basic needs. Texas Baptists River Ministry Coordinator Jesus Galarza has worked around Agua Dulce for several years and has built trust with the residents in order to help meet basic needs.
This spring, Galarza coordinated a medical mission trip with students and physicians from UT-Southwestern Medical Center Baptist Student Ministry to provide medical... [continue]
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... [continue]
Embracing local culture: Country Church thrives in East Texas
by Kalie Lowrie on March 20, 2017 in culture
As Pastor and Church Planter Jordan Wilson stands back and reflects on all God has done in the three-and-a-half years since Tyler County Country Church (TC3) began, he is truly in awe. Standing in a 16,000 square foot, two-story building in Woodville, which opened its doors in October 2016, Wilson can point to so many moments of God’s faithfulness and provision.
TC3 was started by Wilson and his wife, Emily, in 2013 after being approached by First Baptist Church Woodville and six other churches who saw the need for a new church in the area to reach a different segment of the population. Initially, the church was started as a... [continue]
How 25 chickens transformed a family - a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story
by Kalie Lowrie on March 20, 2017 in great commandment
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 Social Development and Service Unit (SDSU) Chicken and Cattle Farming Project, he was elated... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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,... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
The impact of institutional giving: Natalie’s story
by Kalie Lowrie on January 26, 2017 in great commandment
Since Natalie Rodriguez was 12-years-old, Texas Baptists have invested in Natalie Rodriguez in multiple, life-changing ways.
At the age of one, Natalie was placed in the foster care system, where she grew up living in multiple homes with her younger sister. Then, in 1996, she and her sister were brought to the Texas Baptist Children’s Home. During her first few months, she tried to adjust to new surroundings but was very overwhelmed and unsure about the permanency of her new home.
“I heard about Jesus daily, but I was so upset,” Natalie said. “I wasn’t ready for someone to actually be there for me.”
That December, Natalie was... [continue]
Missionary Adoption Program opens doors for expanded ministry in Brazil and beyond
by Kalie Lowrie on January 24, 2017 in great commission
Deep in the Amazon rain forest, in the midst of 10,000 unreached people groups, lies a community known as Livramento. Translated in English, “deliverance” is a poetic title for the city where God is actively delivering new believers out of darkness and into light.
Rhuan Kaique was delivered from a troubled adolescence to a lifetime of ministry by the faithful discipleship of the youth leaders at Passare Baptist Church. In 2015, Rhuan’s church commissioned him as a missionary to Livramento, a place only accessible to locals.
While working in this new mission field, he met Elieuma. Rhuan built trust with her family and began to... [continue]
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... [continue]
UN ADOLESCENTE DE DALLAS MARCA LA DIFERENCIA EN LA COMUNIDAD: UNA HISTORIA DE LA OFENDA CONTRA EL H
by Kalie Lowrie on January 13, 2017 in clc espanol
Mu nació en el sureste de Asia y llegó a los Estados Unidos con su familia como refugiada en el 2007. Cuando se ubicaron en el área de Dallas, su familia encontró ayuda y apoyo del ministerio conocido como H4R de la Ofrenda contra el Hambre de los Bautistas de Texas. El ministerio ayudó a la familia a llenar documentos gubernamentales, a tomar clases para aprender inglés, a recibir ayuda con las tareas y mucho más.
Cuando estaba en la preparatoria, Mu asistió a un campamento para estudiantes refugiados organizado por H4R y aceptó a Cristo como su salvador. Aunque el trasfondo de su familia era budista, varios de sus... [continue]
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... [continue]
CLC director Reyes joins Smart-on-Crime Coalition in encouraging criminal justice reform
by Kalie Lowrie on December 14, 2016 in clc
AUSTIN — Gus Reyes, director of the Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission, joined several key representatives from the Smart-on-Crime Coalition on Wednesday, December 14, for a press conference to encourage criminal justice reform for the upcoming Texas Legislative Session.
During the briefing, held at the Texas Association of Business, Reyes said, “Our commitment to justice is one of the reasons we joined the Smart-on-Crime Coalition. We want a justice system that is just; this means both supporting victims and holding offenders accountable, but also gives former offenders who have served their sentences the opportunity to... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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.”
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... [continue]
BSM Directors celebrate partnerships and disciple-making at Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on November 14, 2016 in 2016 annual meeting
When Joe Osteen is asked for an update on the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at The University of Texas at Tyler, his response is, “we are doing more of the same thing - telling students about Jesus and making disciples who make disciples.”
As an encouragement to his fellow BSM Directors at a dinner on Sunday evening of Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco, Osteen reminded his colleagues the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Having served in the position for the past 12 years, he has seen the importance of being faithful to invest in students and teach them how to make new disciples year after year.
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... [continue]
Volunteer-led campus outreach leads to increased connectivity
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2016 in faith
Crestview Baptist Church, Georgetown Nearby campus: Southwestern University Student population: 1,500 College Ministry: Volunteer led Ministries:
- Free lunch (Mondays, hosted on church grounds)
- Booster club to attend sporting events
- Mentoring program
- Bible studies
Three miles from Crestview Baptist Church in Georgetown sits Southwestern University, a small liberal arts college with 1,500 undergraduate students. Two years ago, Jack Phelps, the associate pastor at the time, came to Pastor Dan Wooldridge with an idea to start a weekly free lunch at their church for Southwestern students. A couple in the... [continue]
Focus on discipleship leads to expanded ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2016 in great commission
First Denton Nearby campuses: University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University, North Central Texas College Student population: 50,000-60,000 College Ministry: Led by University Pastor Austin Wadlow Ministries:
- Overflow Worship (Tuesday nights)
- Equip (Sunday morning discipleship training)
- Communities (24 student-led small groups in apartments and dorms)
- Discipleship program with adults and students
Between 50,000 and 60,000 college students are located in Denton County attending the campuses of the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, providing a great opportunity for ministry for First Denton.... [continue]
Ministering where you are: The power of missional communities
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2016 in great commandment
As a softball player at The University of Texas at Austin, Stephanie Ceo spent a lot of time with her teammates on and off the field. One teammate, Rachel, was always kind and encouraging and also professed to be a Christian. Stephanie had been to church before and knew about God, but did not believe He existed. She had great difficulty understanding how God could allow bad things to happen.
In their conversations over four years as teammates, Stephanie noticed differences in the way Rachel treated her and was more open to having conversations about faith. One day in their senior year, Rachel invited Stephanie to Free Lunch on... [continue]
Family spends summer serving together and helping flood victims
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2016 in great commandment
Vaughn, Sunshine, Jax, Lily and Milo Managan took up residence in the small town of Deweyville, Texas, this summer serving as volunteer coordinators for Texas Baptist Men Disaster Recovery. Each member of the family played a valuable part in the work of helping families rebuild their homes following a devastating flood which damaged more than 700 homes.
Throughout the summer, Vaughn and Sunshine coordinated nine different church and association groups, mobilizing over 200 volunteers from 16 different churches or associations, working on nine homes. The Managan’s children, ages 7, 11 and 13, went along with them each day... [continue]
CÓMO 25 POLLOS TRANSFORMARON A UNA FAMILIA: UNA HISTORIA DE LA OFRENDA CONTRA EL HAMBRE
by Kalie Lowrie on October 21, 2016 in clc espanol
Soontorn Inthayok es obrero de día y guardia medio tiempo, y el principal sustento de su familia en el norte de Tailandia. El hombre de 49 años de edad provee para su hermana mayor, que tiene una discapacidad mental, y su hijo, que asiste a una escuela técnica. Además, se sobrepone a su propia deshabilidad personal para llevar a casa aproximadamente $300 dólares al mes. Aunque Soontorn trabaja muy duro, a menudo los gastos mensuales de comida, servicios y colegiatura son mucho más de lo que gana.
Cuando Soontorn supo que había sido elegido para participar en el Proyecto Avícola y Ganadero de SDSU, le dio mucha alegría. Recibió... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery to assist Hurricane-damaged Haiti
by Kalie Lowrie on October 11, 2016 in news
Updated October 11, 2016
- Texas Baptists Missionaries Ernie and Sharon Rice, currently serving in Haiti, are providing updates on needs in hardest hit areas - Grand-Goâve, Petit-Goâve and Jérémie.
- At least 336 people have died since Hurricane Matthew struck on Oct. 4.
- Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery has approved funds to assist with immediate needs following Hurricane Matthew.
- Funds given to TBDR will be used to purchase food, water and cleaning supplies.
Hurricane Matthew has left behind widespread destruction across Haiti. At least 336 people have died since the Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Haiti last... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
DARLE LA MANO A AQUELLOS EN ESPAÑA QUE SUFREN NECESIDAD
by Kalie Lowrie on September 23, 2016 in clc espanol
Ali Hearon, especialista en Ministerios de Cuidado y Prevención del Hambre, y yo recientemente regresamos de un viaje a España durante el cual visitamos a nuestros colaboradores en la
en Barcelona y en Dénia. Para leer más historias sobre la Ofrenda contra el Hambre en acción, lea
Mientras Oretta menea la enorme olla de sopa, casi tan grande como ella, nos compartió de su niñez en Italia, donde aprendió a cocinar para grupos grandes de personas. Oretta ha vivido en Dénia, España, por... [continue]
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... [continue]
Extending a hand to those in need in Spain
by Kalie Lowrie on August 24, 2016 in great commandment
Ali Hearon, Hunger and Care Ministries specialist, and I recently returned from a trip to Spain to visit our Texas Baptists Hunger Offering partners in Barcelona and Denia. To read more stories about the Hunger Offering at work, check out - Let Love Be Genuine: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story and Reaching out to neighbors and fighting to end poverty.
As Oretta stirred the huge pot of soup, almost as big as she was, she shared with us about her childhood in Italy where she learned to cook for large groups of people. She has lived in Denia, Spain, for many years and finds great joy in making meals at the daily feeding ministry... [continue]
Texas Baptists to assist Louisiana flooding victims
by Kalie Lowrie on August 19, 2016 in disaster recovery
Over 40,000 homes in Louisiana have been affected by recent historic floods. In a 36-hour period, areas in the state received as much as 30 inches of rain, leading to the evacuation of thousands of residents. Texas Baptists are responding in a variety of ways through Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery and providing support to many of our Baptist partners.
Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery will be responding to the long-term recovery needs of this disaster. To give to the ongoing work and recovery efforts, click here. Checks can also be sent to Texas Baptists, Memo: Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery, 7557 Rambler Rd, Suite 1100,... [continue]
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... [continue]
Empowering parents to disciple their teenagers
by Kalie Lowrie on August 18, 2016 in faith
Youth ministers have many roles in the life of a teenager - teacher, friend, mentor, role model, event coordinator, source of wisdom - the list could go on and on. The role of primary discipler in the life of a student, however, should belong to the parents says Brett Levy, minister to youth at First Baptist Church Georgetown.
Having served in ministry for the past 23 years, Levy has seen and tried a myriad of approaches to discipleship, many times with great success. Five years ago, though, Levy realized that the traditional structure of his youth group may be skewed.
While typical youth ministry programming included training... [continue]
Episode 3: Disciple Making - Michael Kelley
by Kalie Lowrie on August 11, 2016 in podcast
What does it look like to follow Jesus day-by-day? Join us on this episode of the txb.life Podcast, as Joshua and Kalie talk with Michael Kelley, director of Groups Ministry for LifeWay Resources, about the trends and methods churches can use for making disciples. While tools are helpful, in the end, people make disciples.Resources
- Create a customized Bible study track for your church - smallgroup.com
- Disciples Path - lifeway.com/disciplespath
- Texas Baptists Discipleship Team -
Minister’s family advocates for suicide prevention awareness after loss of son
by Kalie Lowrie on August 2, 2016 in faith
So many people are quiet about it, but so many people are suffering. This statement could be true about a myriad of struggles people face every day, but for Gene and Pam Talbot the struggle is the impact of suicide after their son, Michael, took his own life in 2010.
Gene serves as associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Crosby, a position he has held for the past 17 years. During his experience in ministry, he has walked with families through many difficult times but following the loss of his own son, his empathy and understanding has grown exponentially.
Michael was the oldest of the Talbots two children, raised in the... [continue]
Iglesia en España alimenta a sus vecinos con la ayuda de los Bautistas de Texas
by Kalie Lowrie on July 29, 2016 in clc espanol
CERDANYOLA, España --Cada semana, la Iglesia Bautista Evangélica en Cerdamyola, España, provee despensas a cerca de 50 vecinos en necesidad, gracias, en parte, a la ayuda que provee la Ofrenda contra el Hambre de los Bautistas de Texas.
La iglesia se une al gobierno local para concientizar sobre el ministerio en los vecindarios y los resultados han sido aleccionadores, dijo Daniel Banyuls, pastor de la Iglesia Evangélica por los últimos 15 años.
La necesidad de ayuda en sus comunidades locales es grande, ya que muchas personas sufren el impacto continuo de la crisis económica del 2008. La oportunidad de proveer artículos básicos... [continue]
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... [continue]
Chin church helps fellow refugees resettle in Sherman
by Kalie Lowrie on July 26, 2016 in faith
In 2013, when the Grayson Chin Baptist Church began as a church plant in Sherman, they had 25 members, representing about five Chin families. Approximately 100 Chin people were living in the city at that time and through a partnership coordinated by Texas Baptists Intercultural Ministries and Texas Baptists Church Starting, the Sherman church was sponsored by Chin Baptist Church in Lewisville.
Now, just three years later, the church averages 200 people on a Sunday morning, providing a wonderful place for believers to join together in worship, most of whom are refugees from their native home of Burma. The church now represents... [continue]
Alcanzar a Vecinos y Luchar Contra la Pobreza
by Kalie Lowrie on July 22, 2016 in clc espanol
El pastor Daniel Banyuls ha servido fielmente a la Iglesia Evangélica Bautista en Cerdanyola, España, por los últimos 15 años. Supervisa el ministerio de alimentación local de la iglesia, la cual provee despensas a cerca de 50 vecinos en necesidad cada semana. Se unen al gobierno local para concientizar sobre el ministerio en los vecindarios y los resultados han sido aleccionadores.
La necesidad de ayuda en sus comunidades locales es grande, ya que muchas personas sufren el impacto continuo de la crisis económica del 2008. La oportunidad de proveer aun cosas básicas como leche, pan, arroz y carne ha tenido repercusiones en el área... [continue]
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... [continue]
Tyler mission team helps Rowlett couple recover from tornado damage
by Kalie Lowrie on July 15, 2016 in feature
As Garry Schaffer monitored the quickly approaching storm on his computer, he soon realized he need to go downstairs to get his wife, Kan, and seek safety in a closet. The couple had enjoyed a nice Christmas the day before and were resting at home on the night of December 26, 2015, when an F-4 tornado tore through their two-story home on Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett. No one dreamed that night that the storm would come barrelling through so swiftly or cause so much destruction.
As the couple exited the closet and looked around, they realized they had survived the tornado by seeking safety mere seconds before their home was... [continue]
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... [continue]
Hope for lives to be transformed
by Kalie Lowrie on July 11, 2016 in mental health and the church
As Joe Padilla visits with pastors and church leaders about mental health recovery, he often finds hearts willing to help, but ill-equipped to do so. After walking through his own personal journey with his wife being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Padilla realized the church needed more training on mental health disorders in order to effectively minister to families. The Padillas were serving as international missionaries when she was diagnosed and they realized they could not function any longer and returned home to the states for treatment and support.
Unfortunately, returning home was not a relief, but actually increased... [continue]
Reaching out to neighbors and fighting to end poverty
by Kalie Lowrie on July 7, 2016 in faith
Pastor Daniel Banyuls has served faithfully at Iglesia Evangelica Bautista in Cerdanyola, Spain, for the past 15 years. He supervises the church’s local food ministry, which provides groceries to about 50 neighbors in need each week. They partner with the local government to raise awareness of the ministry in the neighborhood and the results have been humbling.
The need for help in their local community is great, with many people suffering from the continued impact of the economic crisis of 2008. The opportunity to provide even a few staples, such as milk, bread, rice and meat, has had ripple... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
First Cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists celebrates completion
by Kalie Lowrie on May 27, 2016 in news
The first cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists celebrated completion on May 23, through a special graduation celebration at the Executive Board Meeting for Texas Baptists. Participants received awards and recognition for their hard work and dedication to the nine-month long program in its inaugural year. The participants were a diverse representation of young Texas Baptists ranging from church planters and ministers to staff members at Baptist institutions.
“For me, the key to Leadership Texas Baptists is developing relationships with our emerging leaders,” said David Adams, director of Leadership Texas Baptists. “They are not... [continue]
Being present and allowing God to work
by Kalie Lowrie on May 10, 2016 in faith
Living on mission, according to Josue Valerio, director of the Missions Team, is being present with the people around you and pointing them to a deeper relationship with Christ. As Jesus sent out 72 disciples in Luke 10, He gave them instructions to pray, travel light, seek a person of peace, practice receiving hospitality and to proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand. Following His directive, the disciples were to remain in a home and be present with those living there - to experience life with them and share Christ’s love.
Whether we are practicing these principles in our neighborhoods or in a community halfway around the... [continue]
Sharing your faith in a digital space
by Kalie Lowrie on May 10, 2016 in great commission
It’s hard for me to remember a time before the internet. I vividly recall my first foray into dial-up and our family’s shared AOL account when I was just starting middle school and it seems like the world has not been the same since. The Digital Age has transformed almost every aspect of our lives.
In order to get information on when the Digital Age began, can you guess where I went to look? Google, of course. How else do we find answers to our unending questions these days? (FYI - The Digital Age, aka Information Age, started in the early 90s when the internet became accessible to the average user.)
While we exist in a physical... [continue]
Providing hope and a new start for mothers reentering society
by Kalie Lowrie on April 26, 2016 in great commandment
The first day a mom and her children set foot at Exodus Ministries, they are welcomed into a beautiful, fully-furnished apartment. Each apartment is uniquely decorated by thoughtful volunteers. Each kitchen comes completely stocked with groceries, through support of the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Each detail is covered in prayer and the family has everything they need to begin a new life.
Having just been released from incarceration or a residential rehabilitation facility, these mothers often come to the complex with only the clothes on their back. The look of wonder and awe as they take in their new surrounding is Case... [continue]
Provisión de Esperanza y un Nuevo Comienzo para Madres que Buscan Reincorporarse a la Socied
by Kalie Lowrie on April 26, 2016 in clc espanol
La primera vez que una madre y sus hijos ponen pie en el Ministerio Éxodo (Exodus), se encuentran con un hermoso apartamento amueblado. Cada apartamento es decorado individualmente por un voluntario dedicado. Cada cocina está completamente equipada con despensa que se obtiene gracias al apoyo que da la Ofrenda contra el Hambre de los Bautistas de Texas. Se orar por cada detalle, y cada familia tiene todo lo que necesita para empezar una nueva vida.
Al salir de la prisión o de algún programa de rehabilitación residencial, estas madres a menudo llegan a las instalaciones solamente con lo que llevan puesto. La mirada de asombro... [continue]
[un]Apologetic Conference arms believers with knowledge and provides answers for seekers
by Kalie Lowrie on April 22, 2016 in feature
All good apologetics should point back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to best-selling author Mark Mittelberg, speaker at the [un]Apologetic Conference in El Paso on April 7 and 8.
During the conference’s opening session, Mittelberg gave a detailed description of the secular landscape Christians find themselves in today.
“We are talking about not just giving answers, but reaching people,” Mittelberg said. “This is not just apologetics, but evangelism. We are called, all of us as the body of Christ, to go into our world and make disciples.”
Mittelberg was joined by Mike Licona, author and associate professor of... [continue]
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... [continue]
Conferencia Miqueas 6:8 EXPERIENCIAS PERSONALES DEL CAMINO DE JEN HATMAKER HACIA LA JUSTICIA
by Kalie Lowrie on April 6, 2016 in clc espanol
SAN ANTONIO -- La autora y figura de televisión Jen Hatmaker describe su camino personal que la llevó a convertirse en una activista por la justicia –comenzando el día en que su esposo y ella dejaron sus botas en el altar de una iglesia como regalo para indigentes y se fueron a su carro descalzos en una fría mañana de Pascua.
Como oradora principal de la Conferencia Miqueas 6:8 en la Iglesia Bautista Trinity en San Antonio, patrocinada por la Comisión de Vida Cristiana de los Bautistas de Texas, Hatmaker habló de su experiencia en el activismo para suplir las necesidades de otros, por el ministerio de los desamparados en su... [continue]
The impact of Beach Reach stretching far beyond the small island
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2016 in feature
Beach Reach by the numbers
1,040 students served over the course of three weeks
11,000 pancakes were served by Texas Baptist Men
25,262 free van rides were given on South Padre Island
186 commitments to Christ were made
62 people were baptized in the Gulf of Mexico
It was around 12:30 a.m., Wednesday morning of the third week of Beach Reach. Students were assembled in their assigned roles around the island. For some it was directing traffic in the busy Looie’s parking lot, others struck up conversations with spring breakers over pancakes. Some spent hours in the sanctuary of Island... [continue]
Beach Reach finds new opportunity to serve city officials during spring break
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2016 in great commandment
College students around the country know that South Padre Island is the place to go for a good time during spring break. Between the sand, sun and fun that is had by thousands, it is a one of the busiest weeks of the year. One night, 1,500 new guest checked into a local hotel, which is about half of the population of the entire island.
As college students, with a sprinkling of families and a few “winter Texans,” provide a substantial boost to the economy, the influx also requires a substantial increase in police officers and city workers to help maintain safety in the community.
Since 1980, Christian students from Baptist... [continue]
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... [continue]
Celebrating the sanctity of marriage
by Kalie Lowrie on February 15, 2016 in profiles
In a sermon series addressing the issues of brokenness in the world, Pastor Chris Dupree of Baptist Temple McAllen focused one Sunday sermon on the sanctity, definition and value of marriage.
While society has attempted to define and redefine marriage over the years, Dupree encouraged the congregation with this simple truth, "God is the author, definer and creator of marriage."
Dupree invited Ron Smith, counseling pastor at Baptist Temple, to join him in preaching the sermon. Smith addressed the biblical concept of marriage, drawing from John 8 when Jesus confronts the woman caught in adultery. He then asked why followers... [continue]
How a small town church can make a big impact
by Kalie Lowrie on February 15, 2016 in
Churches are often looking for ways to engage the community around them with the Gospel, to reach out to the unchurched and find an event which will pique their interest enough to begin a conversation. Small membership churches may find it difficult at times to host a large event due to limited budgets, resources, volunteers, facilities and the list goes on and on.
Here's the good news! By using creativity, ingenuity and networking, it is possible to make a big splash in your neighborhood.
Preparing for service on a unique mission field
by Kalie Lowrie on February 4, 2016 in faith
Passionate about preaching the word of God and sharing the Gospel, Mark Kim enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 2014. In his younger years, Kim would not have pictured himself in seminary but rather in medical school pursuing a career in pediatrics.
Following his graduation from Baylor University with a degree in education, Kim was working at a hospital in his hometown of Lewisville. He constantly found himself drawn to patients, checking on how they were doing in the midst of sickness and emergencies. He was concurrently enrolled in an Old Testament course at Southwestern and found the Lord... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Finding and restoring the lost
by Kalie Lowrie on November 4, 2015 in profiles
A large sign hangs in the hallway of nineteen:ten church with one simple word on display: Found. Each letter of the sign is made up of individual light bulbs. When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, turning their life from the darkness into the light, they turn on one light bulb, representing their decision. The sign serves as a reminder for church members and staff of the exciting new life found in Christ, and also of those who have yet to receive salvation.
The litmus test Pastor Jason Brown and his staff use to evaluate every component of their ministry at nineteen:ten Church in Boerne is two-fold. Does the... [continue]
Freedom through surrender
by Kalie Lowrie on November 4, 2015 in faith
Serving as a co-pastor at Community Life Church (C-Life) in Forney, Randy Wade wears multiple hats day-in and day-out. From pastor, counselor, mentor and friend to husband, father and son, Randy serves many people in a variety of ways.
One day last fall, as he began listing out his roles in life and how he thought he ranked in each one, it became very apparent something was not right. While many ministers and leaders in the church complimented Randy on his giftings, it was hard for him to honestly rank himself above a two on a 10-point scale in any area.
He made a second list of what others had told him about his giftings... [continue]
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... [continue]
How can baby boomers impact millennials and why should we care?
by Kalie Lowrie on October 15, 2015 in culture
In an address to baby boomers about their sphere of influence within churches today, David Kinnamon, president of Barna Group, encouraged attendees to take time to pour into the upcoming generations of millennials.
Kinnamon served as a keynote speaker at this year's National Boomer and Senior Adult Ministry Conference hosted by Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. The event drew 215 attendees, representing 90 churches and organizations from 17 states.
Referring to present-day America as a "Digital Babylon," Kinnamon described the culture as immersive, accelerated, and complex. The effects of such changes include being individuals... [continue]
Be unApologetic about your faith
by Kalie Lowrie on September 10, 2015 in great commission
Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15
Just as the biblical figures of Paul and Peter were ever-ready to give a defense to various groups for the hope that they had in Jesus, Christians today should arm themselves with scripture to defend their faith and the authenticity of the Bible.
According to Barna Research, 59-69 percent of people ages 18-29 are leaving the church or rethinking their faith. Mike Licona, a frequent speaker at [un]Apologetic conferences and noted apologetics expert, found that of the... [continue]
What a baby boomer taught a millennial about life and work
by Kalie Lowrie on August 21, 2015 in culture
According to Barna Group Research, the average tenure of an American employee per job is 4.4 years of service. They have found 91% of millennials expect to stay in a single job for less than three years. Only 27% of millennials have a clear goal for where they want to be in five years, and sadly, only 19% are extremely satisfied with their work or career.
I think my generation of millennials has a lot to learn from people like my friend, Looie (a baby boomer).
Looie Biffar starting working for Texas Baptists in the 1960s when bell-bottoms and miniskirts were in style, but not considered proper work attire (nor would... [continue]
College connection for your high school grad
by Kalie Lowrie on July 20, 2015 in great commission
At the end of the school year, high school seniors are recognized and their future plans are celebrated by family, friends and their local church. In the coming months, many students likely will be taking classes at junior colleges, colleges and universities within the state of Texas. Have you equipped your graduates with information on how to find a local church and get involved in a Baptist Student Ministry on their future campuses?
Of the 158 campuses in Texas, 115 campuses have a local BSM with a director ready and willing to connect with your students. Texasfreshmen.com is a great resource where students can share their... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Youth help rehabilitate homes in South Dallas through BOUNCE
by Kalie Lowrie on June 16, 2015 in great commandment
Armed with hammers, power tools, paint and enthusiasm, 100 junior high and high school students flooded into South Dallas June 8-13 to help repair homes through Urban BOUNCE. The Texas Baptists Student Disaster Recovery program, which began in 2014, started a new track this year with an emphasis on urban areas in need of rehabilitation.
The students formed nine teams and worked on seven homes, identified and secured through a partnership with by People Helping People through the City of Dallas.
Jurassic World: Is bigger and better ever enough?
by Kalie Lowrie on June 15, 2015 in culture
Spoiler alert: If you haven't seen Jurassic World yet and you plan on seeing it, you may want to wait to read this post since a few plot points may be given away.
Just when you thought T-Rex was the scariest possible villain you could image, Jurassic World proves that scarier dinosaurs are possible.
While I'm not a well-respected cinema critic, I do enjoy seeing the latest blockbuster film, especially in the heightened summer time, when releases are even "bigger and better." I went with some friends to see Jurassic World this weekend (along with millions of other Americans) and I jumped and screamed at all the right times.... [continue]
When disaster hits home
by Kalie Lowrie on June 5, 2015 in great commandment
WIMBERLEY - As Bobby Catt and his family were on vacation in his hometown of Wimberley over Memorial Day weekend, the flood waters rose and the small stream of the Blanco River swept homes off foundations and left many stranded.
Catt, who serves as a youth minister at First Baptist Church of San Angelo, knew as he assessed the damage on Monday morning he wanted to return as soon as possible to help his friends and former neighbors recover.
Nine days later, Catt and three members from his home church traveled to Wimberley to begin work. Their project was helping mud out the home of Catt's longtime friends and recover belongings that... [continue]
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... [continue]
Go Now students encouraged to start sharing now
by Kalie Lowrie on May 28, 2015 in great commission
DALLAS - Rather than waiting to share the Gospel until Go Now missionaries arrive on the mission field, Joe Osteen encouraged students to starting sharing as soon as they leave, even on the plane. Osteen, BSM director at the University of Texas at Tyler, encouraged more than 200 college-aged students to embrace their callings this summer as they spread out around the world for mission projects.
The Go Now Missions Commissioning service was held in the Pilgrim Chapel at Dallas Baptist University on Sunday, May 24, following a weekend of orientation and training for the student missionaries.
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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.
The Gospel of grace for Millennials and Gen Z
by Kalie Lowrie on April 27, 2015 in great commission
Researchers are spending hours upon hours studying millennials (born 1981-2000) and Gen Z (born 2001-present) – what they like, dislike, their passions and motivators. These upcoming generations, which comprise our youth groups, are clearly different than our parents' or grandparents' generations. But, similar to all the generations that have gone before, they are in desperate need of a Savior.
The youth which fill our churches across Texas need to be well-equipped with the tools necessary to share the Gospel with their friends. Super Summer and YEC are great events specifically geared to help equip youth in telling others about... [continue]
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... [continue]
Children in volatile community find hope and health through local ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on April 22, 2015 in great commandment
Open House Ministries is a ministry actively seeking to alleviate hunger and poverty in Homestead, Florida. They receive funds from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which help OHM in a variety of ways:
- Providing healthy snacks for 70 students after school daily
- Teaching elementary-aged students about nutrition and healthy eating habits as they help grow vegetables in six community garden beds
- Interacting with youth and children through homework assistance, Bible stories, music, art, sports and computer training
Open House Ministries is a community ministry, which rose up out of needs following Hurricane Andrew... [continue]
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... [continue]
Table for 12
by Kalie Lowrie on April 15, 2015 in faith
The number of single adults in America is on the rise. There are 124.6 million singles in the U.S., which now outnumbers married adults over the age of 16 (Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics, August 2014).
What that means is, now, more than any other time in the past century, more people are alone than ever before. But that does not have to be the case.
As a 30-year-old single adult, I could easily fall into the trap of woe-is-me, negativity and seclusion. But I believe the Lord created me for relationships, and while I'm not married yet, it does not mean that I have to be alone.
I crave community and what I've found through being... [continue]
Who's your padre?
by Kalie Lowrie on March 26, 2015 in great commission
At a glance
- 1,060 BSM students served at Beach Reach over the course of three weeks.
- 110 salvations were recorded on South Padre Island.
- 53 baptisms of new believers took place in the Gulf of Mexico.
- 11,765 Gospel conversations took place on the beach, in vans, over pancakes and around the island.
At the end of my week at Beach Reach, I saw a t-shirt for sale in a local shop at South Padre Island asking a simple question: "Who's your Padre?" First, the shirt struck me as a funny play on words. And then, I thought about it from a spiritual perspective and realized the heart of Beach Reach was seeking to ask students on spring... [continue]
Champs Camp reaches community and empowers students
by Kalie Lowrie on March 20, 2015 in great commission
HARLINGEN - While spring break is time for teachers and students to take a vacation from classes, many parents working full-time jobs do not have resources available to find childcare for their children while they continue to work. First Baptist Church of Harlingen saw this need in their community 18 years ago and began a Spring Break sports week called Champs Camp.
This year, 215 children from first to fifth grade came to the church from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 16-20 for a week filled with fun, games, crafts, meals and a time to hear the Gospel. The campers were also able to participate in 12 different sports ranging from basketball... [continue]
WOW: Christian Kid Jams from the 90s
by Kalie Lowrie on March 12, 2015 in culture
When someone tells you to "Go West," do you automatically follow it up with "Young Man?" If so, you might be a Christian kid of the 90s like me. I grew up as a PK (pastor's kid) in East Texas where we jammed out with the best of them - Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Michael W.Smith - you know the ones.
I was talking with a couple of my co-workers at lunch yesterday and we were reminiscing over our favorite contemporary Christian songs from our childhood and I thought I would put together a little compilation of some of the best. While I am admittedly not an expert on music, I definitely listened to my fair share of... [continue]
Moving mountains for Maggie
by Kalie Lowrie on March 9, 2015 in faith
Blind, deaf, paralyzed, orphaned. All these words could have defined Maggie Mei Henderson, but by the power of God, this energetic two-year-old is now living with her forever family, walking, talking and seeing the world with curiosity and wonder.
Pastor Trent Henderson and his wife, Ginny, have seen the hand of the Lord move mountains for their daughter, Maggie. Trent serves at Heritage Park Baptist Church in the Friendswood and League City area, and his wife, Ginny, is a physical therapist. Born with a severe heart defect and orphaned as a newborn, Maggie spent the first year of her life in an orphanage in Baoji, China.
Educating parents impacts communities
by Kalie Lowrie on March 4, 2015 in great commandment
Two years ago Principal Marta Plata of Manuel Jara Elementary School realized her staff of excellent teachers and leaders could work tirelessly every year to seek to educate their students and empower them to be the best they could be. However, without positive reinforcement at home, many of the lessons taught in the classroom would not change the behaviors of their students.
Through collaboration with Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Plata was able to begin a program called Parent University, which is a 13-week curriculum educating parents on the 40 developmental assets that will help their children succeed.
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... [continue]
by Kalie Lowrie on February 18, 2015 in faith
Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular apps for Millennials and I am right there along with my peers. I love Instagram and check it multiple times each day (I would be embarrassed to actually count and admit how many times a day I check it).
The other day I was reading an article about how our constant desire to capture photos and share them with the people in our lives is changing the way we experience the world around us. Daniel Kahneman, a professor at Princeton University and Nobel laureate, said, "The 'Instagram Generation' now experiences the present as an anticipated memory."
It's an intriguing idea... [continue]
by Kalie Lowrie on February 6, 2015 in faith
When I think of the word "rest," most of the time it's my mom's version of rest when I was a little girl. Every Sunday afternoon was mandatory nap time in the Lowrie house, being a pastor's home bustling with four little girls where silence was hard to come by. Mom would tell us to go to our rooms for an hour to take a nap and when we whined and tried to convince her we weren't tired, oftentimes we were told, "Well at least rest in your room for an hour." I would count down the minutes until the hour was up and once again I was given my freedom. Rest equaled lack of fun in my book.
Clearly I was a little dramatic, but I... [continue]
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... [continue]
Questions and faith
by Kalie Lowrie on January 21, 2015 in great commission
Do you have questions and anxiety rise up when you think about sharing the Gospel? Will I know all the answers to their questions? What if they ask me something I can't explain? What if I stumble upon my words?
Think about it from an unbeliever's perspective. What questions might stand in the way from receiving the Gospel? Can you show positive proof Jesus was who he said he was? How do you know who really wrote the Bible? How do you know everything in the Bible is true? Do heaven and hell really exist?
There are many questions building obstacles between sharing and hearing the Gospel. But, 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to always... [continue]
You are not alone
by Kalie Lowrie on January 7, 2015 in
Last Sunday, I walked into church with two friends looking for a place to sit. I saw one of our elderly ladies sitting by herself, so I walked up and asked if we could join her. She hugged me and said, "Yes, of course! I hate sitting alone. Thank you so much for joining me."
She has been widowed for several years and she went on to tell me sometimes when she cannot find someone to sit with in church it makes her cry. What she said really stuck with me the rest of the day, and it also served as a good reminder. Sometimes, I think being single in church is only hard when you are young. I think I'm probably the only one who still gets... [continue]
Lessons from A Christmas Carol
by Kalie Lowrie on December 17, 2014 in
On my way out the door to the airport last week I realized I needed a book to read on my plane ride to New York. I quickly glanced on my shelf and Charles Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol caught my eye. I must have bought it several years ago when I was on a classics kick at Barnes & Noble – I purchased one almost every time I went in the store. Since it's Christmastime and my mom and I were headed to New York to enjoy all of the holiday festivities, I thought this was the perfect time to read it.
Prior to opening the book, my knowledge of the classic Christmas story was mainly what I learned from a Muppet Christmas Carol... [continue]
Texas Baptists approve 2015 budget, elect new officers at Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on November 19, 2014 in
WACO - During the 129th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, several important business items were discussed, voted on and approved.
On Tues., Nov. 18, at 9:30 a.m., Earl Ann Bumpus, chair of the Committee on Credentials announced 1,240 messengers and 515 visitors had registered for a total of 1,755 in attendance at the meeting held at the Waco Convention Center.
President Jeff Johnson presided over the business portions of the meeting, held on Monday afternoon from 1:00-3:00 p.m. and Tuesday morning from 9:00-11:30 a.m.
Officers were elected for 2014-2015 including President Kathy Hillman... [continue]
City Reach Waco shares Gospel and inspires local churches in evangelism
by Kalie Lowrie on November 18, 2014 in
In a celebration luncheon on Monday during Annual Meeting, there was cause for much rejoicing as stories were shared of evangelism outreach throughout Waco and the surrounding Central Texas area. City Reach Waco, an intentional emphasis on evangelism in the Annual Meeting host city, involved a prayer initiative, soccer tournament, prison outreach and neighborhood block parties.
Vince Smith, director of missions for Collin Baptist Association, shared about an initiative in Collin County to pray for every home in the area. An idea started at First Baptist Church, McKinney, mobilized 900 volunteers sinced February to personally... [continue]
Texas Baptists elect diverse officer panel
by Kalie Lowrie on November 17, 2014 in
WACO - Texas Baptists have elected the most diverse officer panel in the 129-year history of the Annual Meeting. Kathy Hillman, messenger from Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, has been elected President, marking the second woman to hold the office. The election was held during the Monday afternoon Business Session in Chisholm Hall at the Waco Convention Center.
Additionally, René Maciel, president of Baptist Univeristy of the Américas, was elected as First Vice President and Bedalo Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church in Garland, was elected Second Vice President. Maciel previously served as Second Vice... [continue]
Texas Baptists gather in Waco for Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on November 16, 2014 in
WACO – Texas Baptists' will welcome messengers to the annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco. The meeting, held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme "Live the Difference" with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.
Registration begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 16, and rallies for Hispanic and African American Ministries, as well as Texas Baptist Men, will begin at 6 p.m.
Monday morning registration will open at 8 a.m. and workshops beginning at 8:30. Workshops this year will intentionally address the intersection of Christian... [continue]
Engage 24 stories from around the state
by Kalie Lowrie on November 10, 2014 in
Engage 24, an intentional one-day emphasis on evangelism, was held this year on October 14. Texas BSMs found unique ways to embrace the emphasis on their campuses, some making it a week-long event and others choosing more than one day to reach their campus.
The goal behind Engage 24 is to empower students to get on their campuses and in their communities and start Gospel-centered conversations. Below are stories from BSMs across the state about the impact of the intentional outreach.
Texas A&M University
At Texas A&M University, the BSM students hosted a Midnight Pancake Breakfast, serving 2,300 pancakes between... [continue]
Churches built to last
by Kalie Lowrie on November 4, 2014 in blog
MIDLAND - Churches, like the human body, have a natural life cycle. The average lifespan of a church is around 70 years, unless something supernatural happens to further its impact, according to David Lowrie, senior pastor of First Baptist Church El Paso.
Lowrie was one of two keynote speakers during the "Built to Last" Conference hosted by First Baptist Church in Midland Oct. 9-10. The conference was organized for church leaders around the state to come together to learn how to build a solid church foundation. Dr. Randel Everett, president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and former pastor of FBC Midland, also served as a... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Hand-painted prayer reminders
by Kalie Lowrie on September 19, 2014 in great commandment
ADAMSVILLE - Betty Rials was looking for a way to remind her church members at Adamsville Baptist Church to pray for state missions during the WMU of Texas Mary Hill Davis emphasis week. She looked out in her front yard and found the answer - bricks! Betty became a brick collector about 25 years ago, and knew the value of the bricks made in Ferris, Texas, between 1902 and 1903.
She gathered together 12 bricks and began painting the names of River Ministry Coordinators Mario Garcia, Dr. Gloria de la Pena, and Vanessa Quintanilla on them. After an especially difficult summer along the border, Betty knew the River Ministry Coordinators... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Dallas shelter & 'For the Children fund' open doors for Texas Baptists to care for border children
by Kalie Lowrie on July 7, 2014 in great commandment
DALLAS -- Seeking to fulfill the commands of Jesus in Matthew 25 to provide for those in need, Texas Baptists have an opportunity to provide care for unaccompanied children who have crossed the border and will soon be transported to Dallas through volunteer opportunities and a new "For the Children" fund.
Dallas County has volunteered to open a temporary shelter in the area to house 2,000 unaccompanied children. On Tues., July 1, Texas Baptist representatives, along with more than 30 faith-based groups in the Dallas area, met with Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Commissioner, and officials from HHS about the temporary shelter.
"This is... [continue]
Hispanic Baptists focus on discipleship at Convencion 2014
by Kalie Lowrie on July 7, 2014 in education and discipleship
MCALLEN -- Focused on being passionate disciples, the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas gathered in McAllen for their annual meeting from June 29-July 1. A total of 1,374 were registered in attendance, with 490 serving as messengers from Hispanic Baptist churches.
Families enjoyed the three-day event, with activities provide for children and a special track for youth and college students.
"During Convencion we were challenged to be passionate disciples, taking the great commission personally and be faithful to God's calling in our life," said Rolando Rodriguez, director of Texas Baptist Hispanic Ministries. "The... [continue]
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... [continue]
CLC approves Resolution on Immigrant Children Crisis
by Kalie Lowrie on June 27, 2014 in christian life commission
DALLAS -- The Christian Life Commission has called on Texas Baptists to respond in a compassionate way to the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children and teenagers along the southern United States border.
Commissioners approved a resolution Friday, June 27, outlining the current situation involving immigrant minors who are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. More than 46,000 immigrant children have crossed the border since October 2013. The CLC is the Texas Baptist body which deals with ethical and public policy issues.
In affirmation of the resolution, Texas Baptist Executive Director Dr. David Hardage said, "Texas... [continue]
Eternal victories through soccer tournaments
by Kalie Lowrie on June 24, 2014 in missions mobilization
GUADALAJARA -- As the little boys gathered around preparing for the final game in their soccer tournament, River Ministry coordinator Pedro Munoz reminded them that this was the moment they had been preparing for over the past month.
"Some of you will be winners today, as your team wins the tournament, but all of you can be winners if you give your life to Jesus Christ," he said.
Arenas, the area where these boys were playing, can be very dangerous at times. When Pedro was on the street the day before, he encountered teenagers with cocaine and marijuana in hand, not fazed by the public visibility. Located on the outskirts of... [continue]
The need for No Mas Violencia in Guadalajara
by Kalie Lowrie on June 20, 2014 in missions mobilization
GUADALAJARA -- People are gathering across the globe in masses to cheer on their favorite team in the World Cup. Watch parties have emerged in several areas in Guadalajara as nationals cheer on the Mexican team, or enjoy watching games like Greece vs. Japan. This week, amongst soccer jerseys and team paraphernalia, individuals wearing black shirts with the simple message "No Mas Violencia" can be found around the city. Churches in the Emmanuel Baptist Regional Association in Guadalajara have handed out 35,000 flyers around the city, promoting the message of peace and many have been very receptive and interested in learning more.
Christian Life Commission announces office relocation to Austin
by Kalie Lowrie on June 16, 2014 in clc
DALLAS -- The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission has announced a relocation of all offices from Dallas to Austin effective Sept. 1.
"This is an exciting decision that will enhance the effectiveness of the Christian Life Commission," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. "Having the CLC in one location in Austin makes it easier for our churches to engage with the CLC's ministry and mission. It also positions us in close proximity to the state government to better garner support for our legislative priorities."
The CLC, currently under the leadership of Director Dr. Gus Reyes, has served as the ethics agency of the Baptist... [continue]
Summer Disaster Recovery trips need volunteers
by Kalie Lowrie on June 2, 2014 in disaster
DALLAS - Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery is looking for volunteers to assist with summer trips responding to areas devastated by floods, wildfires and tornadoes. Recovery efforts will take place in Estes Park, Colorado; Mayflower, Arkansas; Eagle Pass, Texas; and Fritch, Texas.
"Every year, thousands of homes are destroyed and lives are lost by disasters. Recovery from these disasters is long, hard and costly," said Marla Bearden, disaster recovery specialist. "The goal of recovery is to bring a community back to a new normal after a disaster, restoring both physical structures and the holistic well-being of survivors."
Residents in... [continue]
Risenhoover named associate endorser for chaplaincy relations
by Kalie Lowrie on May 30, 2014 in chaplaincy relations
DALLAS - Texas Baptists have named Chaplain Georgia Risenhoover, of Granbury, associate endorser for Chaplaincy Relations. Risenhoover is the first woman to be named to the position and she will also serve as state coordinator of "Hands on Ministry," a teaching certification program for volunteer chaplains.
"Georgia is well qualified for these positions," said Bobby Smith, director of Texas Baptist Chaplaincy Relations.
Smith also noted he expects Risenhoover to greatly expand the "Hands on Ministry" program.
Ordained by Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Risenhoover has been endorsed by the BGCT. She received her Clinical Pastoral... [continue]
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... [continue]
Texas Baptists announces sale of Dallas facility
by Kalie Lowrie on May 20, 2014 in feature
DALLAS - The Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas unanimously approved the sale of the Convention's Dallas facility to the Baylor University School of Nursing during a meeting on Tues., May 20.
The 100,000 square foot facility, located at 333 N. Washington Avenue in Dallas, will be purchased for $16 million through a combination of monetary funds and in-kind gifts.David Hardage, Executive Director of Texas Baptists, announces the sale of the Convention's Dallas facility.
- Letter from David Hardage (PDF)
- Texas Baptists announces sale of Dallas facility (PDF)
- David Hardage announces sale of Texas
State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament Winners Named
by Kalie Lowrie on May 15, 2014 in bible drill and speakers tournament
The 2014 Texas Baptist State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament was held at the Baptist Building on May 2 and 3. There were 82 participants from 29 churches who competed over the weekend.
Overall, for 2014, there were 991 participants in Texas Baptist Bible Drill and Speakers Tournaments from 130 churches competing in six regional events. The highest-scoring youth from each region traveled to Dallas for the annual state competition.
State Winners included:
Youth Bible Drill (7-9th grades) 1st Place - Zachary Gray, First Baptist Church, Allen 2nd Place (tie) - Megan Shipman, First Baptist Church, Allen 2nd Place (tie)... [continue]
Into the wood
by Kalie Lowrie on May 8, 2014 in bike out hunger
BROWNWOOD - Today was a recovery ride for most of the cyclists, with a shorter distance of 59 miles from San Saba to Brownwood. While it may have been less miles, it still proved to be challenging for the riders. Some got dropped in the midst of continuous hills, but all in all, everyone enjoyed another great day of riding and raising awareness and funds to end the cycle of hunger with a great group of people.
We had a few riders join us for the day, including Rodney McGlothlin, pastor of First Baptist Church Brownwood, and his wife, Debbie. Tonight, FBC Brownwood hosted us for dinner along with their congregation and several... [continue]
Never too young
by Kalie Lowrie on May 6, 2014 in great commandment
FREDERICKSBURG - You don't have to be an expert cyclist to take part in the week-long Bike Out Hunger event. Our youngest rider this year, Gertie Kate Adair, is only seven years old.
Gertie Kate is from Dripping Springs and she is a proud supporter of her dad, Ben. Last year, when Ben spent the week riding with Bike Out Hunger, Gertie Kate decided that she wanted to join her dad for his next ride.
"I've been waiting a whole year for this," she said. When asked why, she said she really likes to ride her bike and spend time with her dad, and she wanted to help.
She rode 9.42 miles today, right alongside Ben. It was hot and there were... [continue]
Parents learn skills for raising highly capable kids
by Kalie Lowrie on May 5, 2014 in feature
FORT WORTH - Twenty-nine parents from Manuel Jara Elementary School set aside time for 11 weeks this spring to learn tools, skills and confidence to raise healthy, caring, and responsible children through Parent University. A graduation ceremony was held on Wednesday, April 30, to recognize the achievement of the parents.Many officials from the city council, county and school board members were in attendance to celebrate the successful program.
Funded through gifts from Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, the curriculum entitled Raising Highly Capable KIDS - Communities Empowering Families for Success has been proven to help build... [continue]
Backpacks of food and hope provided through Hunger Offering
by Kalie Lowrie on May 5, 2014 in great commandment
FREEPORT - Most children look forward to 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, signaling the end of school and beginning of the weekend. There are roughly 65 hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning when school starts again. Many kids delight in these hours, but for children who do not have food at home, the hours can be long and hard. While many schools have feeding programs for breakfast and lunch for students in need, the weekends can be a time when food is scarce.
Operation Backpack, supported through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, seeks to step in and provide homeless and chronically hungry students in the Freeport and Jones... [continue]
Congreso Nation is Everlasting for 50th Anniversary
by Kalie Lowrie on April 25, 2014 in feature
WACO - Congreso is an experience thousands have encountered over the past 50 years. What began in 1964 as a ministry to Hispanic Baptist students has continued to impact thousands of lives across the state.
This year, from Apr. 17-19, more than 4,000 youth and college students gathered in Baylor University's Ferrell Center for the weekend focused on "Everlasting." Students worshiped with abandon, with 127 coming forward to give their lives to Christ, 51 rededications and 32 feeling called to ministry.
"I am glad to be here because I know I am talking to the future," said Erwin McManus, lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles... [continue]
WMU reflects on defining moments at annual meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on April 16, 2014 in feature
GEORGETOWN - Sharing of God's faithfulness in the midst of many trials, Steve McCord stated, "We are not compelled but surrendered to Him who loved us with an everlasting love."
The theme of surrender was tied with the overall "Defining Moments" focus during WMU of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration at First Baptist Georgetown Apr. 4-5. McCord, global research analysis services team leader with the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia, was one of many missionaries featured at the meeting, which drew 700 people from across the state for a time of worship, fellowship and learning.
The moving program reflected on... [continue]
Honduras: A display of His splendor
by Kalie Lowrie on April 11, 2014 in great commandment
CENICERA, Honduras - The kids here in Honduras have stolen my heart! Last night we attended a worship service at a house church in Cenicera, just a few miles from Gracias. When we arrived, I recognized several of the kids from the day before when we were at their house interviewing their parents. One precious girl named Ruby came up and hugged me, followed by another six I had never met before. They looked up at me with these beautiful eyes and told me their names. I hugged them each back and repeatedly asked, "Como estas?" (the only Spanish I really know).
Ruby is nine and currently suffering from leukemia. Her family receives food... [continue]
Hunger in Honduras: The face of a thankful heart
by Kalie Lowrie on April 10, 2014 in great commandment
CATULACA, Honduras - Felipe is paralyzed from the waist down after a tragic accident about five years ago. He has undergone eight surgeries and was forced to sell most of his land to pay for the medical procedures. He was the primary breadwinner for his family of six and now many times they wonder how they will eat. The family raises pigs for income and has many chickens roaming around the yard to provide sustenance.
When we arrived at his house today, Felipe, his wife, daughter and brother were overjoyed to see Shannon Hopkins, a missionary with 61 Isaiah Ministries, and his friends. They were also beyond thankful for the food that... [continue]
Hunger in Honduras: Bringing hope across a footbridge
by Kalie Lowrie on April 9, 2014 in great commandment
GRACIAS, Honduras - Today, we saw the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in action, with three men carrying nearly 60 pounds of food on their backs, across a shaky wooden footbridge to a family in need. Shannon Hopkins and his friends, Kevin and Hugo, carried the load of food to a family of 15, living in extreme poverty.
Shannon serves as a missionary with 61 Isaiah Ministries, a ministry that receives funding from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, and seeks to provide food to those in crisis situations in and around Gracias, Honduras. 61 Isaiah Ministries also partners with Ellis Baptist Association to receive support for the work they... [continue]
How to seek God through frustration
by Kalie Lowrie on April 8, 2014 in feature
GEORGETOWN - Frustration is a theme everyone will journey through at one point or another, according to Dave Edwards, keynote speaker for the Single Adult Rally on Apr. 5, "One is a whole number."
"Frustration occurs anytime our expectations and reality collide," Edwards shared with single adults from across the state.
Referencing Genesis 40, Edwards detailed how Joseph overcame a long season of frustration in his life to come to the point where God could use him most effectively.
"The Bible teaches us how to journey through this season and come out on the other side better than when you came in," Edwards said. "God uses these... [continue]
Women in ministry conference encourages women to embrace leadership
by Kalie Lowrie on March 31, 2014 in women in ministry
WACO - Women in ministry should embrace leadership in the areas God has called them to, according to speakers at the Texas Baptists Women in Ministry Conference held at George W. Truett Theological Seminary on Mar. 25.
"As a woman in ministry, you should have a sense of call," said Bernadine Davis, minister of discipleship and spiritual formation at David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Austin. "You need to understand the nature of that call, pursue quality education to have a solid foundation for your ministry, and make sure your ministry context supports the nature of your call."
The conference provided learning and networking... [continue]
Hunger Offering helps family overcome poverty in Bangladesh
by Kalie Lowrie on March 24, 2014 in great commandment
BHALUKA UPAZILA, Bangladesh - Conditions were hard for Asma Khatun and her family of five, living in extreme poverty in a small village in Bangladesh. While her husband, Babul Dhaly, worked hard to provide, they did not own any land to plant crops and they were not able to earn enough income to provide three meals a day for their family.
Not only did she learn about business and agriculture, but Asma was also provided with a... [continue]
Hunger funds help mom find a shoulder to lean on
by Kalie Lowrie on March 11, 2014 in great commandment
NEW BRAUNFELS - Gloria Mata needed help. Medical bills from her daughter's illness stacked up, and the single mother realized she no longer had enough money to put food on the table for her family of six.
Deliverance came in the form of a voucher from her daughter's school that referred Mata to the Harvest Food Pantry, a ministry of New Braunfels Christian Ministries, which is funded in part through Texas Baptists' special Mother's Day Hunger Offering.
"When I came here, I didn't feel like I was receiving a hand-out. I found a shoulder to lean on," Mata said. "As a mother, it meant so much to me to look in a bag of groceries and see... [continue]
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... [continue]
Executive Board adopts Engage24 as emphasis for Texas Baptists
by Kalie Lowrie on February 26, 2014 in evangelism and missions
DALLAS - During their Feb. 25 meeting, the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board voted to adopt Engage24, challenging every Texas Baptist to share the gospel with at least one person on Oct. 14, 2014. This day of intentional evangelism will be held in conjunction with a National Collegiate Ministry initiative to share Christ on campuses across North America
"This is a chance for us as, Texas Baptists, to show the power of 24 hours," said Nathan Buchanan, a member of the Baptist Student Ministries committee and pastor of First Baptist Church Mineral Wells.
This conjoint resolution was brought before the board by the... [continue]
Texas Baptists endorse first oil patch chaplains
by Kalie Lowrie on February 25, 2014 in chaplaincy relations
DALLAS - Texas Baptists endorsed Hollas and Nelda Hoffman as the first Oil Patch Chaplains on Monday, February 24, during a meeting of the Executive Board. The Hoffmans, of Gonzales, will serve on the oil fields of South Texas as chaplains.
"Endorsement lends integrity, character, responsibility and accountability to a pastoral ministry in a specialized setting," said Bobby Smith, director of Chaplaincy Relations. "Chaplaincy is a respected program of Texas Baptists. Endorsement provides a sense of worth and accountability and provides connection with a faith group."
Hollas, an ordained minister and pastor for more than 30 years... [continue]
Church Strategists: Connecting and helping meet needs across Texas
by Kalie Lowrie on February 19, 2014 in church strategists
On April 17, 2013, an explosion at a fertilizer plant forever changed the community of West, Texas. Richard Mangum, Texas Baptist church strategist for Central Texas, was in the town talking with local pastors and helping assess needs in the area within a few hours of the disaster.
As a church strategist, one of Mangum's primary responsibilities is to connect with local pastors and help them in times of need. By being on the scene quickly after a disaster, strategists like Mangum can be the serving hands of Texas Baptists and help communicate needs to a broader audience. Several of the strategists have had the same opportunity to... [continue]
Record number of students respond to 'Who will go?'
by Kalie Lowrie on February 17, 2014 in evangelism and missions
MIDLOTHIAN - Who will go? That is the question that Go Now Missions has been asking college students around the state for the past year. This weekend, 205 students responded to that question with willing and able hearts as they attended Discovery Weekend, an interview and application weekend for summer and fall student missions.
"This is the largest group of students we have ever had," said Brenda Sanders, director of Go Now missions. "We have been praying that students would hear God and obey. This is the first step in obedience."
Discovery Weekend was hosted at First Baptist Church of Midlothian from February 7-9. Students were... [continue]
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... [continue]
Wilson named director of church evangelism
by Kalie Lowrie on February 6, 2014 in church evangelism
Dr. Charles Wilson has been named director of church evangelism for Texas Baptists.
Through his work, Wilson will coordinate ENGAGE evangelistic conferences across the state, as well as assist associations and churches in helping to inspire and equip individuals to be more effective in evangelism.
"Our vision is to help Texas reach Texas for Christ," Wilson said. "We want to work within the Baptist family on the state, associational and local level to more confidently and comfortably present the Gospel to every segment of our culture."
A pastor for more than 30 years, Wilson served at First Baptist Church Sunnyvale for 26 years before... [continue]
Antoine named bivocational pastor ministry director
by Kalie Lowrie on January 22, 2014 in feature
DALLAS - Texas Baptists named Ira Antoine director of bivocational pastor ministry.
With a growing number of pastors serving in bivocational ministry across the state, Antoine will serve as a resource for these ministers.
"The mission of this ministry is to serve as a resource to Texas Baptist churches and associations in developing a model for Bivocational Pastor Ministry that will result in a significant increase in available, truly-called, and well-equipped bivocational pastors," Antoine said.
In his new role, he will coordinate and oversee training seminars, theological education, and bivocational pastor conferences.
Trusting in the hard places
by Kalie Lowrie on January 12, 2014 in feature
Go Now missionaries returning home from a semester of serving around the world sat in a panel discussion across from new students preparing to go during their January retreat in the BSM at the University of Texas at Arlington. The nine college students returning from service were in a time of debriefing, while the eight students preparing to go were part of orientation.
The unique nature of the night was that all of the students in the room had the same heart for sharing Christ with the world.
As the new semester missionaries asked questions like, "What was the hardest thing you faced on the field?" they were able to hear experiences... [continue]
Students learn 'God can use my life'
by Kalie Lowrie on January 10, 2014 in collegiate ministry
EDINBURG - On a sunny Friday afternoon, five freshmen students walked across campus at the University of Texas - Pan American pulling a wagon filled with lemonade, musical instruments and salvation tracks. Their destination was the courtyard in front of the campus library, where they set up tables and began serving drinks and playing worship music with the intention of reaching out to their fellow students.
These students were part of the Baptist Student Ministry at UTPA and are just a few of the many that reach out to fellow students on a daily basis to share the love of God across their campus. Outreach is the heart of the BSM at... [continue]
Texas Baptists provide testimony at federal hearing on arbitration
by Kalie Lowrie on December 19, 2013 in christian life commission
DALLAS - Two Texas Baptist pastors raised concerns about payday and car title lending practices during meetings with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leadership in Dallas on Dec. 12.
Jeff Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce and president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and Steve Wells, pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston, addressed CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other staff members of the federal body which oversees consumer financial products and services.
"Wise federal oversight and regulation are sorely needed." Johnson said during a public hearing. "I encourage you to... [continue]
Texas team brings supplies, assesses disaster in Philippines
by Kalie Lowrie on December 17, 2013 in disaster recovery
ESTANCIA, the Philippines - Pastor Michael Rama huddled with his wife and their 11-month-old son in the Estancia Baptist Church parsonage as the winds and waters from Typhoon Haiyan pounded their home in the coastal town of Estancia. The winds soon took off their roof and they rushed into the adjoining church sanctuary, where they found 100 church members and friends seeking refuge. God protected their lives that day and Pastor Rama continues to praise the Lord for His blessings since the storm ravaged their town.
Rama was one of many pastors that the Texas Baptist disaster assessment team met with during their weeklong trip to the... [continue]
Philippines Typhoon: Be still and know
by Kalie Lowrie on December 6, 2013 in disaster recovery
AJUY, the Philippines - During Typhoon Haiyan, many people were forced to evacuate their homes to seek higher ground or safer refuge. Villagers from Bobog needed to escape the remote area they were living in because of the great danger from the many trees around them and falling structures. As they were walking, Pastor Enlyn Rubrico shared with us that the fish ponds on either side of the road were rising up and they were not sure how they would cross. Suddenly, as they reached the crossing point, the waters receded and there was dry land for the villagers to cross. As soon as the last one made it past the pond, the water again... [continue]
Philippines Typhoon: Refuge and Strength
by Kalie Lowrie on December 4, 2013 in disaster recovery
ESTANCIA, the Philippines - Touring the coastal city of Estancia today was heartbreaking and overwhelming at times. The reality and the gravity of the situation hit each of us at different points and it was a very emotional day. The damage seemed to be even more severe than what we saw in Concepcion yesterday.
Houses have been reduced to rubble. Uprooted trees are everywhere you turn, some completely stripped of their bark, showing the powerful force of the winds and the water. Power lines are down on many streets and some homes have turned them into makeshift chords to hold their laundry. Not only are many of the houses and... [continue]
Philippines Typhoon: Smile through the storm
by Kalie Lowrie on December 3, 2013 in disaster recovery
CONCEPCION, the Philippines - Pastor Noel and his family sat together in their home, praying that the Lord would protect and deliver them from Typhoon Haiyan. While they were huddled together, the storm blew around them and they heard a large crash and fall just yards away from their home.
When the rain stopped and the wind died down, they walked outside to see Hillside Gospel Church completely demolished. The pile of wood, metal and concrete that remains is a visible representation of the destruction of the storm, but it is also a testimony of God's provision as their lives were spared that day. Pastor Noel was so grateful for the... [continue]
Philippines Typhoon: Arrival
by Kalie Lowrie on December 3, 2013 in disaster recovery
ILOILO CITY, the Philippines - We arrived safely in the Philippines on Monday after many hours of travel. We were greeted at the airport in Manila by several friends of the Dagohoys who treated us to a delicious Filipino lunch and then transported us to our final airport for the flight to Iloilo City. One of their friends, Mae, is a local doctor and director of the Ruth Foundation for Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care in Manilla. Less than two weeks after the typhoon struck, she traveled to Concepcion with her foundation to provide medical relief to people on one of the islands. Their relief work was described as the biggest... [continue]
Churches partner to feed children in Haiti
by Kalie Lowrie on November 27, 2013 in disaster recovery
GONZALES - Baptist churches across South Central Texas joined together this holiday season to prepare 128,000 meals to feed needy children in Haiti. The area-wide packing event began as an idea more than a year ago through the Gonzales and Gambrell Baptist Associations' annual meeting.
Several churches had prior involvement in clean up efforts and disaster recovery trips to the impoverished nation, still rebuilding from the earthquake that devastated the country three years ago. Associational leaders agreed to have special offerings in their churches throughout 2013 with the intention of coming together in November to prepare meals... [continue]
Philippines Typhoon: Preparing to go
by Kalie Lowrie on November 26, 2013 in disaster recovery
Our disaster assessment team of six leaves for the Philippines in four days to respond to the disaster that has affected so many following Typhoon Haiyan. Comprised of BGCT staff, disaster assessment "yellow caps" from Texas Baptist Men, and a Filipino pastor and his wife, we are all going with the hope of helping those in need.
Pastor Ernest Dagohoy has done a wonderful job working with friends and family in the Iloilo province and the Convention of the Philippine Baptist Churches to plan our itinerary. While we are in the province, we will be visiting three cities that were drastically impacted by Typhoon Haiyan: Concepcion... [continue]
Providing spiritual nourishment for those in need
by Kalie Lowrie on November 25, 2013 in great commandment
CORPUS CHRISTI - Juan Rena was hungry and hurting when he came to the Crossbridge Fellowship Church food pantry. He had no idea how the Lord would change his life in the following year and lead him to become the director of the ministry that impacted him in so many ways.
Addicted to cocaine and meth for more than 25 years, Juan wanted to find a way to turn his life around and find meaning again. He was also in need of food, which led him to Crossbridge's food pantry just a few streets away from his home where he could come twice a month for essential needs.
As Juan and his girlfriend, Tina, received food each month, they noticed... [continue]
Bringing God to soldiers and soldiers to God
by Kalie Lowrie on November 21, 2013 in feature
FORT SILL, OK - Twenty-four soldiers dressed in PT uniforms sat on the chapel stage on Quarry Hill before Spiritual Formation classes began. From varied backgrounds and more than 20 states across the country, the soldiers had little in common. This day, Sept. 29, however, would be a day they would each remember - it was the day they were going to be baptized.
Each stood before a room filled with their peers and shared their testimony: how they knew they needed Christ, how God has changed their lives and what they are going to strive for in their new walks with Him.
Then, they followed Texas Baptist Chaplain Kevin Burton outside to a... [continue]
Building community one house at a time
by Kalie Lowrie on November 18, 2013 in feature
PEÑITAS - Down a road devoid of many street signs, and yet to be tracked by Google maps, stands a brand-new purple house shining at the end of the block. This house now belongs to the Lozada family - Miguel, Julia, Hosea (14) and Miguel, Jr. (4) -built with love by 25 women in Woman's Missionary Union of Texas
The third consecutive year to construct a house in Peñitas, WMU has partnered with Buckner International and the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Association to build a better way of life in this small colonia in South Texas. The home, which cost approximately $22,000 in supplies to build, was hand built by women desiring to... [continue]
Texas Baptists increase giving to SBC by 2.7%
by Kalie Lowrie on November 15, 2013 in feature
DALLAS - Texas Baptists' giving to the Southern Baptist Convention for 2013 has increased by 2.7% as compared to giving reports from the same time period in 2012.From January through September of 2013, Texas Baptist churches gave $8.5 million to support the SBC Cooperative Program, compared with $8.3 million in 2012.
Trends in annual giving to the SBC had been declining since 2007, according to Texas Baptists Treasurer Jill Larsen.
"The increase shows that Texas Baptists churches treasure our affiliation with the SBC as a national and international missions partner," Larsen said.
Additionally, giving to other designated funds for the... [continue]
Engaging Students in Sharing the Gospel
by Kalie Lowrie on November 11, 2013 in feature
ARLINGTON - Christian college students across the nation set out on Oct. 10, with a common goal in mind - to share Christ. Through Engage24, students involved in Baptist Student Ministries were each encouraged to engage one person in a conversation about Jesus, and that is just what they did.
Morgan McAree, a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington, shared her faith for the first time and it made all the difference in her life, and in the life of the fellow student she talked with on campus.
Prior to Engage24, Morgan knew Jesus as her personal Savior but never considered herself an evangelist. In fact, she was rather timid... [continue]
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... [continue]
Business Leadership Principles Translate into the Ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on October 28, 2013 in feature
ARLINGTON - Leadership principles from the business world can be translated to ministry principles as youth ministers across Texas learned during Leadership Tuesday at Youth Ministry Conclave. Colleen Barrett, president emeritus of Southwest Airlines, addressed attendees in an interview on Tues., Oct. 15, at the Arlington Convention Center, providing leadership strategies she learned through her time at the successful Dallas-based airline. The number one customer at Southwest Airlines is the employee, followed by the client and then the shareholder, according to Barrett. By caring for employees' needs first and making them... [continue]
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... [continue]
'Go Now' to the ends of the Earth
by Kalie Lowrie on October 1, 2013 in great commission
Standing on a street corner looking towards the Financial District in New York City, Leilani Estrada could hear five languages being spoken at the same time.
"God really has brought all the nations together in NYC," she said. "It is just amazing to see so many nations brought together on a little island called Manhattan."
Leilani served as a Hispanic church planter in Queens, New York, for the summer through Go Now Missions, the student missions program for Texas Baptists. She and her partner, Erika Perez, both students from the University of Texas-Pan AM, were able to use their Spanish skills to reach the population in the New York... [continue]
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... [continue]