leah reynolds

Childhood Discipleship: Training up a child

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

At one month old, babies can fix their eyes on faces and respond to what they see. By one year, trust is developed. By age 3, a child’s brain is 80% the size of an adult’s. By age 4, they have a wide range of emotions. By age 9, their spiritual foundations are in place.

Children are impressionable from the moment they open their eyes, not only physically and emotionally, but also spiritually. Discipling them from a young age can shape who they become as adults. Childhood discipleship can take place in the preschool area, in... [continue]

Starting the conversation inside church walls

Imagine watching television when suddenly the following headline interrupts the program...

BREAKING NEWS: Shooter opens fire in elementary school. 

Like most people, Marcie Hatfield’s heart sinks when such news reports come on her television. 

“Who would do such a thing?” she asks herself, coming to the conclusion the suspect likely reacted out of rage stemmed by a mental issue such as schizophrenia or depression. 

Over the years, Hatfield has observed people struggling with mental illnesses. In one instance, a friend whose son committed suicide while suffering from Bipolar Disorder expressed how she felt the church was... [continue]

Texas Baptists bring BSM to Guadalajara University

Home to over 116,000 students, the University of Guadalajara lies in Guadalajara, the state capital of Jalisco, Mexico, which has a mere 1% Christian population.

For over 15 years, the university was without a Baptist ministry presence. In recent years, Texas Baptists, in partnership with the Baptist Convention in Guadalajara has helped develop a Baptist Student Ministry on the campus, in hopes of engaging college students with the Gospel.

College students are open to question and wonder, said Director of Texas Baptists River Ministry Daniel Rangel, making it a prime location for ministry.

The ministry started in 2014, when the... [continue]

Los Bautistas de Texas Recaudan Más de $26,000 para Ayudar a Refugiados Sirios en el L&iacut

Las generosas contribuciones con un total de $26,800 de parte de los Bautistas de Texas, tanto de iglesias como de particulares, ayudaron a numerosos refugiados sirios a sobrevivir otro frío invierno y primavera en el Valle Bekaa del Líbano.

Se otorgaron donaciones al Proyecto de Rescate de Refugiados de los Bautistas de Texas, el cual tuvo su origen el mes de octubre del 2014 por medio de un convenio entre los Bautistas de Texas y la Sociedad Libanesa para el Desarrollo Educativo y Social (LSESD, por sus siglas en inglés).

Los fondos que se recaudaron este invierno y primavera por medio del proyecto ayudarán a apoyar a las... [continue]

Texas Baptists raise over $26,000 to aid Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Generous contributions, totalling $26,800, from Texas Baptist individuals and churches helped numerous Syrian refugees survive yet another cold winter and spring in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.

Donations were given through the Texas Baptists’ Refugee Relief Project, which originated in October 2014 through a partnership between Texas Baptists and the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD).

The funds raised this winter and spring through the project will help support local Lebanese churches in their mission to be the hands and feet of Christ to the millions of Syrians who have been fleeing to Lebanon since... [continue]

Go Now celebrates 70 years of sending students on mission

Go Now Missions celebrated 70 years of sending college students on mission by commissioning 223 student missionaries to share the Gospel around the world this summer.

The ceremony, held May 22 at Dallas Baptist University, welcomed both past and present Go Now missionaries to celebrate students who have gone and are going to the ends of the earth.  

Since 1946, Go Now Missions, a Texas Baptists’ ministry, has mobilized 10,346 Texas university students to serve as missionaries across the state, country and world. 

The first team of Texas Baptist student missionaries consisted of four individuals from Baylor University who... [continue]

Struck by tragedy, family learns to be grateful for each new day

The Blanco River was only supposed to rise to 17 feet the night of May 23, 2015, but Theresa Graves felt an uneasiness. She opted to stay awake while her family slept peacefully in their riverside Wimberley house.

Graves was monitoring her phone app, which displayed updates about water levels, when the predicted numbers nearly doubled.

“At 11:45 that night,” she recalled, “the levels jumped from 17.4 feet to 34 feet in one update. At that point, I knew we needed to go.”

Graves rushed to wake up her two children, Christian and Rachel, and her husband, Mike. They, along with their four pets, miraculously escaped the... [continue]

Youth compete for top spot at 2016 State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament

During the month of April, 819 youth representing, 115 Texas Baptist churches, showcased their talents in finding and reading Bible verses and reciting speeches through five regional Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournaments.

On April 30, regional winners competed for the top spot at the State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament, held at Dallas Baptist University.

Ninety-three youth, representing 37 churches, competed at the state tournament. The following students took home first and second place:

Youth Bible Drill (7 – 9th grades) 1st Place - William Horton, First Baptist Church in Dallas 2nd Place - Bethany Leamons, Fairy... [continue]

Even to the ends of the earth

Macedonia-native Gazmend dreamed of owning a farm, one that would help his community. He shared his vision with his good friends, Jeff and Alicia Lee, Texas Baptist missionaries, who readily joined him in his endeavor.

The Lees communicated Gazmend's dream with partnering churches in the U.S. who graciously contributed. Within three months, Gazmend raised enough money to obtain his first cows. He felt so blessed by the gifts, he committed to donating the first calf from every cow to the Lees’ “cow bank” ministry, so they could continue supporting the dreams of other first-time dairy farmers. Today, about a year later, the cow bank... [continue]

Golf Classic raises $15,000 to help promote positive mental health through counseling

Stepping out on the green with golf clubs in hand and friends beside is not only beneficial to physical health but also promotes positive mental health, according to Texas Baptists Director of Counseling Services Katie Swafford, M.A., L.P.C.-S.

During the third annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic, held on April 25 at the Dallas Athletic Club in Dallas, 261 individuals from around the state competed to promote their own physical and mental health and to also raise support for Texas Baptists Counseling Services.

The tournament raised an estimated $15,000 by way of donors, event fees and sponsors, with BCFS serving as the title... [continue]

Congreso youth compelled to be changemakers

“When you’re young and you love Jesus, the world cannot handle you,” New York youth minister Daniel Sanabria, said to a crowd of over 3,000 youth at Congresso on April 22-24 at the Ferrell Center at Baylor University.

“God wants to take us to a different level,” Sanabria, also founder of God Belongs in My City, said, ”not a different level of ministry, but a different level of living for Him.”

Sanabria’s call for youth to live differently in the world coincided with Congreso’s evident theme of being a “changemaker.”

“A changemaker is one who leverages his or her influence of Christ for the betterment of the world,” Joshua del... [continue]

Fire for evangelism great amongst growing Hispanic community

According to the 2010 census, 38 percent of Texas’ population was Hispanic. That percentage is likely higher now and is projected to increase in years ahead, creating a greater opportunity for evangelism in and amongst the Hispanic community.

Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for Texas Baptists, observes the Hispanic Christian community regularly and said there is an evident yearning for knowing God well and spreading His message of hope. 

This observation has been confirmed in the past two months as over 2,000 Hispanic church leaders, students and children gathered in churches around the state to be trained and encouraged to... [continue]

Boys with Down syndrome help develop special needs ministry in Germany

Tyler Tooley and Blake Dorchester are extraordinary in countless ways. Both born with Down syndrome, the boys do not let that seeming obstacle prevent them from serving the Lord wholeheartedly.

In March, Tooley and Dorchester traveled across the globe with their church, Alsbury Baptist Church in Burleson, to help develop a special needs ministry at City Church, an Alsbury Baptist church plant, in Germany.

Alsbury Baptist is known for its thriving ministry to children and adults with special needs. On any given Sunday, about 10% of the people in the congregation have some special need, and that is something Pastor Scott Sharman is... [continue]

Youth group travels to minister’s hometown to rebuild flood-damaged homes

WIMBERLEY, TX--When Bobby Catt, minister of students at First Baptist Church in San Angelo, discovered a student mission trip opportunity in Wimberley, he knew he had to sign up his youth group right away.

Catt called the small town, with a population just over 2,500, home for many formative years. Last Memorial Day weekend, numerous Wimberley residencies sustained severe damage after record amounts of rainfall caused flooding across Central Texas.

Nine days after the flood, Catt and three members from his church traveled to Wimberley to begin relief work

Nearly 10 months later, he heard about a spring break mission trip... [continue]

Houston's brokenness: College students respond to the mega city's greatest needs

HOUSTON--Home to nearly 2.2 million people, Houston is labeled the fourth most populous city in the nation and has over 145 languages spoken. Along with its large population and immense diversity comes more startling statistics:

  • Houston has more victims of human trafficking than any other U.S. city.
  • 6,300 people are without a home on any given night in Houston.
  • Crime reports showed 283 people were murdered in Houston in 2015.
  • There are more than 1 million foreign born residents in the Houston metro area, accounting for one in four of the population.

Over spring break, 130 college students embraced the city and its... [continue]

Texas Baptists names new director of African American Ministries

DALLAS—Dr. Roy Cotton, from Dallas, has been named Director of African American Ministries for Texas Baptists.

Cotton assumed his new role March 1 and became the fourth director, after having served as interim director since September 2015.

More than 900 African American churches cooperate with Texas Baptists, and Cotton said he is looking forward to connecting with even more churches in this new position.

"I am most excited about connecting African American pastors and churches with Texas Baptists," he said.

As director, Cotton will serve as a liaison working with the African American Fellowship of Texas and the... [continue]

New facility brings new opportunities for North Texas BSM

DENTON--Friends, alumni and students of the University of North Texas Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) celebrated the grand opening of of new, fully funded $2.3 million BSM building on Saturday.

In its over 50 years of existence, the BSM has hosted thousands of free lunches and worship services, seeing many students come to know Christ and even more deepen their level of faith and knowledge of God's Word.

When the UNT BSM first opened its doors in 1960, the student population was around 6,700. Today, the student body has reached over 37,000. Not only did the original building begin experiencing structural problems, but it... [continue]

Volunteers needed for disaster recovery in South Texas and Mexico

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) offers a vast array of affordable mission trip opportunities throughout the year, inviting churches to be the hands and feet of Christ to people who have been affected by disasters, such as tornadoes, floods and fires. This year, some of the largest needs are in South Texas and Mexico where low-income communities are striving to recover from 2015 disasters. Volunteers are especially needed in the following two locations: Weslaco, Texas and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

Weslaco - $25/person (includes lodging)

Far south, nearly touching the border of Texas and Mexico is a sizable town of... [continue]

Texas Baptists welcomes new team lead for Music and Worship

From an early age, Tom Tillman learned he had a natural musical ability. Since then, his life has encompassed a vast array of musical experiences.

Texas Baptists welcomes Tillman, former Music and Worship Pastor for First Baptist Church in Conroe, as the new Music and Worship Lead.

"I was literally one of those kids that grew up being at the church every time the doors were open," Tillman said. "I was always eager to do musical things, whether it was children's choir or handbells and then eventually playing piano, organ, singing and leading ensembles in the main services of worship."

In his new role with Texas... [continue]

Safety from war does not come without struggle—bringing hope to Syrian refugees

The terror and violence became unbearable. At 4 a.m. around two years ago, Yusuf and Fatima Assad* gathered their nine children and left their house, possessions and comfort to search for a better life, away from bombings and turmoil.

The Assad family is just one of millions who have fallen victim to the unrelenting civil war in Syria, which first struck the nation four years ago. Since then, close to 1.08 million registered Syrian refugees have settled in Lebanon, located just west of Syria.

There was no turning back. Seconds after they left, Yusuf looked back, only to see a bomb destroy their house and everything in it. They moved... [continue]

Texas Baptists to host Hispanic evangelism events for students and adults

The Texas Baptists Hispanic Evangelism team is gearing up for a busy but invigorating year, complete with evangelism training opportunities for Latino churches around the state.

Both students and adults will have opportunities to gain valuable evangelism training through regional Renovación Hispanic Evangelism Conferences and through Congreso, a youth evangelism conference. Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team, said he is excited for what is in store for each upcoming event.

"This year's conferences will serve as a call to our hispanic congregations to prayer for revival and greater... [continue]

These gleaming, little eyes

Look at these gleaming little eyes. Gripping, aren't they?

Though a sparkle glistens, these eyes have seen what no eyes should ever see.

These eyes saw a bomb detonate yards away as they fled their Syrian home at 4 a.m. over a year ago.

They saw airplanes fly above which triggered tears and the verbal response, "They're coming! They're coming to bomb us!"

They saw crowded buses and tired feet during the two days of transit to cross the Syria/Lebanon border.

They saw their new home—a wooden frame, covered with a flimsy nylon tarp—and two "rooms" to house nine pairs of sibling and parent eyes.

These eyes saw a frigid winter, with 60... [continue]

When disaster strikes

What looked to be a typical, rainy spring weekend quickly turned tragic. The rains, heavier than usual, created a 40-foot wall of water that came barreling down the river, wiping houses off their foundations and thrusting cars into trees. The flood in San Marcos Memorial Day weekend 2015 would go down in history as the highest flood recorded in Texas.

But when news of the damage shook the community, First Baptist Church in San Marcos was armed and ready to respond.

Two and a half years ago, volunteers from the church assisted with disaster recovery following the West fertilizer plant explosion. When they returned home, they felt... [continue]

Raising Highly Capable Kids program sees continued growth around the state

FORT WORTH—With flowers in hand, students at W.J. Turner Elementary School in Fort Worth assembled in the school's auditorium last week to witness an extraordinary sight—their parents' graduation.

Seventeen parents took the stage to receive their diplomas for completing 13 weeks of classes based around the curriculum Raising Highly Capable Kids (RHCK), which teaches parents skills for raising their children.

In 2013, Pastor Rafael Berlanga, from Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, introduced the program for the first time to Manuel Jara Elementary School, located just two miles away from Turner Elementary.

Three years... [continue]

Two former pastors to serve as Area 8 representatives

DALLAS--Over 900 Texas Baptists churches are located in the North Texas region surrounding Dallas, also known as Area 8, where diversity is vast and culture is ever-changing.

Texas Baptists has recently welcomed former pastors John Nguyen and Dowell Loftis to partner together as part-time area representatives for Area 8, which encompasses counties as far north as Grayson and Fannin Counties and as far south as Leon County.

The duo will work together to build relationships with pastors, key church leaders and directors of missions for Dallas area associations. They will also be available to fill pulpits and preach on behalf... [continue]

What happens to college students when they actually "rest"

Jumbo shrimp, good grief, bitter sweet--these are just a few of my favorite oxymorons. Another favorite I hear a lot is this: restful college student.

For many college students, the idea of "resting" is unheard of, aside from catching maybe five hours of shut-eye at night. Whether it's school, work, homework or having a social life, for some reason the hours in college just seem to get filled up so quickly.

Every year, Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry organizes a prayer retreat called "Abide" that invites college students to do the unheard of: to rest.

It's unscheduled. Once students arrive Friday at Highland Lakes Camp in... [continue]

Hundreds baptized at cowboy church crusade

Filthy white towels lay soaked on the concrete floor. Dirty water filled the tin trough. Food crumbs were sprinkled all around the worship center.

The time had come to clean up after the Jan. 10-13 Main Event Crusade at the Cowboy Church of Corsicana (CCC). Church volunteers and leaders were tired. But most would say the spiritual excitement far outweighed the physical exhaustion.

"A crusade means bringing in the lost and helping them find Jesus, and that's what we hoped to do." said Derek Rogers, pastor of CCC, about the four-day event.

The cowboy church, located off highway 31 in Corsicana, held its first service in 2011 with 39... [continue]

TBDR mobilizes 450 volunteers to N. Texas tornado relief

ROWLETT: Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) mobilized 450 volunteers over the past two weekends to Rowlett and Garland in response to the tornadoes which rattled several North Texas communities Dec. 26.

Willing volunteers transported bricks, mangled furniture and tree limbs from the disaster zones to the street curbs, working a combined total of 1,100 man-hours.

In Rowlett, the city government requested TBDR organize a Volunteer Reception Center at First Baptist Church. Though TBDR traditionally steps in during the long-term recovery phase, they chose to accept the request to aid the city with immediate relief.

"We... [continue]

​UPDATE: Volunteer teams needed for N. Texas tornado damage

Volunteer teams are needed! If your church group would like to assist in debris clearing and clean-up, see the information below:

Volunteer in Rowlett:

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is coordinating volunteers for the City of Rowlett.

  1. Call 214-537-7358 for hours of operation before you depart and to discover your team's work assignment.
  2. Click Here for the Liability Waiver and Personal Information form. A parent or guardian must sign the form for minors. To save time, teams will need to download and complete the waiver form before arriving at the church.
  3. Bring the items listed in the supply list below
  4. Go to the
... [continue]

Disaster Recovery offers opportunity to respond to North Texas winter tornadoes

The day after Christmas took a vicious turn in North Texas as a line of storms brought numerous devastating tornadoes. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) began making plans for recovery efforts immediately following the storms on Saturday evening, according to David Scott, director of Disaster Recovery.

TBDR personnel are assessing damage and are communicating with disaster relief contacts to identify what role Texas Baptists will play in cleap-up and rebuilding of houses and lives.

The twisters affected residents from Ellis County to Collin County. Houses and vehicles were damaged, and there were a number of fatalities.

TBDR... [continue]

What to give when friends and family have all they need

The season of gratitude and giving is just around the corner, and the stressful question is likely beginning to linger, "What do I give my friends who family who have everything they need?"

This holiday season, Texas Baptists is offering 34 opportunities in its first-ever Missions Gift Catalog to give unique gifts to people in Texas and around the world who do not have everything they need, especially the one thing they need most—hope of eternal life.

"Why would you want to give to someone that already has a lot when you could give to someone who has so little?" said Josue Valerio, Director of Missions for Texas Baptists.

Texas... [continue]

​Annual Meeting sermon: In an ever-changing world, dissension matters

Life is more than just football games and weather forecasts. God made us spiritual beings and therefore spiritual discussions matter, said Taylor Sandlin, pastor of Southland Baptist Church in San Angelo, during the annual sermon for the 2015 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

At the Monday morning worship session held at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, the Grand Chorus, a choir of college students from Dallas Baptist University, commenced the service with joyous singing, which echoed across the concrete walls of the arena.

Sandlin followed with the annual sermon and directed the audience's attention to Mark 12:28-34, where Jesus, after... [continue]

​Texas Baptists elect diverse panel of officers for second consecutive year

FRISCO–For the second consecutive year, Texas Baptists messengers have elected a diverse officer panel with René Maciel, president of the Baptist University of the Americás [BUA], elected as President.

The election was held during the Monday afternoon business session of the 130th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which took place at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco Nov. 8-10.

Also elected to the panel were Bedilu Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church of Dallas, who was elected First Vice President after previously serving as Second Vice President, and Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist... [continue]

McLeod awarded for exceptional leadership in Intentional Interim Ministry

DALLAS—Dr. Jimmy McLeod, Intentional Interim Ministry pastor of Park Central Baptist Church in Dallas, was presented the 2015 Maples, Williamson, Daehnert (MWD) Award by the Texas Baptists' Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM) Network for his faithful work to the ministry.

On Oct. 13, McLeod became the seventh recipient of the MWD Award, which is given annually to pastors who have completed the IIM training and have shown exemplary leadership, vision and mentoring in their churches and with ministers.

"Dr. McLeod has demonstrated his unique gifts in encouragement, unifying congregations and mentoring leaders," said Karl... [continue]

Texas Baptists respond to Syrian Refugee Crisis

With little more than clothes on their backs, displaced Syrian families are fleeing their war-torn homeland daily, seeking refuge as far away as the United States.

But some neighboring countries have been welcoming refugees since the Syrian conflict first began in 2011. The United Nations records that close to 1.08 million registered Syrian refugees have settled in Lebanon, a small country just west of Syria, totaling to nearly one-fourth of the Lebanese population.

In response to the crisis, Texas Baptists have come alongside their close partner, the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD), to bring relief to... [continue]

1500 steaks and free ice cream

Last fall, bright-eyed freshman Lindsay Teweleit stepped foot onto the Texas Tech University campus seeking new adventures and friendships. But since she was placed in a dorm without a roommate, building relationships proved to be a challenge. She had no prior connections and craved community.

Lindsay was sitting alone in her room one day about a week before classes started when she suddenly heard a knock on her door.

"I literally jumped from my bed to the door, flying across the room," she said, expressing her enthusiasm about simply having a visitor.

The students greeting her at the door held a bag of goodies and said... [continue]

Texas Baptists Great Commission Team to undergo staff changes

Effective Nov. 1, the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team will undergo staff changes under the direction of Dr. Delvin Atchison, who assumed the role of director in mid-September.

Dr. David Hardage, executive director for Texas Baptists, announced the formation of the Great Commission Team at the February Executive Board Meeting along with the presentation of the convention restructure. Hardage envisioned the team to combine the Evangelism, Discipleship, and Music and Worship Teams so they may collaboratively better address the discipleship process and evangelism training for churches.

Along with this formation came the need to fill... [continue]

New block party trailer to open doors for evangelism in Collin County

FRISCO—From colorful bounce houses and entertaining games to savory-smelling food and captivating music, block parties have a way of drawing a crowd and are a popular outreach tool. But they can also be expensive and burdening to plan.

Last weekend, Collin Baptist Association (CBA) received a brand new Block Party Trailer, complete with all of the essentials a church needs to host a block party for no cost, aside from commodities and food.

The trailer, gifted to CBA by the Texas Baptists Evangelism Team and assembled by the Timothy Institute in Oklahoma, was delivered to Preston Ridge Baptist Church in Frisco on Saturday for a... [continue]

Creating bold youth disciples in the midst of a cultural revolution

In the midst of a cultural revolution where technology has cultivated a "me" generation and immorality is prevalent, youth ministers have a unique and challenging role in teaching students to be bold disciples.

Tim Elmore, founder and president of Growing Leaders in Georgia, shared expert insight to a room full of church youth workers on leading today's youth at Texas Baptists' Youth Ministry Conclave, which was held in Arlington Oct. 12-14.

Today's culture fosters "artificial maturity," said Elmore, who has worked with students for 36 years. Youth are being over-exposed to information while being under-exposed to real life... [continue]

Retreat brings mentally challenged adults together for weekend of fun and worship

The crowd roared with sheer excitement, clapping their hands and screaming with joy, all in response to one simple question: "Are you ready to study the Word of God this weekend?"

Much of the jubilant crowd, consisting of about 350 Special Friends Retreat campers and volunteers, had been looking forward to the Oct. 2-3 weekend all year long.

At the retreat for adults over 12-years-old with special needs, campers worship, engage in Bible studies and make crafts. But the highlight of the weekend for many participants is the Friday night talent show.

"I look forward to the retreat and talent show every year," said Julie... [continue]

BSM and local churches in Rio Grande Valley unite to feed the 4,000

For college sophomore Arly Garza, handing out hot dogs and Bibles on her university campus took on a deeper meaning when she was able to serve alongside both her college friends and church leaders.

The idea behind the UT Rio Grande Valley BSM-led initiative, called "Feeding the 4,000," derived from Mark 8:1-9 where Jesus and His disciples distributed a small amount of bread and fish to 4,000 people.

Local churches, such as Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, joined in the effort by providing financial donations for hot dogs and New Testament Bibles, by praying for the college students and by volunteering at the event.

... [continue]

Texas Baptists to observe Baptist roots at Annual Meeting

FRISCO—Texas Baptists are examining their roots at the Nov. 8-10 annual meeting with the theme "Deep Roots: Living Legacy."

The meeting at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco and will center around Colossians 2:6-7, with a special emphasis placed on the Baptist Distinctives.

"This year, we'll examine Baptist Distinctives and share the reasons we choose to be Baptist," explained Kathy Hillman, BGCT president. "Together we'll explore our deep roots and celebrate our living legacy through inspiring worship, enlightening workshops and educational exhibits."

Registration will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, followed by various rallies hosted by... [continue]

Executive Board recommends $35.42 million budget for 2016

DALLAS- At the Sept. 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved to recommend a 2016 net budget of $35.42 million to messengers at the Nov. 8-10 Annual Meeting.

The budget will rely on $31 million in Cooperative Program receipts from churches, a decrease of $900,000 from the 2015 budget. It also requires $4.42 million in investment income, a $1.82 million increase from 2015 made available in part due to invested proceeds from the sale of the Baptist Building.

The total budget, anticipating $300,000 from the North American Mission Board and revenue from other... [continue]

Larsen named finalist for CFO of the Year award

Texas Baptists' Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Jill Larsen has been named a finalist for Dallas Business Journal's CFO of the Year award.

Larsen was selected and named a finalist by a panel of independent judges after being nominated by a close business friend. She will join 28 other financial executives Oct. 26 at the CFO of Year Awards program in Dallas, where category winners will be announced.

The past year has brought an abundance of new challenges and opportunities for Larsen as she managed two substantial projects for the Texas Baptists—restructuring the 2015 budget and steering the office relocation.

The budget... [continue]

Texas and Mexico Baptists partner to rebuild border town of Acuña, Mexico

Four months ago, a devastating tornado ripped through the city of Acuña, Mexico and hit with a ferocity that has not been witnessed in more than 100 years.

Baptists in both Texas and Mexico are gearing up to assist in recovery efforts for the city through "Acuña Rebuild." Partners include Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), First Baptist Church in Del Rio, First Baptist Church in Acuña, Texas Baptists River Ministry and Eagle Pass-based Mission Border Hope.

The six-second twister was a part of the same weather cell that impacted Houston, San Marcos and other Central Texas towns over Memorial Day weekend this year. The tornado... [continue]

Atchison named director of Great Commission Team

DALLAS–On Sept. 16, Texas Baptists welcomed Delvin Atchison, former pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Waco, as director of the Great Commission Team.

Dr. David Hardage, executive director for Texas Baptists, announced the formation of the Great Commission Team as part of the convention restructure at the February Executive Board meeting. The team is a combination of the Evangelism and Discipleship Teams, which will collaboratively better address the discipleship process and evangelism training for churches.

In Atchison's new role, he will help the two teams merge. He desires to see the team work together to inspire enthusiasm... [continue]

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery to respond to Myanmar summer flooding

Dr. Mang Tiak of Houston could not eat or sleep for days when she heard news that flooding in late July wrecked her Myanmar hometown.

"Many people were suffering," she explained. "It really hit me, and I felt like I needed to do something."

The floods, which were caused by monsoons and a typhoon, brought destruction to all but two of the 14 states in Myanmar, (also known as Burma). The disaster reportedly affected one million people across the country, displacing many of them.

Tiak and her husband, Rev. Dr. Thong Kho Lun, are pastors at Greater Houston Burmese Christian Fellowship where a majority of the members also migrated from... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Where college students are sharing the Gospel 365 days a year

Go Now Missions sends college students to the mission field 365 days a year through semester, summer and Christmas break trips. Since 1946, Texas Baptists have sent 9,820 student missionaries across the state, country and world. The ministry is made possible by funds given through the Mary Hill Davis Offering. The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering is September 13-20, 2015. Click here for resources for your church to help promote this special offering in your church.

Cloe Veldhuis, a student at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, served as a Go Now missionary in the Philippines this past... [continue]

Texas Baptists dedicate new Rambler Park office space

After three days of unpacking crates and settling into new workstations, the Texas Baptists staff gathered together for a dedication of the eleventh and twelfth floors of the Rambler Park building located at 7557 Rambler Rd. in Dallas, which now houses the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

At the dedication ceremony, executive leaders recognized the dedicated work of internal employees and external partners who helped make the transition possible. The staff then joined one another in prayer for the building, the staff and for partners in ministry, including the 5400 BGCT-affiliated churches.

Jill Larsen, treasurer/CFO for Texas... [continue]

River Ministry in Piedras Negras: Where compassionate ministry transformed a community

Texas Baptists River Ministry connects and assigns churches to specific projects along the Texas/Mexico border as well as in the top 10 most populated cities of Mexico. The ministry is made possible by funds given through the Mary Hill Davis Offering. The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering is September 13-20, 2015. Click here for resources for your church to help promote this special offering in your church.

In some parts of Mexico, families often choose to live with physical discomforts in order to avoid pricey medical care. Medical equipment such as examination machinery, wheelchairs and... [continue]

Texas Baptists passes Baptist Building legacy to Baylor University nursing school

DALLAS- On Wednesday, Texas Baptists held a monumental "passing the mantle" ceremony to commemorate the legacy of Texas Baptists at 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas and the future of the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON), which will soon take residency in the 100,000 square-foot building.

The August 26 ceremony featured remarks from leaders of both Baptist-affiliated organizations including Dr. David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists, and Dr. Shelley Conroy, dean and professor of LHSON.

"Texas Baptists have been blessed by this building for close to 30 years," Dr. Hardage said. "God has used it... [continue]

Special Friends Retreat: Where worship is pure

The Special Friends Retreats are made possible by funds given through the Mary Hill Davis Offering. The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering is September 13-20, 2015. Click here for resources for your church to help promote this special offering in your church.

Worship is anything but mundane at the annual Special Friends Retreat, hosted by Texas Baptists' Childhood Discipleship Department. Smiles, laughter and joyful tears are evident all weekend long amongst the campers, who all face mental disabilities.

For 29 years, the Special Friends Retreat has welcomed special needs people over the age... [continue]

Boomers are turning 65 at 10,000 per day, are churches ready?

SAN ANTONIO—With the baby boomer generation turning 65-years-old at nearly 10,000 people per day, churches have the opportunity to reach a generation like they have never been reached before.

On September 9-11, Texas Baptists' Adult Discipleship Team will host its 4th annual "Catch the Boomer Wave," a National Boomer Ministry Conference, at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio to address how to effectively minister to boomers.

The term "baby boomers" derived after 77 million babies were born in the post World War II era from 1946 to 1964. For the next 14 years boomers will be stepping into retirement and turning 65.

As churches... [continue]

Church reaches out to Russian-speaking Texans

PLANO—Children playing water games, listening intently to Bible stories and doing crafts—the scene looked like a typical American summer camp. That is until the children spoke and revealed their thick Russian accents.

The summer camp, hosted by River of Life Church at Hunters Glen Baptist Church in Plano, comprised of about 50 children who come from Slovak descent. Some had Russian heritage while others had heritage from Ukraine, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Latvia and other Slovak countries. The common denominator is they all spoke both Russian and English.

The 4-year-old church planted its roots in Plano four years ago, shortly after... [continue]

Stop cowering from the lion, try chasing it instead

Let me tell you a story of a girl (me) who chased a lion.

I was a shy, insecure fifth grader at a small private school and was afraid of trying new things, fearing both failure and inadequacy.

But one day I courageously chose to put my fears aside and join the softball team.

Well, I wasn't very good. The greatest achievement I earned was making it to first base.

I thought my last softball game would be the one where I would literally hit the ball out of the park. Unfortunately, I didn't even get to play.

During the pre-game warm-up, I found myself on the ground with a beating headache and opening my eyes... [continue]

Disaster Recovery trip combines missions with summer fun

GALVESTON–Last week, volunteers teamed up with Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) to take part in a unique missions experience—one that allowed opportunities for mornings of servant-hearted labor and afternoons of summer entertainment.

Forty volunteers from five Texas Baptists churches spent the weekday mornings painting homes, building fences, cleaning yards and making repairs for homeowners who are still reaping the effects of Hurricane Ike, which devastated much of the Island in 2008.

In the afternoons, the volunteers spent their free time playing miniature golf, going to the beach, visiting Pleasure Pier,... [continue]

African American Fellowship given a charge to keep, elects 2016 officers

Sugar Land—A lineup of passionate speakers and jubilant worship at this year's African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference (AAFC) made for a spirit of joy and encouragement amongst guests, giving them a "charge to keep," as the conference theme stated.

At The Fort Bend Baptist Church in Sugar Land July 14-16, hundreds of pastors and lay leaders of African American churches gathered together to take part in the conference, which featured a Tuesday night Jim W. Culp, Sr. Banquet followed by two days of worship services, workshops, exhibit displays and the introduction of the 2016 state officers.

At Wednesday... [continue]

What is your growth plan?

If someone were to ask, "What is your growth plan for your life?" – would you have an answer? Many of us may fail to come up with an immediate response, but it is a plausible question to consider.

In the past few years, the Office of Hispanic Ministries for Texas Baptists has observed a desire within the Hispanic Baptist community for growth in leadership development. Last fall, they hosted a successful first "En Sus Manos" conference, which offered leadership trainings for English-speaking adults, Spanish-speaking adults and youth. They are offering the second annual conference this November.

"In this conference, we focus a lot on... [continue]

​Camp Exalted encourages spiritual growth for 290 youth

From amusing games of human foosball to deep-hearted discussions in family groups to spirit-led worship, students at Camp Exalted gained both new friendships and spiritual growth June 22-26.

Nearly 300 students attended this year's Camp Exalted, hosted by Texas Baptists' African American Ministries and located at Camp Copass in Denton, and 32 of them made a profession of salvation.

Camp Exalted has three goals in mind, according to Camp Director Reverend Carlos Francis from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield: "We want to introduce someone to Christ, to make them a disciple and teach them to make others disciples," he... [continue]

Louie Giglio challenges youth at North Texas YEC

The June 19-20, North Texas Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) brought an overflowing crowd of students to Venue 510 in Burleson, where renowned pastor and author Louie Giglio gave a challenging message.

Giglio, founder of Passion Conferences and pastor of Passion City church in Atlanta, Georgia, read from Luke 7, reciting the story which records people finding themselves in a place of "holy mystery" after Jesus raised a widow's only son from the dead.

"This story is not just a story of a boy that is raised from the dead," Giglio told the students. "This is a picture of the Gospel."

Through salvation, he explained, God brings the dead... [continue]

Texas Baptists respond to Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

For the first time in history the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation on Friday, June 26, creating a challenge for churches and Christian organizations that believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman.

David Hardage, executive director for Texas Baptists, which has around 5,400 affiliated Baptist churches, said: "The Baptist General Convention of Texas is committed to loving, caring and treating all people with grace and respect. Also, we continue to affirm our long held understanding of the biblical view of marriage as that between one man and one woman."

In the ruling, the Supreme Court... [continue]

Super Summer’s ingredients to 41 years of success

Every June and July, thousands of Super Summer students proudly wear the same color, loudly chant group cheers and put on their game faces at competitive activities for five straight days, but leaders and students alike will agree the success of the camp goes far deeper than fun and games.

Super Summer is intense and intentionally deeper than regular youth camps, said Scott Patridge, youth minister at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland and dean for the Red School at the first Super Summer session this year, which took place at Dallas Baptist University from June 8-12.

"It's not a camp for everybody," he said. "But for those... [continue]

German interns unveil unique ministry need in Europe

LA GRANGE—While serving as interns at a Texas Baptist church, an engaged German couple, Christian and Henni, helped unveil an untapped ministry opportunity in much of Europe: the need for marriage counseling.

When Christian and Henni first met, Henni was not a believer in Christ and admittedly made bad decisions in her youth. As Christian stepped into her life, he opened her eyes to God and faith, which instilled many questions inside her heart.

Henni agreed to join Christian at a church baseball camp, where she was put on a team with Jonathan Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in La Grange, Texas. She decided to accept Christ... [continue]

A burdened heart for the lost, Former FBC Shallowater pastor joins evangelism team

Texas Baptists welcomes Mitch Wilson, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Shallowater, as director of church evangelism.

In his 19 years of pastoring at FBC Shallowater, which is located just seven miles outside of Lubbock, Wilson developed a burden for the lost and felt a tug on his heart to research data in Lubbock County. The burden became heavier as he discovered there were 160,000 unchurched people in the county, and he began shepherding his church to engage in more evangelism opportunities.

"I really believe that God then expanded my heart and that burden for the lost in the whole state instead of just Lubbock... [continue]

Disaster Recovery prepares to respond to Van tornado destruction

A deadly tornado, which struck the Texas town of Van Sunday, May 10, has affected 204 total homes. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) is on the ground assessing damage and preparing to begin volunteer mobilization.

According to the Red Cross, 62 homes were destroyed, 56 made inhabitable, 41 received minor damage, and 45 were otherwise affected. There were two fatalities and 56 residents were injured.

Texas Baptist Men, a partner organization of Texas Baptists that mobilizes immediate response teams, has chain saw teams in the area and is working to clear debris from homes.

First Baptist Church in Van is serving as a Red Cross... [continue]

Golf Classic brings in $15,000 for disaster recovery

Blue skies and a bright shining sun made an appearance as 265 golfers stepped onto the green of the TPC San Antonio golf course on April 27 for the second annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic.

The tournament raised an estimated $15,000 by way of donors, event fees and 17 sponsors, with Baptist Church Loan Corporation (BCLC) serving as title sponsor. All proceeds will benefit Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR).

"We're grateful to all of our sponsors, especially BCLC who, without their help, the event wouldn't have been possible," said Chris Liebrum, tournament director and director of TBDR. "We're glad we can host the... [continue]

2015 State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament winners named

Eighty-seven youth representing 35 churches competed in the Texas Baptist State Youth Bible Drill and Speaker's Tournament May 1 and 2 at the Baptist Building in Dallas.

Prior to the competition, students competed in one of the five regional events across the state. For 2015, there were 827 participants in Bible Drill and Speaker's Tournaments from 109 churches competing in the regional events. The highest-scoring youth from those events then traveled to Dallas for the state competition.

State winners include:

Youth Bible Drill (7 – 9th grades)

1st Place - Tie - William Horton, First Baptist Church in Dallas and... [continue]

Refugee families adjust to life in the US with help of Houston ministry

Loaves & Fishes is a ministry actively seeking to alleviate hunger amongst refugee children in Houston. They receive funds from Texas Baptists Hunger Offering via the Union Baptist Association, which help the ministry in a variety of ways:
  • Providing a hot meal for children on Saturday nights, when they do not receive a meal from school
  • Keeping a stock of food items such as rice and lentils for families to take when food stamps run low
  • Packing children's backpacks in the summertime with food

Margie Randall, retired IMB missionary, has a special place in her heart for children. Ever since God called her to help refugee... [continue]

Inspiring excellence, impacting generations to come

Evangelist Billy Graham once said, "The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith."

The BGCT has stood strong in faith and character for 119 years because of leaders who inspire servant hood and excellence. For those people, we are grateful, and we honor individuals every year who are leaving a lasting impact in Texas Baptist life.

On June 7, at the historic Independence Baptist Church, we will honor Reverend Dr. James "Jim" W. Culp, Sr. of Second Chapel Baptist Church in Garland and Dr.... [continue]

A fire set ablaze at the WMU annual meeting

Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scripture to us? Luke 24:32, GNT

For her birthday last year, IMB missionary Staci Powers' most treasured gift was having her husband hold her hands without letting go. The fact that he had forgotten it was her birthday did not matter at that moment.

Four days later, on July 10, 2014, Staci held her husband Jeff's hands for the last time as cancer took over his body.

Last weekend, Staci boldly stood on stage at the Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration, fighting back tears as she told her story.... [continue]

​Disaster Recovery offers affordable Galveston mission trip and vacation for the whole family

During the week of July 26-31, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) will be hosting its first-ever family mission trip to Galveston Island, where volunteers will have an opportunity to spend mornings on the worksite and afternoons on vacation.

"While all ages and types of people are invited, we wanted to focus on 'families on mission,'" said Marla Bearden, disaster response specialist for Texas Baptists. "Spending time as a family, serving others in Jesus' name, is a wonderful way for any family to spend a few days together, and why not in Galveston?"

During the mission trip, families, as well as church groups and... [continue]

Alfalfa concentrate and education help alleviate malnutrition in Mexico

Hands in Service Ministries (HISM) is a ministry that is actively seeking to alleviate hunger in Mexico. They receive funds from Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which help HISM in a variety of ways:
  • With travel and material costs to allow HISM to offer family garden courses
  • To provide intensive gardening techniques for those in urban and suburban areas
  • To help families to begin small animal production by providing quail, chickens and rabbits
  • To set up one alfalfa-processing unit that is functioning on a weekly basis
  • Will allow HISM to set up another unit in another community shortly

While out walking one day in... [continue]

Missions Foundation welcomes Dr. Jerry Carlisle as Vice President

Texas Baptists will welcome Dr. Jerry Carlisle to the position of Vice President for the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) starting April 16.

Carlisle comes to Texas Baptists after serving 13 years as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Plano, as well as adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University (DBU) for 11 years. Prior to that, he held a variety of pastoral and ministerial positions in Texas and Missouri.

In his new role, Carlisle will work with donors to help raise funds for the ministries Texas Baptists and TBMF support. He plans to maintain a similar mindset in this job as he has had all along as... [continue]

Student disaster recovery responds to Tulsa tornadoes

In response to Wednesday night's tornadoes that brought devastation to many homes and families in Tulsa, Oklahoma, BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery has announced a mission opportunity for students to help the city in its road to recovery.

Reports from CNN reveal the storms took one life, left dozens injured across the state and caused massive devastation in the Tulsa area and some damage in other cities including Moore, which is still in recovery from the catastrophic 2013 tornadoes.

As a branch of Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), BOUNCE provides the opportunity for student ministries to help communities bounce... [continue]

College seniors: 4 assumptions about the real world to get out of your head right now

Congratulations! You're about to be a college graduate. You survived four(ish) grueling years of late nights and hard work to get that piece of paper you can frame at your new job.

If you haven't done so already, now is a good time to put on your armor and gear up for the road ahead. Maybe it will be an easy initial transition for you, but the journey won't be sunny and 70 degrees all the time. Having been out of college a little over a year now, I've learned a lesson or two about clearing my mind of false assumptions. Here are just a few I encourage you to watch out for:

The assumption that you'll be just as confident as you... [continue]

Texas Baptists contribute over $17,000 to winterize and bring the Gospel to Syrian refugees

Through generous offerings, Texas Baptist churches and individuals have contributed over $17,600 to the Texas Baptists' Winterization Project, which is helping bring warmth and the Gospel to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

The vision behind the Winterization Project began developing in August of last year when Matt Snowden, chair of the missions mobilization team for Texas Baptists; Mike Stroope, associate professor of Christian missions at George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco; and Steve Seaberry, director of partnerships for Texas Baptists, visited Lebanon with the intention of strengthening bonds with the Lebanese Society for... [continue]

BOUNCE students bring hope of restoration to South Austin

AUSTIN—Chris Rubs was cleaning his garage on the night of October 31, 2013, unaware that outside his door, torrential rains had caused the neighborhood creek to overflow.

He suddenly heard screams coming from outside and opened the door to find an unnerving sight: floodwaters were engulfing his neighborhood and neighbors were chasing after a little girl who had been swept off her feet by the rapids. Together, with other men and the help of a chain-link fence that snagged the girl's clothing, Rubs helped bring her home to safe arms.

Once he waded through water back to his own home, Rubs crawled through a window to get inside, where... [continue]

Love in deed: Churches embrace timely opportunity for refugee ministry

HOUSTON—Now is a time, like no other, to be prepared to minister with refugees, Mark Heavener, specialist for Texas Baptists' intercultural ministry, told guests at the Feb 27-28 Love in Deed: Refugee Ministry Summit held at Chinese Baptist Church in Houston.

In 2014, a total of 7,214 refugees arrived in Texas from 65 countries. Statistics reveal that one-third of those settled in Houston, making the city a wide open door for refugee ministry.

"Clearly God has chosen the state of Texas and the city of Houston to be the center of His work of redeeming refugees," Heavener said. "I believe we are in the center of God's... [continue]

Executive Director serves as Pastor of the Day for Texas Senate

On Tuesday, March 10, Texas Baptists' Executive Director Dr. David Hardage is serving as the Pastor of the Day for the Texas Senate, and prayed during the legislative session, beginning at 11 a.m. Thank you for being in prayer for him as he represents Texas Baptists in the Capitol building.

To hear his prayer, watch the video below. Sen. Royce West, representing the 23rd Senatorial District for Dallas County, introduced Dr. Hardage before he... [continue]

​Forever loved, forever Young: An adoption story

It was December 8, 2008–the day to finally meet Sam. After years of waiting, Ashli and Kyle Young found themselves in Russia face-to-face with the 3-year-old child they would soon adopt and call their own.

"It was weird," Ashli said of that first interaction. "People talk about instantly connecting with their child. I didn't experience that. He was just a kid with a personality I didn't know."

Five years earlier, the couple began the adoption process after doctors said they had less than a one percent chance of getting pregnant. They wanted children and, through prayer, came to realize that God's way of building their... [continue]

Igniting a fire in Hispanic Evangelism

SAN ANTONIO—With no seating room to spare, congregants of the Hispanic Evangelism Conference packed tightly inside a corner room in the Life Church of San Antonio Feb. 21-22, lifting prayers for revival in their churches and cities.

"Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless and directionless," Joshua Del Risco, Texas Baptists' director of Hispanic Evangelism, told the Spanish-speaking crowd in the large group celebration service following the prayer time.

Even more congregants nearly packed the sanctuary as Life Church's band led the group in worship and Del Risco shared a message of evangelism from Mark 6:34, where Jesus perceived... [continue]

BGCT Executive Board approves resolution on transgender issues

DALLAS—At its Feb 23-24 meeting in Dallas, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas unanimously approved a resolution on transgender issues, declaring gender is determined biologically, not psychologically.

The request to consider the resolution came from several Texas Baptist university presidents stating the need to apply for a Title IX exemption from the United States Department of Education in dealing with accommodations for transgender students. Their application would be strengthened with a statement from the BGCT addressing the issue.

Pronouncing the Bible as the authority for faith and practice for the... [continue]

Small town church cheers on senior as he achieves football dream

GOLIAD—Setting goals and working hard to achieve them is a strategy high school senior Ty Ross has clung to for years. Since sixth grade, his biggest goal has been to play college football, and the church family has been by his side to cheer him on.

A few weeks ago, dreams came true for the defensive end as he committed to play for the University of Mary Hardin Baylor (UMHB) Crusaders in the fall.

Ross' small hometown, Goliad, is home to less than 2,000 residents. His graduating class will walk around 100 seniors. Along with the support of his parents, he acknowledged the valuable encouragement that he has received... [continue]

Ten things we should really be talking about

A blog post recently hit the Internet about how there are far more important things to talk about than whether Christian women should wear leggings or not. The blog, Ten Things We Should Get Angry About Before Yoga Pants, presented a list of 10 things that are truly worth talking about.

I was convicted. I have spent a short amount of time in a couple of third-world countries and have experienced what living without simple luxuries such as toilet paper and a mattress feels like. Yet, in the comfort of my home country, I admittedly find myself in conversations on a daily basis, which only prove how spoiled I am. For instance,... [continue]

Our God is not limited

I had been on African soil for three days. To conclude a week of training in Botswana, my teammate and I were dropped off at a traditional village home for the weekend.

We learned to adapt to what I would consider a slow, laborious lifestyle. The nationals we resided with laughed at our efforts to pluck a chicken, take a bath in a bucket and speak the native language.

On Sunday morning, we put on our long skirts and began the trek toward the village church. We followed the lead of our hostess, who faithfully walked half a mile on the dirt road to church every week in her well-worn, red high heels.

The small church building... [continue]

Local Chinese restaurant opens doors for ministry in Big Spring

BIG SPRING—Community evangelism comes in all shapes and forms, but oftentimes begins with a simple conversation. For First Baptist Church in Big Spring, one small seed planted in a local Chinese restaurant has grown to form a much-needed ministry in the community.

When Sherry Lindsey moved to Big Spring six years ago, she felt compelled to visit the local Chinese restaurant and meet the waiters. After that initial conversation, the restaurant quickly became a hub for church members to connect with local Chinese and show Christ's love to them on a regular basis.

One waiter was able to study for the United States... [continue]

From the frontlines: Syrian refugees, harsh Lebanon winters and sharing the Gospel

Jihad Haddad is pastor of True Vine Baptist Church in Zahle, Lebanon, where winterization materials and the Gospel are being delivered to Syrian refugees who fled from the Syrian conflict that began in 2011. Haddad answered the following questions about how True Vine is ministering to the refugees.

How is True Vine Baptist Church helping refugees?

True Vine Church in Zahle provides the Syrian Refugees in the Bekaa Valley with mattresses, blankets, stoves and fuel. The refugees are living in tents, garages, rooms and some houses. We support them with some of their needs. We have a warehouse for them to come and take their... [continue]

Texas Baptists sign lease for new Dallas office space

Texas Baptists executives signed a lease agreement on December 29, 2014, for new office space in Dallas approximately eight miles north of its current building location.

More than two years ago, Baylor University approached Texas Baptists executives in regards to purchasing the Baptist Building on 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas for its Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

On May 20, 2014, executives approved the sale of the building and on January 22, 2015, the sale was finalized. Baylor University is paying $8 million in cash and is financing $5 million with Texas Baptists totalling to $13 million. In addition, there is non-cash... [continue]

Texas Baptists celebrate MLK Day by packing 23,000 meals

DALLAS—The phrases, "Vitamins!" "Protein! and "Vegetables!" echoed across the concrete walls of Texas Baptist Men's Dixon Mission Equipping Center as 175 Texas Baptist volunteers packed 23,000 meals on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to send to Liberia.

The event served as part of a Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) initiative to send food packets to Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa where starvation has become a crisis.

Volunteers came from all part of Texas, including Shertz, Lawn and Huntsville to pack boxes of food packets. Each packet contained enough vitamins, proteins, vegetables, and rice to feed six people... [continue]

What will people say about you?

A mother stood in the front of the church between two caskets. On her right side lay her 49-year-old husband. On her left side lay her 18-year-old-daughter.

Friends and family embraced the widow one-by-one with hugs and whispers in her ear, expressing condolences and sharing memories. The line backed far outside the sanctuary doors for over three hours as loved ones fought back tears and tried to come up with the "right" words to say to the mother and her three remaining children.

The daughter, Ari, was a freshman college student, passionate about Africa and was looking forward to serving at a South African orphanage in a... [continue]

Ebola and starvation in West Africa: Nearly 998,000 meals arrive with more on the way

It was a joyful holiday season for many Liberians and Sierra Leoneans as they received 997,920 pre-packaged rice and high-nutrition meals sent by Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) in partnership with multiple ministries.

The first container of 142,560 meals, trucked in from South Africa in partnership with Virginia Baptists, came just in time for Christmas and New Year's. Photos bear witness to grateful Liberian children and families holding the food packets at Zion Praise Baptist Church near the capital city Monrovia.

When the Ebola epidemic struck the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea... [continue]

Church and military meet surprising need in San Antonio community

SAN ANTONIO—As members of Christian Family Baptist Church in San Antonio began praying for ways to connect to the surrounding middle-to-upper class community, they discovered a need for food, which caught many by surprise.

"In an area like ours (the need for food) is not apparent. It does not stick out like a sore thumb," said Rob Johnson, pastor of CFBC. "But the economy has forced people to move in with their parents. Some are students with degrees and are just between jobs. They just have this temporary need for food."

The church began to realize that providing food would not only meet nutritional needs, but it would provide... [continue]

$6,000 of Hunger funds reallocated to help bring jobs during Ebola epidemic

Commissioners of the Christian Life Commission (CLC) unanimously approved a reallocation of $6,000 of Texas Baptist Hunger Offering funds in Sierra Leone because of the Ebola crisis.

The funds, originally intended to aid school fees and meals for students will instead help rehabilitate the school, which has been closed for nearly half a year due to the Ebola epidemic that has taken and is taking away many lives and jobs in West African countries.

The request to reallocate the funds came from the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone as they foresee a better use of the money is to open up job opportunities for residents.

From the... [continue]

‘Tis the season—for refugees—to merely survive

For many in the United States, 'tis the season to cozy up by the fireplace with family and friends. 'Tis the season to sing merry Christmas tunes and to be grateful for freedom, relatives and Grandma's cooking.

But for Syrian refugees who have had to flee to safety in Lebanon, 'tis the season to fight brutal winter temperatures in their houses made of plywood, tarp or tents and hope they can find food to eat each day. 'Tis the season to survive.

A writer from Tearfund, a charity passionate about tackling poverty, recently recorded his eyewitness perspective of the situation in his blog:

We visited one extended family of
... [continue]

School and church work together to help build stronger families in their community

FORT WORTH—Parents in a community on the north side of Fort Worth are spending one hour a week for 13 weeks in their children's classrooms, gaining a unique education of their own.

This is the second term for what is called Parent University, where parents learn skills for raising their children, held at Manuel Jara Elementary School. Last April, 29 parents graduated from the program. This November, 21 of those came back for a second course, and 44 parents signed up for the first.

A little over two years ago, Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, which is located just a few blocks down, adopted the elementary school and... [continue]

Filipino pastor to serve as Houston area representative

One of the most diverse regions of the United States, the greater Houston area, is home to a variety of ethnicities, creating a great hub for ministry and evangelism.

Texas Baptists welcomes Dr. Ernest Dagohoy, former pastor of First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City, as the new Area 5 representative, covering Greater Houston.

"As one of our nine area representatives, Bro. Ernest will be working to build relationships with pastors, key church leaders and directors of eight associations in southeast Texas and the greater Houston area," said Joe Loughlin, director of connections for Texas Baptists. "He will also be... [continue]

​Hunger Luncheon honors Texas Baptists who see beyond the horizon

WACO—It was a packed house for the Hunger Luncheon at the 2014 BGCT Annual Meeting as special guest Jamaica-native Dr. Neville Callam of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) expressed his appreciation for Texas Baptists' efforts against hunger.

Hunger kills more people every year than aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined, said Callam, general secretary and chief executive officer of the BWA.

He commended the donors in the room and Texas Baptists as a whole for "being committed to the service to humanity. Not because you have to but because you recognize you need to."

"(You) have the capacity to see beyond immediate... [continue]

Johnson compels Texas Baptists to live altruistically in a self-centered world

WACO— In a world that pursues self-centered goals such as wealth, comfort, and fame—altruism can get people's attention, BGCT president Jeff Johnson told the audience at the 2014 Annual Meeting. But living that kind of difference is not going to be simple.

Johnson presented his final address as president at the Monday night worship rally of the Meeting on Nov. 17. Introduced on stage by his three daughters Sara, Lori, and Julie, and preceded by worship led by the choir of the church he pastors, First Baptist Church in Commerce, Johnson gave a compelling message about truly being set apart in a world where generosity is... [continue]

Hardage identifies Texas Baptists as Great Commandment and Commission people

WACO - Texas is in a state of change and will be for many years to come, Dr. David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists told messengers and visitors at the 2014 Annual Meeting.

"This state is growing, and this growth is ushering a whole new level of diversity like we've never seen before," Hardage said.

Not only is Texas changing in ethnic diversity but also in religious diversity, he said, noting 45% of Texans do not believe in anyone or anything.

He told the audience that on an airplane ride about two months ago, he had a revelation from God that made him ask the question, "What makes Texas Baptists... [continue]

African American Fellowship admires God as a God of justice

WACO—Though revenge seems sweet and payback fair, God commands His followers to let Him take control of the situation, Pastor John Ogletree from First Metropolitan Church in Houston told guests at the African American Fellowship of Texas worship rally on Nov. 16.

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Waco hosted the rally preceding the 2014 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Visitors engaged in worship facilitated by the Antioch choir and a sermon based off Romans 12:17-21.

"This message is to people who know something about being a victim," Ogletree told the audience. "As believers, we have to understand it's alright to be a... [continue]

UNT BSM Breaks ground for new building

DENTON—With hands on shovels and eyes on the future, attendees of the University of North Texas (UNT) Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) groundbreaking ceremony celebrated an exciting new chapter for the 54-year-old campus ministry as they prepare to construct a new building.

The existing 7,200 square foot facility was built in 1960 as a tool to reach the campus community of 6,500 students for Christ. Now, over 50 years later, the student body has reached over 36,000, and there is need for a new space to reach the campus..

"The Lord is growing UNT, and He's growing this ministry," Stephanie Gates, UNT BSM director, told... [continue]

Texas Baptists welcomes new director of Hispanic evangelism

Joshua del Risco has been named director of Hispanic evangelism and associate director of evangelism for Texas Baptists.

Del Risco's experience in directing evangelism and communicating with churches is extensive, having worked with the North American Mission Board for 13 years in various capacities including serving as a national missionary for evangelism and developing the international and multiethnic evangelism team.

"We are thankful to the Lord that He has sent Joshua (to Texas Baptists)," said Scott Willingham, director of evangelism. "He comes to us 'turn key,' that is, he is ready to lead and serve."

He has... [continue]

​Training Mexican church leaders in communal evangelism

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Eight Texas Baptist organic church leaders journeyed to Mexico City, Mexico the first week of October to train local church leaders on how to share the Gospel in their communities using personal evangelism and the 4byfour method. Throughout the week, they experienced God's provision and power. Forty individuals on the streets accepted Christ as Lord, and 19 young people surrendered to the call to ministry. Read these personal testimonies from a few of the missionaries:

Sharing Christ in the community

As we went out to the streets of Mexico City to share about God, it surprised me to see that the... [continue]

Reaching Waco through the world’s most popular sport

WACO—Nearly every fair weather day of the week, grassy soccer fields see an abundance of size three, cleat wearing little leaguers running back and forth while parents and siblings cheer from the sidelines.

Texas Baptists, in partnership with the Waco Regional Baptist Association and the Central Texas Hispanic Ministers Alliance, hosted a City Reach event called the Fiesta Familiar soccer tournament and festival on Sept. 27 as an effort to reach a community that admires soccer.

City Reach is conducted annually as an evangelism event in the host city for Texas Baptists' Annual Meeting. This year's meeting, themed "Live the... [continue]

A special weekend for Special Friends

CEDAR HILL—The 2014 Special Friends Retreat, hosted by Texas Baptists' Preschool and Children's Ministries, brought lots of smiles and laughter along with the opportunity for participants to share their talents on-stage.

The retreat for the mentally challenged of ages 12 and older took place at two locations - one in Floydada on Sept. 12-13, with about 90 campers, and another in Cedar Hill on Oct. 3-4, with 350 campers.

Participants made crafts, learned about parts of the world in Bible studies, performed their talents in a talent show and engaged in worship and music.

In Cedar Hill, at Mount Lebanon Baptist... [continue]

Inspiring the next generation, youth ministry as a divine appointment

ARLINGTON: Youth ministry is a calling that comes along with great trials but even greater rewards, including seeing the salvation of young souls and the opportunity to inspire a generation of future leaders.

Speakers at the 2014 Youth Ministry Conclave on Oct. 13-15 focused on youth ministry as a calling and encouraged leaders to recognize it as a divine appointment. Conclave is sponsored by Texas Baptists and supported through the Cooperative Program with ethnic scholarships provided by Mary Hill Davis Offering for state missions.

"It's not about your ability, but your availability," said Ed Newton, Conclave speaker and... [continue]

Now is the time: Texas Baptists winterizing refugees in Lebanon

In Lebanon, millions of refugees are trying to figure out how to survive brutal temperatures as the winter months approach. Through the development of a winterization project, Texas Baptists are sending necessities like blankets and heaters to help refugee families prepare for the winter.

Since early 2011, when the Syrian conflict began, more than 1.5 million refugees have fled to Lebanon seeking safety. At least 10,000 Iraqis have also sought security in the country. Most of them have little money and no place to live.

Lebanese churches from various denominational backgrounds have embraced many of the refugees, displaying the love... [continue]

Ebola crisis leads to starvation; Texas Baptists send 570,000 meals in response

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri - Though media is flooded with news of the Ebola crisis, a calamity nearly as fatal—starvation—has risen in West African countries due to the virus. In response to this dire need, Dallas-based Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), in partnership with Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri, shipped 250,000 meals to Monrovia, Liberia on Thursday, Oct. 9, to help bring relief to the crisis.

When the container of food, holding 44,000 pounds of prepackaged meals, arrives to Monrovia in four to six weeks, Liberian Baptist churches will distribute the supplies to rural communities and to hospitals. An... [continue]

Christian Life Commission adopts statement on Islamic state and religious persecution

The Christian Life Commission (CLC) has adopted a statement on the Islamic state and religious persecution, inviting leaders to continue protective efforts and encouraging churches to pray.

The terror group ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been coercing people to choose between fleeing their homes and living in fear of oppression that can ultimately lead to death. Media reports have recorded brutal persecution of many individuals living in Syria and Iraq, including Christians, since early June 2014.

CLC Commissioners are monitoring situations of religious persecution around the world. The CLC deals with ethical and... [continue]

Texas Baptist Hunger Offering and Disaster Recovery help bring relief during Ebola crisis

DALLAS - Through funding from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) and Restore Hope are sending food and supplies to areas that are experiencing starvation due to the Ebola crisis.

In Liberia and Sierra Leone, many farmers have contracted the Ebola virus and died causing farm workers to lose their jobs. In-country prices have escalated since less food is being produced.

CNN reported in a recent article that the number of Ebola cases could rise to between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January if there are no additional interventions or changes in community behavior, an estimate derived from the... [continue]

Southern Dallas historic freedman town welcomes cowboy culture

Just six miles south of downtown Dallas is Joppa Community, an area where former slaves gathered to celebrate their first taste of freedom in the 1860s and now is the present-day home of Buffalo Soldiers Cowboy Church.

When the freedmen settled there nearly 150 years ago, they named the area after the biblical city of Joppa, which means "beautiful." They bought property and built homes on the banks of the Trinity River. Though the area is now less than thriving, the residents embrace the rich culture and history and nickname the community of 17 streets "Joppy."

On a recent hot August day, some of those residents put on their... [continue]

Texas Baptists promote educational initiatives for Sept. 18 giving day

DALLAS -Texas Baptists are taking part in North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 18 by highlighting two initiatives in the North Texas community. Funds given toward the Baptist General Convention of Texas will help build an outdoor classroom at Truett Elementary School in Dallas and a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton.

As stated on northtexasgivingday.org, "North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event that provides nonprofits opportunity to gain expose to—and start relationships with—new donors, and for people in North Texas to come together to raise as much money as... [continue]

Conference inspires ministry leaders to

More than 250 individuals from churches across the country "caught the boomer wave" at the second annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 4-5 at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Hosted by Texas Baptists Bible Study/ Discipleship Team, the conference shed light on the need for better ministry amongst the baby boomer generation.

Conference leaders pointed out baby boomers, born in the years 1946 to 1964, are now turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, and will continue to for the next 18 years.

Keynote speaker Amy Hanson spoke on various subjects such as the changing landscape of adult ministry, how to begin a boomer... [continue]

TBMF celebrates 30 years of making a difference

DALLAS—The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) celebrated 30 years of giving toward missions and ministries with a luncheon held at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.

In 1984, TBMF began as a two-year experiment to raise additional funds for new churches. Thirty years later, the Foundation has worked with over 33,000 different donors to support 250 mission projects all over Texas and around the world.

Outlining the beginnings of TBMF, Dr. Bill Pinson, former executive director for Texas Baptists, described the time when the need to raise more funds first became apparent and the vision began to focus on creating the... [continue]

Attorney named CLC’s director of public policy

AUSTIN – Kathryn Freeman has been named director of public policy for Texas Baptists' Christian Life Commission (CLC).

The CLC helps Texas Baptists, churches, communities and government leaders give voice to critical issues in society from a Christian and biblical perspective. Freeman will lead the CLC's efforts related to government and legislation.

“I'm very encouraged that we will have Kathryn alongside Dr. Gus Reyes and Ferrell Foster as a strong presence in Austin at the legislative session this next spring," said David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists.

Freeman earned her bachelor's degree in English from... [continue]

Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem

VICTORIA - Through discovering a community need and a partnership with the local food bank, Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Victoria has begun a feeding program that is making an impact in both the city and the church.

"We believe that the church is not supposed to be an institution that caters to itself," said Montari Morrison, pastor of Greater Mount Calvary. "The church is always supposed to be a resource to the community. Our message is supposed to go outside of the walls and not only be a spiritual help but also a physical help."

Since April 2014, volunteers from Greater Mount Calvary, as well as neighboring churches... [continue]

Embracing Central American families in Laredo

LAREDO - As River Ministry Coordinator Mario Garcia drives Central American families back and forth from the Greyhound bus station nearly every day, he cannot help but think of the paralyzed man Jesus healed in Mark 2.

"It's not that he needed to walk. It's that he needed salvation," he said. "The people I'm working with need Christ."

Garcia, director of missions for Laredo Baptist Association and River Ministry coordinator, is one of many Texas Baptists who have opted to embrace the families that have been seeking refuge from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cuba.

Maria*, from Honduras, told Garcia she fled her home after her... [continue]

BSM nears $2 million goal for new facility

The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma has issued a $400,000 challenge grant to Texas Baptists to complete the funding for a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building on the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT). The building, which will cost $2,000,000 to construct, will be built on the site of the old BSM building.

The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation has been coordinating the fundraising effort. "Added to what Texas Baptists have already given, we need only $100,000 to reach the goal so construction can begin," said Larry Thomas, vice president of the Foundation. "If we can get the additional money soon... [continue]

Pastors rally in prayer at the border

MCALLEN-Over 50 Hispanic pastors, leaders and family members gathered in McAllen July 26, to pray over the current circumstances regarding the Central American families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The prayer event served as the kickoff of "For His Children," an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Convoy of Hope, Buckner International and Somebody Cares International to help meet physical and spiritual needs of the minors and families."God's word affirms His people working, worshiping and praying in unity," said Gus Reyes, director of the Christian Life Commission. "This event... [continue]

Texas Baptists offer aid for border crisis in Rio Grande Valley

MCALLEN-The border issue: some call it a crisis, some call it a disaster, but to many Texas Baptists, it is an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

All eyes turned to the doorway as Daniela Cruz* and her two daughters, Lorena* and Carmen*, stepped inside Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. Volunteers with various religious backgrounds clapped and cheered as the girls entered.

It is a welcoming gesture, said Nadia Chapa, volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities who is hosting the relief center in McAllen. It is how they greet each family who enters the facility, assuring them it is a safe place where... [continue]

Sixty quilts handmade and delivered with love

VILLA FRANCA, Spain - Even when verbal communication seems impossible, there's one language that is spoken by all: love. It can be spoken through hugs, laughter and 60 quilts hand-made by Texas Baptist women.

The quilts were a part of Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) of Texas initiative "Covered with Love" in which they presented the request for 50 quilts for the Evangelical Baptist Retirement Home in Villa Franca, Spain.

Together women within WMU, Texas Baptist staff, and local Baptist churches, donated their time and their stitching skills to the cause. Within five months, they finished more quilts than needed and prayed over each... [continue]

African American Fellowship hosts conference, elects officers

FORT WORTH -- Powerful worship, thought-provoking sermons, and enlightening workshops made this year's African American Fellowship Conference on July 8-10 one to be remembered.

Over 200 guests representing 35 churches received a challenge at each of the three worship services held at Great Commission Baptist Church in Fort Worth to be armed and ready for spiritual warfare. Even children were taught to be ready for battle through daily games and lessons at "Camp Battlefield."

At the Culp Banquet, Dr. Howard E. Anderson, pastor of The Exciting Singing Hills Baptist Church in Dallas, presented a sermon on Ephesians 6 about putting... [continue]

African American Fellowship takes charge to be armed and ready

FORT WORTH -- Applause and "amens" resounded as African American Baptists were charged to be armed and ready during the 22nd annual James W. Culp, Sr. Banquet on July 8.

The African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference welcomed guest speaker Dr. Howard E. Anderson, pastor of The Exciting Singing Hill Baptist Church in Dallas, as he challenged the audience to be ready for spiritual warfare.

"When you have an invisible enemy, you don't have time to get ready, you have to already be ready," he said. "When we put on the whole armor, we are ready for wherever he is."

Though struggles come and the devil tempts, there... [continue]

YEC students learn to get the Word out

BURLESON -- Over 1200 students lifted their hands and hearts in worship at this years' Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) at Venue 510 in Burleson, Texas on June 27-28.

The theme, "Speak His Name," was evident as students heard Christian artist Propaganda rap, worship leaders Dara Maclean and For King and Country sing, and speaker Dave Edwards share a message, all about God's name.

"It's a call to evangelism," said Leighton Flowers, Texas Baptists' youth evangelism director, about the theme. "When we experience God at our events like Super Summer or YEC, whatever happens there doesn't stay there -- You take it back home and... [continue]

Singing Women of Texas Celebrates 20 Years

DALLAS -- Blissful women's voices echoed across the walls of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas on June 28 as the Singing Women of Texas (SWOT) commemorated their 20th anniversary with a free concert.

Over 200 women from eight SWOT chapters across the state gathered together for a three-day event of fellowshipping and rehearsing together before Saturday night's concert where family members, friends and fans packed inside the church.

Uniformly dressed in black attire, the women performed 12 gospel ballads, a combination of songs chosen by the directors from each chapter.

An offering taken up during the service will... [continue]