Prisoners starting churches: Philippi churches bring unique spin to prison ministry
by Linley McCord on September 9, 2015 in great commandment
MCKINNEY, TX – Prisoners have souls in desperate need of God's grace, just like the rest of us. One former missionary's observation of this truth led him to begin a simple Bible study in an East Texas detention center, which has now grown to a ministry across more than 20 prisons in the state.
Ted Lindwall served in Guatemala as a missionary for 45 years, but in 2005, he moved to Texas and began teaching a class on Christianity in the Collin County Detention Center.
"[The students] took the same [Bible] studies we used in our class and took them all over the jail and shared them with fellow prisoners," Lindwall said. The...
Country churches are a rising trend in Baptist life
by Linley McCord on August 17, 2015 in great commission
PARKER – After Southfork Baptist Church dwindled to 15 members, Pastor David LeFlore realized something needed to change in order to continue to reach the community.
"Through lots of prayer and wondering how we're going to grow, Connie asked if we ever thought about a country church," LeFlore said, referring to his wife. He realized that the area was a piece of country near the city, and therefore would not be conducive to a city church.
This is part of a growing trend in Baptist church life. A combination of a traditional church and a cowboy church, country churches are for those who enjoy the relaxed, "come as you are...
South Texas Children’s Home helping women find redemption
by Linley McCord on August 6, 2015 in profiles
CORPUS CHRISTI – Nicolle Polanco struggled with alcoholism, which then affected every facet of her life. After being unable to take care of her children, she admitted herself into Grace House in Corpus Christi for rehabilitation.
South Texas Children's Home, a Texas Baptists partner ministry, serves in many more capacities than providing a home for children through the Jobs for Life program. It seeks to give women the chance to break out of destructive addictions or patterns, and prepare them for a life in the workforce.
Jobs for Life director Jimmy Rodriguez is confident in the power of Christ and the effect the Gospel can have...
Are we being honest about the perfection we demand?
by Linley McCord on August 3, 2015 in faith
One of my favorite styles of music is Christian rap. Think: Lecrae. And as a twenty-something girl from the suburbs, rap may not be the music you peg me as liking.
But what I love about Christian rap–more than any other style of music–is the raw authenticity. Maybe because rappers spit the lyrics so quickly that it's hard to keep up, but knuckling down and listening to the words reveals a deep honesty.
And being so publicly real is a rarity.
Andy Mineo is a rapper under the same record label as Lecrae. A track on his second album is called "Superhuman," and the point of the song is to talk about how when he's on stage, people...
Young adults (myself included) and the church
by Linley McCord on July 30, 2015 in faith
At the African American Fellowship Conference in Sugar Land last week, Reverend Tomiko Jones of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield outlined a few important points churches need to make in regards to reaching the 21 to 39-year-old age group.
The biggest discrepancy in the modern church is older members wanting younger people more involved with the church, but not knowing how to make it happen. This is an across-the-board crisis of churches as average ages increase with church attendance decreasing. The answer to this is reaching out to young adults.
As a recent college graduate, I fall squarely in that category. I want so...
FBC Carrollton Teenager Wins National Speakers’ Tournament
by Linley McCord on July 28, 2015 in news
CARROLLTON – First Baptist Church in Carrollton has an impressive reputation for producing award-winning Bible Drill and Speakers' Tournament students. This year was no different with Hannah Mathes taking home first place in the National Speakers' Tournament in Kingland, Georgia.
Mathes, an incoming junior at Prestonwood Academy, has been a participant in Bible Drill since fourth grade and started participating in Speakers' Tournament in eighth grade.
"Speaking is kind of my talent, so I was able to use that opportunity to show that," Mathes said.
Participants selected a topic from a given list to speak on and then build a speech...
Daily Grace (and why it matters)
by Linley McCord on July 23, 2015 in faith
In a span of 24 hours, I was stopped twice by police officers.
Being the chronic rule follower that I am, those two write-ups were decently defeating and ate at my brain. I deserved both of them, so when the traffic officer told me I could contest the first one in court, I almost laughed. No sir, I definitely went straight through that turn-only lane, but thanks for giving me options.
The second one was because I forgot to buy my ticket on the railway that morning and the officer got off at my stop with me. She told me that she would just give me a warning because I seemed genuine and polite. So while the vote of confidence and not...
African American Fellowship Emphasizes Faithfulness to God
by Linley McCord on July 20, 2015 in news
SUGAR LAND – Amongst a chorus of amens, Pastor Oscar Epps of Community Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto brought a message of God's unconditional faithfulness.
The African American Fellowship Conference kicked off on July 14, with the Culp Banquet, but the following morning brought a message from the president of the African American Fellowship. Epps spoke on Daniel 3, in which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are put in the furnace for not bowing to the king.
God is always able to meet our needs in every situation, but Epps challenged his audience to consider what happens in people's hearts and minds if it feels like He does...
Culp and Spooner receive Texas Baptist Legacy Awards
by Linley McCord on June 16, 2015 in news
INDEPENDENCE—Deep in the heart of Texas at historic Independence Baptist Church, friends, family and former co-workers of Jim Culp and Bernie Spooner gathered to honor the veteran denominational leaders at the annual Texas Baptist Legacy Awards presentation on June 7.
Culp and Spooner cumulatively devoted more than four decades to service on the Texas Baptists Executive Board staff.
"The Legacy Award acknowledges that we have seen these men sounding forth what they have received," Executive Director David Hardage said. Culp and Spooner could not contain the message of the Gospel, and everyone has seen that truth, he said.