2016 annual meeting

Strobel encourages Texas Baptists to ‘Make people thirst for God’

Lee Strobel invited Texas Baptists to “live on the evangelistic edge,” where ordinary days can take extraordinary twists as we allow God to ambush us with opportunities to share our faith, on Nov. 15 at Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting in Waco.

Strobel, a teaching pastor at Woodlands Church in Houston and professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University, preached during the Tuesday morning worship session on the passage from the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus calls Christians to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

“What did Jesus mean by those metaphors of salt and light?” Strobel asked. “I think He
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Texas Baptist Hunger Offering celebrates 20 years of giving, totaling $15.5 million

The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering celebrated its 20th year connecting Texas Baptists churches to serve and support ministries that meet the immediate nutritional needs of people living in poverty and developing long term solutions. Through 20 years of giving, Texas Baptists have raised $15.5 million, which has been disbursed through worldwide ministries combatting hunger and poverty.

“I like what Phil Strickland used to say,” Charlie Whiteside of First Baptist Church of Kilgore noted. “‘Empty stomachs don’t have ears.’ Our first goal should be winning people to the Lord.”

Top-giving donors and churches recognized

Whiteside has... [continue]

Texas Baptists missions endeavors to expand to Brazil and Mexico

Texas Baptists Missions announced the beginning of a new partnership between Texas Baptists and the Brazilian Baptist Convention during the Texas Baptist Missions Banquet, on the evening of Nov. 14 at Annual Meeting.

“When I was 14-years-old, I heard the Gospel at a Baptist church and I was baptized by a missionary from Texas,” Brazilian National Mission Board Executive Director Fernando Brandão said. “I am here tonight because you sent missionaries to my country. Myself and my family are fruit of your prayers and your work.”

Brazilian Baptists have more than 1,000 missionaries serving internationally, and hundreds serving and... [continue]

Churches seeking revitalization must embrace change

Phil Miller, associate director of the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team focused on the importance of prayer, symptoms of an unhealthy church, and the process the church revitalization team leads its churches through during a church revitalization workshop on Tuesday afternoon at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

Miller started by emphasizing that prayer is foundational to any church revitalization effort.

“You can go through all the steps a book tells you to do -- and there are tons of books out there on church revitalization -- but it’s going to be a waste of time,” he said. “You’ve got to do what God leads you to do.”

He drew from... [continue]

Hospital administrators discuss major challenges facing health care

Three nonprofit hospital administrators emphasized the need for everyone to learn about advanced directives when it comes to health care during a workshop Tuesday at the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

The panel included Joel Allison, president and chief operating officer (COO) at Baylor Scott & White Health; Tim Lancaster, president and COO of Hendrick Health System in Abilene, and Glenn Robinson, president and COO of Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest in Waco. 

“The Challenges of Health Care Today and Tomorrow” workshop was moderated by Steve Vernon, associate executive director of Texas Baptists, who started the one-hour discussion... [continue]

Texas Baptists gather in Waco for 131st Annual Meeting

Texas Baptists joined together for the 131st Annual Meeting Nov. 13-15 in Waco, focusing on “Celebrating Service” through worship and business sessions, workshops and a variety of events with 1,157 messengers and 663 visitors in attendance.

Messengers approved the 2017 Texas Baptists budget of $36.6 million, used to fund ministries, missions and institutional partnerships all focused on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Monday’s business session, officers for 2016-2017 were elected including Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, as president; Joseph Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in... [continue]

Cleophus LaRue to Texas Baptists: ‘Get out there and tell it!’

When the world recognizes the golden arches of McDonald’s more readily than the Christian cross, we have some work to do, Cleophus LaRue said on the Monday of Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting in Waco.

He preached during the evening worship session that the story of the Gospel is for everyone. It is our job to get out there and tell it.

LaRue based his sermon on Acts 17:16-21, where Paul is found struggling to spread the Gospel message in Athens, a proud city widely considered to be the cultural and intellectual capital of the Roman Empire.

“Her artists had filled her streets and temples with statues of the gods,” LaRue said. “Her... [continue]

Texas Baptists university presidents talk affordability, Title IX

WACO— Within the first session of Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting workshops, Texas Baptist university presidents Blair Blackburn, East Texas Baptist University; Eric Bruntmyer, Hardin Simmons University; Adam Wright, Dallas Baptist University and Bobby Hall, Wayland Baptist University, contributed to a panel discussion on the state of Christian higher education in Texas.

Texas Baptists Associate Executive Director Steve Vernon moderated the discussion about issues pertinent to higher education.

One challenge for academic institutions, outlined in the discussion, was regarding making higher education accessible to students of all... [continue]

The end of Religion? An Essential Corrective to the Secularization Myth

Three scholars from Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) debunked the myth that the end of religion is near during an afternoon workshop on Monday at the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco.

The workshop drew close to 100 attendees as the three men gave their view of religion in today’s world.

Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history at Baylor and co-director for historical studies of religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion, said many look at Europe as a “godless Europe,” but nothing could be further from the truth.

“Europe is currently going through the greatest pilgrimage in its... [continue]

TBMF honors individuals and church for excellence in missions

Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) presented its annual Adventurer, Innovator and Pioneer Awards during a Monday luncheon at Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, held at the Baylor Club in McLane Stadium.

John LaNoue presented First Baptist Church of Kilgore member Charles Whiteside with the Adventurer Award, which honors an individual or organization who has advanced missions through outstanding financial support or leadership in ministry opportunities.

LaNoue remarked how Whiteside has always worked hard and enthusiastically in all he does. He recalled recruiting Whiteside’s help years ago to build a mobile health clinic to... [continue]

Hardage shares new ministries, expanding work of Texas Baptists

Texas Baptists are engaging in new outreach opportunities with people groups in Texas and beyond, shared Executive Director David Hardage during his Monday evening report at Annual Meeting. Hardage introduced several key leaders overseeing new ministry opportunities.

“As you know, Texas is a changing state, becoming very diversified and we can talk about that in a variety of ways,” Hardage said. “Culture and ethnicity are at the top of the list.”

A growing population of refugees are entering Texas each year. Leonid Regheta joined Texas Baptists’ staff to oversee Project:Start, a refugee resource center serving 30,000 refugees in... [continue]

Asking the wrong question: ‘What can I get?’ vs. ‘How can I serve?’

The last will be first and the first will be last in Jesus’ topsy-turvy kingdom, according to Dr. Todd Still, dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

Still lectured on Mark 10:35-45, the primary New Testament text containing Jesus’ teaching on service, in his Monday morning workshop session at the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

This passage finds James and John making a shockingly bold request of Jesus; they ask to sit at His right and left hands in glory.

Headed on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, it seemed to them the ideal time to ask about how the pecking order would soon shake out. At this point in their... [continue]

Maciel encourages Texas Baptists to give themselves to God

WACO — Texas Baptists President René Maciel opened his address during the Monday morning Annual Meeting Worship Session with a bold question.

“Can you honestly say you’ve given yourself to God this year?” he asked.

Maciel read from Jesus’ words in Matthew 22.

But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost... [continue]

Texas Baptists elect officers for 2016-2017

Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas elected a new slate of officers Nov. 14. Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, was elected president. Last year, Reeves served as second vice president of the convention. Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church of Nederland, nominated Reeves for the position.

“Danny will be a president we can believe in,” Burden said. “He will be a president we can follow whose example will be of such a high standard that we will strive to be a better convention and better people.”

Since 2011, Reeves has been senior pastor at FBC Corsicana. Previously, he served as... [continue]

Hispanic Texas Baptists urged to seize the moment when service opportunities arise

WACO, Texas—Hispanic Texas Baptists rallied at the beginning of Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting 2016 Sunday night at Iglesia Maranata in Bellmead.

The service recognized various ministry leaders in Texas Baptists life. Texas Baptist Hispanic Ministry Director Rolando Rodriguez said that was intentional.

“In celebrating service, I think it’s important we see every aspect of church life and community--pastors, Sunday school teachers, lay leaders,” he said.

He and Dr. Moises Rodriguez, acting president of Baptist University of the Américas, presented Texas Baptists President René Maciel with the Cook Servant Leadership Award.

“I... [continue]

African American Fellowship rally emphasizes foundation of faith

WACO—Churches that forget the importance of discipleship have committed “the great omission,” said Dr. Delvin Atchison, director of the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team.

Atchison preached Sunday night at the African American Fellowship worship rally, one of four rallies that took place throughout Waco to kick off the 2016 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

“Until a person knows who Jesus is, they can never share Him with anyone else,” Atchison said. “So I want to suggest to you that it is essential that the Church reclaim personal worship if we’re to do productive witnessing.”

Atchison’s sermon focused on Matthew 28:16-20.

The... [continue]

BSM Directors celebrate partnerships and disciple-making at Annual Meeting

When Joe Osteen is asked for an update on the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at The University of Texas at Tyler, his response is, “we are doing more of the same thing - telling students about Jesus and making disciples who make disciples.”

As an encouragement to his fellow BSM Directors at a dinner on Sunday evening of Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco, Osteen reminded his colleagues the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Having served in the position for the past 12 years, he has seen the importance of being faithful to invest in students and teach them how to make new disciples year after year.

At the UT Tyler... [continue]

God’s faithfulness evident through growth in Cowboy Churches

Sixteen miles northwest of Waco, the Top Hand Cowboy Church rises up with a rodeo arena in front of it. The church hosted the first Western Heritage Roundup Rally on Sun., Nov. 13, the start of the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco.

The Top Hand Church, pastored by Greg Moore, is one of more than 200 Texas Baptists Cowboy Churches. Started in 2005 with just four families, Moore said the rural church draws 400 through its doors each Sunday. This past Easter, 1,280 gathered to worship. The Neason family started attending Top Hand on Easter 2014.

At that time, there were only 10 “cow kids,” ages 4-12, in the Sunday school, said... [continue]

Nine churches to be recognized for Cooperative Program Giving during 2016 Annual Meeting

DALLAS - This year, during Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting in Waco, nine churches will be recognized for their Cooperative Program giving. Since 1925, the Cooperative Program has provided the fuel to fund missions work in Texas, the United States and around the world.

"Over the past 91 years Texas Baptists have seen God do some amazing things through the unselfish giving of partnering churches," said Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program Ministry.

Five churches will be recognized for top giving based upon church size, including: Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler; Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Abilene; Bacon Heights... [continue]

Texas Baptists to celebrate service at Annual Meeting in Waco

Texas Baptists are “Celebrating Service” at the Annual Meeting in Waco Nov. 13-15, recognizing the work of partnering institutions. The program features world-class workshops and exceptional speakers, as well as wonderful worship music and exhibits that tell Texas Baptists’ stories.

Sunday, November 13, kicks off with several evening rallies including Hispanic Ministries, African American Ministries, Cowboy Churches and BSM leaders.

Cleophus LaRue, Princeton Theological Seminary’s Francis Landey Patton Professor of Homiletics, will preach Monday evening’s sermon. Lee Strobel, New York Times best-selling author and professor of... [continue]