Department: Connections Team

Explain your ministry:

The Connections Team builds relationships with pastors and church leaders, connecting them to the resources, programs and ministries available through the Texas Baptists.

What are the different aspects of Connections?

Pastor/Church Connection, directed by Joe Loughlin

    1. Building relationships with pastors in order to connect them with the resources, programs and ministries available to help them do their job.
    2. Facilitating connections between Pastor Search Committees and potential ministry candidates who
... [continue]

Angie Carter

It all starts with a relationship. Most people won't respond to something that doesn't feel genuine – be real, vulnerable, and honest, and God will do the rest

Name: Angie Carter

Spouse: Nathan

Children: None, just a cat

Ministry: Hispanic Evangelism

Position: Events Coordinator

Number of years: 10.5, will be 11 in the summer

Where did you grow up?

Elsa, TX in the Rio Grande Valley

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was in the 4th grade and I remember it was at a revival at... [continue]

The Long Haul

I want to tell you a story about my friend Larry Venable. Larry has been pastor of Freeman Heights Baptist Church for 31 years. 31 years in the same church, coming to same office, ministering in the same community. This community, Central and West Garland has changed significantly through the years; it has become much more ethnically and socially diverse.

In fact, when Larry first arrived in 1983 this was already beginning to happen. Most guys in situations like his might just bide their time until they are able to find a new place of ministry – an easier spot to do the... [continue]

You are not alone

Last Sunday, I walked into church with two friends looking for a place to sit. I saw one of our elderly ladies sitting by herself, so I walked up and asked if we could join her. She hugged me and said, "Yes, of course! I hate sitting alone. Thank you so much for joining me."

She has been widowed for several years and she went on to tell me sometimes when she cannot find someone to sit with in church it makes her cry. What she said really stuck with me the rest of the day, and it also served as a good reminder. Sometimes, I think being single in church is only hard when... [continue]

When wedding plans go awry

I'm planning a wedding. My wedding to be exact, which is coming up very quickly. I am counting down the days as every bride does, but I'm also continually reminding myself of the significance of not only my marriage, but also my wedding.

I've been to a lot of weddings, and I used to roll my eyes when another pastor turned to Genesis 1 or Ephesians 5. I felt it was "so cliché." The older I became though, I began to see the importance of these passages - marriage is ordained by God. It has been put in place to reflect His glory. John Piper... [continue]

What you can't see pastor

It's Monday morning. Yesterday was a long hard day. In some ways it was a good day, a little boy from the neighborhood came to church for the first time and gave his life to Christ. However, a teenager spent the entire service talking behind Mrs. Smith and of course this bothered and she let you know about it.

In the last few years, your church has made the commitment to get on mission in your community, yet it seems some days this decision is one you would like to reconsider because well, it just gets tough sometimes. You are reaching new people, but the work... [continue]

Joy in suffering

"Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine." -Tim Keller

My phone rings. On the other side, I hear a voice - sometimes panicked, other times dejected, defeated or anguished - informing me something terrible has happened. The calls have included the... [continue]

Lessons from A Christmas Carol

On my way out the door to the airport last week I realized I needed a book to read on my plane ride to New York. I quickly glanced on my shelf and Charles Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol caught my eye. I must have bought it several years ago when I was on a classics kick at Barnes & Noble – I purchased one almost every time I went in the store. Since it's Christmastime and my mom and I were headed to New York to enjoy all of the holiday festivities, I thought this was the perfect time to read it.

Prior to opening the book, my knowledge of the classic... [continue]

I want the love of the Father

The author of Hebrews writes, "Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity," from which we have pulled inspiration for H6:1 Nights, held once a semester for the last few years at the UTD BSM. These nights are meant to be a time of digging deeply into the Word of God, going even farther than time allows during a typical Wednesday night small group.

We were privileged to have as our speaker this semester Jordan Stone from Imago Dei Church in McKinney, Texas. Jordan met us on a Friday night to teach on the book of 1 John for about... [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... [continue]

Mustaches for missions

November was a pretty busy month for the Howard Payne University Baptist Student Ministry(BSM); it is the month of the much anticipated NoShave November! This year we started selecting teams the last week in October to get everyone hyped up for the month that is ahead. We work very hard to incorporate students who are not specifically involved in BSM activities.

The idea behind the Mustache Wheel of Doom is that we separate students into teams, then we ask the guys to grow out their facial hair all month. Throughout the month teams do fundraisers and encourage... [continue]

East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network

We realized our old methods of helping were not really providing people with the help they truly needed. In fact, some of our solutions were creating problems because they made people dependent on us.

Church: Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, TX

Pastor: Dr. David O. Dykes

Initiative: East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

We have completely revamped our method of helping people in poverty. Instead of operating a clothes closet, a utility... [continue]

Good Grief: A Way through the Holidays after a Loved One Dies

My favorite cartoon to watch is, and will always be, A Charlie Brown Christmas. There is something so poignant and sad, yet celebratory, about the story. On one hand, Charlie Brown works so hard to make Christmas special, and all he ends up with is a small, insignificant tree. On the other hand, the cartoon probably has the most memorable presentation of the Birth of Jesus, delivered by Linus in the school play.

This is the eighth Christmas after the death of my father. As a retired military chaplain, I understand that the... [continue]

​Leaders of state child and family ministries invite Texas Baptists to join the Jesus Agenda

By: Lauren Hollon Sturdy

During his time on Earth Jesus healed the sick, brought hope to the hopeless, touched the untouchables, dined with lowlifes and forgave prostitutes. The marginalized and oppressed members of society were always on His agenda.

Today, "The Jesus Agenda" is an international effort to raise awareness of God's heart for the poor and how He wants His followers to seek justice for the oppressed.

Three leaders from Texas nonprofits serving vulnerable children and... [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... [continue]

​Churches Discover Role They Can Play in Mental Health Recovery

During a Tuesday afternoon workshop at the Annual Meeting of Texas Baptists, co-founders of the Grace Alliance described the ways in which churches can better prepare themselves to both recognize the signs of mental illness and better minister to individuals and families suffering from mental illness.

Based in Waco, the Grace Alliance exists to be a bridge between the world of professional mental health care and the church, creating supports systems and educational opportunities for families and communities of faith.

According... [continue]

​Texas Baptists approve 2015 budget, elect new officers at Annual Meeting

WACO - During the 129th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, several important business items were discussed, voted on and approved.

On Tues., Nov. 18, at 9:30 a.m., Earl Ann Bumpus, chair of the Committee on Credentials announced 1,240 messengers and 515 visitors had registered for a total of 1,755 in attendance at the meeting held at the Waco Convention Center.

President Jeff Johnson presided over the business portions of the meeting, held on Monday afternoon from 1:00-3:00 p.m. and Tuesday morning... [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... [continue]

City Reach Waco shares Gospel and inspires local churches in evangelism

In a celebration luncheon on Monday during Annual Meeting, there was cause for much rejoicing as stories were shared of evangelism outreach throughout Waco and the surrounding Central Texas area. City Reach Waco, an intentional emphasis on evangelism in the Annual Meeting host city, involved a prayer initiative, soccer tournament, prison outreach and neighborhood block parties.

Vince Smith, director of missions for Collin Baptist Association, shared about an initiative in Collin County to pray for every home in... [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... [continue]

Only you can stop human trafficking

WACO–In a dimly lit room in the corner of the Waco Convention Center, a group of individuals left no seat empty to gather in hopes of learning more about a commonly misunderstood topic: human trafficking. Dr. Tomi Grover, author of Compelled, and Jay Abernathy, pastor of First Baptist Church, Palestine, defined human trafficking, gave ways to effect change, told of a new East Texas non-profit helping young girls and provided resources available to help educate Texas Baptists.


"This is the very heart of God. Want... [continue]

Christian Life Commission teaches Texas Baptists to model Christ through advocacy

Kathryn Freeman taught a packed room about the steps to becoming an advocate this afternoon at her workshop, "It's Our Government: We Can Make a Difference."

Freeman, the director of public policy at the Christian Life Commission (CLC), emphasized advocacy takes many forms and isn't always tied to the government. Advocacy can look like membership in the local PTA or mission work.

She said the Christian Life Commission recommends "starting with missions," when individuals are trying to decide,... [continue]

​Texas Baptists elect diverse officer panel

WACO - Texas Baptists have elected the most diverse officer panel in the 129-year history of the Annual Meeting. Kathy Hillman, messenger from Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, has been elected President, marking the second woman to hold the office. The election was held during the Monday afternoon Business Session in Chisholm Hall at the Waco Convention Center.

Additionally, René Maciel, president of Baptist Univeristy of the Américas, was elected as First Vice President and Bedalo Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church... [continue]

Matt Snowden

"Joy. I love teaching on joy. The joy of the Lord is so powerful. It is a stream in the desert." -Pastor Matt Snowden

Name: Matt Snowden

Wife: Meredith Snowden

Children: Molly Katherine and Wes Snowden (ages 8 and 7)

Church: First Baptist Church Waco

Number of years: Four and I/4 years

Attendance: We have an active membership of 805

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi.

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I became a Christian at 11. I was baptized in the... [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... [continue]

Hispanic Baptists Rally Inspires Attendees to “Live the Difference”

On a bitter cold November night, Hispanic Baptists exchanged warm greetings and friendly handshakes in the Paul W. Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary for their annual rally, which kicked off the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting on Nov. 16.

Church planting consultant and evangelist Roland Lopez preached from Acts 8:26-35 and used Philip the disciple as a model of what it means to "live the difference."

Lopez said Philip exemplifies a follower of Christ who lives the difference in three ways.

First, he was... [continue]

​Texas Baptists gather in Waco for Annual Meeting

WACO – Texas Baptists' will welcome messengers to the annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco. The meeting, held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme "Live the Difference" with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.

Registration begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 16, and rallies for Hispanic and African American Ministries, as well as Texas Baptist Men, will begin at 6 p.m.

Monday morning registration will open at 8 a.m. and workshops... [continue]

Free coffee and Bibles

As the seasons change and the leaves begin to fall, the atmosphere of UTA changes. It is different than the beginning of the semester, when students nervously try to find their classes in the summer heat. At the beginning of the semester, students are very willing to try new things, to take a flier, and to perhaps ask what you are doing and what your organization is about. They are eager to join organizations and make friends.

In November, students are settled into a routine and are less willing to stop and chat, or to accept a flier advertising a Bible study. To... [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... [continue]

A community that prays without ceasing

In the past couple of weeks, we have begun conducting local interviews with students interested in applying for Go Now Missions this coming summer. One of the questions we ask is what the three things are that the potential missionary would want to first teach a new disciple of Christ, and though the answers vary, the overwhelming response has been the importance of prayer

Of course we believe prayer is important. It is found throughout the Bible. Jesus is seen praying in the New Testament again and again, modeling for us how we should pray.... [continue]

Dramatic presentations part of this year's annual meeting

"Theatre for the Mind and Spirit" is coming to the Texas Baptist annual meeting Monday, Nov. 17. This is how Bruce Kuhn describes his dramatic presentations. Kuhn will be part of the morning and evening worship services at the Waco Convention Center.

Bruce's presentations bring Scripture alive. The words are literally from the biblical text, but Bruce helps them breathe with human passion. Below are 2 seven-minute videos of Bruce presenting a portion of the Gospel of Luke and Tales of Tolstoy, and there are other videos... [continue]

Rays of hope result from counseling

A senior pastor struggling with his marriage. A worship pastor battling a pornography addiction. A youth pastor wrestling with depression. A children's pastor trying to cope with anxiety. A minister's spouse dealing with depression after a forced termination. A ministry couple struggling with a child embracing an alternative lifestyle. Grief, burnout, substance use, eating disorders, stress, transition, trauma, pre-marital counseling, personal growth and a host of other issues have been the subject of conversation for Texas Baptist Counseling Services... [continue]

Countdown to cupcakes

Working at a church in Tahoe City, I wanted my first and second grade students to become more familiar with the Bible so I created a "Countdown to Halloween" paper chain. Each link in the paper chain had a scripture reference on it. We would rip off one link everyday and look up the verse written on that link. I became concerned when the students were having a hard time finding the books in the Bible. I'm serving in California, not in a country where the Bible isn't available. It's scary to think that the Bible is foreign to some of the people in the United... [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,... [continue]

Live the Difference: in disaster recovery

This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Gerald Davis, Disaster Recovery and development specialist, had to say:

Being the Dallas Cowboy fan that I am, I appreciate the complement which is usually made by a player to a coach or the coaching staff, which is generally made after a win, that says "the coach(es) had an excellent game plan which put us in the right position to make the play(s) and allowed us to win the game."... [continue]

Engage 24 stories from around the state

Engage 24, an intentional one-day emphasis on evangelism, was held this year on October 14. Texas BSMs found unique ways to embrace the emphasis on their campuses, some making it a week-long event and others choosing more than one day to reach their campus.

The goal behind Engage 24 is to empower students to get on their campuses and in their communities and start Gospel-centered conversations. Below are stories from BSMs across the state about the impact of the intentional outreach.

Texas A&M University

At Texas A&M University, the BSM... [continue]

Boldness to further the Kingdom

"And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" Mark 16:15

This past week, on Monday I went along with two other volunteers and Rafiki Africa Ministries to a nearby community to evangelize the Gospel and to encourage the people that lived there. Upon our arrival we were met with a recent news update from one of the members of the community. He reported that there had been four deaths the day prior due to fighting that had been occurring between a neighboring district. The people who live in this community had... [continue]

Churches built to last

MIDLAND - Churches, like the human body, have a natural life cycle. The average lifespan of a church is around 70 years, unless something supernatural happens to further its impact, according to David Lowrie, senior pastor of First Baptist Church El Paso.

Lowrie was one of two keynote speakers during the "Built to Last" Conference hosted by First Baptist Church in Midland Oct. 9-10. The conference was organized for church leaders around the state to come together to learn how to build a solid church foundation. Dr. Randel Everett, president of the 21st Century... [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

... [continue]

Kathryn Freeman

Name: Kathryn Annette Freeman

Ministry: Christian Life Commission

Position: Director of Public Policy

Where did you grow up?

Grand Prairie, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I became a Christian at seven years old. I remember learning about inviting Jesus into my heart at Vacation Bible School. I remember being very excited about taking the pre-baptism class and obsessively wearing my salvation bracelet until it fell off.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Texas A&M University... [continue]

Ministry Profile: Christian Life Commission

Department: Christian Life Commission

Staffers: Gus Reyes, Director; Ferrell Foster, Director of Ethics & Justice, Coordinator, Texas Baptist Hunger Offering; Kathryn Freeman, Director of Public Policy; Marilyn Davis, Congregational & Commission Specialist; Joyce Gilbreath, Hunger Offering Specialist; Julie Valentine, Ministry Assistant

Explain your ministry:

The CLC addresses ethical and public policy issues in order to help Texas Baptists follow Christ in their everyday lives. Each Baptist comes to his or her own conclusions about... [continue]

Live the Difference: in your daily worship

This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Jeff Johnson, BGCT president and pastor of First Baptist Church of Commerce, had to say:

My ability to Live the Difference is often tested as a pastor in light of 1 Timothy 3 and the qualifications I am to embody. For instance: "Preacher, are you trying to make this church into a disco"?

My reply? "Yes, I have been trying to get a church to buy into it since the 1970's and this... [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... [continue]

Searching for Answers

As someone who spends most of their day on a college campus without going to classes, my heart breaks for the students around me who have no realization that the very God who created the enormities of the universe cares deeply for them and wants to have a relationship with them.

Here at Tarleton State Universtiy, some of our students have felt God call them to equip their fellow peers in how to talk about their faith with students on campus so people can know of this incredible God. Every Monday night, students gather at the BSM, spend time in prayer, and... [continue]

Live the Difference: around the world

This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, had to say:

What does it mean to Live the Difference? Authors Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts say. "If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, He calls you a missionary! You may never go halfway around the world, but because of God's work in you, you are on mission."*

For me, living the difference means being on mission... [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... [continue]

India in Arlington

The room reaches a sweltering temperature as hundreds of bodies move and collide in circles, jumping and swaying to traditional Indian dance steps. The sounds of drums, violins and melodic pitches fill the room. The DJ plays a current Indian pop song and the crowd roars; the room looks like a musical number from a Bollywood movie come to life. Sweat mixed with condensation from the overtaxed air conditioning system accumulates on the ceiling beams and drips onto the heads of the dancers below, unbeknownst to them. The room feels like a sauna, fogging eyeglass lenses... [continue]

Praying for opportunities on Engage 24

October 14, 2014 was the date for this year's Engage 24, a nationwide campaign for every Christian college student to share the Gospel with at least one person during that one day. Engage 24 falls in the middle of the semester, right about the same time as midterms, and it is a great reminder of the real reason we are where we are. God has placed us right where He wants us, and He wants us to share Him with others (Tweet this). He wants us to spread the Gospel. He wants us to love people.

This year Engage 24 fell on a Tuesday, which was... [continue]

Ellis Orozco

When I was working as an engineer, God made it clear that I was in the wrong place; He wanted me to prepare myself to serve him for the rest of my life. I have never regretted it and have never looked back! -Ellis

Name: Ellis Orozco

Wife: Priscilla Ruth Orozco

Children: Gabriel Antonio Orozco (22); Michael Andrew Orozco (16); Celeste Iliana Orozco (15)

Church: First Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas

Number of years: 5 and a half

Attendance: 1200

Where did you grow up?

Pasadena, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and... [continue]


As a church we committed to a partnership to curtail sex trafficking in Cambodia. Then, last year we also partnered with two other churches for an area-wide Choose Life 5k to raise funds for multiple crisis pregnancy centers in the Tarrant Country area. -Pastor Joe Sanchez

Church: 121 Community Church

Pastor: Ross Sawyers

Initiative: Run:4Justice

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

Hosting and co-hosting fundraising runs for Justice and Life issues.

How did you recognize this need?

Our two Run:4Justice runs... [continue]

Retreating and embracing the Gospel

Every fall the BSM at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) takes their students on a retreat, usually somewhere close to campus, but far enough away to feel like we've escaped the bustle of school and replaced it with the serenity of the woods (even if we still have phone reception and Wal-mart is only 20 minutes away, in case we underestimated when grocery shopping). Fall retreat is an opportunity for new students to get plugged in and bond with older students, for old friends to reconnect after the summer, and for everyone to spend time in... [continue]

Texas Baptists prepare to Live the Difference

WACO – Texas Baptists' annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco will be an opportunity to see what it means to truly "Live the Difference." The meeting, to be held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme verse from 1 John 2:6 with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.

"This is an exciting time for our convention as we pave the way for our future and focus on what it means for us to 'live the difference,'" said Executive Director David Hardage.... [continue]

Live the Difference: on social media

This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Katie Swafford, director of Counseling Services, had to say:

I'm browsing through Facebook this morning when I see the status update of a childhood friend. This friend is describing how she doesn't feel that people treat her as she deserves to be treated.

Makes a few comments about how she perceives herself to be a good person who is fun to be around, yet feels as if the world takes her... [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... [continue]

Executive Board approves purchase of BUA property

DALLAS - During the September 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved for the convention to purchase 12.87 acres of land in San Antonio currently owned by the Baptist University of the Americas. The land will be purchased for $4.373 million, with an additional cash payment of $200,000 to pay off two bank loans held by the university.

“Thank you for walking alongside them [BUA] in this time of need," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “We will continue to... [continue]

Painting Nails with the nations

As the doorbell rang, I answered it not knowing what to expect. Although I had participated and planned ministry events as a student, this was one of my first events to host as a brand new Campus Missionary Intern. “Would it be awkward?” I wondered. “Would we find things to talk about?” I, along with my roommates Putti and Caitlyn (who also work at the UTA BSM), was hosting a girl’s night at our house. The idea was simple: we would paint our nails, eat snacks, and just have fun!

Girls on the leadership team invited girls from their dorms,... [continue]

Lay down your burdens

This story is 3 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Sexual abuse - An uncomfortable phrase for most of us and a horrific experience and reality for far too many. In Christian circles, these words are not talked about very much. Whether it is the fear of the unknown, shame, disgust, naiveté or something else, there seems to be a common theme of silence.

Yet when we see others struggle, we have a tendency to talk about that. Many who have been sexually abused find themselves dealing with issues... [continue]

Construction nears completion for 16 Filipino pastors’ homes

ILOILO CITY, the Philippines – In January, Texas Baptist churches were asked to respond to a great need in the Philippines following damage cause by Typhoon Haiyan. A request was sent out from Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery for churches to help raise $80,000 for the rebuilding of 16 pastors' homes. Pledges filed in quickly, with the remaining eight being made during the February 25 executive board meeting.

This summer, Civil Engineer Fred Golveo was sent by the First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City to... [continue]

Where the healing begins

This story is 2 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Sexual abuse is a sensitive subject and many times hearing about the pain and struggles loved ones have experienced through this type of abuse can be extremely difficult. Many people can be prone to want to gloss over the hard details and look for the silver lining or try and tie a little bow on the story and move on. However, for those suffering from sexual abuse, this is far from what they actually need.

There is power in the spoken word.... [continue]

For the least of these

Johnnie Musquiz serves as Pastor of Iglesia Bautista Houston. Below is a first-hand account of his experience taking a volunteer group from his church to serve Central American family units in McAllen.

Three weeks ago I toured the Catholic Charities in McAllen. I came back and showed pictures to my church about the need and also the opportunity. My son (Timothy) came and shared with me that he wanted to organize a group and go help with the effort at the Catholic Charities. The dates (Aug 15-16) were scheduled and a group of nine volunteers were enlisted. We took... [continue]

Connecticut: The Story of Kenny

A few weeks ago I got to have a conversation with a good friend of ours named Kenny at the soup kitchen. Kenny is probably mid-60s, military veteran who grew up in Norwich, Connecticut. When we first met him he shared with us that there were two things that he did not discuss with people: religion and politics. A few days later, we got to hang and chat with Kenny a little bit more and we were just making simple casual conversation. He started to ask what we had been up to the day before, and let's just say that opened up a huge door.

Zach began to tell him that we... [continue]

Alaska: Satisfying physical and spiritual hunger

It is hard to believe I have now been serving with Alaska Missions in the Last Frontier for almost two months. There have been many up and downs, but through it all The Lord had moved in miraculous ways. After spending a week serving in Kodiak, Alaska, our team took a ferry back to the mainland, eventually settling in Anchorage. This is where we have been serving for the last 6 weeks and will be until August.

We spend our mornings doing service projects in the community, which include light construction and a lot of cleaning. I would not typically... [continue]