Tyler mission team helps Rowlett couple recover from tornado damage
by Kalie Lowrie on July 15, 2016 in feature
As Garry Schaffer monitored the quickly approaching storm on his computer, he soon realized he need to go downstairs to get his wife, Kan, and seek safety in a closet. The couple had enjoyed a nice Christmas the day before and were resting at home on the night of December 26, 2015, when an F-4 tornado tore through their two-story home on Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett. No one dreamed that night that the storm would come barrelling through so swiftly or cause so much destruction.
As the couple exited the closet and looked around, they realized they had survived the tornado by seeking safety mere seconds before their home was...
Texas Baptists honor Sam Prestidge and Tillie Burgin with Legacy Awards
by Kalie Lowrie on June 6, 2016 in news
It was a historic day in a historic town as Samuel W. Prestidge, Jr., retired director of Church Music for Texas Baptists, and Tillie Burgin, founder of Mission Arlington, were honored with the 2016 Texas Baptists Legacy Award during a special worship service at Independence Baptist Church on June 5.
Independence Baptist Church, the oldest continuously active Baptist church in the state of Texas, typically meets across the street in a newly constructed building, but each year on this Sunday, the congregation joins with Texas Baptists from across the state to meet in the original sanctuary.
Sitting on a pew once notably occupied...
First Cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists celebrates completion
by Kalie Lowrie on May 27, 2016 in news
The first cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists celebrated completion on May 23, through a special graduation celebration at the Executive Board Meeting for Texas Baptists. Participants received awards and recognition for their hard work and dedication to the nine-month long program in its inaugural year. The participants were a diverse representation of young Texas Baptists ranging from church planters and ministers to staff members at Baptist institutions.
“For me, the key to Leadership Texas Baptists is developing relationships with our emerging leaders,” said David Adams, director of Leadership Texas Baptists. “They are not...
Executive Board hosts graduation of emerging young leaders, revises administrative support policies
by Communications Staff on May 25, 2016 in news
On Monday night of the May 23-24 Executive Board meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, ten individuals received trophies and certificates of graduation from the first cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists.
Leadership Texas Baptists, which met for the first time last fall, is a nine-month program experience to engage, equip and inform emerging leaders from churches across the state. Participants gathered once a month to hear from and dialog with Baptist leaders as well as gain leadership training and experience.
The second cohort is set to convene this September, with applications due June 15, 2016.
Sam Prestidge and Tillie Burgin to receive 2016 Legacy Awards
by Leah Allen on April 27, 2016 in news
Countless Texas Baptist men and women have dedicated much of their lives to ministry in Texas, setting an example of faithful servitude and passion for spreading the Gospel.
Every June, Texas Baptists honors two individuals who have have left and are continuing to leave a legacy through their everyday lives.
This year, we are pleased to present Sam W. Prestidge, Jr., founder of Singing Men of Texas, and Tillie Burgin, founder of Mission Arlington, with Texas Baptists Legacy Awards.
Prestidge‘s legacy dates back to age 14, when he felt God’s call to ministry. He obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Sacred Music from...
[un]Apologetic Conference arms believers with knowledge and provides answers for seekers
by Kalie Lowrie on April 22, 2016 in feature
All good apologetics should point back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to best-selling author Mark Mittelberg, speaker at the [un]Apologetic Conference in El Paso on April 7 and 8.
During the conference’s opening session, Mittelberg gave a detailed description of the secular landscape Christians find themselves in today.
“We are talking about not just giving answers, but reaching people,” Mittelberg said. “This is not just apologetics, but evangelism. We are called, all of us as the body of Christ, to go into our world and make disciples.”
Mittelberg was joined by Mike Licona, author and associate professor of...
Boys with Down syndrome help develop special needs ministry in Germany
by Leah Reynolds on April 7, 2016 in profiles
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...
Youth group travels to minister’s hometown to rebuild flood-damaged homes
by Leah Reynolds on March 31, 2016 in feature
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...
The impact of Beach Reach stretching far beyond the small island
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2016 in feature
Beach Reach by the numbers
1,040 students served over the course of three weeks
11,000 pancakes were served by Texas Baptist Men
25,262 free van rides were given on South Padre Island
186 commitments to Christ were made
62 people were baptized in the Gulf of Mexico
It was around 12:30 a.m., Wednesday morning of the third week of Beach Reach. Students were assembled in their assigned roles around the island. For some it was directing traffic in the busy Looie’s parking lot, others struck up conversations with spring breakers over pancakes. Some spent hours in the sanctuary of Island...
Houston's brokenness: College students respond to the mega city's greatest needs
by Leah Reynolds on March 24, 2016 in feature
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...
Texas Baptists names new director of African American Ministries
by Leah Reynolds on March 10, 2016 in feature
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...
New facility brings new opportunities for North Texas BSM
by Leah Reynolds on March 2, 2016 in news
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...
Volunteers needed for disaster recovery in South Texas and Mexico
by Leah Reynolds on February 29, 2016 in news
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...
Executive Board approves preventative education and training regarding clergy sexual misconduct
by Kalie Lowrie on February 25, 2016 in feature
DALLAS - In a proactive approach to address clergy sexual misconduct through prevention education and training, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas voted to revise current policy at the recent February 22-23 board meeting.
Vernon Stokes, chairman of the Administration Support Committee, presented the recommended policy change, in response to research provided by an internal review of procedures. Rollie Richmond, director of human resources, oversaw the internal review which included assessing the effectiveness and challenges inherent with the current website resources, counseling support and misconduct...
Texas Baptists welcomes new team lead for Music and Worship
by Leah Reynolds on February 19, 2016 in feature
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...
Safety from war does not come without struggle—bringing hope to Syrian refugees
by Leah Reynolds on February 18, 2016 in feature
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...
Texas Baptists to host Hispanic evangelism events for students and adults
by Leah Reynolds on February 16, 2016 in news
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...
Raising Highly Capable Kids program sees continued growth around the state
by Leah Reynolds on February 10, 2016 in news
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.
We joined Christian Women's and Christian Men's Job Corps
by Pam Moore, Literacy ConneXus on February 9, 2016 in womans missionary union
Imagine enrolling in a job corps program and having your entire life transformed. That's exactly what happens to many who pass through CWJC and CMJC. Program participants receive training in life skills and job readiness, and, along the way, gain self-confidence, purpose, direction, and hope for the future. What a deal!
Naturally, we wanted in on the action. Henry Blackaby said, "Watch to see where God is working and join Him in His work." A generous grant from the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation gave us the resources to collaborate with CWJC/CMJC in its education emphasis. Our goal is to connect leaders and...
Two former pastors to serve as Area 8 representatives
by Leah Reynolds on February 8, 2016 in news
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...
Preparing for service on a unique mission field
by Kalie Lowrie on February 4, 2016 in faith
Passionate about preaching the word of God and sharing the Gospel, Mark Kim enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 2014. In his younger years, Kim would not have pictured himself in seminary but rather in medical school pursuing a career in pediatrics.
Following his graduation from Baylor University with a degree in education, Kim was working at a hospital in his hometown of Lewisville. He constantly found himself drawn to patients, checking on how they were doing in the midst of sickness and emergencies. He was concurrently enrolled in an Old Testament course at Southwestern and found the Lord...
All Rights Reserved: Guidelines for Super Evangelism Sunday
by John Litzler on January 29, 2016 in feature
Sunday, February 7, the Denver Broncos will take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Super Bowl is not only the most watched sporting event in North America, it is the most watched television broadcast in America of any kind. According to Variety, last year's Super Bowl was the most watched television event in American history. Even those who don't regularly watch sports find interest in the halftime show or the creative advertisements that cost an immense $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Americans consume more food on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year, with the exception of Thanksgiving. It's been...
Ministers, church employees invited to participate in 2016 SBC Church Compensation Survey
by Guest Author on January 27, 2016 in church office
DALLAS — GuideStone Financial Resources, along with LifeWay Research and Baptist state conventions, have opened the biennial SBC Church Compensation Survey for 2016. Ministers and church employees are invited to participate in the survey, a resource used by churches of all sizes to determine fair wages and benefits. Survey participants will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win an iPad®. The survey and complete contest rules are available at GuideStone.org/CompensationSurvey.
The survey's results will be made available in the early fall, in time for many churches considering their 2017 budgets. The survey is the...
Experiencing God’s call in Moldova
by Guest Author on January 25, 2016 in great commission
Going into the mission, I did not know what to expect. I knew we would be working with orphans and giving them shoes, but this mission was so much more than that. God used this mission to open my heart to what He calls us all to do - bring others to Christ.
I went into this trip feeling as though God would use me to make a great impact on the children in need, but He surprised me and used the orphans of Moldova to have a huge impact on me. In working with these children, I faced an incredible amount of joy and sadness. Some of the kids were ecstatic, while others were in despair. Seeing the light some of these children had in the...
Jamaica: Building Faith While Building Houses
by Guest Author on January 22, 2016 in great commission
I am convinced God has a sense of humor; He takes the most entertaining situations and uses them to build His character in us. Our first experience was the three-hour bus ride from Montego Bay to Harmons. Many in our group were very apprehensive of the narrow roads and steep exposure and trusted the experience and ability of the driver. I was struck with the similarity that life is sometimes like a bus ride: exciting in the beginning, but as we get into the twists, blind turns and hills of life, we realize our need for dependence upon God to guide us safely to our destination. By the end of the ride, we are grateful to have arrived...
Hundreds baptized at cowboy church crusade
by Leah Reynolds on January 15, 2016 in feature
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...
TBDR mobilizes 450 volunteers to N. Texas tornado relief
by Leah Reynolds on January 12, 2016 in news
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.
UPDATE: Volunteer teams needed for N. Texas tornado damage
by Leah Reynolds on January 4, 2016 in feature
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.
- Call 214-537-7358 for hours of operation before you depart and to discover your team's work assignment.
- 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.
- Bring the items listed in the supply list below
- Go to the
Twelve ways to share your faith this year
by Joshua del Risco on January 1, 2016 in great commission
"I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." (Philemon 6-7)
Each New Year brings an opportunity to adopt one of many potential resolutions, which will bring us health, wealth and happiness in 12 months' time. As Christians, we seek to continually grow spiritually. The apostle Paul communicates to Philemon that when we share Christ with others God allows us to gain a deeper and greater understanding of every good thing in Christ.
Do you see the direct correlation between sharing your faith and your own spiritual growth? Paul says it's actually...
Disaster Recovery offers opportunity to respond to North Texas winter tornadoes
by Leah Reynolds on December 26, 2015 in feature
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.
Hunger Offering partners with Baugh Foundation for refugee relief in Serbia
by Kalie Lowrie on December 2, 2015 in news
AUSTIN - December 2, 2015 - In response to an overwhelming number of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe and through a generous gift from the Baugh Foundation, the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering sent $15,000 to Serbia on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to provide aid for refugee relief.
The funds will be used by Baptist partners in Serbia for food, transportation, hygienic materials, shoes, waterproof jackets and other supplies for refugees. Currently, partners are assisting approximately 2,000 refugees a day through volunteer efforts and donations.
When the refugee crisis began to impact Europe in September, the Christian Life Commission staff...
From committing crimes to empowering leaders
by Leah Allen on November 23, 2015 in great commission
Rick Vasquez found himself on his knees on the floor of his prison cell. His life had reached an all–time low.
By middle school, he was a drug dealer. By age 17, he was in jail and was forming gangs within the prison walls.
But that day, on the floor inside his cell, without a single other presence in the room, a book fell in front of him. He felt compelled to open the book. Unbeknownst to him, opening the book, called the Bible, would come to change his life forever.
From that moment on, Vasquez's life took a different direction. Today, he is an international speaker, passionate about sharing his testimony and...
Singing Men of Texas celebrate 40 years of impact on music and worship
by Kalie Lowrie on November 17, 2015 in news
More than 1,200 attendees gathered on Tuesday evening to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Singing Men of Texas [SMOT], providing a beautiful ending to the 130th Annual Meeting for Texas Baptists. Hosted by Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church, in Allen, the concert featured 275 singers, with representatives from all six regional chapters.
Musical selections ranged from "Who Can Satisfy My Soul," by Jernigan, to "Your God Will Come" by Fielding/Morgan/Williamson.
Jay Ghormley, conductor from SMOT South, shared about the mission work of the combined choirs over the past 40 years, including their most recent trip to Ukraine in April...
Hardage thanks Texas Baptists for commitment to impacting the state
by Kalie Lowrie on November 10, 2015 in news
Texas Baptists are engaged in exciting work around the state, according to Executive Director David Hardage's report during Monday's business session at the Annual Meeting.
Hardage introduced several staffers beginning new work around the state of Texas. David Scott serves as director of BOUNCE, a student-led disaster recovery effort for students from 6th grade through college. Scott invited churches to send their students to join in trips during Spring Break and in the summer of 2016 for disaster recovery and community rehabilitation projects.
Elizabeth Biedryzcki has begun a new venture serving as the South Texas regional...
Texas Baptists elect diverse panel of officers for second consecutive year
by Leah Reynolds on November 9, 2015 in news
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...
African American Fellowship encourages an attitude of humbleness and wisdom
by Rachel Hendricks on November 9, 2015 in news
THE COLONY—We may do things differently, we may think differently, we may worship in different styles, we may speak different languages, but God calls us to one Gospel, Dr. Ponce L. Brown, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and president of the African American Fellowship, encouraged guests at the African American Fellowship of Texas worship rally on Nov. 8.
Friendship Baptist Church in The Colony hosted the rally preceding the 2015 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Visitors engaged in worship facilitated by the Friendship choir and a sermon based off 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 given by Friendship pastor Rev. Gregory C. Trotter.
Texas Baptists respond to Syrian Refugee Crisis
by Leah Reynolds on November 4, 2015 in news
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...
Texas Baptists Great Commission Team to undergo staff changes
by Leah Reynolds on November 2, 2015 in news
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...
New block party trailer to open doors for evangelism in Collin County
by Leah Reynolds on October 29, 2015 in great commission
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.
Retreat brings mentally challenged adults together for weekend of fun and worship
by Leah Reynolds on October 9, 2015 in great commission
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...
Texas Baptists to observe Baptist roots at Annual Meeting
by Leah Reynolds on October 2, 2015 in news
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...
Executive Board recommends $35.42 million budget for 2016
by Leah Reynolds on October 1, 2015 in news
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...
Larsen named finalist for CFO of the Year award
by Leah Reynolds on September 28, 2015 in news
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.
Texas and Mexico Baptists partner to rebuild border town of Acuña, Mexico
by Leah Reynolds on September 24, 2015 in news
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...
Atchison named director of Great Commission Team
by Leah Reynolds on September 18, 2015 in news
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...
Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery to respond to Myanmar summer flooding
by Leah Reynolds on September 17, 2015 in news
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...
What a beautiful refugee taught me about the American Dream
by Rachel Hendricks on September 16, 2015 in faith
An estimated 30,000 refugees live within a three-mile portion of North Dallas called Vickery Meadow. In July, I had the priviledge to meet, visit and photograph (photos below) some of these beautiful Zomi refugees for a new Texas Baptists initiative called Project: Start. While much is being done in Vickery Meadow to aid refugees, many simply do not know what resources are available; Project: Start will be a physical location in Vickery Meadow specifically designed to connect refugees to resources.
Nu Niang Hoih, a young mother of three girls under the age of six, is pregnant with her fourth child. She speaks very little...
Country churches: Where skeet-shooters and fishermen find community
by Linley McCord and Leah Reynolds on September 14, 2015 in great commission
With funds given through the Mary Hill Davis Offering, pastors seeking to plant a country church or transition their church to a country church have the opportunity to learn more about the process through Texas Baptists' Leadership Summit for Country Churches. 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.
According to David LeFlore, pastor of Southfork Country Church in Parker, "If you like watching Duck Dynasty, you'll like our church!"
As its name states, Southfork is a country church,...
Go Now Missions: Where college students are sharing the Gospel 365 days a year
by Leah Reynolds on September 7, 2015 in great commission
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...
Texas Baptists dedicate new Rambler Park office space
by Leah Reynolds on September 3, 2015 in news
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...
River Ministry in Piedras Negras: Where compassionate ministry transformed a community
by Leah Reynolds on August 31, 2015 in great commandment
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...
Texas Baptists passes Baptist Building legacy to Baylor University nursing school
by Leah Reynolds on August 26, 2015 in news
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...
Special Friends Retreat: Where worship is pure
by Leah Reynolds on August 24, 2015 in great commission
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...
Boomers are turning 65 at 10,000 per day, are churches ready?
by Leah Reynolds on August 14, 2015 in news
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.
Disaster Recovery trip combines missions with summer fun
by Leah Reynolds on August 4, 2015 in news
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,...
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...
African American Fellowship given a charge to keep, elects 2016 officers
by Leah Reynolds on July 20, 2015 in news
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.
Hispanic Baptists urged to stand firm in faith
by Kalie Lowrie on July 2, 2015 in news
AUSTIN - An estimated 11 million Hispanics live in Texas, with projections of Hispanics becoming the largest ethnic group in the state within a decade. Currently, there are more than 1,100 Hispanic Baptist churches seeking to share the Gospel with this ever-increasing ethnic group.
This year, Convencion Bautista Hispana de Texas was hosted by Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, June 28-30, with 1,529 registrants in attendance, including 487 messengers. Many area church members also joined for worship services, with approximately 2,100 in attendance on Sunday evening.
"From the challenging messages in the pulpit, to the informative...
Camp Exalted encourages spiritual growth for 290 youth
by Leah Reynolds on July 2, 2015 in news
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.
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...
Texas Baptists respond to Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage
by Leah Reynolds on June 26, 2015 in news
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...
Leadership Texas Baptists seeking emerging leaders
by Kalie Lowrie on June 23, 2015 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists is launching Leadership Texas Baptists this fall, a new program aimed at emerging leaders. Leadership Texas Baptists is a nine-month experience to engage, equip, and inform emerging leaders from churches across the state. Pastors, staff, and lay leaders accepted into the program will gather once a month in a cohort experience to hear from and dialog with BGCT leaders.
"We are excited to launch this new initiative aimed at identifying and equipping emerging Baptist leaders from around Texas," said Dr. David Hardage, Texas Baptists executive director. "Our hope is that Leadership Texas Baptists will be...
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.
Following God and Going Now
by Olivia Williams on June 15, 2015 in great commission
The easiest way to making change in the world is through the law, or at least that is what Lilian thought. However, the Lord showed Lilian Ibarra* throughout her college career just how many different ways she could make an impact on society.
After becoming a believer in high school, Ibarra headed to the University of Texas at Austin where she planned on studying to eventually becoming a federal judge. As a college freshman, she was the youngest fellow in the state office where she worked, and although her experiences there were substantial and educational, is was at school that she saw great potential when she decided to join the...
A burdened heart for the lost, Former FBC Shallowater pastor joins evangelism team
by Leah Reynolds on June 9, 2015 in news
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...
When disaster hits home
by Kalie Lowrie on June 5, 2015 in great commandment
WIMBERLEY - As Bobby Catt and his family were on vacation in his hometown of Wimberley over Memorial Day weekend, the flood waters rose and the small stream of the Blanco River swept homes off foundations and left many stranded.
Catt, who serves as a youth minister at First Baptist Church of San Angelo, knew as he assessed the damage on Monday morning he wanted to return as soon as possible to help his friends and former neighbors recover.
Nine days later, Catt and three members from his home church traveled to Wimberley to begin work. Their project was helping mud out the home of Catt's longtime friends and recover belongings that...
TBDR seeks volunteers and funding to help Central Texas flood victims
by Kalie Lowrie on May 27, 2015 in news
SAN MARCOS - Following intense flooding in the Central Texas region of San Marcos and Wimberley, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is working to coordinate volunteers and funds to assist those in need. More than 400 homes have been destroyed in San Marcos, with assessment continuing in the town of Wimberley as to the number of homes damaged or destroyed.
Chris Liebrum, with TBDR, and Fred Ater, area representative, traveled to the region on Tuesday, May 26 to meet with local pastors about needs in the communities. On Wednesday, Marla Bearden, TBDR specialist, and other representatives met with Texas Baptist Men to develop a strategy...
Texas Baptists assist FBC Mineral Wells following tornado damage
by Kalie Lowrie on May 22, 2015 in news
MINERAL WELLS – A tornado tore through downtown Mineral Wells on Tuesday, May 19, damaging First Baptist Church, along with several local businesses. The next day, Texas Baptists were on-hand ready to help in a myriad of ways. David Scott, director of Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery, Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program, and Joe Loughlin, director of Connections, traveled to the church to provide support and meet with Pastor Nathan Buchanan.
Additionally, a team from Texas Baptists Church Architecture assessed the structural damage sustained to the Welcome Center, Youth Room, and Family Life Center. The team was able to...
Cyclists weather storms to end hunger
by Kalie Lowrie on May 21, 2015 in news
When you are driven by a great cause, like working to end the cycle of hunger and poverty experienced by millions worldwide, a 500-mile bike ride seems a little more possible. Twenty-nine cyclists from across Texas, along with a few riders from Colorado and New York, joined together May 11-16 for the Sixth Annual Bike Out Hunger-Texas ride. This year, the team traveled from Boerne, near San Antonio, to Dallas with shared goals to raise money and awareness for hunger needs across Texas and around the world.
Funds raised by the cyclists were given to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which supports 180 ministries worldwide through...
Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery Offers Church to Family Partnerships
by Marla Bearden on May 20, 2015 in great commandment
Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery will launch a new initiative for churches in response to the recent onslaught of severe weather across the state. Through the new Church to Family Partnerships, the opportunity is available to partner with a family affected by flooding or tornadoes to help rebuild or repair their home.
In May, many homes were damaged and/or destroyed through tornadoes and flooding in the towns of Van (East, TX), and Donna (South, TX). In Van alone, over 60 homes were completely destroyed and declared uninhabitable.
The Long Term Recovery phase of these disasters is beginning. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery will...
Ebola Free Liberia Baptists Say, “Thank You”
by Guest Author on May 19, 2015 in great commandment
We received the following letter from Olu Menjay, president of Liberia Baptist Missionary & Educational Convention, Inc, vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and principal/chief administrative officer of the Ricks Institute. He gives his thanks with a grateful heart, and thanks you for your prayers and tangible support during the raging storm of Ebola in Liberia.
"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in everyone of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5
On Monday, May 11, 2015, we attended the official...
Disaster Recovery prepares to respond to Van tornado destruction
by Leah Reynolds on May 13, 2015 in news
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...
Golf Classic brings in $15,000 for disaster recovery
by Leah Reynolds on May 8, 2015 in news
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...
Refugee families adjust to life in the US with help of Houston ministry
by Leah Reynolds on May 4, 2015 in great commandment
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...
Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery Update on Nepal Earthquake
by Kalie Lowrie on April 27, 2015 in news
In response to the devastation experienced in Nepal following the 7.9 earthquake on April 25, Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery has been in communication with several partnering Baptist entities worldwide. TBDR leaders have been working with Asia Pacific Baptist Federation and Baptist World Aid through the Baptist World Alliance to receive updates and coordinate aid.
Funds are being collected through TBDR, (Click here to give) which will be appropriated to our Baptist partners in Nepal as needs are expressed.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering has already approved $15,000 for anti-poverty and hunger needs in Nepal, which will be sent...
A fire set ablaze at the WMU annual meeting
by Leah Reynolds on April 22, 2015 in news
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....
Disaster Recovery offers affordable Galveston mission trip and vacation for the whole family
by Leah Reynolds on April 17, 2015 in news
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...
Alfalfa concentrate and education help alleviate malnutrition in Mexico
by Leah Reynolds on April 14, 2015 in great commandment
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...
Missions Foundation welcomes Dr. Jerry Carlisle as Vice President
by Leah Reynolds on April 7, 2015 in news
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...
Student disaster recovery responds to Tulsa tornadoes
by Leah Reynolds on March 27, 2015 in news
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...
Who's your padre?
by Kalie Lowrie on March 26, 2015 in great commission
At a glance
- 1,060 BSM students served at Beach Reach over the course of three weeks.
- 110 salvations were recorded on South Padre Island.
- 53 baptisms of new believers took place in the Gulf of Mexico.
- 11,765 Gospel conversations took place on the beach, in vans, over pancakes and around the island.
At the end of my week at Beach Reach, I saw a t-shirt for sale in a local shop at South Padre Island asking a simple question: "Who's your Padre?" First, the shirt struck me as a funny play on words. And then, I thought about it from a spiritual perspective and realized the heart of Beach Reach was seeking to ask students on spring...
Texas Baptists contribute over $17,000 to winterize and bring the Gospel to Syrian refugees
by Leah Reynolds on March 20, 2015 in news
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...
BOUNCE students bring hope of restoration to South Austin
by Leah Reynolds on March 17, 2015 in great commandment
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...
Executive Director serves as Pastor of the Day for Texas Senate
by Leah Reynolds on March 10, 2015 in news
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...
Moving mountains for Maggie
by Kalie Lowrie on March 9, 2015 in faith
Blind, deaf, paralyzed, orphaned. All these words could have defined Maggie Mei Henderson, but by the power of God, this energetic two-year-old is now living with her forever family, walking, talking and seeing the world with curiosity and wonder.
Pastor Trent Henderson and his wife, Ginny, have seen the hand of the Lord move mountains for their daughter, Maggie. Trent serves at Heritage Park Baptist Church in the Friendswood and League City area, and his wife, Ginny, is a physical therapist. Born with a severe heart defect and orphaned as a newborn, Maggie spent the first year of her life in an orphanage in Baoji, China.
Educating parents impacts communities
by Kalie Lowrie on March 4, 2015 in great commandment
Two years ago Principal Marta Plata of Manuel Jara Elementary School realized her staff of excellent teachers and leaders could work tirelessly every year to seek to educate their students and empower them to be the best they could be. However, without positive reinforcement at home, many of the lessons taught in the classroom would not change the behaviors of their students.
Through collaboration with Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Plata was able to begin a program called Parent University, which is a 13-week curriculum educating parents on the 40 developmental assets that will help their children succeed.
Hardage announces convention restructure to BGCT Executive Board
by Texas Baptists Communications Staff on February 23, 2015 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists is preparing for a convention reset, Executive Director Dr. David Hardage announced at the Feb. 23 Executive Board meeting in Dallas, as they seek to best serve the state and churches in an ever-changing world.
This past year has produced big changes for the convention as the Executive Board made an agreement to sell the Baptist Building in Dallas in May 2014, signed a lease on a new office space in December 2014, finalized the sale of the building January 2015, and will begin operating under a new structure, effective by May 1, 2015.
Hardage explained the restructuring of Texas Baptists is based on the new...
State of the State
by Kathryn Freeman on February 21, 2015 in news
On February 17, Governor Greg Abbott gave his first State of the State address. The State of the State was first given by Governor J. Pickney Henderson in 1845, after Texas joined the Union. The State of the State is required by the Texas Constitution and is given at the beginning of each regular legislative session.
The State of the State is used by the Governor to lay out a vision for the state over the next two years and designate emergency items. Usually lawmakers cannot pass bills in the first 60 days unless it is an emergency appropriation or on the Governor's list of emergency items. The designation of something as an...
Grieving with the family of the cross
by Ferrell Foster on February 18, 2015 in culture
They have names - Milad Makeen Zaky, Abanub Ayad Atiya, Maged Solaiman Shehata, and on and on - 21 of them. Their names seem odd to most of us in America, but they are our brothers. Our human brothers. Our Christian brothers.
The Islamic State beheaded these Coptic Christians in Libya. There is no way to ignore the religious nature of this massacre. Muslim extremists killed Christians because of their faith.
The video of the killings is titled "A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross." Of course, we are no nation; we are a family.
Coptic Christianity counts John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark, as...
Local Chinese restaurant opens doors for ministry in Big Spring
by Leah Reynolds on February 6, 2015 in great commandment
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...
Removing obstacles to evangelism
by Kalie Lowrie on February 4, 2015 in news
When Leslie Strobel became a Christian, she was so excited about the new life she had in Christ. But, she was also heavily burdened for her husband, Lee. A self-proclaimed atheist who actively pursued hedonism and pleasure over spiritual matters, Lee was far from Christ and Leslie worried that he would never be able to come to faith.
Within two years--after an intense investigation seeking to disprove the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Christianity, along with the results of numerous prayers from his wife--Lee found himself kneeling in his bedroom accepting Jesus as his Savior. Years later, standing before a...
Texas Baptists sign lease for new Dallas office space
by Leah Reynolds on January 22, 2015 in news
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...
Texas Baptists celebrate MLK Day by packing 23,000 meals
by Leah Reynolds on January 21, 2015 in news
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...
Ebola and starvation in West Africa: Nearly 998,000 meals arrive with more on the way
by Leah Reynolds on January 9, 2015 in news
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...
Church and military meet surprising need in San Antonio community
by Leah Reynolds on January 7, 2015 in feature
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...
‘Tis the season—for refugees—to merely survive
by Leah Reynolds on December 16, 2014 in news
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.
We visited one extended family of...
School and church work together to help build stronger families in their community
by Leah Reynolds on December 5, 2014 in news
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...
Filipino pastor to serve as Houston area representative
by Leah Reynolds on December 3, 2014 in feature
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...
Texas Baptists elect diverse officer panel
by Kalie Lowrie on November 17, 2014 in
WACO - Texas Baptists have elected the most diverse officer panel in the 129-year history of the Annual Meeting. Kathy Hillman, messenger from Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, has been elected President, marking the second woman to hold the office. The election was held during the Monday afternoon Business Session in Chisholm Hall at the Waco Convention Center.
Additionally, René Maciel, president of Baptist Univeristy of the Américas, was elected as First Vice President and Bedalo Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church in Garland, was elected Second Vice President. Maciel previously served as Second Vice...
Texas Baptists gather in Waco for Annual Meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on November 16, 2014 in
WACO – Texas Baptists' will welcome messengers to the annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco. The meeting, held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme "Live the Difference" with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.
Registration begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 16, and rallies for Hispanic and African American Ministries, as well as Texas Baptist Men, will begin at 6 p.m.
Monday morning registration will open at 8 a.m. and workshops beginning at 8:30. Workshops this year will intentionally address the intersection of Christian...
UNT BSM Breaks ground for new building
by Leah Reynolds on November 14, 2014 in
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...
Texas Baptists welcomes new director of Hispanic evangelism
by Leah Reynolds on November 10, 2014 in
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."
Engage 24 stories from around the state
by Kalie Lowrie on November 10, 2014 in
Engage 24, an intentional one-day emphasis on evangelism, was held this year on October 14. Texas BSMs found unique ways to embrace the emphasis on their campuses, some making it a week-long event and others choosing more than one day to reach their campus.
The goal behind Engage 24 is to empower students to get on their campuses and in their communities and start Gospel-centered conversations. Below are stories from BSMs across the state about the impact of the intentional outreach.
Texas A&M University
At Texas A&M University, the BSM students hosted a Midnight Pancake Breakfast, serving 2,300 pancakes between...
Reaching Waco through the world’s most popular sport
by Leah Reynolds on October 30, 2014 in
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...
A special weekend for Special Friends
by Leah Reynolds on October 25, 2014 in
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...
Inspiring the next generation, youth ministry as a divine appointment
by Leah Reynolds on October 21, 2014 in news
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...
Now is the time: Texas Baptists winterizing refugees in Lebanon
by Leah Reynolds on October 17, 2014 in great commandment
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...
Texas Baptists prepare to Live the Difference
by Kalie Lowrie on October 14, 2014 in news
WACO – Texas Baptists' annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco will be an opportunity to see what it means to truly "Live the Difference." The meeting, to be held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme verse from 1 John 2:6 with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.
"This is an exciting time for our convention as we pave the way for our future and focus on what it means for us to 'live the difference,'" said Executive Director David Hardage. "In this exciting age of diversity, I think it fitting to focus our attention on what it...
Ebola crisis leads to starvation; Texas Baptists send 570,000 meals in response
by Leah Reynolds on October 9, 2014 in disaster
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...
Executive Board approves purchase of BUA property
by Kalie Lowrie on October 1, 2014 in news
DALLAS - During the September 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved for the convention to purchase 12.87 acres of land in San Antonio currently owned by the Baptist University of the Americas. The land will be purchased for $4.373 million, with an additional cash payment of $200,000 to pay off two bank loans held by the university.
“Thank you for walking alongside them [BUA] in this time of need," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “We will continue to pray for them and seek God to meet their needs. This is a great way to help one of our...
Southern Dallas historic freedman town welcomes cowboy culture
by Leah Reynolds on September 25, 2014 in news
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...
Texas Baptists promote educational initiatives for Sept. 18 giving day
by Leah Reynolds on September 17, 2014 in news
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...
Conference inspires ministry leaders to
by Leah Reynolds on September 12, 2014 in news
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...
Texas Baptists raise $182,000 for hunger through Mother’s Day Offering
by Kalie Lowrie on September 5, 2014 in news
DALLAS - Texas Baptists gave more than $182,000 to help end hunger and poverty through the Second Annual Mother's Day Hunger Offering. These gifts are used for hunger relief and anti-poverty programs both in Texas and abroad.
“As Texas Baptists we heed God's call to minister to those in need, in Texas and around the world," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering strives to show the power of God's love to those in need. Ministries supported through the offering range from feeding programs in local churches to job training for single mothers and improved water and sanitation resources for...
TBMF celebrates 30 years of making a difference
by Leah Reynolds on August 29, 2014 in news
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...
Construction nears completion for 16 Filipino pastors’ homes
by Kalie Lowrie on August 28, 2014 in news
ILOILO CITY, the Philippines – In January, Texas Baptist churches were asked to respond to a great need in the Philippines following damage cause by Typhoon Haiyan. A request was sent out from Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery for churches to help raise $80,000 for the rebuilding of 16 pastors' homes. Pledges filed in quickly, with the remaining eight being made during the February 25 executive board meeting.
This summer, Civil Engineer Fred Golveo was sent by the First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City to oversee the construction projects for the homes. Golveo and his wife spent three months overseeing the 16...
Attorney named CLC’s director of public policy
by Leah Reynolds on August 25, 2014 in news
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...
Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem
by Leah Reynolds on August 18, 2014 in news
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...
The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary
by Guest Author on August 14, 2014 in missions mobilization
Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.
The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed's ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan Jespersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 828-5278.
Oh July...it started quietly, but was...
BSM nears $2 million goal for new facility
by Leah Reynolds on August 5, 2014 in news
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...
Texas Baptists offer aid for border crisis in Rio Grande Valley
by Leah Reynolds on July 28, 2014 in news
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...
Sixty quilts handmade and delivered with love
by Leah Reynolds on July 22, 2014 in news
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...
African American Fellowship hosts conference, elects officers
by Leah Reynolds on July 15, 2014 in feature
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...
For the Children
by Marla Bearden on July 10, 2014 in feature
Our Texas borders are being flooded with unaccompanied children coming from Central America, with an estimated 47,000 coming across since October 2013. The majority of the children are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Find out how you can...
Texas Baptists announces sale of Dallas facility
by Kalie Lowrie on May 20, 2014 in feature
DALLAS - The Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas unanimously approved the sale of the Convention's Dallas facility to the Baylor University School of Nursing during a meeting on Tues., May 20.
The 100,000 square foot facility, located at 333 N. Washington Avenue in Dallas, will be purchased for $16 million through a combination of monetary funds and in-kind gifts.David Hardage, Executive Director of Texas Baptists, announces the sale of the Convention's Dallas facility.
- Letter from David Hardage (PDF)
- Texas Baptists announces sale of Dallas facility (PDF)
- David Hardage announces sale of Texas
Thank you for giving to Mother's Day Hunger Offering
by Jay Netherton on May 14, 2014 in news
Mother's Day, May 11, 2014, marked the conclusion of the Christian Life Commission's Mother's Day Hunger Offering initiative. With a goal of raising $1 million on this day, churches from across the state joined hands to help beat the cycle of hunger and poverty not only in Texas, but around the world. Final tallies will be made as donations continue to pour in throughout the month.
Last year marked the first annual Mother's Day offering as a part of the greater, year-around Texas Baptists Hunger Offering and raised over $250,000. This year, we are eager to see how God has provided for this life-changing ministry through your...
Parents learn skills for raising highly capable kids
by Kalie Lowrie on May 5, 2014 in feature
FORT WORTH - Twenty-nine parents from Manuel Jara Elementary School set aside time for 11 weeks this spring to learn tools, skills and confidence to raise healthy, caring, and responsible children through Parent University. A graduation ceremony was held on Wednesday, April 30, to recognize the achievement of the parents.Many officials from the city council, county and school board members were in attendance to celebrate the successful program.
Funded through gifts from Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, the curriculum entitled Raising Highly Capable KIDS - Communities Empowering Families for Success has been proven to help build...
Congreso Nation is Everlasting for 50th Anniversary
by Kalie Lowrie on April 25, 2014 in feature
WACO - Congreso is an experience thousands have encountered over the past 50 years. What began in 1964 as a ministry to Hispanic Baptist students has continued to impact thousands of lives across the state.
This year, from Apr. 17-19, more than 4,000 youth and college students gathered in Baylor University's Ferrell Center for the weekend focused on "Everlasting." Students worshiped with abandon, with 127 coming forward to give their lives to Christ, 51 rededications and 32 feeling called to ministry.
"I am glad to be here because I know I am talking to the future," said Erwin McManus, lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles...
WMU reflects on defining moments at annual meeting
by Kalie Lowrie on April 16, 2014 in feature
GEORGETOWN - Sharing of God's faithfulness in the midst of many trials, Steve McCord stated, "We are not compelled but surrendered to Him who loved us with an everlasting love."
The theme of surrender was tied with the overall "Defining Moments" focus during WMU of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration at First Baptist Georgetown Apr. 4-5. McCord, global research analysis services team leader with the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia, was one of many missionaries featured at the meeting, which drew 700 people from across the state for a time of worship, fellowship and learning.
The moving program reflected on...
How to seek God through frustration
by Kalie Lowrie on April 8, 2014 in feature
GEORGETOWN - Frustration is a theme everyone will journey through at one point or another, according to Dave Edwards, keynote speaker for the Single Adult Rally on Apr. 5, "One is a whole number."
"Frustration occurs anytime our expectations and reality collide," Edwards shared with single adults from across the state.
Referencing Genesis 40, Edwards detailed how Joseph overcame a long season of frustration in his life to come to the point where God could use him most effectively.
"The Bible teaches us how to journey through this season and come out on the other side better than when you came in," Edwards said. "God uses these...
Hunger offering inspires others to give back
by Kara Kistner on April 7, 2014 in great commandment
FORT WORTH - This year churches are holding a special offering on Mother's Day to support the Mother's Day Hunger Offering. By uniting the efforts of Texas Baptists, we can raise $1 million this Mother's Day to end hunger one mom at a time. One mom that has received help from this offering is a woman named Kay Schmenk.
Kay Schmenk is a 73-year-old who has been participating in the Senior Supplement Program, a monthly feeding program at Northside Inter-Community Agency (NICA), since 2006. She lives off of her Social Security check each month of less than $700.
NICA, one of several ministries in Fort Worth that receives support through...
Help provide an accurate compensation baseline among churches
by Nathan Brandenburg on February 21, 2014 in feature
The 2014 SBC Church Compensation Survey helps determine fair pay for church pastors and staff. All submitted information is kept private and no individual reporting is created - it just creates ranges for compensating ministers...
Giving their break to serve
by Kara Kistner on January 23, 2014 in feature
While working the hat stand in a Ukrainian market, Emma French, a student at University Mary-Hardin Baylor, met a boy named Dennis. He was looking for a warm hat to take back to his village for another child who needed it.
"I was a little taken aback so I asked, 'This hat is not for you?' He told me, 'No, I already have one hat, I don't need another. But I know some people who do'," said Emma. "Dennis broke my heart and humbled me that day. His generous, caring, and selfless heart brought me to tears."
With his one hat, Dennis understood the true meaning of need. He was the epitome of selflessness.
"I pray for a heart like...
Antoine named bivocational pastor ministry director
by Kalie Lowrie on January 22, 2014 in feature
DALLAS - Texas Baptists named Ira Antoine director of bivocational pastor ministry.
With a growing number of pastors serving in bivocational ministry across the state, Antoine will serve as a resource for these ministers.
"The mission of this ministry is to serve as a resource to Texas Baptist churches and associations in developing a model for Bivocational Pastor Ministry that will result in a significant increase in available, truly-called, and well-equipped bivocational pastors," Antoine said.
In his new role, he will coordinate and oversee training seminars, theological education, and bivocational pastor conferences.
Trusting in the hard places
by Kalie Lowrie on January 12, 2014 in feature
Go Now missionaries returning home from a semester of serving around the world sat in a panel discussion across from new students preparing to go during their January retreat in the BSM at the University of Texas at Arlington. The nine college students returning from service were in a time of debriefing, while the eight students preparing to go were part of orientation.
The unique nature of the night was that all of the students in the room had the same heart for sharing Christ with the world.
As the new semester missionaries asked questions like, "What was the hardest thing you faced on the field?" they were able to hear experiences...
Bringing God to soldiers and soldiers to God
by Kalie Lowrie on November 21, 2013 in feature
FORT SILL, OK - Twenty-four soldiers dressed in PT uniforms sat on the chapel stage on Quarry Hill before Spiritual Formation classes began. From varied backgrounds and more than 20 states across the country, the soldiers had little in common. This day, Sept. 29, however, would be a day they would each remember - it was the day they were going to be baptized.
Each stood before a room filled with their peers and shared their testimony: how they knew they needed Christ, how God has changed their lives and what they are going to strive for in their new walks with Him.
Then, they followed Texas Baptist Chaplain Kevin Burton outside to a...
Building community one house at a time
by Kalie Lowrie on November 18, 2013 in feature
PEÑITAS - Down a road devoid of many street signs, and yet to be tracked by Google maps, stands a brand-new purple house shining at the end of the block. This house now belongs to the Lozada family - Miguel, Julia, Hosea (14) and Miguel, Jr. (4) -built with love by 25 women in Woman's Missionary Union of Texas
The third consecutive year to construct a house in Peñitas, WMU has partnered with Buckner International and the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Association to build a better way of life in this small colonia in South Texas. The home, which cost approximately $22,000 in supplies to build, was hand built by women desiring to...
Texas Baptists increase giving to SBC by 2.7%
by Kalie Lowrie on November 15, 2013 in feature
DALLAS - Texas Baptists' giving to the Southern Baptist Convention for 2013 has increased by 2.7% as compared to giving reports from the same time period in 2012.From January through September of 2013, Texas Baptist churches gave $8.5 million to support the SBC Cooperative Program, compared with $8.3 million in 2012.
Trends in annual giving to the SBC had been declining since 2007, according to Texas Baptists Treasurer Jill Larsen.
"The increase shows that Texas Baptists churches treasure our affiliation with the SBC as a national and international missions partner," Larsen said.
Additionally, giving to other designated funds for the...
Texas Baptists prepare response to Typhoon Haiyan
by Nathan Brandenburg on November 12, 2013 in feature
Multiple thousands of people are feared dead in the Philippines, killed by what many are calling the worst storm ever recorded in the...
Engaging Students in Sharing the Gospel
by Kalie Lowrie on November 11, 2013 in feature
ARLINGTON - Christian college students across the nation set out on Oct. 10, with a common goal in mind - to share Christ. Through Engage24, students involved in Baptist Student Ministries were each encouraged to engage one person in a conversation about Jesus, and that is just what they did.
Morgan McAree, a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington, shared her faith for the first time and it made all the difference in her life, and in the life of the fellow student she talked with on campus.
Prior to Engage24, Morgan knew Jesus as her personal Savior but never considered herself an evangelist. In fact, she was rather timid...
Central Texas Flooding
by Nathan Brandenburg on November 4, 2013 in feature
Flooding in the Austin area has affected over 1,600 homes. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery, working with our State VOAD partners, is assisting in the cleaning out of homes and first response case...
Business Leadership Principles Translate into the Ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on October 28, 2013 in feature
ARLINGTON - Leadership principles from the business world can be translated to ministry principles as youth ministers across Texas learned during Leadership Tuesday at Youth Ministry Conclave. Colleen Barrett, president emeritus of Southwest Airlines, addressed attendees in an interview on Tues., Oct. 15, at the Arlington Convention Center, providing leadership strategies she learned through her time at the successful Dallas-based airline. The number one customer at Southwest Airlines is the employee, followed by the client and then the shareholder, according to Barrett. By caring for employees' needs first and making them...
DBU Students Respond to The Calling Conference
by Guest Author on October 23, 2013 in feature
Dallas, TX - Nearly 400 DBU students gathered together for The Calling Conference, an event geared to help college students discern their calling to ministry and determine the next steps for them to take along that journey. Sponsored by Texas Baptists and coordinated by Dr. Bill Tillman, director of the Theological Education Division of the BGCT , the meeting brought together seasoned ministry professionals to share with the students knowledge and insight gained from years of ministerial work within local churches, college campuses, and denominational bodies.
The event began with a special chapel service held for students involved...
Life is so good
by Guest Author on October 10, 2013 in great commission
Truthfully, I do not know how else to describe the change that has taken place in my life. Through it all, God has still been faithful. I have recently moved to Denton, Texas to serve as the Campus Missionary at the University of North Texas. I have been blown away by how blunt people are in Denton, how exhausting campus ministry is, and how God works all things together for his good.
That last one blows my mind. God is truly blessing my ministry right now. He is literally bringing people to my feet.
My first couple of weeks in Denton were really slow. I was transitioning and getting the hang of things. Most students were not back...
North Texas Team Works in Piedras Negras
by Guest Author on October 7, 2013 in great commandment
A team from Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, just completed a very successful health clinic in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The team worked in cooperation with Iglesia Fuente de Vida and mission coordinator Gloria de la Pena to minister to the needs of the people of the city. The clinic was focused in the four areas of wheelchair ministry, eyeglass ministry, dental care, and health screening.
As a result of this clinic, 53 people received wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. Our dental team provided care for 120 people in cooperation with a great team of dental professionals from Piedras Negras. The health screening team...
Executive Board approves 2014 convention budget
DALLAS - The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board approved a $40.4 million 2014 budget for the convention.
The budget reflects essentially flat church giving through the convention's Cooperative Program, $2.29 million in investment income and $1 million less to be raised by the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation.
Total Cooperative Program from Texas Baptists for 2014 is forecast to be $48.95 million, including $11.3 million to the Southern Baptist Convention, $1.0 million to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and $1.8 million for worldwide portion of the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program. The Board also approved the...
'The Art of Black Preaching'
SAN ANTONIO - The energetic call and response style of African American preaching garners the attention of those who have witnessed its finest practitioners.
But "the art of Black Preaching" is found in the heart of its message: transformation is possible through Christ.
Pastors call African American churches to cling faithfully to Christ, no matter how difficult circumstances become, Kinney said. Historically, African American preachers have done this well through trials and struggles.
"The black preacher never loses focus that I am to take what's broken and provide a word to bring it back together," John W. Kinney, dean of the...
Lebanese partnerships spread hope and aid to Syrian refugees
by Kalie Lowrie on September 23, 2013 in news
Spiritual revival is taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis.
With the escalating disputes in Syria, many are fleeing to neighboring countries to escape the crossfire. Media reports depict the great suffering and desperation, yet "God is doing great things in the midst of a great crisis," said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society. "The church is in revival in Syria. We are able to reach people we never dreamt of before."
Costa acknowledges that the situation is extremely dangerous, but he has also seen God working in mighty ways and His name being glorified.
"God is at...
Changing one life at a time
by Guest Author on August 27, 2013 in great commission
Over the last couple of months, as I have prepared to serve as a Campus Missionary Intern this school year, God has been teaching me a lot about myself and the mission He has called me to. For someone my age I look at the world I live in and see so many big issues but I also see God moving in big ways.
I was sitting thinking yesterday about how I am moving away from my family and the close friends I have been blessed with while in college in order to serve at a new campus in a new town. As I began to think about the life that I am leaving behind, I was reminded of what my pastor said last Sunday. I will probably never cure cancer or...
Heart notes about my time with Russian orphans
by Guest Author on August 15, 2013 in great commission
June 1 - While in the city we have been given the opportunity to volunteer at a local hospital. Children who are removed by social services from problem homes or Russia's streets are taken to this hospital. Here the children are evaluated and diagnosed medically. It is then decided whether the children will enter into something similar to foster care, go to an orphanage, or be placed in any other kind of institution that houses children.
June 2 - At the hospital, a few of the children stuck out in my mind. One of them was Anya. She was two years-old and had a sister that was with her at the hospital. Her name was Nastia, and she was...
Needs from disaster area apparent as school starts
by Gerald Davis on August 5, 2013 in great commandment
The pastors in Eagle Pass are intent on helping families recover from the recent flooding in Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras. Their immediate need is to supply families with needed items like household goods, furniture, bedding, school supplies & back packs to replace items that were lost in the flood. Eagle Pass is also in need of volunteers to help replace sheet rock and reconstruct homes that were damaged by the flooding.
Donated supplies should be sent to: Iglesia Bautista Peniel Pastor - Felipe Garcia 1595 Juanita Drive Eagle Pass, Texas 78852
Pastor Garcia is identifying families in his community that need the help so that...
Go Now Missions: A new understanding of Father
by Guest Author on August 2, 2013 in great commission
It is Ramadan here in South Asia. Ramadan is a month long fasting for Muslims. Honestly, it is epitome of a works based system. Islam is a spiritual power that exerts control over this time. Muslims are repressed into Islamic traditions. Many Muslims blindly follow strict fasting due to extreme fears.
Satan has strongholds on these traditions and fear. It is overwhelming the extent of darkness during this time. It is heartbreaking. This past week, my friend and I were invited into a Muslim home to break fast for the evening.
I was blown away by her interest in the Good news in HER home. She invited us in her home so she could invest...
Texas Baptists set to help tornado victims by
by John Hall on July 29, 2013 in great commandment
Texas Baptists are preparing to help people affected by last Spring's tornados through "Loving Oklahoma," five-day concentrated service effort to assist those around Oklahoma City.
Volunteers and teams will be working Aug. 5-10 on projects identified through local long-term disaster recovery officials. The ministry will vary from cleaning up debris to working distribution centers to light construction.
The mission opportunity is made possible by Texas Baptists' Disaster Recovery, through a partnership with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Disaster Response. Officials aim to bring aid, encouragement and the hope of Christ to tornado...
African American Fellowship visions future, studies new age statistics
by Guest Author on July 16, 2013 in news
SAN ANTONIO - African American Baptists were challenged to look into the future with a new set of lenses as they gathered together at this year's Culp Banquet, celebrated during the Texas Baptists Family Gathering.
Photo: From left to right: Oscar Epps, President; Ponce L. Brown, Vice President; Glen J. Samuels, Secretary; Elmo Johnson, Treasurer; Michael Evans, Former President
Nat Irvin II, professor of management at the University of Louisville, recalled a childhood memory when an unfortunate incident with glass caused blindness in one of his eyes.
"Just because you have eyesight doesn't mean you aren't blind," he said as he walked...
Go Now Missions: Divine appointment
by Guest Author on July 12, 2013 in great commission
From the moment I stepped foot through the doors I knew this place was different from any that I had been in all summer. I have been doing missions work everyday for three weeks but when I entered this portable building I knew the presence of the Lord was at work there stronger than I had felt it anywhere else. I looked out the window and saw a crowd of people in a line the wrapped around the building and into the parking lot of First Baptist Church Orlando.
Each face was a face that was in desperate need of help. They were here as a last resort. They had found their way to this church on this rainy Wednesday morning to ask for...
Jespersen named urban missions director
by Guest Author on July 10, 2013 in news
DALLAS -- Texas Baptists has named Ryan Jespersen director of urban missions.
With a majority of the population living in urban, inner-city areas, Jespersen believes these communities need more outreach, which he plans to encourage through his new position.
"You're typically not going to have as strong of churches in the inner-city," he said. "My goal is to eventually 'call out the called' of young people who want to pastor and work in urban churches."
In his new role, Jespersen will provide leadership and guidance for short-term, mid-term and long-term volunteers who can help strengthen existing urban churches and plant new ones.
A beautiful mosaic
by Guest Author on July 4, 2013 in faith
Diverse...We all would love to use this word to describe our worship experience. But is that the true depiction of what we see on Sunday morning?
Texas Baptists is no doubt an ultra diverse association of Baptist churches, but what about each church individually? If we ALL were to assemble in one place, we would resemble a beautiful and grand mosaic art piece. But, this is not what I see in my neck of the woods.
In my city and in most of Texas, Sunday morning worship still is the most segregated hour. We publicly endorse social progression, but then we allow our services to travel back in time to the 1950s. Just being part of Texas...
A safe place in the storm
by Guest Author on July 3, 2013 in ministers spouses
Moore, Oklahoma is a town we will not soon forget. The nation looked on in stunned silence at the devastation from the violent tornadoes that visited this community. Too many realized too late that a truly safe place was all that stood between life and death.
Storms often come without warning. Some are more severe than others. Some storms threaten our physical safety while others wreak havoc on our emotional wellbeing. Preparation is key for storms not to be too costly. As the people of Moore discovered, everyone needs a safe place.
As a pastor's wife of 24 years, finding a safe place in the midst of ministry was my greatest...
A little bottle of
by Guest Author on July 2, 2013 in ministers spouses
Change, whether good or bad, is difficult. The Kennedy clan has just moved from the shores of Alabama to the mountains of Colorado. Are our new vistas awesome? Yes! Has the move been exciting? Yes! Am I grieving? You bet!
One of the last things I did was make that final hair appointment with my hair dresser and dear friend of 15 years. When it came time to get that last "Everything-I-can-get-done-to-my-hair-that-will-last-me-for-as-long-as-possible," she fixed me up, including giving me a little bottle of "Fixes Everything." Really? Everything?
I can think of some broken areas of my life that could use some fixing, some empty...
The little things: God uses volunteers to answer big prayers in Oklahoma
by Guest Author on June 13, 2013 in great commandment
By: Molly Livingstone
LITTLE AXE, Okla. - Dressed in a long-sleeved gray shirt ornamented with a small orange OSU emblem, Zach Rowell, stood in the bed of his white truck as the sweltering summer sun beat down relentlessly. Carefully, he pushed a large, maroon corduroy recliner to the back of the bed, securing it with yellow bungee cords.
Rowell traveled June 4 to Little Axe with a youth group of about 25 people from University Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater to help with tornado relief efforts. The group does a service project each Tuesday and chose to help the tornado-ravaged communities. He ended up being an answer to...
Coaching to mentor
by Kaitlin Warrington on June 12, 2013 in faith
As athletes grow older and out of the ranks of high school and college sports, many turn to younger teams and begin coaching - sometimes for fun and sometimes as an occupation. For some, coaching comes through other natural connections, becoming the parents who coach their son or daughter's team.
Coaching, whether it's out of a desire to stay involved with sports or because your children need a team leader, can be a wonderful opportunity to mentor students and to be involved in your community. For several hours a week through practices and games, these young athletes are in a coach's care. A coach is there to give instruction on the...
Go Now Missions: Last minute choice and provision
by Guest Author on June 6, 2013 in great commission
In late March during one of our weekly BSM Bible studies, an Alaskan missionary named Brenda Crim began speaking about her ministry and the Alaskan culture that she is trying to reach. I began to think to myself, "If I were to actually do any summer mission, this would probably be the closest to perfect for me." Well, that feeling grew the entire time that Brenda spoke.
After she was done, we had a worship break and I was wrestling with the thoughts of school, work and money while the band went through a few songs. Cody, our BSM director, begins with his message on Jonah and his disobedience to go to Nineveh. It was overwhelming; I...