Churches planting churches through the Cooperative Program
by Kirsten McKimmey on February 7, 2018 in great commission
First Baptist Church Caldwell, a church established almost 170 years ago, felt a call to reach a largely segment population in their community - cowboys. With the help of Texas Baptists Cooperative Program and community residents, FBC Caldwell helped start Burleson County Cowboy Church, which has become the largest protestant congregation in their rural community. Learn more about how this cowboy church in a cowboy town is fulfilling its purpose to reach lost souls for Christ.Transcription
Pastor Steve Johnson, FBC Caldwell: First Baptist Caldwell has been around for almost 170 years. It's kind of hard for us to step out... [continue]
Texas Baptists awarded NAMB evangelism award
by Kirsten McKimmey on January 31, 2018 in news
Texas Baptists was recently recognized by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) with an evangelism award for the “Highest Number of Baptisms” for the 2016 calendar year. Texas Baptists churches had a recorded 28,765 baptisms, making this the second year in a row for Texas Baptists to receive this national award. ... [continue]
Moldova: God's niceness through the journey there
by Guest Author on January 18, 2018 in great commission
The story began about three years ago. I was a sophomore at the University of North Texas (UNT), in my rookie semester as an RA in the "artsy dorm" and I had decided to apply for GoNow Missions. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do or who I wanted to serve. I applied for a position in Jamaica because a friend of mine went the previous winter break and highly recommended it. However, I quickly discovered that the timing was not going to work out for that trip. So I ended up going to Discovery Day with absolutely no idea what position I was wanting or being called to... [continue]
Expanding ministry opportunities through new Tech BSM building
by Kirsten McKimmey on January 16, 2018 in great commission
As Texas Tech’s campus is growing, so is the ministry and vision of Tech BSM. A new building will generate excitement among an increasing student population and will provide additional space that the BSM currently lacks, including a prayer room, missions room, leadership training area and a larger meeting room. These areas will serve as a catalyst to help them accomplish their vision of reaching the campus... [continue]
Tea and the Gospel
by Guest Author on January 16, 2018 in great commission
The first day we were in Flushing, New York, my team prayer-walked around the city to find locations for conducting surveys the next day. We were conducting surveys about the new churches to be planted in that area, to determine how people felt about religion in general and new church plants. We prayed that people would take the time out of their busy lives to talk with us and have open hearts to hear about Jesus Christ... [continue]
Ministering to your Muslim neighbors
by on January 16, 2018 in great commission
“Islam” might just have become one of the scariest words in our modern vocabulary. Radical Islamic groups have become household names as they appear on the news daily, aggressively proclaiming their unyielding quest to destroy all things infidel (a term used to describe non-followers of Islam).
What are Christians, specifically American Christians, to do in the face of this very blatant threat from members of one of the largest religions in the world?
Islam is the second largest world religion, after Christianity, and boasts 1.6 billion members worldwide. Adherents to Islam are referred to as Muslims and belong to two main... [continue]
Seeing God at work in the midst of challenges in Beaverton
by Guest Author on January 11, 2018 in great commission
I went on my first mission trip when I was eight years old. My parents introduced me to missions when they took me to Reynosa, Mexico with our Spanish church at the time. I was so heartbroken by seeing how the people we ministered to lived, and I could not help but gain a huge ambition to do whatever it took to help them while we were there. Since then, I have fallen in love with missions. ... [continue]
Collaboration facilitates community impact
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2017 in vol 5 issue 6
When Blanca Salinas attended a gathering of Baptist partners in San Antonio last February, she made connections which helped expand the reach of her ministry. At the meeting, Salinas, site coordinator for STCH ministries, shared about two programs she coordinates–Jobs for Life and Faith & Finances.
Jobs for Life is a job-readiness ministry that equips individuals to transition from unemployed to employed.
“Throughout the 12-week course, we also help equip people spiritually,” said Salinas. “This is a faith-based curriculum that explores people’s faith and spirituality. It speaks to far more than just the practical skills we... [continue]
Discovering the ‘who’ in go and make disciples
by Phil Miller on November 2, 2017 in vol 5 issue 6
What defines you?
For some it is status or a title – doctor, pastor, or director. People can draw a strong sense of accomplishment from attaining goals that were once only dreams. This can take the form of how much money, how much privilege, how many possessions we have accumulated in life. The bumper sticker really says it all – “Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.”
As the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team, our identity is found not in the “what” of ministry, but the “who.”
People continually ask the question, “How do you define discipleship?” Even in the Christian realm, we can become sidetracked into verbiage that... [continue]
On the front lines of the Great Commission at UTA
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 2, 2017 in vol 5 issue 6
Before stepping onto the University of Texas at Arlington campus as a freshman, Ashleigh Hood had a lack confidence in her relationship with Jesus.
Though she had been exposed to the Gospel and attended church semi-regularly, Hood felt her faith had never been her own.
“I hadn’t accepted Christ. I had been baptized, but out of a social obligation. There wasn’t any meaning for me behind it,” said Hood.
For a multitude of reasons, including being surrounded by poor influences and feeling like she didn’t fit in with the church crowd, Hood abandoned church altogether by the time she was in high school. However, everything would... [continue]
Descubriendo el ‘quién’ en id y haced discípulos
by Phil Miller on November 2, 2017 in vol 5 issue 6
¿Qué le define?
Para algunas personas es una posición o un título—doctor, pastor, o director. Las personas reciben un fuerte sentido de satisfacción al alcanzar metas que una vez eran sueños solamente. Esto puede expresarse en términos de cuánto dinero, cuánto privilegio, cuántas posesiones hayamos acumulado en la vida. Hay un refrán que lo expresa bien—“El que muere con la mayor cantidad de juguetes, gana”.
Como Equipo Gran Comisión de los Bautistas de Texas, nuestra identidad no se encuentra en el “qué” del ministerio, sino en el “quién”.
Las personas constantemente preguntan: “¿Cómo se define el discipulado?” Aun en el... [continue]
National Boomer Ministry Conference compels baby boomers to come and see
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 18, 2017 in news
“Reaching 50-year-olds is the same thing that reaches 24-year-olds - invite them to come and see. If you personally know the King, then compel them to come in,” said Todd Wagner, senior pastor of Watermark Church in Dallas, at the National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 7.
He continued, “The mark that is going to reach all people of every generation is love. Without love, nothing matters.”
More than 117 church leaders and volunteers from 58 churches and organizations learned skills and techniques to engage the boomer generation in ministry at the fifth annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 6-8 at Park Cities... [continue]
Transformation through unique church-sponsored BSM
by Kirsten McKimmey on September 11, 2017 in vol 5 issue 5
For those attending two-year community colleges, a lack of strong Christian community is a prevalent struggle. Whether students commute, work a full-time job or have a family, it is challenging for students to find others to walk through life with. However, churches are seeking to solve this problem by partnering with Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry to start their very own Baptist Student Ministries.
“Due to the large number of college students in Texas (1.6 million), the opportunities are so vast that we need a combination of both church-based and campus-based Baptist Student ministries,” said Bruce McGowan, director of Texas... [continue]
Developing a love for God’s Word through Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament
by Kirsten McKimmey on August 31, 2017 in news
“Bible Drill has given me a love for the Bible and an understanding that I need to consistently be in God’s Word to understand His Will for my life,” said Katie Davidson, Bible Drill participant. “It’s given me more confidence in myself. I was initially quiet, scared to get in front of people and talk in general, but Bible Drill encouraged me get out of my comfort zone and do things I had never done before, including teaching others about Jesus.”
For Davidson and Anna Kemp, First Baptist Church of Allen students, Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament is so much more than memorizing words on a page. For them, these events have... [continue]
Texas Baptists’ Childhood Summit equips leaders to remember the joy
by Kirsten McKimmey on August 16, 2017 in news
Children need to know and experience love. They need consistent adults and leaders in their lives who are willing to seek to understand them and meet them where they are. That is what the Texas Baptists’ Childhood Ministry Summit sought to accomplish - to equip ministers in childhood leadership to clearly and meaningfully plan, effectively teach and learn to value how children and preschoolers learn so they might have a genuine relationship with God.
“Trust is the foundation piece for almost every single thing we do in our lives. If trust is not wired in a child by 14 months, it’s much harder to accomplish. It takes many... [continue]
Is your church ready for the boomer generation?
by Keith Lowry on August 8, 2017 in great commission
In 2011, baby boomers started reaching the ripe age of 65, at the rate of 10,000 per day, or approximately 4 million per year. This huge, growing wave of aging boomers will continue to grow and crest until 2029.
The impact this tsunami of aging boomers will have on every aspect of our society, including our churches, is seen in several stunning statistics, including:
In 2017, for the first time in American history, there are more people over the age of 50 than under 50.
From 2010 to 2030, just 20 years, the number of people 65 and over in this country will more than double, from 40 million, to more than 80
Campers impact volunteers at Special Friends Retreat
by Guest Author on August 2, 2017 in great commission
By Ruth Whorton
There are some things in life that make you smile so much your face hurts. These joyful life moments are precious and rare, and the Special Friends Retreat is one of these experiences.
Through support from the Mary Hill Davis Offering and Texas Baptists’ Cooperative Program funding, the Special Friends Retreat is a product of the Texas Baptists Special Needs Ministry which provides an on-level camp experience for people with special needs. The Special Friends Retreat began 41 years ago with 30 campers. Today, there are 400 who attend every year at two locations.
Denny Byers, a camper at Special Friends, looks... [continue]
The method does not change the message
by Guest Author on July 24, 2017 in news
By Ruth Whorton
In a society that is seeing a decline in the number of youth who attend church, news of effective evangelism outreach is an encouragement to all. First Missionary Baptist Church (FMBC) in Fort Worth saw the Lord work in ways far beyond expected at the beginning of the summer through a summer concert, where 22 youth came to know the Lord.
The Saturday after school ended in Fort Worth, FMBC hosted Christian rap and hip-hop artists at their first ever Summer Jam concert. The event was hosted for youth in the community who were not involved in church.
The heart behind the concert came from an effort to “get out of... [continue]
Intercultural churches connect people groups to the Gospel
by Kalie Lowrie on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 spotlight
By Kalie Lowrie and Analiz G. Schremmer
In heaven, people of every tongue, tribe and nation will worship together, yet we tend to separate ourselves out when congregate. At first glance, it may seem wrong to serve separately, but when you put yourself in the shoes of a recent immigrant, trying to navigate around a foreign culture and an unknown language, it makes perfect sense.
“If you go visit a church where you can’t understand the language, and the culture is confusing, how are you going to meet Christ?” asked Intercultural Ministries Director Patty Lane. “Even if you do somehow meet Christ, how are you going to get discipled... [continue]
Hacer discípulos a través de Ministerios Hispanos
by Rolando Rodriguez on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 spotlight
“Y Jesús estableció a doce, para que estuviesen con él.” (Marcos 3:14)
El problema de este mundo no es la economía. Si así fuera, Dios nos hubiera enviado a un economista. El problema del mundo no es la educación. Si así fuera, Dios hubiera enviado a un educador. El problema de este mundo es el pecado, por eso Dios envió a un Salvador. El plan de Dios para cambiar el mundo es: “Hacer Discípulos”. El mensaje de nuestro Señor Jesucristo a sus discípulos después de su resurrección y antes de ascender al cielo fue: “Por tanto id y haced discípulos.” (Mateo 28:19)
La iglesia de hoy en día está involucrada en tantas cosas, menos en... [continue]
The continued ministry of Super Summer
by Guest Author on July 10, 2017 in news
By: Ruth Whorton
Twenty-one years ago, John Davison attended Super Summer for the first time. Then, in 1997, he accepted God’s call on his life to ministry while at Super Summer. Davison is now the middle school pastor at Sherman Bible Church and brings students to Super Summer year after year.
He is very invested in Super Summer because of the incredible impact the ministry makes around the state through the students who attend.
“Super Summer stirs student’s affections for Christ. Knowing there are others who are on the same mission as they are motivates them,” Davison said.
Super Summer taught Davison the importance of... [continue]
Corpus Christi Hosts First [un]Apologetic Conference
by Analiz Schremmer on June 2, 2017 in news
First Baptist Church Corpus Christi hosted its first [un]Apologetic conference south of Highway I-10 on May 5- 6. Three hundred and five people were present.
Brian Hill, pastor of FBC Corpus Christi, said he prayed for over a year for an [un]Apologetic conference to take place in his church. His hopes are that the event "energizes and emboldens" his congregation to better share their faith.
"In an ever growing secular society we cannot just assume people believe God exists and that the Bible is authoritative. We need to be ready to explain why we believe these truths and apologetics helps to remove those roadblocks in... [continue]
How to find the right VBS Curriculum
by Diane Lane on May 31, 2017 in great commission
You are looking for Vacation Bible School curriculum and it looks good—bright colors and childish– but is that important? Then you begin to wonder – what do I really want to have in a Vacation Bible School curriculum? Is it the splash or content? Is it the crafts or missions? Is it the music or the motions? Is it all or none of these things?
Children are the epicenter of Vacation Bible School. Children’s lives have to be changed. So, peering through children’s eyes.
Curriculum needs to have a natural flow and relate to all areas of VBS. There has to be a natural connection with all areas of VBS. Bible passages,
Keys to a Gospel-centered summer: Q&A with the Great Commission Team
by Kalie Lowrie on May 22, 2017 in great commission
Summer church ministry may look and feel a little different than other times of the year. From camps and kids programs to sports clinics and block parties, opportunities to engage your community with the Gospel are endless. We sat down with our Great Commission Team leaders to ask their perspective on all things evangelism and discipleship. Here’s what they shared:
What summertime ministry made the biggest impact on you as a young person?
Delvin Atchison: It was Vacation Bible School. I came from a small town and small towns didn’t have a lot of camps, mind you this is 40 years ago, but we did have Vacation Bible School. It was... [continue]
Making the mystery of the Gospel known at Super Summer
by Kalie Lowrie on May 22, 2017 in great commission
To make the mystery of the Gospel known to unbelievers requires remembering what it was like to be lost, Shannon Hopkins told a room of 200 Super Summer leaders in preparation for upcoming camps.
Hopkins, a missionary to Honduras, returns to Texas each summer to serve as an assistant dean one week of Super Summer as an opportunity to give back to a those who invested so much in his life.
As he dissected the heart of this year’s Super Summer theme “Making the mystery of the Gospel known” for deans, assistant deans and the other camp leadership, Hopkins encouraged each person to remember what it means to be a foreigner and an... [continue]
FBC Allen students take first place in State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament
by Kalie Lowrie on May 8, 2017 in news
(Pictured above) First place winners at the Texas Baptists Bible Drill and Speaker’s Tournament were all from First Baptist Church of Allen, including (left to right) Gracie Daugherty, Anna Kemp and Katie Davidson.
This year, the first place winners in all three categories at the Texas Baptists State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament were from First Baptist Church of Allen. Gracie Daugherty took first place in Youth Bible Drill for 7-9th grades, Katie Davidson won High School Bible Drill for 10-12th grades and Anna Kemp took first place in the Speakers’ Tournament.
Eighty-four students competed in tournament on April 30 held... [continue]
Change Maker conference empowers students to grow in faith
by Kalie Lowrie on May 4, 2017 in news
Blessie Kurpati remembers strapping Bibles to her body as a young girl, covering them in an oversized dress and running through the airport to smuggle the precious books into the Middle Eastern country where her family lived. As she shared her testimony in front of 2,400 at the Texas Baptists’ Change Maker Student Conference powered by Congreso, she challenged students not to let fear dictate how they followed Jesus.
“I want to encourage you to take advantage of the freedom we have in America to spread the Gospel,” Kurpati said. “Let God break your heart for what breaks His and reach out to your neighbors, your friends, your... [continue]
Texas Baptist Church Starting process after 10 years
by Gary Patterson on March 20, 2017 in great commission
It has been 10 years since the formulation of the Texas Baptists Church Starting Process. The process was planned with 15-20 subject matter experts gathered from around the state that included DOMs, church planters, educators, consultants and Texas Baptists staff in a room at the Convention. Each person was asked the strategic question, “What are the necessary components in a new church start process that will set churches up for projected success and will instill long term loyalty & CP commitment?”
Over a summer, the strategy team treated that question and flushed out the 11 Components that undergird the present Texas Baptists... [continue]
Teaching children the power of worship
by Kalie Lowrie on February 3, 2017 in news
Worship involves an intimate relationship with God, Kathleen Chapman told attendees at Children’s Worship University (CWU), hosted by Texas Baptists Music & Worship at First Baptist Church Lewisville on Jan. 20-21. Chapman, author of Teaching Kids Authentic Worship, served as the featured speaker at the training event for Preschool and Children's choir and worship leaders.
“When you start worshipping, your life will be forever changed,” Chapman said.
Chapman shared that many times it is easier for a child to understand the concept of worship because of their belief systems.
“They [children] don’t come in with the doubts and... [continue]
HPU student leads teammates to better understanding of Christ’s love
by Guest Author on January 24, 2017 in great commission
Though Chad Anders wasn’t searching for Christ when he enrolled at Howard Payne University, he says Christ was waiting for him there.
“You can come to HPU and find things you never even knew you were looking for,” says the senior and four-year member of the Yellow Jacket baseball team.
Chad didn’t attend church regularly growing up. After the death of his stepfather during Chad’s freshman year at HPU, he found himself even farther from God.
“I focused on what would make me happy,” he says. “I turned to a lot of different worldly pleasures for fulfillment. I was never satisfied and never happy. I knew there had to be more to... [continue]
Missionary Adoption Program opens doors for expanded ministry in Brazil and beyond
by Kalie Lowrie on January 24, 2017 in great commission
Deep in the Amazon rain forest, in the midst of 10,000 unreached people groups, lies a community known as Livramento. Translated in English, “deliverance” is a poetic title for the city where God is actively delivering new believers out of darkness and into light.
Rhuan Kaique was delivered from a troubled adolescence to a lifetime of ministry by the faithful discipleship of the youth leaders at Passare Baptist Church. In 2015, Rhuan’s church commissioned him as a missionary to Livramento, a place only accessible to locals.
While working in this new mission field, he met Elieuma. Rhuan built trust with her family and began to... [continue]
DBU students serve in Spain, share the hope of Christ
by Guest Author on January 23, 2017 in great commission
Boarding a plane in DFW, Shelby Weatherly, a junior biology major at Dallas Baptist University, grew increasingly excited about the week ahead. While many of her classmates spent their Fall Breaks participating in travel studies, going on vacation or visiting family at home, Weatherly decided to join a group of DBU students to serve overseas in Denia, Spain.
“I was so expectant of what the Lord was going to do,” Shelby recalls. “Leading up to the trip, I was excited to see how my love for Hispanic culture combine with my passion for Europe, but God did exceedingly more than I could have imagined.”
The team of 18 students and... [continue]
Mustaches raise $17,000 for missions on two Central Texas university campuses
by Kalie Lowrie on January 19, 2017 in news
An unconventional fundraising strategy for missions has made a big impact on two Central Texas university campuses. The Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser brought in a combined $17,000 on the campuses of Tarleton State University in Stephenville and Howard Payne University in Brownwood through the Baptist Student Ministries.
The fundraiser has an easy premise. Teams of students grow beards (or wear fake mustaches) during the month of November and gain pledges and gifts for Go Now Missions. At the end of the fundraising time, the teams with the highest fundraising totals are exempt from spinning the dreaded Mustache Wheel of Doom... [continue]
Cuban partnership forming a greater global connection for Texas Baptists Congreso
by Kalie Lowrie on December 8, 2016 in news
Bayamo, CUBA - Two Texas Baptists leaders from the Great Commission Team recently returned home from a week of ministry and missions in Cuba, approximately one week before the death of Fidel Castro.
For Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for Texas Baptists’ Great Commission Team, it was a return to the country of his birth. It was also a place he fled at the age of five with his family, following threats from the government regarding his father’s opposition to Castro’s leadership. Two of his uncles were killed by Castro’s regime. His older brother was also denied exit from the country alongside his family and was held in Cuba for... [continue]
Biblical persuasion: The heart of evangelistic apologetics
by Leighton Flowers on November 2, 2016 in great commission
I have been to countless evangelism events, conferences and training sessions over the years, but I cannot recall a single sermon, lesson or resource on the biblical concept of persuasion. Yet, I contend that persuasion is at the very heart of apologetics, and I dare say, it is at the heart of evangelism itself. I have to wonder if the lack of emphasis on this biblical doctrine has lead to the decline in baptisms and evangelistic efforts among evangelicals over the last few decades?
What does the Bible say about persuasion?
Let’s take a look at some of it’s most relevant uses:
- “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul
Focus on discipleship leads to expanded ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2016 in great commission
First Denton Nearby campuses: University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University, North Central Texas College Student population: 50,000-60,000 College Ministry: Led by University Pastor Austin Wadlow Ministries:
- Overflow Worship (Tuesday nights)
- Equip (Sunday morning discipleship training)
- Communities (24 student-led small groups in apartments and dorms)
- Discipleship program with adults and students
Between 50,000 and 60,000 college students are located in Denton County attending the campuses of the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, providing a great opportunity for ministry for First Denton.... [continue]
Youth ministers at Conclave encouraged to promote racial reconciliation within churches
by Kalie Lowrie on October 14, 2016 in news
Racial reconciliation should begin through believers in the church, according to Bryan Carter, pastor of Concord Church in Dallas. Rather than relying on law enforcement, or looking to the government and society to break down racial tensions, Carter and Jeff Warren encouraged youth ministers to promote change within their own congregations. The two pastors were interviewed by Jane Wilson, youth discipleship specialist, during the Leadership Tuesday session of Youth Ministry Conclave on October 11 in Arlington.
“I would encourage you, as student pastors, to lead the way. Lead from the bottom up,” Warren, pastor of Park Cities... [continue]
Childhood Discipleship: Training up a child
by Leah Reynolds on August 18, 2016 in great commission
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
At one month old, babies can fix their eyes on faces and respond to what they see. By one year, trust is developed. By age 3, a child’s brain is 80% the size of an adult’s. By age 4, they have a wide range of emotions. By age 9, their spiritual foundations are in place.
Children are impressionable from the moment they open their eyes, not only physically and emotionally, but also spiritually. Discipling them from a young age can shape who they become as adults. Childhood discipleship can take place in the preschool area, in... [continue]
Baking Cakes – a recipe for discipleship
by Keith Lowry on August 18, 2016 in great commission
So, here’s the story. I have this friend. I’m only one of many friends he has. He’s a baker and makes the most awesome cakes. And ages ago, he gathered a bunch of his friends and sort of commissioned them to head out and enlist others to be cake bakers like him. It was a big deal, and that original group really got it! I mean, they were immediately baking cakes and enlisting others to bake cakes. The business grew exponentially.
But now, many years later, our group of cake bakers has sort of gotten off track. When we get together to talk about our enlistment and training program to develop more bakers, we tend to get bogged down... [continue]
Who is supposed to sing in worship?
by Tom Tillman on July 13, 2016 in great commission
Each week, Texas Baptists all over the state come together in communities to proclaim, lift high and exalt the name of Jesus in many different ways. New church starts, mission projects and new discipleship programs are causing Baptists to think anew about the way we do many things. There is also much opportunity for our spiritual development. So let’s look at some of the areas in music and worship that we can each develop in order to encourage our churches toward greater corporate worship of Him, whom we serve.
We need to be reminded that we are all commanded to sing! Over 250 times in Scripture we are admonished to sing... [continue]
Youth compete for top spot at 2016 State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament
by Leah Reynolds on May 11, 2016 in news
During the month of April, 819 youth representing, 115 Texas Baptist churches, showcased their talents in finding and reading Bible verses and reciting speeches through five regional Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournaments.
On April 30, regional winners competed for the top spot at the State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament, held at Dallas Baptist University.
Ninety-three youth, representing 37 churches, competed at the state tournament. The following students took home first and second place:
Youth Bible Drill (7 – 9th grades) 1st Place - William Horton, First Baptist Church in Dallas 2nd Place - Bethany Leamons, Fairy... [continue]
Sharing your faith in a digital space
by Kalie Lowrie on May 10, 2016 in great commission
It’s hard for me to remember a time before the internet. I vividly recall my first foray into dial-up and our family’s shared AOL account when I was just starting middle school and it seems like the world has not been the same since. The Digital Age has transformed almost every aspect of our lives.
In order to get information on when the Digital Age began, can you guess where I went to look? Google, of course. How else do we find answers to our unending questions these days? (FYI - The Digital Age, aka Information Age, started in the early 90s when the internet became accessible to the average user.)
While we exist in a physical... [continue]
A burdened heart to reach the lost
by Guest Author on May 2, 2016 in great commission
What truths or experiences capture a heart to burden it with the task of reaching a lost world? For me, it was a crowd of people in Taichung, Taiwan. In 2000, I served with Go Now Missions in Taiwan. I wasn’t the most active student in the BSM, and only heard about the trip because the lead singer of a band I was in wanted to go. I loved Jesus, but the task of reaching a lost world hadn't captured my heart. I simply wanted to play guitar for my band on the other side of the globe.
Although I had traveled globally, and even lived in the Middle East due to my father’s career, this trip was different. In Taiwan, our band played at... [continue]
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... [continue]
Running with endurance in South Africa
by Guest Author on April 6, 2016 in great commission
God is full of wisdom, and I’m impressed how He knows every heart and mind. One of the activities that I was part of this weekend was a race with obstacles. In this race, God showed me His unconditional love, patience and grace that we go through in our Christian life. This race took place this past Saturday, and there were six kilometers that we needed to run.
Five members of the orphanage, where I am currently serving, were participating in this race, including Brianna and myself. There were two boys with the ages around 11 and 9. The other person who ran was a girl who is 14 years old.
One of the best things to do in these... [continue]
For God and Country
by Melody Rich on March 29, 2016 in great commission
On May 20-22, three churches will hear the stories and testimonies of those that have served our state and country through a special event "For God and Country." Highlighting a different speaker for each day, this free event focuses on encouragement and the redemptive power of Jesus' blood. Hardened criminals, war-touched veterans, relatives killed in bombings; these are just some of the tragedies which struck these three speakers.
Max Gunn, the speaker for May 20, served the Texas Department of Public Safety for 37 years and retired as a Senior Corporal. During his almost four decades of service he worked with Highway Patrol... [continue]
Ministry is done with people, not for people
by Ryan Jespersen on February 24, 2016 in great commission
I have often thought back to a meeting one afternoon with the "consultant" in regard to attendance. The church was at its lowest point in my tenure. I was desperately trying to figure out what our church could do in the midst of decline, and a neighborhood we seemed not to match up with. The "consultant" told me to build a church with the affluent and let the affluent minister to the non-affluent. The key in all of it, though, was that our main worship service was going to primarily only serve the affluent. Part of me still cringes a little bit inside, not because of what he said, for perhaps I misunderstood, but because there was... [continue]
Listening and responding to the Lord’s call to go
by Guest Author on February 20, 2016 in great commission
Go Now Missions recently hosted Discovery Weekend at First Baptist Church Midlothian, where 195 students were issued invitations to serve as Go Now Missionaries after the weekend. There were 50 small group leaders, made up of BSM Staff, Church Staff and students who are former Go Now Missionaries; 25 host homes provided by FBC Midlothian; 17 who served on the Prayer Team; and 25 who served on the Servant Team. Below is a story from one student who participated in the weekend.
"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Last July, I felt the... [continue]
Praying for those who will go
by Regina Crossley on February 18, 2016 in great commission
Go Now Missions recently hosted Discovery Weekend at First Baptist Church Midlothian, where 195 students were issued invitations to serve as Go Now Missionaries after the weekend. There were 50 small group leaders, made up of BSM Staff, Church Staff and students who are former Go Now Missionaries; 25 host homes provided by FBC Midlothian; 17 who served on the Prayer Team; and 25 who served on the Servant Team. Below is a story from one leader who served on the Prayer Team.
It's all in a name: names and descriptions that work for Sunday School classes
by Keith Lowry on January 28, 2016 in great commission
I responded to a question from a pastor recently asking about how to select a name for and describe a new Sunday School class they were about to start for young married couples. The principles which informed my answer are universal, and may be of interest to anyone thinking about starting new units or renaming existing units in your Sunday School in order to help guests or newcomers be able to find a class that fits them.
"Pastor, regarding your question about a new class you're wanting to start targeting young married couples, and asking for some guidelines for describing and naming it."
First, unless your church has an active and... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
Jamaica: Laying Foundations Physically and Spiritually
by Guest Author on January 20, 2016 in great commission
I spent the first week of 2016 in Harmons, Jamaica, serving with the Won By One to Jamaica project.
During the week, I got to live out what I believe is God's calling for my life. I helped build a house and lay a foundation alongside Jamaicans while investing in their lives in order to show them who Christ is - the true foundation.
Little did I know that I would be changed as much as I was and in the way I was. God changed my heart by the joy of the people. The people, who I went to with the intention of helping, showed me Christ's heart in a new light.
What amazes me is this is too often the case with mission trips. The missionary... [continue]
Seeing God at work in Oregon
by Guest Author on January 19, 2016 in great commission
God was abundant in His faithfulness and provision over this past week. We got to meet and interact with so many University of Oregon students and create relationships with those who were intrigued at being called to the Lord's hands; all while working with an awesome team at the university.
We handed out flyers and explained the intentionality found in Northwest Collegiate Ministry to students and why God's Love is such a bigger deal than all else. We also prayer walked and evangelized to students during our work times.
Getting an idea of what ministry and evangelism looks like in the Northwest was incredible and something I am... [continue]
The ultimate harvester at work in East Asia
by Guest Author on January 15, 2016 in great commission
This past winter break I spent Christmas in East Asia meeting university students and spreading the Gospel to more than 100 people who had never even heard the name Jesus. Going to East Asia during Christmas opened a huge window of opportunities to share with students the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. Our outreach included meeting students on campus, inviting them to meet up for lunch and to attend the Christmas parties we had during the two weeks we were there.
My biggest concern for this trip was meeting students. I figured it would be impossible to actually meet someone willing to have lunch or come to a Christmas... [continue]
Even the smallest gesture of obedience
by Guest Author on January 13, 2016 in great commission
Over Christmas break, Go Now Missions mobilized student missionaries around the world, including to New York, where a team served Chinese churches. Eliud Valle, student from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, tells a testimony from one of the unique encounters he had on the trip:
I wasn't very excited about going out to random streets and handing out bags that contained old newspapers and a card with the church's information on them. My group and I walked for about an hour and a half and we had yet to come across someone to talk to.
On our walk back, I decided to go up to a house and knock on the door. No one answered at first... [continue]
Becoming New York street sweepers
by Guest Author on January 12, 2016 in great commission
It was Christmas day. My bags were packed and my heart was ready to serve on the mission field in New York City. I left Texas the following morning, arriving in New York City with the anticipation of my team concentrating our efforts solely in the Chinatowns of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Flushing. Although I was sent by Go Now Missions to work with Chinese churches in the first-ever "Christmas in Chinatown" project, God orchestrated my week much differently than I had initially expected.
After two full days of ministry with Chinese churches in Brooklyn, I had already been humbled and stretched far out of my "Christian comfort zone... [continue]
God’s perfect timing revealed in a subway food court
by Guest Author on January 11, 2016 in great commission
The first couple of days [in New York] were trying because not many of the community people seemed to respond to our attempts to have intentional conversations. I was having a difficult time finding the opportunity to share the Gospel with anyone even though I did have a few nice conversations with people on the subway about what our team was doing in New York.
However, my conversations never really went any further than that and asking if those people needed prayer. As the week went on, I began contemplating whether or not I was wasting or missing opportunities to serve the Lord well in New York. I wanted to so badly share the... [continue]
New York and a hope worth talking about
by Guest Author on January 8, 2016 in great commission
In the months leading up to my trip one word seemed to keep surfacing in conversations with friends and family. As I sit down and began to process the events of this past week, I began to see how that same word seemed to lace itself through the week. That word was hope.
Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
What does it mean for us to have hope, what do we hope in? We have hopes, or expectations for our futures, we find ourselves constantly hoping for or expecting something better than what we have. As Christians we have hope in, or expectations that God will fulfill his promises. This isn't a new... [continue]
How Moldova changed the way I see missions
by Guest Author on January 7, 2016 in great commission
This winter I served in Moldova where I got to fit needy children with a new pair of shoes and share the Gospel with them. I went in not knowing what to expect, sure I had prayed and I researched the country but I still didn't know what would happen or how the children and people from the country would receive us.
During the week we spent in Moldova, the south team – the team I was on – gave out over 1300 pairs of shoes, and that is from one team alone. I believe collectively we gave out around 3,000 pairs of shoes. From the various orphanages and churches we visited, there were two children who engraved their names in my... [continue]
The week that changed my life
by Guest Author on January 5, 2016 in great commission
I was given an amazing opportunity to serve in Arlington at Mission Arlington, and my view on people changed entirely. I am not used to working with people in general and it came to be an issue, but with God's help, I made it through. God brought me to Arlington, so I can connect with these people. I am going through a financial issue in my family right now, so connecting with these people was not an issue. God used me in so many more ways that I could ever imagine Him doing. I'm such a shy person, but that shell completely broke down with speaking to these people. I normally don't talk to strangers, let alone have a spiritual... [continue]
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... [continue]
Seeing God’s sovereignty through small blessings
by Guest Author on December 23, 2015 in great commission
On my third day of working with Mission Arlington, I was able to do something new from my regular job in child care. I worked the in the front office.
My job was to help people who needed food, clothes, help paying bills, etc. I would bring them into a room, talk to them about what they needed, pray for them and then take them shopping in our store where everything was free.
I talked and prayed for several people. After about four hours, I had a woman come in. When I sat her down to talk, I asked her how she was doing. She looked tired, and stressed out.
She said, "I have to ask someone to jump my car all the time, I don't have a... [continue]
Finding comfort in Wales through Christ’s human nature
by Guest Author on November 25, 2015 in great commission
Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12:3
I've found myself in a culture made up of people I don't know, and who do no not know me. I've left the familiarity of my home in Texas and I now live in a city that is far from my comfort zone. I no longer live in the Bible Belt. I live in a society that values independence and has little patience for institutionalized religion. Fair enough. It's been a challenging change, but a good change, and in an effort to follow Paul's, and by extension, Christ's,... [continue]
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.
1500 steaks and free ice cream
by Leah Reynolds on November 4, 2015 in great commission
Last fall, bright-eyed freshman Lindsay Teweleit stepped foot onto the Texas Tech University campus seeking new adventures and friendships. But since she was placed in a dorm without a roommate, building relationships proved to be a challenge. She had no prior connections and craved community.
Lindsay was sitting alone in her room one day about a week before classes started when she suddenly heard a knock on her door.
"I literally jumped from my bed to the door, flying across the room," she said, expressing her enthusiasm about simply having a visitor.
The students greeting her at the door held a bag of goodies and said... [continue]
Texas Baptists Great Commission Team to undergo staff changes
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... [continue]
Opportunities for patience and obedience in the day-to-day
by Guest Author on October 30, 2015 in great commission
God's Provision at the Post Office
A few weeks ago, I took an Iranian man, Robert*, to the post office to see if he could find some boxes he had been looking for in the mail for weeks. He shipped seven boxes of books to his new address here in Fort Worth before he left Malaysia about three months ago. The boxes were long overdue and only one had arrived. When we went to the post office we waited in the long, end of the day line that's always there in the afternoon. For a while, I passed the time on my phone. When I started to get impatient God prompted me to pray. He said: "You have not because you ask not." So, I put my phone... [continue]
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.
The trailer, gifted to CBA by the Texas Baptists Evangelism Team and assembled by the Timothy Institute in Oklahoma, was delivered to Preston Ridge Baptist Church in Frisco on Saturday for a... [continue]
Engage 24: Sharing the Gospel with two pennies on a college campus
by Guest Author on October 28, 2015 in great commission
We first met Joe while doing a Solarium Outreach Table on campus about a month ago. He was more than willing to participate in sharing about his life and beliefs. To be honest, I don't remember if it was me or my fellow campus missionary intern, Patrick, who led him through the survey, but I do remember he heard the Gospel that day. About a week ago, I ran into Joe again while I was playing pool in the University Center. I said "hello" to him and he seemed surprised that I even remembered his name. He played a game or two with me, and we talked a little bit about life and other things. We both went on our way.
Then this week, I... [continue]
Understanding persecution in North Africa
by Guest Author on October 23, 2015 in great commission
We had been meeting with O and his family for a few weeks, they are Sudanese refugees. He has had contact with several followers, but we had not yet determined whether he was one, too, or not. His wife had already committed her life to the Son and had been on fire.
The Christian worker, J, who connected with them, had been mentoring her one-on-one for a few weeks by this point. However, they were (and still are) undergoing a lot of persecution. When her brother in Sudan found out she had switched over from his religion to following the Son, he threatened both her and O.
He traveled to our city to find them and take her home... [continue]
Creating bold youth disciples in the midst of a cultural revolution
by Leah Reynolds on October 20, 2015 in great commission
In the midst of a cultural revolution where technology has cultivated a "me" generation and immorality is prevalent, youth ministers have a unique and challenging role in teaching students to be bold disciples.
Tim Elmore, founder and president of Growing Leaders in Georgia, shared expert insight to a room full of church youth workers on leading today's youth at Texas Baptists' Youth Ministry Conclave, which was held in Arlington Oct. 12-14.
Today's culture fosters "artificial maturity," said Elmore, who has worked with students for 36 years. Youth are being over-exposed to information while being under-exposed to real life... [continue]
Retreat brings mentally challenged adults together for weekend of fun and worship
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... [continue]
Living life to the fullest in Wales: Part 2
by Guest Author on October 9, 2015 in great commission
My goal for the year is to present Jesus to the people I meet, exactly as He is. Not as a strident task-master, but has a friend who, by His death on the cross, has freed us up to live and to love others.
Michael Frost, whose writing we've been assigned to read over the last few weeks, says that a missionary's job is to live questionable lives, and to alert people to God's reign as the King and Creator of this earth. This excites me.
Like I said in my earlier post, God has allowed me to have passions, and as my Father, He loves that I love these things. For instance, I love CrossFit. I love CrossFit because... [continue]
Living life to the fullest in Wales: Part 1
by Guest Author on October 8, 2015 in great commission
"I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10
Students have arrived in Bangor, and the town has new life. A university town with no university students is a quiet town. Before, the town would become eerily quiet at around six when all the cafes and shops started to close. There was no night-life, and not much to do in the day either. But then students got here and now the town is abuzz at all hours of the night, which I quite enjoy.
Now that there are students in town, there are friends to be made. Last night, I was riding in a car with Ryan and a few new friends. One is from Scotland, one is from... [continue]
BSM and local churches in Rio Grande Valley unite to feed the 4,000
by Leah Reynolds on October 5, 2015 in great commission
For college sophomore Arly Garza, handing out hot dogs and Bibles on her university campus took on a deeper meaning when she was able to serve alongside both her college friends and church leaders.
The idea behind the UT Rio Grande Valley BSM-led initiative, called "Feeding the 4,000," derived from Mark 8:1-9 where Jesus and His disciples distributed a small amount of bread and fish to 4,000 people.
Local churches, such as Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, joined in the effort by providing financial donations for hot dogs and New Testament Bibles, by praying for the college students and by volunteering at the event.
College campus challenged by the Great Commission
by Guest Author on September 22, 2015 in great commission
Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) has been challenged by the "Great Commission." Our lead team came up with a great outreach to reach students that would not normally come to a BSM services. Who does not have a love for pancakes? Plus we hand them out for free.
After coming back home from Beach Reach our leaders asked themselves, "how can we bring the Beach Reach mission back to our campus?" Since the spring of 2015 we have started a new outreach that we have been starting to do at least once every month. This outreach entails at least 25 boxes of pancakes and several student volunteers. After 24/7,our Thursday night service... [continue]
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... [continue]
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,... [continue]
They don't have the gospel
by Guest Author on September 14, 2015 in great commission
Last week, as we were walking outside to get our scooters and leave our supervisor's apartment, our supervisor came outside and showed us something. We had been hearing firecrackers go off all night and he pointed out why.
Just a few feet away, lining both sides of the sidewalk were little areas, encircled with white powder, burning incense. Our supervisor told us they popped the firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. They burned these things for their ancestors – to appease them and make them happy so they wouldn't curse them. They worshipped their ancestors.
I stood there in the middle of the sidewalk just staring... [continue]
Give me a break!
by Jane Wilson on September 11, 2015 in great commission
"I really prefer not ever having any time away from my students," said no youth minister ever!
As youth ministers and lay youth workers, we love students. But, we have a tremendous need for worship experiences, fellowship, resources and training alongside other adults who do in their own churches what we do in ours. We need time with adults who have devoted their lives to serving students. Youth Ministry Conclave provides these things and more.
Conclave will take place at the Arlington Convention Center, October 12-14, 2015.
All the details, as well as scholarship information and registration pricing, may be found... [continue]
Be unApologetic about your faith
by Kalie Lowrie on September 10, 2015 in great commission
Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15
Just as the biblical figures of Paul and Peter were ever-ready to give a defense to various groups for the hope that they had in Jesus, Christians today should arm themselves with scripture to defend their faith and the authenticity of the Bible.
According to Barna Research, 59-69 percent of people ages 18-29 are leaving the church or rethinking their faith. Mike Licona, a frequent speaker at [un]Apologetic conferences and noted apologetics expert, found that of the... [continue]
Go Now missionaries see God at work in the midst of opposition
by Guest Author on September 8, 2015 in great commission
We have Go Now missionaries faithfully serving everyday around the world. The peak time of service is over the summer, when many college students have a break from school. However, it is important to know we also have students who take a semester of time to serve the Lord wherever He has called them. I love being able to hear the phenomenal stories of these faithful students and pass them on to our Texas Baptists.
This week, two Go Now students serving in South Asia have endured spiritual warfare unlike what many of us have ever seen and have remained faithful to the Lord's call to proclaim the Gospel.
Rachel and Michelle* go out... [continue]
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... [continue]
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... [continue]
A prayer to make God's name known in the red light district
by Guest Author on August 22, 2015 in great commission
A few days ago we went to the red light district of this area I am living in. We worked with the children of the prostitutes there and helped them with school work.
I was sitting in the middle of a slum, in a small room filled with kids with smiling faces, who are being beaten by their fathers or not cared for by their mothers. Just the fact that they are getting an education is very rare, and some of them will never leave the slum that they have grown up in their whole lives.
We walked up and down the streets of this place, and there was woman after woman sitting outside of their small, one bedroom house, waiting for customers to... [continue]
5 Things you need to be doing for your college freshmen students right now
by Guest Author on August 18, 2015 in great commission
In my experience as a Baptist Student Ministry director, I see that once Christian college students start college life, the academic, social and financial demands, not to mention a new environment and new lifestyle, can make a well-intended college student put God on the back burner.
I understand how we could think Christian college students should remain close to God, specially those who were active in youth group and attended summer camp for several years. Unfortunately this is not the case for many students.
So, what can we do about this? How can we help a college student stay... [continue]
5 acciones que usted necesita tomar para ayudar a sus estudiantes universitarios ahora mismo
by Guest Author on August 18, 2015 in great commission
En mi experiencia como Director del Ministerio Bautista Estudiantil, veo que una vez que los estudiantes universitarios cristianos comienzan su carrera, las exigencias académicas, sociales, y financieras, por no hablar de un nuevo ambiente y nuevo estilo de vida, pueden hacer que un estudiante bien intencionado ponga a Dios en segundo plano.
Entiendo cómo podríamos esperar que los estudiantes deban permanecer cerca de Dios en la universidad, especialmente los que fueron activos en el grupo de jóvenes y asistieron a campamentos de verano durante varios años. Desafortunadamente este no es... [continue]
Country churches are a rising trend in Baptist life
by Linley McCord on August 17, 2015 in great commission
PARKER – After Southfork Baptist Church dwindled to 15 members, Pastor David LeFlore realized something needed to change in order to continue to reach the community.
"Through lots of prayer and wondering how we're going to grow, Connie asked if we ever thought about a country church," LeFlore said, referring to his wife. He realized that the area was a piece of country near the city, and therefore would not be conducive to a city church.
This is part of a growing trend in Baptist church life. A combination of a traditional church and a cowboy church, country churches are for those who enjoy the relaxed, "come as you are... [continue]
Facing the oceans in South Texas and finding strength in the Lord
by Guest Author on August 15, 2015 in great commission
A lot of really great people in my life encouraged me to do Go Now Missions this summer. My BSM directors, my friends, pastors and loved ones encouraged me to take a step of obedience and to go wherever I was called, to leave my 'yes' on the table for God no matter what. It seemed like such a daunting task and I was in denial, although a small part of my heart never allowed me to just say "no" and walk away.
I remember having an epiphany one day over Christmas break, that I could no longer change and grow spiritually if I was going to try and stay within my comfort zone at school and at home. This "aha" moment lead to prayers for... [continue]
The beauty of a sunrise in the midst of darkness
by Guest Author on August 14, 2015 in great commission
Most of the world is asleep at 4 o'clock in the morning. I am normally asleep at 4 in the morning, but not today. Today, I am sitting on the top of a mountain, shivering from head to toe, and waiting for the sun to rise. If I weren't so much in awe, I think I'd be crying because of the beauty that surrounds me. I look to the left and see the Portland city lights shining in the darkness. I look to the right and I can see mountain peaks against the barely lit sky.
I am humbled by all that surrounds me. I am so small in comparison to these vast sloping mountains. As it gets closer and closer to sunrise time, my surroundings become more... [continue]
The power of a new Bible in the hands of a child
by Guest Author on August 13, 2015 in great commission
It was one of our rougher apartment complexes. I was warned that the kids were typically loud, disrespectful and disobedient. It was my first week teaching them and I was a little nervous. So far I had only visited the property during other activities, but now I was suddenly responsible for this infamous group of kids.
The kids always trickled in slowly at first, which was fine because it gave my partner and I a chance to get them signed in before they started playing games. We always played games with the kids for an hour before cleaning up for a Bible study during the last 30 minutes.
There was a small handful of other kids there... [continue]
Six months in Southeast Asia: the highs, the lows and God’s unfailing love
by Guest Author on August 7, 2015 in great commission
I have learned so much about God's character in the time I have been in Southeast Asia and this last month really helped me put all my thoughts together.
First off, throughout my time there God continued to remind me of His perfect love. It always seems funny to me that He could show me such love in the middle of a red-light district, in a place so deprived of it. However, it turned out to be the perfect place for Him to show me. Every time I stepped onto the streets of one of the districts, I was reminded of these words, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." For me it was all the encouragement needed... [continue]
Blind, but now I see
by Guest Author on July 31, 2015 in great commission
When you think of East Asia, what do you see? What do you think of?
Super crowded streets and cities? Buildings on top of buildings? Pollution? Rice and noodles? Split pants? Scooters everywhere? Asian cartoon characters on everything? Chenglish? Poverty?
Millions of people, faces or souls who live without hope daily?
People who walk around living their day to day life looking for satisfaction, meaning and value in anything and all the wrong things because they don't know there is more?
I see people who laugh, cry, drink coffee, take selfies, play basketball, make pizzas, watch movies, have children, get married, work... [continue]
Don’t Call Me Senior!
by Keith Lowry on July 29, 2015 in great commission
There was a day that one of the most creative outlets for the "Senior Adult" minister was the opportunity to come up with a cute name for the senior adult group at the church. Remember some of these? Triple L Club, Seasoned Saints, Keenagers, Ageless Wonders, Sizzlin' Seniors, Merry Makers, JOY Club (Just Older Youth - They always feel the need to explain that one to us … ), Hilltoppers, Fun-Timers, Ever-Ready Club, Prime-Timers, and so many more. I have dozens and dozens of these. Untold hours have been invested in coming up with cute little names for our cute little groups of seasoned saints.
Problem is, if you poll baby... [continue]
Shining stars and talks of God in Quebec
by Guest Author on July 28, 2015 in great commission
We've just finished our first week of having residential campers here at Frontier Lodge! Thanks be to God because we had the smoothest week with no hiccups or accidents! Residential camp is for campers who stay with us a week or more, living with us in the cabins and spending time with us all day, all week. Also, this is when the Christian camp starts, so we can talk about Jesus all we want!
My cabin had three girls in it, all age 10, plus my junior counselor who is 15. My girls were named Reiley, Norah, and Kaitlyn (it made me so happy we had the same name, but I couldn't let her know because we all go by camp names, and mine is... [continue]
A call to pray during a time of prayer
by Guest Author on July 27, 2015 in great commission
I'm living in one of the largest Muslim-populated countries in the world. I'm only here for two months, but my trip is during a really interesting time. I had the opportunity to experience life here before, during and after two of the biggest holidays: Ramadan (fasting month) and Eid al-Fitr (festival of breaking the fast). While I've studied and read a lot about their faith before I came, it's a whole different experience when you are actually surrounded by it day in and day out.
The call to prayer is heard loudly five times a day. It is a common occurrence for my friends to stop what we are doing to go pray, and it doesn't... [continue]
How Oregon trees taught me to give God control
by Guest Author on July 25, 2015 in great commission
As we walked up to the tree, my heart sank. I knew exactly what our next activity was on our trek in the woods with the YD adventures crew. I was so excited about getting to take a group of kids from our apartment buildings out camping for a few days, but as we approached the dreaded tree I began to question the wisdom of that decision. Ever since I witnessed my sister fall from a zip line, I have been a little leery of the idea of jumping out of trees. And these were not just any trees, these were Oregon trees (If you have been here then you know exactly what I'm talking about).
Oregon trees are TALL; however, this particular one... [continue]
Confessing struggles and insecurities during a heart-felt sleepover
by Guest Author on July 24, 2015 in great commission
It was a beautiful, sunny morning. Becca and I were walking through the Fountain Park apartment complex and praying for all the people living there. We prayed for a group of preteen girls we'd had the opportunity to meet, but that we were struggling to build relationships with. In that moment, Becca and I both thought about hosting a sleepover with the girls where we could play lots of games, watch movies, get to know the girls and teach them some of God's truths. When we told our supervisor about it, she thought it was a great idea, and we began planning to make it happen.
Fast forward two weeks, and we have another beautiful... [continue]
Even ninja turtles and robots are important to God
by Guest Author on July 23, 2015 in great commission
I looked up in the busy, chaotic room of waiting people. They were gathered in clumps decorated with hyper children. Some of them had been there for nearly an hour waiting for someone like me to grab their clipboard and call their name.
I skimmed quickly over the next person's paperwork and was thankful it was written in English. It was my first day on the job, and out of the all people I had already seen, over half of them spoke only Spanish. Though I could generally figure out what it was that Mission Arlington could do to help them, I struggled to hear their story or really communicate past understanding the words necesito ropa y... [continue]
Finding beauty in the mundane, a lesson from Savannah
by Guest Author on July 22, 2015 in great commission
My time in Savannah so far has been filled to the brim with new experiences, new restaurants, new places and even seeing a couple of celebrities! I am in awe of all I have had the blessing of doing over the past several weeks. However, sometimes it hasn't been all that glamorous. Though my personality drives me to desire to go and do and never stop every second of the day, God is continuing to remind me that there is surely beauty in it all – from the mundane to the hilltop moments.
Work-wise, this week has consisted of sorting through donated clothes at the store, a meeting and taking one of our sweet residents to the dentist's... [continue]
Sadly leaving Portland, but God continues to work
by Guest Author on July 21, 2015 in great commission
It's almost been two whole months here in Portland, Oregon. Time seems to be flying by, but you can be certain that God continues to do what He promises. Not only has God wrecked my world, but He has given my team opportunities beyond what we could ever ask for. Relationships have been made, and soon they will be hindered by distance; it's comforting to know that Jesus will continue to move.
So, I apologize for my lack of structure and not getting my update in on time. If you know me then you know just how true that statement is! So let me update you while I have the chance!
This summer has been filled with more than just random... [continue]
College connection for your high school grad
by Kalie Lowrie on July 20, 2015 in great commission
At the end of the school year, high school seniors are recognized and their future plans are celebrated by family, friends and their local church. In the coming months, many students likely will be taking classes at junior colleges, colleges and universities within the state of Texas. Have you equipped your graduates with information on how to find a local church and get involved in a Baptist Student Ministry on their future campuses?
Of the 158 campuses in Texas, 115 campuses have a local BSM with a director ready and willing to connect with your students. Texasfreshmen.com is a great resource where students can share their... [continue]
Sharing a promise from God in Rhode Island
by Guest Author on July 20, 2015 in great commission
Growing up in the South meant everyone had heard of God and Christianity. That was just the way life was. Even if someone didn't believe, they were well aware of the faith. I hadn't met someone who had never heard of God. No matter where I had served on mission trips, the people I shared the Gospel with knew something about God and the Bible. That all changed on July 13, 2015.
I am currently serving in Connecticut and Rhode Island with church plants and other organizations through Go Now Missions. This summer has been full of soup kitchens and youth clubs where adults and children shared with me what they knew about God. They all... [continue]
HPU students serve God and experience Spanish culture on Costa Rica Trip
by Guest Author on July 18, 2015 in great commission
BROWNWOOD – Thirteen Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff members visited the country of Costa Rica following the end of the spring 2015 semester. The international experience was led by Carla Hawkins, then assistant professor of Spanish, and Keith Platte, director of HPU's Baptist Student Ministry.
The expedition was HPU's first hybrid trip combining students from Spanish class with mission volunteers of the BSM. However, all students participated in each of the activities during the 11-day trip.
The students and supervisors made their first stop at Hogar De Vida, an orphanage, where they witnessed to others by... [continue]
Learning truth in South Africa
by Guest Author on July 17, 2015 in great commission
A few things I've learned (and relearned) from being here in South Africa, reading a bunch of great books and hearing some awesome speakers.
- Comfort is my sworn enemy. It also is a great enemy of so many American churches. Jesus did not call us to be comfortable. Having church in a tin shack in the cold with a bunch of youth who speak another language is not something I was initially at ease with. But God is moving there and it is an amazing experience. We make it so much harder on ourselves to spread the Word when we only do it in comfortable places.
- A lot of times we like to see God as "a nice, middle class, American Jesus." We
When photobombing leads to sharing the gospel story
by Guest Author on July 16, 2015 in great commission
Photobombing, it's not how I typically try to meet strangers, and definitely not how I try to start friendships. But one of the biggest things I've learned in South Asia is how the Father truly can (and does) use all things to bring people to His name. My teammate and I met and befriended a group of girls two Saturdays ago when we photobombed their selfies. It was a rather awkward first impression to make, but ironically, it has turned into a beautiful friendship. We met with them over pancakes (their first ones!) last Saturday afternoon, and the conversations we had with them blew us away. The following is an account of that... [continue]
Twenty years old, but always a child of God
by Guest Author on July 14, 2015 in great commission
I am 20 years old. In the eyes of society, I still have a ways to go in life, but I am slowly and surely gaining responsibility and freedom. I can legally drive a car, vote for the politician of my choosing, travel outside of the country on my own, move away to attend college, accumulate student loans, spend the summer doing mission work, and if I wanted to, I could even get married. (Don't worry Mom and Dad–I've got lots of time before I hit that season of life!) In the eyes of our society, I am learning to be an adult and am progressing at a pretty normal rate. However, during my time at the South Texas Children's Home... [continue]
Answered Prayers in Connecticut
by Guest Author on July 8, 2015 in great commission
I want to share the story of Pastor Josh. Pastor Josh graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 1987. When he was 16, he said he went on a mission trip and that summer is when he had a heart for his high school and knew he needed to be doing something for his peers. That next fall, he went back to school, and he and a friend went to the school superintendent and asked if they could start a prayer group on campus and they were told, yes.
It was the first and only Christian group on campus. They were not given a classroom or other meeting spot, so they met outside by the cherry blossoms. Sometimes the group would have 20-30 people show... [continue]
Hispanic summer missionaries help encourage youth to reach goals
by Olivia Williams on July 7, 2015 in great commission
One goal of Texas Baptists' Hispanic Education Initiative (HEI) is to encourage the pursuit of college education in Hispanic churches. In a unique effort to achieve that goal, HEI hosts a summer missionary program, which gives Hispanic college students the opportunity to serve as mentors for high school students.
These missionaries, after accepting a call from God to help others similar to them, work with the youth in the church one-on-one and in group settings to give them tips, personal testimonies and past experiences when they were also in high school.
"I have a passion for students who don't have the means for getting an... [continue]
Jesus & “Jurassic World” (yes, I will connect them)
by Guest Author on June 30, 2015 in great commission
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of watching "Jurassic World." (My fellow staff members who attended the movie with me might not say the same. I am an action movie spaz, but that's besides the point.) It was super intense, but once I finally stopped shaking due to my muscles being clenched the whole time (in suspense, not fear, of course – two different things), I seriously enjoyed it. As crazy as it may seem, I even drew some parallels to the Gospel. Who knew, right?
In the movie, the super smart scientists in the lab at Jurassic World have created a genetically modified (female) dinosaur called Indominus Rex. As mayhem ensues,... [continue]
A vessel for the Lord in Oregon
by Guest Author on June 29, 2015 in great commission
I stopped to be still and just feel the Lord's presence. It had been a long day and it was only noon, but the Lord had been at work since before the day even started.
It was a Saturday. But not just any Saturday. This Saturday represented the beginning of the Lord's work in a new apartment complex. We were having a barbecue to invite people in the community to be apart of kids club, youth group and our brand new house church that was just planted in the area. It had been an incredible day so far and we were getting to meet so many new people. There is no way to describe the experience except for peace. I was hot and tired from... [continue]
Giving God your “yes”
by Guest Author on June 26, 2015 in great commission
Many people think that working in the red-light district would be incredibly heavy, spiritually dark and really depressing. While those things are true to an extent, each time I do outreach in those areas, I walk away with a little bit of joy restored to me. Let me explain.
In the midst of the darkness, in the midst of all of the terrible things happening, in the midst of people being completely enslaved to their sin, I am able to so humbly rejoice in the salvation I have received through Jesus Christ. Because I was once in darkness, I was once enslaved so completely to my sin. Yet simply, by the grace of God, I am set free.
Do I... [continue]
Lives added to the Book of Life in the Philippines
by Guest Author on June 25, 2015 in great commission
Once my team and I arrived in Bicol our team (of four Americans and me) grew and we added two translators, they were instantly part of our team! We headed out to the field last Saturday morning, to Apuao, a small island. The pictures I have taken don't do God's creation justice.
Ate Annie, Deanna, Racheal and I headed to the village. As part of our mission, we asked the people if we could take their blood pressure and once we were invited into their homes we would talk to them about the Gospel. Sometimes Ate Annie shares in Tagalog or other times one of us would share in English and she will translate. It is so amazing how God... [continue]
God’s great redemption story
by Guest Author on June 24, 2015 in great commission
How long, Lord, must I call for help,but you do not listen?Or cry out to you, "Violence!"but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?Destruction and violence are before me;there is strife, and conflict abounds.Therefore the law is paralyzed,and justice never prevails.The wicked hem in the righteous,so that justice is perverted.The Lord's Answer
"Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your daysthat you would not believe,even if you were told.
A friend shared these verses with me a few days ago, and its... [continue]
Learning more about Jesus in the midst of cultural shock
by Guest Author on June 23, 2015 in great commission
I've been serving in Southeast Asia for about three weeks and I've learned a lot of things, but one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that being a cross-cultural worker is hard. You arrive in a new culture and literally everything is different and those differences can be overwhelming.
At first the newness is exciting – trying new food, meet new people, seeing new sights is fun. This is called the fun or "honeymoon" stage of culture shock. I served in England last summer and stayed in this stage the whole time. So this summer, when it's only three weeks into my two month time here, I was surprised to already be moving out... [continue]
Super Summer’s ingredients to 41 years of success
by Leah Reynolds on June 23, 2015 in great commission
Every June and July, thousands of Super Summer students proudly wear the same color, loudly chant group cheers and put on their game faces at competitive activities for five straight days, but leaders and students alike will agree the success of the camp goes far deeper than fun and games.
Super Summer is intense and intentionally deeper than regular youth camps, said Scott Patridge, youth minister at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland and dean for the Red School at the first Super Summer session this year, which took place at Dallas Baptist University from June 8-12.
"It's not a camp for everybody," he said. "But for those... [continue]
Learning to love more in Houston
by Guest Author on June 20, 2015 in great commission
Camp Bethany is in full swing. Last week, we were praying for kids and this week we had them! It is hard to believe that we have only known these kids for five days. Already they have stolen my heart. I guess that is what pouring into someone for nine hours a day does to you.
Although I feel like I know them very well, I am still fully aware each of these kids comes with a lot of "life stuff" that I do not know about. Sometimes we see this "stuff" come out in some ugly ways - like fighting during frisbee games, having attitudes about doing math problems, and making offensive comments about other kids. We've had quite a few... [continue]
Serving in Quebec to glorify His Name
by Guest Author on June 19, 2015 in great commission
Well, we've officially had our first group of kids come through the camp. On Thursday, we had kids ages 5 through 12 come from a Quebec school. They were able to go through nine activities, such as arts and crafts, boating, sports, etc. All the kids ages 7 and under spoke ONLY FRENCH! So I had to learn some French really quick in order to lead these kids through my activity, which was sponge volleyball. It was super stressful, but also very sweet to see these little children who were so precious and know that God loved them.
The real ministering happened later that night, when the little kids left and we had fourth through sixth... [continue]
Sharing the greatest story in Hawaii
by Guest Author on June 18, 2015 in great commission
After a semester of trying to get our schedules to match up, I was finally able to take John on an adventure to Rainbow Falls. John is a student whom I've been blessed to grow close to over the last semester. He was not raised in a Christian home. He did not grow up going to church, or reading the Bible. He is not a believer. But he is searching.
I finally had the opportunity to go out into the beauty of nature that is Hilo, one-on-one with John. As we sat on the top of a giant lava rock in the middle of the Wailuku River, we began to look at all that was around us.
I asked John, "Isn't this beautiful"?
He obviously agreed. We began... [continue]
A servant’s heart with a smile
by Guest Author on June 17, 2015 in great commission
This past weekend, we traveled to a local village for an English camp. The entire point of the weekend was to help the Thai people practice their English all while building relationships. I was fortunate enough to meet so many Thai girls and build awesome relationships with a few of them over the course of the weekend.
Susie decided to sit with me on the way home because we had a 4 hour bus ride and she wanted to practice her English!! She ended up asking me how long I had been a Christian and I knew that was God putting an opportunity right in front of my face, so I took full advantage of it. I was able to share the Gospel and... [continue]
Pain and sadness amidst beauty
by Guest Author on June 16, 2015 in great commission
We arrived in Portland on Monday, May 25. It didn't take long for me to realize we weren't in Texas anymore. This place was very different.
Oregon is filled with flowing hills and trees. There are so many trees, and not just trees, but tall trees, I mean TALL trees. It also didn't take long for me to fall in love with Portland. When we pulled out of that parking garage of the Portland Airport and started down the highway, that's when I fell in love.
All of the flowing hills, the trees, the green everywhere, the colorful houses built up on the hills, none of them looking quite the same. It was beautiful. That was the moment I... [continue]
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... [continue]
Learning to pray without ceasing
by Guest Author on June 13, 2015 in great commission
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I especially aim to cling to the part of this verse that says, "pray without ceasing." I have a deep desire to be a prayer warrior, a woman ready and willing to go to the Lord in prayer at any time, and I eagerly expect for the Spirit to help me in my weakness. When I "do not know what to pray for as [I] ought," I desperately hope the Spirit would lead me and even intercede for me "with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26). However, even in the midst of these desires, I... [continue]
Bestowing confidence and honor on a Haitian family
by Guest Author on June 12, 2015 in great commission
After trekking through a winding uphill climb, we have arrived at a beautiful new home in the mountains. Our team is here to take part of the tradition of dedicating each new home that is built. The family members are present, along with a pastor and translator. A member of our team steps forward to present a Bible with an inscription inside to the family and prays with them as they dedicate this house to the Lord. Since arriving at LifeLine Christian Mission, we have been part of a couple of house dedications, but this one stands out in my mind. The father of the 10-plus household steps forward to speak. What he says next stops me... [continue]
Highlighting BOUNCE Worship
by Kyle Crim on June 11, 2015 in great commission
Some of the highlights of this week of BOUNCE have been what happens off of the worksite. Every evening, BOUNCERS join together in worship. It has been a refreshing time of reflection for many of the students. It is a time when students can sing praises to God and learn about His Word.
Worship speaker, Ryan Jespersen, has been speaking about the life of the Apostle Peter. He has been highlighting the times that Peter failed, but, ultimately, experienced triumph through grace. He has encouraged students to "step out of the boat (Matthew 14:29)" and put their trust Jesus, whether it be for salvation or being missional and bold in... [continue]
An early morning prayer meeting in Haiti
by Guest Author on June 11, 2015 in great commission
The streets are dark. Angry and frightened dogs bark at us as we file down the humid, trash-filled streets. We walk in silence. The only sound we hear is sweet Matilde with her mega-phone, shouting in Creole for the neighborhood to wake up and join us. Our group of both Americans and Canadians keeps putting one foot in front of the other. We don't know how far we will walk, but we continue on in the 4 a.m. darkness.Every day, these men and women meet at 4:30 a.m. to pray. Gran Goave, the village Chandler and I are visiting, used to be one of the largest hubs of Voodoo in Haiti. Years ago, when Voodoo was still largely dominant... [continue]
BOUNCE is in full swing!
by Kyle Crim on June 10, 2015 in great commission
Today was the second day that BOUNCERS rehabilitated homes on their ministry worksites. Students are getting the hang of their various tasks and are genuinely excited and eager to continue working on their projects. Groups from all different churches are getting along well as they work together to share hope with the families they serve.
BOUNCE has been already covered by several media outlets this week, appearing on radio and in newspapers. Several students and leaders were willing to share some of their experiences so far from the week. Sutton Lowe, a second-time BOUNCER from First Baptist Church Lufkin, said that he enjoys BOUNCE... [continue]
God opening doors in Germany
by Guest Author on June 10, 2015 in great commission
Before my teammate Kasey and I even arrived in Germany, God was opening doors at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, where we would be spending our summer doing outreach. Our supervisor Nick Howard went one day to check out the campus and get an idea of what we could do when we got there. He went to the Amerikanistik (English) Department, spoke with a secretary, and explained who he was and that we would be coming in the summer. He thought it might be of interest to them to have native speakers with whom students could practice English. As he was doing this, a girl named Carolin overheard their conversation and asked Nick... [continue]
Serving in Wiesbaden, Germany
by Guest Author on June 8, 2015 in great commission
The First Week
I can tell I'm in Germany because the other day, the smell of sausage and sauerkraut actually came drifting through the window. The first week here in Wiesbaden has been crazy, exciting, different, tiring, surprising and fun. So far, we have been getting oriented with different things: the church, the people, the language, the transportation. While adjusting to jet lag, we have explored the city and met people. It has been great to learn about what will be our home for the next several weeks.The People
I am incredibly thankful for the people I get to work alongside this summer. My teammate is delightful and fun, our... [continue]
It's not about me. It's about Him.
by Guest Author on June 3, 2015 in great commission
Go Now Missions Orientation, a weekend of preparation for college-aged summer missionaries, took place from May 22-24 at Dallas Baptist University. I, Erin Turner, with four of my friends from the UT Arlington BSM, arrived before 2pm that Friday to check in and meet our tribes. We were all so excited to see what God would do that weekend!
My tribe (a group of missionaries that the Go Now staff put together based on trip/location) was made up of seven girls who would all be serving in the Houston area, or somewhere else in Texas. Our first activity was to make up a tribe name, motto and build a shield to represent that. To get... [continue]
Go Now students encouraged to start sharing now
by Kalie Lowrie on May 28, 2015 in great commission
DALLAS - Rather than waiting to share the Gospel until Go Now missionaries arrive on the mission field, Joe Osteen encouraged students to starting sharing as soon as they leave, even on the plane. Osteen, BSM director at the University of Texas at Tyler, encouraged more than 200 college-aged students to embrace their callings this summer as they spread out around the world for mission projects.
The Go Now Missions Commissioning service was held in the Pilgrim Chapel at Dallas Baptist University on Sunday, May 24, following a weekend of orientation and training for the student missionaries.
Saying goodbye to UTD
by Guest Author on May 18, 2015 in great commission
This week, I said goodbye to the BSM at UTD, as I served my last day as its Campus Missionary Intern. After a whirlwind year, it slowed to a stop with the last few weeks of finals and end-of-the-year activities. And there is much I'll be taking away from my experience.
Primarily, I am so grateful the Lord blessed the ministry of the BSM at UTD so immensely this year. This was my fifth year to be involved (first as a student and now as a staff member) with the BSM, and the spiritual growth of the group is incredible. Our student leadership team is now larger than the entire membership, or weekly free lunch attendance, when I first... [continue]
Hearts full in Haiti
by Guest Author on May 14, 2015 in great commission
On Tuesday and Thursday nights, we have our beginner ESL (English as a Second Language) course. It's four o' clock and our students start to pour inside. We have made provisions with an extra table in the spare room and extra chairs around our kitchen-turned-classroom.
We exchange familiar hellos with our students, always so jovial and friendly as they arrive. It's hard to believe that some of our students walk for two hours to come to our one-hour class. It amazes me that they are this devoted to learning English.
This is our last class for awhile as we will be hosting short-term teams from the States and will not be able to... [continue]
5 Keys to Kingdom Work
by Rolando Rodriguez on May 4, 2015 in great commission
Just as a key is used to open a door, these five keys can assist us in opening doors for Kingdom work.
- Win Souls"He who wins souls is wise" Proverbs 11:30The Apostle Paul states clearly the attitude of God concerning the lost, "(God) who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4. Jesus declared "you will be my witnesses" Acts 1:8. The New Testament is replete with words like preach, teach, persuade, declare, reason, explain,
The Gospel of grace for Millennials and Gen Z
by Kalie Lowrie on April 27, 2015 in great commission
Researchers are spending hours upon hours studying millennials (born 1981-2000) and Gen Z (born 2001-present) – what they like, dislike, their passions and motivators. These upcoming generations, which comprise our youth groups, are clearly different than our parents' or grandparents' generations. But, similar to all the generations that have gone before, they are in desperate need of a Savior.
The youth which fill our churches across Texas need to be well-equipped with the tools necessary to share the Gospel with their friends. Super Summer and YEC are great events specifically geared to help equip youth in telling others about... [continue]
Spurred on to serve
by Guest Author on April 13, 2015 in great commission
The second half of the spring semester in college is a whirlwind. Students don't get to ease back into class after spring break; instead, they hit the ground running. The two weeks after spring break have been full of tests, projects, papers, and assignments for the students at UTD. Schoolwork is in the prayer requests from every girl I meet with weekly.
But in the midst of the busy-ness of school, there is room to implement spiritual disciplines, and especially lessons learned during spring break. Many of us went to Beach Reach on South Padre Island this year, and it definitely had an impact on everyone involved. At UTD, we have a... [continue]
The hope I have to share
by Guest Author on April 9, 2015 in great commission
Through working in Hilo, HI, a melting pot of cultures, God has opened my eyes to the world. I've served overseas in several different areas of the world: Central America, South America, East Asia and in various locations across the U.S. However, at least outside of the U.S., I had been ministering to primarily one main people group.
Here, I have been blessed with the opportunity to minister to students from all over the globe. Some from countries I had never even heard of until I came here.
As I talk with these students and listen to their stories, my eyes are opened to the world around me. The wars, freedom, the struggles, the... [continue]
Walked away with hope
by Guest Author on March 27, 2015 in great commission
A team from Texas Medical Center in Houston served alongside River Ministry Coordinator Vanessa Quintinilla in Mission and Port Isabella, Texas for spring break. They conducted medical clinics and participated in community outreach. The medical team was able to combine meeting both physical and spiritual needs throughout the week.
We were able to meet one lady who'd been in a car wreck three years ago and had been bleeding since then. Her friends and family suggested it might be menopause, but the doctors quickly rejected that. As a result of the bleeding, her husband had left her, which also led to her being depressed. She had no... [continue]
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... [continue]
His love is overflowing
by Guest Author on March 26, 2015 in great commission
Around 5 p.m. is my absolute favorite time of the day. We have just finished teaching our ESL young adults class and I head outside to play with the kids who are crowding around the porch waiting for class to be over.
I catch my breath as I gaze out upon the beauty of the mountains that surround me. The air is cool, which in Haiti is a big deal. Haitian kiddos are littered across the landscape playing football, singing songs and tossing frisbees.
I pick up a frisbee and start in on the action. My Creole only takes me so far. I know names and faces and can ask how they are doing ("Como ou ye?"), but beyond that my communication... [continue]
Planting seeds at Beach Reach
by Guest Author on March 24, 2015 in great commission
I am a recent sister in Christ. I was baptized on February 15, 2015, and God called me to South Padre Island for Spring Break. I struggle with anxiety and the fear of the unknown, but God kept telling me I was needed for Beach Reach. So I faithfully followed God's call with my new BSM family to give free van rides and serve pancakes to those on spring break.
At the beginning of the week, I struggled with my ability to effectively serve God. However, my team members did not let me give up. They encouraged me and loved me when I did not love myself. I got to see God work through not only my team, but the other Beach Reachers on the... [continue]
Champs Camp reaches community and empowers students
by Kalie Lowrie on March 20, 2015 in great commission
HARLINGEN - While spring break is time for teachers and students to take a vacation from classes, many parents working full-time jobs do not have resources available to find childcare for their children while they continue to work. First Baptist Church of Harlingen saw this need in their community 18 years ago and began a Spring Break sports week called Champs Camp.
This year, 215 children from first to fifth grade came to the church from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 16-20 for a week filled with fun, games, crafts, meals and a time to hear the Gospel. The campers were also able to participate in 12 different sports ranging from basketball... [continue]
Beach Reach: God would have to grant me faith
by Guest Author on March 17, 2015 in great commission
I will try to do the story about our new brother in Christ justice....
On the first night of Beach Reach, I met a guy named Chris while serving with the street team. During our conversation, the topic of faith came up and he began to debate with me about Christianity. Chris claimed to be a Lutheran, but it became very apparent that he had no real relationship with God simply because he really didn't believe in Him.
By the grace of God, I was able to answer all of his questions, but the conversation ended abruptly as the van pulled up to take him home. I honestly felt as if there was no way he would come to know the Lord any... [continue]
Encouraged by Compassion: Pastor Lee and The Dropbox
by Guest Author on March 10, 2015 in great commission
On March 5, I went to see The Dropbox with some friends from the Baptist Student Fellowship. The movie documents the ministry of Pastor Lee Jong-rak in Seoul, South Korea. Pastor Lee created a type of delivery box built into the wall of his house church in which abandoned children may be placed anonymously by their mothers. The baby box was built so that unwanted children would not have to be abandoned in random places or in unsafe environments, exposed to the elements and without proper food or care.
The movie began with a quote from James 1:27 which reads, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to... [continue]
Life in the small lane: Small Group life
by Keith Lowry on March 10, 2015 in great commission
I'm a Sunday School guy. I mean, a REAL Sunday School guy. For years, I went to bat for Sunday School over small groups. I used to believe small groups were going to be the death of Sunday School one day. I fought tooth and nail for churches to hang on to Sunday School. I preached the evils of small groups.
And then I led one. Oops.
Our church, Fielder Church in Arlington, has grown so much that there was just no way to continue to support everyone in an on-campus class. There was not enough space, not enough hours in the day on Sundays, not enough acres in our site…it just couldn't be done. So now, we're at a place where... [continue]
From pocket change to sacrificial giving
by Kinsey Cline on March 6, 2015 in great commission
Raising money for Go Now Missions is a part of BSM culture. Each year we set a goal, which helps to send students on trips across the world on various mission projects. Then, we do all sorts of fundraisers (sometimes involving some crazy activities) to reach those goals. We hold fundraisers at local restaurants. We do boys vs. girls or small group competitions (often with prizes; often involving food). We've done bake sales. And each Wednesday night we pass around a jar in which people can drop donations.
Once each semester, we have a Wednesday night worship gathering set aside to focus on missions. This Spring, we invited... [continue]
Promising God my 'Yes'
by Guest Author on March 3, 2015 in great commission
In early February, 182 Texas BSM students gathered at First Baptist Church in Midlothian for Go Now Missions' Discovery Weekend, where they prayed and sought out God's calling for how they would spend summer 2015. Chelsea Bradley, a BSM student from Tarleton State University, writes about her experience from the weekend and shares how God opened her heart to a task she did not think He would have in store for her:
I came to Discovery Weekend with a very specific trip on my heart. I remember telling my friends beforehand, "If I'm appointed to this trip, I'm definitely going. But if not, then I know God wants me to stay home this... [continue]
A Great (Weird) Title
by David Adams on March 3, 2015 in great commission
I recently led a discipleship conference for which my title was assigned. It was: "Connecting Naturally and Spiritually with Those You Care about Without Being Weird." Yes, it's probably the weirdest - and longest - conference title I'd ever been given, but it's also a great topic for 21st century discipleship.
Most of us have friends or family members with whom we'd love to have meaningful conversation about spiritual things. Our heart aches for the coworker who seems burdened by life's load, yet remains dispassionately detached from the very One who makes life worth living. Or we would give anything to convince our stubborn... [continue]
Igniting a fire in Hispanic Evangelism
by Leah Reynolds on February 27, 2015 in great commission
SAN ANTONIO—With no seating room to spare, congregants of the Hispanic Evangelism Conference packed tightly inside a corner room in the Life Church of San Antonio Feb. 21-22, lifting prayers for revival in their churches and cities.
"Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless and directionless," Joshua Del Risco, Texas Baptists' director of Hispanic Evangelism, told the Spanish-speaking crowd in the large group celebration service following the prayer time.
Even more congregants nearly packed the sanctuary as Life Church's band led the group in worship and Del Risco shared a message of evangelism from Mark 6:34, where Jesus perceived... [continue]
7 Essentials Before You Pack for a Mission Trip
by Aaron Summers on February 4, 2015 in great commission
God has called us to change the world. There have been many forays into changing our world through humanitarian efforts. While each have their positives, they only change the present without an eternal perspective. Feeding the hungry, cleansing the water of the thirsty and repairing the huts of the homeless are wonderful and heart-warming. But, if we don't take the Gospel, what change has really occurred?
A few years ago, while organizing an overseas trip I became aware of all the fine details of travel. Nehemiah went through the same ordeal as he prepared to travel out of country to go to Jerusalem. As we boarded each flight, we... [continue]
Abide in Him
by Kinsey Cline on January 29, 2015 in great commission
Over the last five years, one of my favorite BSM events has become our statewide winter prayer retreat, Abide. The retreat occurs toward the end of January, just a week or two after classes have begun for the Spring semester, and provides BSM students and staff from across the state the chance to gather together outside of Austin for two days with the sole intention of seeking after God in prayer.
Students from BSMs all over the state gathered a few weeks ago in Waco to form this year's State Lead Team and plan out this January's Abide encounters. These encounters are essentially prayer rooms, each focused on some particular... [continue]
by Ryan Jespersen on January 28, 2015 in great commission
Now that is a big word for some of us. When you and I think of the word endowment we think of people who are long gone, who left at least a million dollars and now that money is being used and is growing. But you think there would be absolutely no way you or I could do something like that.
But, think again….
You have the ability to start an endowment with virtually any amount. Let's take an amount you and I might imagine we would have some day to give away. While $10,000 sounds like a lot, with the right savings plan all of us could save this much. What can $10,000 do to bring people to Jesus over the course of 20... [continue]
No room to boast
by Jude Davis on January 28, 2015 in great commission
It was a Thursday night. I had already cleaned the floors and the bathrooms, set up the chairs for the night, and pulled together a slideshow with all the lyrics for the night on it. It was our first Worship service of the semester.
The stressful part of the day was over and I was ready to just sit back and sing praises to Him like every Thursday before. However, God had a different plan. He had a night planned that was nothing like, yet far better, than any service we had had before.
That night, God worked on me. In fact, I spent most of those two hours in tears. God began convicting me as I stood there singing. Reading the words as... [continue]
From the frontlines: Syrian refugees, harsh Lebanon winters and sharing the Gospel
by Leah Reynolds on January 28, 2015 in great commission
Jihad Haddad is pastor of True Vine Baptist Church in Zahle, Lebanon, where winterization materials and the Gospel are being delivered to Syrian refugees who fled from the Syrian conflict that began in 2011. Haddad answered the following questions about how True Vine is ministering to the refugees.
How is True Vine Baptist Church helping refugees?
True Vine Church in Zahle provides the Syrian Refugees in the Bekaa Valley with mattresses, blankets, stoves and fuel. The refugees are living in tents, garages, rooms and some houses. We support them with some of their needs. We have a warehouse for them to come and take their... [continue]
Questions and faith
by Kalie Lowrie on January 21, 2015 in great commission
Do you have questions and anxiety rise up when you think about sharing the Gospel? Will I know all the answers to their questions? What if they ask me something I can't explain? What if I stumble upon my words?
Think about it from an unbeliever's perspective. What questions might stand in the way from receiving the Gospel? Can you show positive proof Jesus was who he said he was? How do you know who really wrote the Bible? How do you know everything in the Bible is true? Do heaven and hell really exist?
There are many questions building obstacles between sharing and hearing the Gospel. But, 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to always... [continue]
What you can't see pastor
by Ryan Jespersen on December 18, 2014 in
It's Monday morning. Yesterday was a long hard day. In some ways it was a good day, a little boy from the neighborhood came to church for the first time and gave his life to Christ. However, a teenager spent the entire service talking behind Mrs. Smith and of course this bothered and she let you know about it.
In the last few years, your church has made the commitment to get on mission in your community, yet it seems some days this decision is one you would like to reconsider because well, it just gets tough sometimes. You are reaching new people, but the work is hard and sometimes you cannot see the results. Take a minute and... [continue]
God's plan since the day we arrived
by Guest Author on October 15, 2014 in great commission
I have now reached my halfway point of my time in South Asia. Since the day we arrived in our city, Father placed learning the language on both my teammate's and my hearts. We didn't understand this because there is no way we could have learned the language being a short term "trip." We followed His instructions and found ourselves learning the national language two times a week for two hours each day. We met our national partner Kate* and fell in love with the way she desires to help people with language and her sweet spirit is absolutely contagious.
After about a month of language our supervisor sent us to another city for a... [continue]
by Guest Author on September 24, 2014 in great commission
We flew in to this beautiful city and were immediately overwhelmed with the aroma of His spirit amongst many other new aromas. The first feeling of 110-degree weather with 80% humidity and the beautiful faces making their homes on the sidewalks tells me that I am not in Texas anymore and gives me a great love for South Asia. I cannot doubt His purpose for these people and I hold strong to His mercy and grace. I am already in love.
Orientation was full of new ways of travel, teaching, learning, and loving the world He made. I was taught how to share His story in many different ways and truly love these people. Something that has... [continue]
by WTAMU BSM on September 18, 2014 in great commission
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." 1 Cor 3:7
This picture was taken just a few days ago a little bit north of Taichung in the home of Seth*. Seth (standing) came to West Texas A&M several years ago to study and while there joined the Baptist Student Ministry.
There, he became a Christian. We met through some of our common friends while I was working at Trinity Baptist in Amarillo. Seth began praying that his parents would come to know Jesus. Upon returning to Taiwan, Buddy Young, the BSM director at WT, came to visit Seth and his family in conjunction with one of... [continue]
Let Our Lives Burn for You
by Guest Author on October 23, 2013 in great commission
This past Sunday, after church, the pastor brought a small grill he wanted to use. He had never grilled in his life, and I had never started a fire in my life. This was a new experience for all of us. Using coal, wood, and cardboard, we tried to start the fire. The material would burn fast, but the coal would not light. It was embarrassing how long we took to finally get the coal burning. Once we got it burning, it continued to burn. This got me thinking about the church members.
I see members come to every service, but it is always the same people. I see no growth or true communion between the members, and no one wanting to step up... [continue]
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... [continue]
We Did Not Meet by Chance
by Guest Author on October 3, 2013 in great commission
When I was young, I struggled with being social and outgoing. I sit and wait around until someone would come and play with me. As I grew older, that started changing. As I got more involved in church activities, Christ starting removing timidity and all shyness from my life.
From the moment I opened my life to Christ, the transformation in my life began. Just the other day I, as I prayed before starting my devotional I was giving thanks to God for surrounding me with such amazing people. I have made close friends, and the pastor's family has taken me in as their daughter. Everything is in place, and God has placed me exactly where I... [continue]
'Go Now' to the ends of the Earth
by Kalie Lowrie on October 1, 2013 in great commission
Standing on a street corner looking towards the Financial District in New York City, Leilani Estrada could hear five languages being spoken at the same time.
"God really has brought all the nations together in NYC," she said. "It is just amazing to see so many nations brought together on a little island called Manhattan."
Leilani served as a Hispanic church planter in Queens, New York, for the summer through Go Now Missions, the student missions program for Texas Baptists. She and her partner, Erika Perez, both students from the University of Texas-Pan AM, were able to use their Spanish skills to reach the population in the New York... [continue]
Christ shared around pizza boxes and guitar cases
by Guest Author on September 11, 2013 in great commission
There are two kinds of people in our town: people who like the smell of church and people who don't. That is not to say that they are not open to Jesus, but their perception is that the church comes with pews and weird music. So our church's leadership has been exploring non-traditional types of Christian education by building faith community into other activities that don't smell like church.
Our inaugural effort was to come up with a way to creatively have a study using the Alpha Course (www.alphaUSA.com). The Alpha Course is designed to approach questions of faith in Christ in a non-threatening and non-religious manner. It uses... [continue]
Church baptizes 85 in Guadalupe River
by John Hall on September 3, 2013 in great commission
BOERNE - The waters of the Guadalupe River stirred Aug. 17, gathering hundreds. Only this time, floating the river was the last thing on visitor's minds.
Nineteen:ten Church in Boerne baptized 85 people that day as roughly 350 witnesses lined the shore as part of the congregation's annual end of summer celebration.
Children, teens and adults entered the water for the ordinance. Fathers baptized sons. Husbands baptized wives. Bible study leaders got to see people they're discipling take a public step of faith. The event provided an opportunity for those who made the decisions during the church's various camps and outreach effort to... [continue]
He redeems my wayward thoughts
by Guest Author on August 29, 2013 in great commission
It's my first morning in this apartment. I am aware of the presence of the Spirit and I let my thoughts wander. I feel a wave of thankfulness rush over me. I have such a homey space to live in for the next year. It's old and dated, definitely doesn't smell new, it has an interesting paint job from the previous BSM intern, mismatched furniture, stained carpet, and the ceiling looks like it's falling down in the bedroom.
But my mind's on something else. I'm imagining the fellowship that will happen in this space. I think of those who'll meet here weekly and do life together, our time in worship, the revelations that'll occur through... [continue]
Mobberly Baptist declares 'I am not ashamed!'
by John Hall on August 28, 2013 in great commission
LONGVIEW - In a pair of jeans and a black and green t-shirt, Pastor Glynn Stone asked people participating in Mobberly Baptist Church's worship services to proclaim one simple yet powerful message through action: I am not ashamed.
They did it in droves.
Eighty people were baptized Aug. 18 after the pastor explained the significance of the ordinance and provided biblical examples of getting baptized as a public display of a decision to follow Christ.
"Baptism is a sermon of you committing your life to Jesus Christ," he said. "Today, we get to celebrate that."
The church attempted to remove all barriers that may make people postpone... [continue]
Down to get a free snow cone
by Guest Author on August 28, 2013 in great commission
At Texas A&M University-Kingsville, our BSM has been blessed with close relationships between our staff and the University's personnel responsible for all freshman orientations, welcome week and student affairs. Because of this friendship, we have been given the opportunity to serve the incoming freshman week after week while they are in town for two days going through orientation.
Each night that we are at freshman orientation, we have the privilege of serving snow cones, ice cream or coke floats to 100-200 students, and we are the only student organization to do so.
With this, we are able to connect with many students and establish... [continue]
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... [continue]
How do our churches minister to schools?
by Guest Author on August 26, 2013 in great commission
1) How did your church first get started working with your local schools?
We have been working with the local schools for over 10 years. - Tom G. Revilla
It started with our geographic location right across the street. After unsuccessful attempts to interact we prayed for openings to collaborate. When a new principal came on we began to partner together to do an event. We gathered a group of members that are teachers by profession and brainstormed ideas of how we can interact and support the schools in our neighborhood. - Adam Griffin
2) Were there any obstacles to overcome when you first started? If so, what were they?
The obstacle we... [continue]
Practical ways your church can share Christ's love in schools
by Guest Author on August 21, 2013 in great commission
Mounds of glue sticks, construction paper, pencils, and backpacks line store shelves, signaling the fast approaching start of a new school year. For churches, these first signs point to much more than the end of the busy summer event schedule and the start of high attendance season for Sunday School. The start of the new school year marks the start of a unique and much needed opportunity to share Christ's love with our local schools.
Popular belief might lead you to believe that school doors are padlocked and chained against anyone associated with a church. This is certainly not the case. Schools today are facing many issues and... [continue]
Truett Elementary: God still cares
by John Hall on August 20, 2013 in great commission
More than 96 percent of the students at George W. Truett Elementary School in Dallas are economically disadvantaged. Many of them come from refugee families who come to the area with very little. As a result, nearly 70 percent of them are considered "at-risk."
In many ways, the more than 1,000 students - above what other public elementary schools serve - who attend school there have been ignored. Until recently, the school buildings had become dilapidated. Portables meant to help the situation also became run down.
The start of the school year opens an opportunity for Texas Baptists to show these students that they have not been... [continue]
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... [continue]
Uniforms: They're elementary
by John Hall on August 13, 2013 in great commission
DALLAS - Join Texas Baptists, Dallas Baptist Association and First Baptist Church in Dallas as they partner to provide uniforms and Bibles for every student of George W. Truett Elementary School.
The three partners are working together to raise $15,000 to provide a uniform and Bible for each of the more than 1,000 students enrolled at the school, which is named after a legendary Baptist statesman and former pastor of First Baptist Church.
The uniforms would be a significant to help to area families, said Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage. More than 96 percent of Truett Elementary students are economically disadvantaged... [continue]
Hard knock life
by Guest Author on August 13, 2013 in great commission
The only men inside the orfanitorio are the security guards. 80-or-so children play within the fenced courtyard; they are shielded from outside dangers and void of inside comforts. The orphanage is an institution rather than a home. A 'mother' cooks for the children, but no mommy dotes on them. A man guards the door, but no father walks through it. These children were removed from fractured homes, but not given a replacement.
In the midst of such circumstances, the children wonder as to their worth and struggle to define their dignity.
One gordita girl revels in our attention. Sitting in my lap is a particular thrill. While... [continue]
Three keys to sharing the gospel with your children
by Guest Author on August 8, 2013 in great commission
Parents prioritize laying a solid foundation for their children early on that will undergird the rest of their lives. Parents know that early awareness, habit formation and discipline of sport and music helps their children develop. To that end, parents invest their time, energy and resources to give their children the best possible start.
Parents must have that same kind of passion for laying a proper spiritual foundation, including sharing the gospel with their children. In many ways, the same principles for coaching youth sports teams apply to sharing the gospel with children.
Be a coach. Coaches are always there for their teams,... [continue]
Tell me the stories of Jesus
by Guest Author on August 8, 2013 in great commission
On Friday, we taught Religion class and I was designated "narrator" of the story of David and Goliath while Ashley "played" David and Taylor, Goliath. (Note: I learned after getting some funny faces it is pronounced Go-lee-ath in Kenya!) It really is rather convenient when telling the story of the little shepherd boy David and the giant Goliath to have team members who are a foot apart in height! We learned that "God is BIG" and "God is STRONG" (with VBS-like actions of course) and I wrote a simple song the night before that tells how we praise God by dancing, praying, waving, playing instruments, etc. We sang while the children... [continue]
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... [continue]
Home is where the heart is
by Guest Author on August 1, 2013 in great commission
We've heard this phrase time after time. Everyone knows it. We think of home and certain things come to mind. It's different for everyone, but for me it's things like family, love, comfort, and familiarity.
But what about the people who don't have a home? What about the kids who have never known family, or even love? Not only are they "houseless", meaning they don't have the four walls or comfy bed, but they are truly without family or community. What about the orphans?
"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Overcoming fear
by Guest Author on July 31, 2013 in great commission
Honestly, there were many things coming into South Asia that made me extremely fearful. I was nervous about the darkness, depravity and strongholds. I was terrified about my extensive traveling schedule.
But, I think majority of the fear that consumed me was feelings of inadequacy for my role in South Asia this summer. This summer, I have been doing media over the summer missionaries here in South Asia. My role was to create mobilization and awareness materials from summer students. I desired to utilize my talents in cinematography to capture God's work on film so others can join in the work that the Father is already doing here in... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Seeing past the labels
by Guest Author on July 30, 2013 in great commission
Special needs boy, disabled boy, different boy...so many labels are attached to him by society confusing what he has with who he is. When I look at him I see him and his name is who he is. The limitations he has do not define who he is.
Of all the ministries I knew I would be apart of in Missions Centers of Houston, I would have never guessed that God would use me to minister to special needs individuals in a community where they are being ignored.
These past few weeks one of the focuses of our prayers has been God showing us how to minister to the special needs individuals in our community. God has definitely been hearing our pleads... [continue]
Go Now Missions: What am I doing with my life?
by Guest Author on July 25, 2013 in great commission
This is a question that I often use in jest, but that I also often ask myself and ask God. And from each I often get no answer; why should I worry myself with the future, when the present has enough problems of its own that request my attention?
But at the same time, whenever I ask this question, I always get the same response about the present: I am letting God use my life for His purposes.
I felt the call to go to Russia for about a year before I was connected by crazy circumstance to a team going from Texas A&M. It has been almost two years since I first felt that call, and now I am here, in Russia, letting God use my life for His... [continue]
Texas Baptist Camps: Made to glorify Him
by Guest Author on July 23, 2013 in great commission
After leaving my work at Camp Chaparral last summer, I knew I wanted to return to work there again. I loved the atmosphere and the fulfillment of serving God there.
This year as a returning staffer I was so excited to start work and my expectations were set high. I was nervous at first because I learned that most of my friends that I worked with last year weren't returning but God has definitely exceeded my expectations this year. So far I've gotten to celebrate with two kids that gave their hearts to Christ. One of them is the child of a good friend!I've made several new life long friends in my coworkers.
Working here has also... [continue]
Hospitality House comforts during loss
by Rand Jenkins on July 22, 2013 in great commission
People face decisions every day. Some have little affect. Others impact every aspect of life, friends and family.
Almost 20 years ago, he pled guilty to a crime that the state of Texas deems worthy of the death penalty. And it's set for 6:00 tonight.
In the meantime, some siblings and relatives sit around a game table playing Monopoly next to a large fish tank. Just before lunch, other family members come out of their rooms. One is wearing a t-shirt with the printed image of another relative who died recently due to illness. She looks as if she's ready for all of this to be over but hopeful nonetheless for a stay of execution. She... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Planting the seed
by Guest Author on July 22, 2013 in great commission
All morning we spent setting up for our community wide block party with help from the three hundred strong Prestonwood youth choir. The morning turned to noon and things became frustrating as the large bounce house inflatable failed to blow up. As I walked away feeling frustrated, God reminded me why we were setting up bounce houses and giving away five hundred hot dogs in the first place - to engage the community of Richmond, BC with the truth and life of Jesus Christ.
I redirected my heart and steps and introduced myself to a Chinese family enjoying hotdogs in the shade. They were inviting and had questioned why so many students... [continue]
Family Gathering volunteers help bring new look to San Antonio church
by Guest Author on July 18, 2013 in great commission
SAN ANTONIO - Volunteers ripped out paneling and combined their handiwork skills to assist a church during the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.
The 91-year-old Harlandale Baptist Church building has been in need of an updated interior and exterior for some time, said Dan Trevino, who has been the church's pastor for 10 years.
Texas Baptists teamed up with San Antonio Baptist Association to provide a group of volunteers who signed up for the mission opportunity in the exhibit hall of the Family Gathering.
The volunteers prepped the worship area for a new paint job, which Trevino said will bring openness to the room. He hopes the remodel... [continue]
Unified, Texas Baptists seek to carry out Great Commission
SAN ANTONIO - Fulfilling the Great Commission requires Texas Baptists to work united for the cause of Christ, according to presenters in the final worship service of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.
The Great Commission is Christ's command to His followers, said Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield. They are to be doctors for the sick, people who bring the ill to a place of healing.
"I believe that's our mandate," he said, preaching from Romans 12:3-4. "I believe that's our call. I believe we must be passionate about bringing men and women into the kingdom of the most high God."
There are people in every... [continue]
The sweatiest job I ever loved
by Guest Author on July 16, 2013 in great commission
From standing over the steam table to serve chicken-fried-whatever with gravy to running around with day campers to life-guarding to cleaning the entire camp in a few hours for the next group that was coming, they are some of the hottest, hardest but most treasured memories that I have.
But more than the heat, I remember who I served with and how God used these people and their examples in their faith, their work, their growth and their love to mold parts of me and who I am today.
We were a team of college students and high school volunteers that spent hours doing hard, dirty and hot work. Our sun up to way past sun down routine... [continue]
Go Now Missions: The nations in New York
by Guest Author on July 15, 2013 in great commission
"From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and find him through he is not far from any one of us." Act 17:26-27
This bible verse is the driving force of the kind of perspective that I have as I take a look of New York, because the nations are here. I have interacted with people from India, Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, and Dominican Republic on a daily basis. This has become my norm. It's amazing to see how a state within the U.S. serves as a home to the nations!
By Erika... [continue]
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... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Breaking the chains of darkness
by Guest Author on July 10, 2013 in great commission
Earlier this month, I was sobbing because I was so overwhelmed by the deep chains of darkness here in South Asia. I struggled because I wanted desperately for these people to come to know and embrace our sweet savior Jesus Christ. I wondered why the Holy Spirit was not working faster.
Later that day, my partner and I grabbed coffee with a girl we had met on the metro. We shared the gospel and our stories and I was amazed to see how Jesus stirred her heart in mighty ways.
When we met with her just two days later, she said she was overwhelmed by our message and it had completely changed her heart. She keep saying, "I am a completely... [continue]
The same roots
by Guest Author on July 10, 2013 in great commission
Sitting on couches overlaid with colorful quilts, university students from Dallas Baptist University and the University of Sao Paulo each sang to the tune of "Amazing Grace" in their own language. I was one of the individuals in the room who identified with the Brazilian students, being from Spanish descent; however, I differed in the language in which I sang. To hear voices raised singing in English, Spanish and Portuguese was a beautiful picture of God's glory in both the unity and diversity in the Kingdom of God. The same beauty is reflected in Texas Baptist congregations across our state.
When I entered college, I began... [continue]
Continue on with the challenge
by Guest Author on July 8, 2013 in great commission
At the age of 21 sitting in a room filled with about 6,000 Hispanic youth and young adults at Congreso, my heart pumped quickly, my lungs needed to inhale deeply and a non-stop stream of tears came down my face. It didn't take long before realizing the altar call was for me! Right then and there, it could not be clearer; I needed to answer the call as a bilingual Hispanic pastor in Texas and to respond with being on mission for God along with encouraging others to do the same.
You either are living on mission or you are not. Please keep in mind there is no in-between. If we are to change the future of this world, let alone this... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Trust and Obey
by Guest Author on July 8, 2013 in great commission
When we arrived in North Africa, we were told by our host missionaries that the next day we would be going to an area on the outskirts of town to spend the night.They told us that they had never taken a team here and they really were not sure why we were going. All they knew is that as they prayed about the schedule for our team, the Lord had said to go here. They told us that this area had lots of worship of Satan and that Wednesday was a day to "celebrate" Satan with alters, sacrifices and worship. Trusting and obeying, we all loaded up on Sunday and headed out! Our only plan was to have some good team time in preparation for the... [continue]
Go Now Missions: The Power of Puzzles
by Guest Author on July 3, 2013 in great commission
Fridays are busy nights at the Hospitality House. I stepped out of the main room to video chat with one of my best friends who is also on a summer mission trip. Just as I finished talking to her, my partner Myriam charged into our room. "I love puzzles!" she exclaimed. She began to tell me about the conversation she had just shared with a young boy staying at the House tonight.
Months before this trip, I found Bible story puzzles at the dollar store and picked them up to bring to Huntsville. Tonight, Myriam and four or five boys stretched out on the floor to work on the puzzles. As they worked, she asked one of them what he knew... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Purpose
by Guest Author on June 29, 2013 in great commission
I have had several of my close friends email me saying things like "I hope you're having a great time" or "I am so glad you're happy."
I am not here to have a great time.
Living here is not easy. I don't like being unable to understand anyone. Foreigners are not treated like celebrities here. I accidentally bought pig's neck lunch meat at the grocery store. I miss my family. I miss my Christian community. I miss everything I've ever known.
But I am not here to have a good time or because it makes me happy*. I am here in Russia for the same reason that I am here on Earth.
I am here because God created the world and everything in it... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Christ be lifted high!
by Guest Author on June 27, 2013 in great commission
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15
I had been praying this verse over this past week as many obstacles advanced back to back on us. We faced a huge shortage in our food pantry, lack of volunteers, and health inspector coming to check our facility.
Christ has answered the many petitions so clearly showing that it was his handy work. Our food should not have lasted the whole week for pantry but the food was stretched and every... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Deep into the forest
by Guest Author on June 25, 2013 in great commission
During one of our many trips deep into the forest to bring back boards that one of the locals had cut from a tree, God began to convict me of my lack of understanding as well as lift me up and show me that he made me who I am for a reason!
Each morning, we would go over a Bible story so that we could share it with others through out the day. That morning, we had studied the "Parable of the Talents" in Matthew 25. Little did I realize that God had orchestrated that story for me personally that day. We studied that set of scripture on a morning when I was feeling rather homesick and thus, it was hard for me to really see what my... [continue]
Go Now Missions: A common scar bonds
by Guest Author on June 20, 2013 in great commission
Lindsay Lawson is a student at UNT and served in England through Go Now Missions. Listen to her as she shares her testimony below. You can read more stories from Go Now Missionaries at http://texasbaptists.org/category/share/.
Are you looking for a place to serve? You can find mission opportunities and others like the ones available through Go Now Missions on Be On Mission. You may also toggle between Open, Ongoing and Completed projects on the map by using the color pins above the search tool.
Be On Mission is an online global missions locator that allows users to Search, Submit, and Share about mission opportunities around... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Behind the barbed wire fence
by Guest Author on June 18, 2013 in great commission
As we walked on the first full day of training, the city skyline expanded before us with no random giant buildings or billboards blocking the view. It is such a sight to behold.
That image is what hundreds of men, women and children get to look at every day from behind a barbed wire fence. Downtown Houston, a city that promises days full of life, art and culture, separated from a community by a barbed wire fence.
It's not that the people behind the fence have a different viewpoint, though. The people here see that opportunities for a different life are out there, but they also see that there are barriers that prevent them from even... [continue]
Soccer and salvation
by Kaitlin Warrington on June 14, 2013 in great commission
When Rolando Rodriquez was a kid, he breathed soccer, and it changed his life. It's through a game of soccer that he met a missionary kid who shared about the love of Jesus with him. Through this, Rodriquez chose to follow Christ and the gospel flowed to his family as well.
Fast forward to three years ago. Rodriguez was pastoring Cockrell Hill Baptist Church in Dallas. Rodriquez became friends with the coach for the El Salvador national soccer team who was living in the area then. He shared about the hope of Christ with him and it changed his life. Soon after this, the coach approached Rodriquez and wanted to serve in the church... [continue]
On a Mission in Mission
by Guest Author on June 13, 2013 in great commission
By: Molly Livingstone
For many, the Saturday before Memorial Day means going to the lake, grilling burgers and relaxing with friends and family. However, for a group of students in Texas it meant driving to south Texas, checking blood pressure, and attempting to overcome language boundaries.
The group consisted of 11 people; including one doctor, and eight students from Texas Women's University, The University of Texas, The University of Texas Medical School and the Baylor College of Medicine.
"We are able to connect the churches with the community," director of the Baptist Student Ministry at Rice University and University of Texas... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Contentedness in Christ despite earthly pain
by Guest Author on June 11, 2013 in great commission
The people of Nueva Candalaria live on $6 per day and have received no aid prior to the arrival of Living Water. The constant hard work of the pastor and the obvious effects of poverty on the children made it easy for me to view the people purely as victims.
Continued interaction with the villagers showed me glimpses of pride, obsession with sex, and selfishness. Working next to them throughout the project helped me to see the people as they are, not helpless victims of a world pressing them down, but as real, flawed people in need a Savior.
It hurt me to see the conditions in Guatemala throughout the week. For the first time, I... [continue]
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... [continue]
Go Now Missions: Go until the whole world hears
by Ashli Young on June 4, 2013 in great commission
The months of summer bring the time and willing hearts for students to walk outside of their normal paths and be able to share the love of Christ across the world. Go Now Missions mobilizes students from Texas Baptist churches and campus Baptist Student Ministries to sending Texas university students to do just that with the theme Go Until the Whole World Hears.
The student missions program began in 1946 with four students sent to Hawaii to conduct a youth revival and Vacation Bible School. Since that beginning, over 7000 students have been sent around the world as student missionaries. Furthermore, students throughout Texas have... [continue]