What I saw and heard in my city
by Ryan Jespersen on July 27, 2016 in faith
Outside the city of Brownwood, lies a small Baptist encampment where I was spending a week as camp pastor of an RA/GA camp when the reports out of Louisiana and Minnesota came in. These were quite disturbing to me. I attempted, even from a distance, to minister in the midst of these reports by calling African American pastor friends who I knew were having to work through this in their churches and communities.
Then, Thursday night, the world I knew fell apart. Coming back from worship I began to hear the reports, out of my home city of Dallas, about the/p>... [continue]
Texas Baptists bring BSM to Guadalajara University
by Leah Reynolds on June 20, 2016 in news
Home to over 116,000 students, the University of Guadalajara lies in Guadalajara, the state capital of Jalisco, Mexico, which has a mere 1% Christian population.
For over 15 years, the university was without a Baptist ministry presence. In recent years, Texas Baptists, in partnership with the Baptist Convention in Guadalajara has helped develop a Baptist Student Ministry on the campus, in hopes of engaging college students with the Gospel.
College students are open to question and wonder, said Director of Texas Baptists River/p>/p>... [continue]
Being present and allowing God to work
by Kalie Lowrie on May 10, 2016 in faith
Living on mission, according to Josue Valerio, director of the Missions Team, is being present with the people around you and pointing them to a deeper relationship with Christ. As Jesus sent out 72 disciples in Luke 10, He gave them instructions to pray, travel light, seek a person of peace, practice receiving hospitality and to proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand. Following His directive, the disciples were to remain in a home and be present with those living there - to experience life with them and share Christ’s love.
Whether we are/p>/a>... [continue]
Even to the ends of the earth
by Leah Reynolds on May 10, 2016 in profiles
Macedonia-native Gazmend dreamed of owning a farm, one that would help his community. He shared his vision with his good friends, Jeff and Alicia Lee, Texas Baptist missionaries, who readily joined him in his endeavor.
The Lees communicated Gazmend's dream with partnering churches in the U.S. who graciously contributed. Within three months, Gazmend raised enough money to obtain his first cows. He felt so blessed by the gifts, he committed to donating the first calf from every cow to the Lees’ “cow bank” ministry, so they could continue supporting the/p>/a>... [continue]
How to pray first, often and strategically
by Ryan Jespersen on May 5, 2016 in great commandment
Recently, I posted about prayer on a social media account, because I was writing up course lessons for urban pastors. A wise friend commented and asked me the question, “How do you define praying strategically?”
I wanted to briefly answer that question in a blog post. (Be on the lookout in September for a more extended course on how a church can pray strategically for its community and world.)
A Short Walk to Another World: Reflections on ministry on the border
by Guest Author on April 14, 2016 in great commandment
On a beautiful clear Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to join Josue Valerio, director of the Missions Team, and my daughter Kalie Lowrie, publications manager for Texas Baptists, on an outing to help train a handful of pastors in the Juarez Valley. Our day began with a short walk over an International Bridge from El Paso into Juarez. In less than 30 minutes, God transported us by foot into another world—a world of opportunity.
A local pastor named Jose Angel Hernandez, also a Texas Baptists River Ministry/p>... [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... [continue]
Five ways to have a strong Christmas Eve outreach
by Ryan Jespersen on December 8, 2015 in great commandment
Christmas seems to come sooner and sooner each year. Most retailers are displaying and selling Christmas merchandise in the middle of October, some before the end of September. Radio stations begin playing Christmas music in the middle of November. My daughters begin talking about Christmas in March. Facebook memes will typically come out on December 26 touting 364 days until Christmas. While some people get quite annoyed at the early nature of Christmas, others welcome it. Regardless of how you feel about it, as church leaders we can... [continue]
What to give when friends and family have all they need
by Leah Reynolds on November 18, 2015 in great commandment
The season of gratitude and giving is just around the corner, and the stressful question is likely beginning to linger, "What do I give my friends who family who have everything they need?"
This holiday season, Texas Baptists is offering 34 opportunities in its first-ever Missions Gift Catalog to give unique gifts to people in Texas and around the world who do not have everything they need, especially the one thing they need most—hope of eternal life.
"Why would you want to give to someone that already has a lot when you could give/p>/a>/p>... [continue]
Donating in times of disaster: what to and what not to donate
by Marla Bearden on October 8, 2015 in great commandment
Hearts are moved when disaster has strikes a community. Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and other types of disasters can suddenly change the lifestyle of a family, community or country. Churches and civic organizations desire to get involved. Below are the top five donations most often needed following any disaster:
- Financial donations are the best kind of donation to make, which is explained further below. Funds (cash donations to Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery) can be given online here.
- Gift cards to /li>/a>
Vision-casting for missions during budget time
by Ryan Jespersen on October 7, 2015 in great commandment
In my work, I hear churches talk about wanting to get back on mission in the community. However, until a church puts actual dollars towards this goal, it is very unlikely it is ever going to happen.
As the groups who put the budget together sit down each year look at what the spending will be for the next year, the budget needs to include funding for any outreach that will take place.
When you budget two things are important, specifics and flexibility.
Spend some time praying, asking the Lord to give you a vision for the next year and gather/p>/p>/p>... [continue]
How to put the Kingdom of God first in your ministry
by Ryan Jespersen on August 12, 2015 in great commandment
If we are to be honest, we have to admit one of the key concerns for us as church leaders is how many people participate in the "main" worship service on Sunday morning. It is a challenge to work hard and not always the see the results of our efforts. The key to understanding this, however, is to realize that the results are for the Kingdom. The men and women who find Christ in one of our church ministries are those we will see in heaven, which is our ultimate goal as ministers of the Gospel.
Many churches have ministries for children/p>... [continue]
Disaster Recovery trip combines missions with summer fun
by Leah Reynolds on August 4, 2015 in news
GALVESTON–Last week, volunteers teamed up with Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) to take part in a unique missions experience—one that allowed opportunities for mornings of servant-hearted labor and afternoons of summer entertainment.
Forty volunteers from five Texas Baptists churches spent the weekday mornings painting homes, building fences, cleaning yards and making repairs for homeowners who are still reaping the effects of Hurricane Ike, which devastated much of the Island in 2008.
In the afternoons, the/p>/p>/p>/a>... [continue]
Youth help rehabilitate homes in South Dallas through BOUNCE
by Kalie Lowrie on June 16, 2015 in great commandment
Armed with hammers, power tools, paint and enthusiasm, 100 junior high and high school students flooded into South Dallas June 8-13 to help repair homes through Urban BOUNCE. The Texas Baptists Student Disaster Recovery program, which began in 2014, started a new track this year with an emphasis on urban areas in need of rehabilitation.
The students formed nine teams and worked on seven homes, identified and secured through a partnership with by People Helping People through the City of Dallas.
The voice of the church
by Ryan Jespersen and Josue Valerio on March 31, 2015 in great commandment
In the 1950s, both pastors and churches had a sort of automatic "voice" in the community. People listened to pastors simply because of who they were. Being a church and a minister gave one a certain level of "prominence" in whatever community they were in. More and more we live in a culture where this is no longer the case.
In many ways, we live in a "post-Christian" culture; gone are the days when one can assume everyone was either a Christian or had a respect for Christians. In Jeremiah 29, the children of Israel find themselves in a similar situation. While in/a>/p>... [continue]
Benevolence and the local church
by Ryan Jespersen on March 11, 2015 in great commandment
I remember sitting in the pastor's study at Grace Temple. A former member left the church a very large sum of money and I was looking over the documents when the bell rang. Sitting across from me, was a man who claimed to need $20 for a prescription.
I remember thinking, "How in the world could this church, who had just been given money, turn away this man who has this need?"
We gave him the funds he requested for the prescription. Sometime later, he came back to my office, and openly admitted to me that he had not used the funds/p>/p>... [continue]
Local Chinese restaurant opens doors for ministry in Big Spring
by Leah Reynolds on February 6, 2015 in great commandment
BIG SPRING—Community evangelism comes in all shapes and forms, but oftentimes begins with a simple conversation. For First Baptist Church in Big Spring, one small seed planted in a local Chinese restaurant has grown to form a much-needed ministry in the community.
When Sherry Lindsey moved to Big Spring six years ago, she felt compelled to visit the local Chinese restaurant and meet the waiters. After that initial conversation, the restaurant quickly became a hub for church members to connect with local Chinese and/p>... [continue]
The Long Haul
by Ryan Jespersen on January 7, 2015 in you are the missionary
I want to tell you a story about my friend Larry Venable. Larry has been pastor of Freeman Heights Baptist Church for 31 years. 31 years in the same church, coming to same office, ministering in the same community. This community, Central and West Garland has changed significantly through the years; it has become much more ethnically and socially diverse.
In fact, when Larry first arrived in 1983 this was already beginning to happen. Most guys in situations like his might just bide their time until they are able to find a new place of ministry – an easier spot to do the/p>... [continue]
Training Mexican church leaders in communal evangelism
by Leah Reynolds on November 3, 2014 in
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Eight Texas Baptist organic church leaders journeyed to Mexico City, Mexico the first week of October to train local church leaders on how to share the Gospel in their communities using personal evangelism and the 4byfour method. Throughout the week, they experienced God's provision and power. Forty individuals on the streets accepted Christ as Lord, and 19 young people surrendered to the call to ministry. Read these personal testimonies from a few of the missionaries:
Sharing Christ in the community
Understanding the city and the culture
by Josue Valerio on October 1, 2014 in missions mobilization
Cities are known for their cultures and for their role of influence in societies. Also, there are other forces, which are constantly shaping the city and its cultures. But today, it is crucial for us to understand the city, the communities within the city and their cultures in order to collaborate in ministry and serve the different groups who live, work and visit the city.
I believe the basic elements of culture are languages, artifacts, practices, values, institutions and stories.
We all contribute towards the creation of culture, and culture/p>/p>... [continue]
Hand-painted prayer reminders
by Kalie Lowrie on September 19, 2014 in great commandment
ADAMSVILLE - Betty Rials was looking for a way to remind her church members at Adamsville Baptist Church to pray for state missions during the WMU of Texas Mary Hill Davis emphasis week. She looked out in her front yard and found the answer - bricks! Betty became a brick collector about 25 years ago, and knew the value of the bricks made in Ferris, Texas, between 1902 and 1903.
She gathered together 12 bricks and began painting the names of River Ministry Coordinators Mario Garcia, Dr. Gloria de la Pena, and Vanessa Quintanilla on them. After an especially/p>... [continue]
A fascinating day in the Quilombola village
by Guest Author on September 4, 2014 in news
On August 9, Linda Freeman (a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth) and Bertha Vaughn (a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Houston) joined seven other Texas Baptist church leaders through the African American Ministry. Each followed the call to serve eight days in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. Here the team did door-to-door evangelism and held Bible studies for Quilombola villagers under a shade tree. Read Freeman's and Vaughn's testimony as they recall unforgettable experiences from the village visits.
BRAZIL -/p>/strong>/p>/em>/em>/em>/em>/em>/em>/em>/em>/em>... [continue]
A Church on Mission
by Ryan Jespersen on August 27, 2014 in you are the missionary
A new neighborhood, a new school, and a new place without the foundation of family and a familiar community—all of us know how hard that would be for a young person. Yet one little girl's mother, Tasha, was praying and asking God to bring a church into her daughter's life, a church where she could find Christ and be a disciple in that faith.
Enter the Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Garland, a Texas Baptist church whose youth group and church body had recently been renewed in its commitment to reach the surrounding neighborhood for Christ. The youth group at/p>... [continue]
Alaska: Making an impact
by Guest Author on August 18, 2014 in go now missions
Allison Dufour, a student at Stephen F. Austin State University, served in Alaska with Go Now Missions.
It has been just over a week since my return home from Alaska back. This last week has been a whirlwind emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
I have slowly begun to process the changes in my life since spending a summer in Alaska. I have often thought about how I could impact the people of Anchorage, but what I did not expect is how much of an impact they would make on me.
Since leaving Alaska, I have noticed how much the Lord changed me as a person./p>/p>/p>/em>/a>... [continue]
Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem
by Leah Reynolds on August 18, 2014 in news
VICTORIA - Through discovering a community need and a partnership with the local food bank, Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Victoria has begun a feeding program that is making an impact in both the city and the church.
"We believe that the church is not supposed to be an institution that caters to itself," said Montari Morrison, pastor of Greater Mount Calvary. "The church is always supposed to be a resource to the community. Our message is supposed to go outside of the walls and not only be a spiritual help but also a physical help."
Boldly sharing Christ in South Asia
by Guest Author on August 15, 2014 in go now missions
B.B., a student from Texas A&M University, served with Go Now Missions in South Asia this summer.
Well jet lag is a beast. It's currently 5 a.m. and I can't sleep because I've crossed about 11 time zones to get home, but in this quiet darkness when I find myself alone in my living room, what better thing is there to do than think about the wonderful things that my God has done this summer. So this update will be sort of different than my others, for instance it's probably going to be a lot longer because I need to tell you about the events of the past/p>/em>/a>... [continue]
The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary
by Guest Author on August 14, 2014 in missions mobilization
Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.
The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed's ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan/em>/p>/em>... [continue]
New York: Busy summer ends
by Guest Author on August 13, 2014 in go now missions
Sadly, our summer interns are leaving New York City. It was such a privilege to serve with these 15 young adults for two months. I learned so much from them. Helping coordinate this summer internship was a privilege and a blessing. It feels different now that our Metropolitan New York Baptist Association mission house is empty.
The past two months, our associational mission house was full - not only with our summer interns, but also with mission teams from all over the United States. They were here to serve at the different churches in New York City.
Diana Mao,/p>/p>... [continue]
Quebec: Afraid to believe
by Guest Author on August 12, 2014 in go now missions
Trying to communicate camp rules and activities to the French campers was challenging enough. Keeping the campers focused and interested during devotional time is a whole different ball game - especially when I'm trying to discuss a chapel message that was given in a language that I don't understand.
After starting the week off with uninterested campers begging to go play instead of talk about God, I couldn't help but be frustrated and growing impatient at my inability to reach my group of girls. I couldn't understand why my girls were so cold to Christ and why/p>... [continue]
Orlando: When the world comes to us
by Guest Author on August 11, 2014 in go now missions
Central Florida is fortunate to be blessed with more than 50 million souls to minister to throughout the year.
Orlando has broken its record of people passing through the city with 59 million people, representing different cultures, ethnicities, languages and races. It is beautiful to imagine the hearts that could be touched, seeds that could be planted and souls that could be saved.
What is even better is the thought that one changed soul can change a nation or area. As we spread the gospel to one person, that one person can spread it in their home, and/p>/p>... [continue]
Vancouver: A summer of sowing seeds ends
by Guest Author on August 8, 2014 in go now missions
Here in Vancouver, we've been hanging out with some university students every Thursday this summer to play Ultimate Frisbee. They've let us join in supporting their team, even though not all of us play. They've let us come along to dinner with them after games. And now I can finally say that they let us share the gospel.
On a recent Thursday, I talked with three of the girls over dinner about what I believe and how Christianity differs from other religions. I shared with them the gospel and planted seeds of news they hadn't heard before. We're/p>... [continue]
England: God had other plans
by Guest Author on August 6, 2014 in go now missions
I was super-sad to leave Manchester. I had grown to love the missionaries, my teammate, the church I attended and the non-Christians I had befriended. I was flying back to Texas alone.
I was tired from staying up late saying goodbyes to everyone, and I had an early-morning flight. By the time I got on my flight from London to Texas, I was ready to sleep, watch movies and just shut out the rest of the world for the next 10 hours. That was not God's plan for my flight.
Even before the plane took off, I was comfy in my seat with my neck pillow. Then the cutest/p>/p>... [continue]
Massachusetts: Lessons from a cupcake
by Guest Author on August 5, 2014 in go now missions
It should come as no surprise to me that God is continuing to teach me through the tiny tots I so enjoy being with. But one lesson was far more subtle than usual, and it has taken me a few days reflection on an adorable moment to recognize how childlike we should be when approaching God's throne.
It was a Thursday. The church was having a party in the park. As usual, I was running around with a few of the kids. One in particular had attached himself to me for the evening. I was carrying him on my hip, running around, doing all kinds of ridiculous/p>... [continue]
Georgia: Resting in his hands
by Guest Author on July 27, 2014 in go now missions
It is hard to really describe what we do here at The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home. It is one of those things that you can't really understand it until you are actually doing it, living it. But I think this story really sums up exactly what is going on here.
Saturday, July 19th, was visitation day. The girls spent the morning doing their chores and then later in the afternoon, they were allowed to go out on visitation with family, if that was at all possible. We had one girl going on visitation, one girl who spent each day at the hospital with her baby in/p>... [continue]
Eternal victories through soccer tournaments
by Kalie Lowrie on June 24, 2014 in missions mobilization
GUADALAJARA -- As the little boys gathered around preparing for the final game in their soccer tournament, River Ministry coordinator Pedro Munoz reminded them that this was the moment they had been preparing for over the past month.
"Some of you will be winners today, as your team wins the tournament, but all of you can be winners if you give your life to Jesus Christ," he said.
Arenas, the area where these boys were playing, can be very dangerous at times. When Pedro was on the street the day before, he encountered teenagers with cocaine and/p>/p>... [continue]
The need for No Mas Violencia in Guadalajara
by Kalie Lowrie on June 20, 2014 in missions mobilization
GUADALAJARA -- People are gathering across the globe in masses to cheer on their favorite team in the World Cup. Watch parties have emerged in several areas in Guadalajara as nationals cheer on the Mexican team, or enjoy watching games like Greece vs. Japan. This week, amongst soccer jerseys and team paraphernalia, individuals wearing black shirts with the simple message "No Mas Violencia" can be found around the city. Churches in the Emmanuel Baptist Regional Association in Guadalajara have handed out 35,000 flyers around the city, promoting the message... [continue]
Crawling, Walking, Running with Texas Baptists Missions
by Ryan Jespersen on October 28, 2013 in great commandment
Right now our youngest daughter is learning to crawl and our older daughter, who is three, is walking as well as her mom and me. As children, we know that we crawl before we walk, and walk before we run. The same is true in your church when it comes to being on mission. Many times people need to do something small before they are ready to do something larger. Here at the BGCT we have mission opportunities for people at every level. Whether it's you or your church looking to get started, we want to help.
We have Disaster Recovery trips/p>/p>... [continue]
God is Not Limited
by Guest Author on October 15, 2013 in great commandment
There are three things you might notice when driving into Crawford, Texas. Perhaps you'll notice the billboard featuring George and Laura Bush, our most famous property owners. Perhaps you'll notice the welcome sign from First Baptist Church, or perhaps you'll notice the city limit sign, which reads, "Pop. 717."
The Crawford community sits about 20 miles west of Waco. Yet, Crawford does not share the big city features of its larger neighbor. Crawford has one post office, one blinking light, one restaurant, and one high school. You get the idea.
Yet, First Baptist Church/p>/p>/p>... [continue]
North Texas Team Works in Piedras Negras
by Guest Author on October 7, 2013 in great commandment
A team from Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, just completed a very successful health clinic in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The team worked in cooperation with Iglesia Fuente de Vida and mission coordinator Gloria de la Pena to minister to the needs of the people of the city. The clinic was focused in the four areas of wheelchair ministry, eyeglass ministry, dental care, and health screening.
As a result of this clinic, 53 people received wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. Our dental team provided care for 120 people in cooperation with a/p>/p>... [continue]
Lebanese partnerships spread hope and aid to Syrian refugees
by Kalie Lowrie on September 23, 2013 in news
Spiritual revival is taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis.
With the escalating disputes in Syria, many are fleeing to neighboring countries to escape the crossfire. Media reports depict the great suffering and desperation, yet "God is doing great things in the midst of a great crisis," said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society. "The church is in revival in Syria. We are able to reach people we never dreamt of before."
Costa acknowledges that the situation is extremely dangerous, but he has/p>/p>... [continue]
May Christ's mandate determine our work
by Daniel Rangel on September 5, 2013 in great commandment
Osvaldo Lerma, River Ministry Coordinator in Brownsville, TX and a few other River Ministry Coordinators were invited to go on a mission trip to Ciudad Victoria the Capital City of the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico (about 180 miles from the Texas border) with Lakepointe Baptist Church. Lakepointe has been doing ministry for years in this town but they had not traveled on the road to this town for years because of the threats of violence. Recently the reports of violence have subsided. During the Spring many of the roads on the border that were once/p>... [continue]
Are you thinking about missions in Mexico?
by Daniel Rangel on September 3, 2013 in great commandment
For the past four years we have not had Texas Baptist Churches working with us during Spring Break on the Mexican side of the border. This year Lamar BC of Beaumont, TX and FBC Vidor, TX decided to take a step of faith and go to Reynosa, Mexico in the spring. They had a medical clinic and VBS. They attended to 251 people in the medical clinic and had an average of 75 children attend VBS. 29 people made professions of faith, 6 were baptized and 1 new organic church was planted.
Here is a short letter from one of the mission team members:
On Friday/p>/p>/p>... [continue]
Eagle Pass: Rebuilding Houses, Rebuilding Lives
by Marla Bearden on August 30, 2013 in great commandment
What Happened? Eagle Pass is a South Texas city located on the Rio Grande border, linked via bridge to the Mexican city of Piedras Negras. In June, this community suffered a bought of extreme flooding. No deaths were reported, but many people had to be evacuated from their houses during the disaster. More than 300 homes were damaged or even destroyed, and two months after the disaster, this community is only beginning to recover.
What is Being Done?
The Del Rio-Uvalde Baptist Association (DRUBA) is partnering with local churches to/strong>/p>/strong>/p>/strong>/p>... [continue]
Serving as the eyes and ears of Jesus in Oklahoma
by Guest Author on August 21, 2013 in great commandment
Gary Henneke, Pastor of Frelsburg Baptist Church of New Ulm, Texas joined 140 volunteers who served during the recent "Loving Oklahoma" event. Gary is a trained NOVA Chaplain and joined to see how his training could be of assistance on the field. Gary wrote the below account of his experiences and concluded that Chaplains are very much so needed as Disaster Recovery teams continue to serve in areas affected by disasters. Gary stated "We certainly need to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus during these times but we must not also forget to/p>... [continue]
FBC Dripping Springs brings foreign missions home
by John Hall on August 20, 2013 in great commandment
DRIPPING SPRINGS - To share the gospel overseas, churches do construction projects, prayer efforts and service initiatives.
First Baptist Church wondered: Can't it do something very similar in its own community?
Out that spirit, the congregation birthed Mission Drippin', a weeklong effort to invest in their community. This July 28-Aug. 4, mission teams met in homes across the area to pray for their neighbors and neighborhoods. The next day, they prayed specifically for the schools their children attend.
Then they took to the streets,/p>/p>/p>/p>... [continue]