April 2016

Congreso youth compelled to be changemakers

“When you’re young and you love Jesus, the world cannot handle you,” New York youth minister Daniel Sanabria, said to a crowd of over 3,000 youth at Congresso on April 22-24 at the Ferrell Center at Baylor University.

“God wants to take us to a different level,” Sanabria, also founder of God Belongs in My City, said, ”not a different level of ministry, but a different level of living for Him.”

Sanabria’s call for youth to live differently in the world coincided with Congreso’s evident theme of being a “changemaker.”

“A changemaker is one who leverages his or her influence of Christ for the betterment of the world,” Joshua del... [continue]

Sam Prestidge and Tillie Burgin to receive 2016 Legacy Awards

Countless Texas Baptist men and women have dedicated much of their lives to ministry in Texas, setting an example of faithful servitude and passion for spreading the Gospel.

Every June, Texas Baptists honors two individuals who have have left and are continuing to leave a legacy through their everyday lives.

This year, we are pleased to present Sam W. Prestidge, Jr., founder of Singing Men of Texas, and Tillie Burgin, founder of Mission Arlington, with Texas Baptists Legacy Awards.

Prestidge‘s legacy dates back to age 14, when he felt God’s call to ministry. He obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Sacred Music from... [continue]

A Christian Response to Reentry

I walked out of prison more resilient than I was at intake, a miracle considering the harsh nature of prison. At intake, I was completely defeated. My addiction had progressed to criminality, and everything in my life that had any value to me was stripped away. I was filled with shame. The Christian volunteers I met while in prison helped me see that I am not defined by the worse thing I ever did. None of us are. They helped me to chart a path to forgiveness and hope.

Along the way, I embraced the limited opportunities available to me. I earned excellent performance reviews in my job as a clerk, and I volunteered as a peer... [continue]

Una Respuesta Christiana a la Reincorporación

Salí de la prisión más fuerte de como entré, lo cual es un milagro si se toma en consideración la naturaleza hostil de la prisión. Cuando ingresé estaba completamente derrotado.  Mi adicción había progresado hasta el punto de la criminalidad, y había perdido todo lo que tenía valor en mi vida. Estaba lleno de vergüenza. Los voluntarios cristianos  que conocí cuando estaba en prisión me ayudaron a ver que las peores cosas que he hecho en mi vida no son lo que me define. Y a nadie de nosotros tampoco. Me ayudaron a  trazar un camino hacia el perdón y la esperanza.

En el trayecto atesoré las incontables oportunidades que tenía a mi... [continue]

Providing hope and a new start for mothers reentering society

The first day a mom and her children set foot at Exodus Ministries, they are welcomed into a beautiful, fully-furnished apartment. Each apartment is uniquely decorated by thoughtful volunteers. Each kitchen comes completely stocked with groceries, through support of the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Each detail is covered in prayer and the family has everything they need to begin a new life.

Having just been released from incarceration or a residential rehabilitation facility, these mothers often come to the complex with only the clothes on their back. The look of wonder and awe as they take in their new surrounding is Case... [continue]

Provisión de Esperanza y un Nuevo Comienzo para Madres que Buscan Reincorporarse a la Socied

La primera vez que una madre y sus hijos ponen pie en el Ministerio Éxodo (Exodus), se encuentran con un hermoso apartamento amueblado. Cada apartamento es decorado individualmente por un voluntario dedicado. Cada cocina está completamente equipada con despensa que se obtiene gracias al apoyo que da la Ofrenda contra el Hambre de los  Bautistas de Texas. Se orar por cada detalle, y cada familia tiene todo lo que necesita para empezar una nueva vida.

Al salir de la prisión o de algún programa de rehabilitación residencial, estas madres a menudo llegan a las instalaciones solamente con lo que llevan puesto. La mirada  de asombro... [continue]

Plan ahead for important healthcare decisions

There are too many “special” days with which to keep up, so I missed one this month that I wish I hadn’t -- National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16. Missing the day, however, does not mean we have to miss the point.

The day “exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.”

The 50-state annual initiative promotes providing “clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare... [continue]

[un]Apologetic Conference arms believers with knowledge and provides answers for seekers

All good apologetics should point back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to best-selling author Mark Mittelberg, speaker at the [un]Apologetic Conference in El Paso on April 7 and 8.

During the conference’s opening session, Mittelberg gave a detailed description of the secular landscape Christians find themselves in today.

“We are talking about not just giving answers, but reaching people,” Mittelberg said. “This is not just apologetics, but evangelism. We are called, all of us as the body of Christ, to go into our world and make disciples.” 

Mittelberg was joined by Mike Licona, author and associate professor of... [continue]

Fire for evangelism great amongst growing Hispanic community

According to the 2010 census, 38 percent of Texas’ population was Hispanic. That percentage is likely higher now and is projected to increase in years ahead, creating a greater opportunity for evangelism in and amongst the Hispanic community.

Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for Texas Baptists, observes the Hispanic Christian community regularly and said there is an evident yearning for knowing God well and spreading His message of hope. 

This observation has been confirmed in the past two months as over 2,000 Hispanic church leaders, students and children gathered in churches around the state to be trained and encouraged to... [continue]

Mayo es un Mes Para Celebrar y Dar

El mes de mayo es un mes de celebraciones y compañerismo familiar. Mientras pasamos tiempo honrando

a nuestras madres y deseándole lo mejor a los recién graduados, algunas personas en nuestra comunidad enfrentarán la realidad de la inseguridad alimenticia.

En Texas, una en cada seis familias no sabe de dónde vendrá su siguiente comida.* En el mundo, uno de cada nueve de sus habitantes sufre de malnutrición.** El hambre es un problema abrumador, pero podemos responder por medio de una esperanza práctica.

Cuando enfrento problemas difíciles, a menudo me paralizan mis dudas: ¿Cómo puedo marcar una diferencia?...¿Qué tipo de... [continue]

Don’t lose the spark in your marriage

This article is part four of the Marriage in a Fishbowl series, focused on encouragement and helpful marriage tips for ministers. It is written by Cory and Amy Brand, a ministry couple serving in Corsicana. Click here to read part one, part two, and part three.

“So, what do you do in your free time?” (We’ll give you a minute to stop laughing…) We have found that, even when we do have a free minute, we don’t really even know what we enjoy doing anymore. So much of our time is scripted for us that we can’t even imagine having a choice of activities!

I read an article recently by Pastor Chris Hodges called “How to Make Your... [continue]

May is a time for celebrating and giving

May is a month of celebration and gathering around the table. As we take time to honor mothers and wish our best to recent grads, several in our communities will face the reality of food insecurity. In Texas, one in six families do not know where they will get their next meal.* Globally, one in nine of our neighbors are malnourished.** Hunger is an overwhelming issue, but we may respond with practical hope.

When facing complex problems, I sometimes find myself feeling frozen by my own questions: "How can I make a dent...What type of food do people need or want?"

To others who may feel small before a giant need, I offer this bit... [continue]

Good things happening in Marshall and at ETBU

Marshall anchors the eastern entrance to Texas near where Interstate 20 crosses from Louisiana. It is a smaller city that is home to East Texas Baptist University, which sits on a hill in the northwest portion of the city.

Once the fourth largest city in Texas (1860), Marshall has been an important community both for the state and its Baptists. Marshall has been a key transportation hub -- first as a stagecoach route, then a railroad center and now with highways (I-20 and U.S. Hwy. 59). But it’s the school on the hill that has been the Marshall focus for Texas Baptists.

Blair Blackburn is the newest president of ETBU. He and I... [continue]

A Short Walk to Another World: Reflections on ministry on the border

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 coordinator, greeted us in his older model Suburban and transported us along streets and byways much more like a third... [continue]

Cosas beunas están ocurriendo en Marshall y en ETBU

Marshall marca la entrada a Texas por el Este, cerca del punto donde la Carretera Interestatal 20 cruza por Luisiana. Es una ciudad más pequeña y es la sede de la Universidad Bautista East Texas, la cual está asentada en una colina en el lado noreste de la ciudad.

La que una vez fue la cuarta ciudad más grande del Texas (en 1860), Marshall, ha sido una comunidad importante tanto para el estado como para su población bautista. Marshall ha sido un eje de transportación, primero como ruta de diligencias, luego como centro ferroviario y ahora con sus autopistas (I-20 y US Hwy 59). Pero es la escuela sobre la colina lo que ha... [continue]

Growing up in a preacher’s home

Growing up as a preacher’s daughter was a wonderful experience for me. I’ve learned many life lessons being raised in the ministry. I’m grateful my parents taught me the importance of having a personal relationship with God, loving and serving people, and always being positive. I will be forever grateful to my parents for setting the example of what it truly means to love and serve the Lord.

One thing that needs to be understood while serving in ministry would be the word “sacrifice.” Sacrifice of leaving behind friends to move to another city, sleeping in on Sunday mornings and family time. We moved every two to three years... [continue]

The mistake of granting veto power

Early in my very first ministry assignment, I learned a key leadership principle by observing a ministry peer make a simple mistake repeatedly--a mistake that crippled the organization he was leading, making forward progress impossible on any significant level. Simply, my friend was granting what could be called veto power to an old sore head in his congregation. By veto power, I mean my ministry peer allowed this one person, regardless of the majority’s direction, to control or dictate if a new initiative was pursued.

The peer allowed this both formally and informally. He routinely allowed the man to sit back and wait for... [continue]

Fruits of the Spirit? I’d settle for societal civility

In Galatians 5, we are reminded of a few ways we are to act as Christians. Early in the chapter, it reinforces the fact that “For the whole law comes down to this one instruction: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

We also receive instruction on how to live this way – by walking with the Holy Spirit. “…walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings.” When we do this, we set aside our self-interests and work together to create a true community, instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride and envy.

Walking with the Spirit, then,... [continue]

Now What? What to do the Day After A Life-Changing Experience

We have all been there. We’ve gone to a life changing conference or heard an amazing sermon or even just had a really amazing quiet time to start our day and afterwards, we are super charged and ready to do amazing things for God. We are going to change the world!

And then, we step outside our door or return home or enter our churches, and we aren’t quite as sure. We don’t know how to get started, or we do start and are met with obstacles or roadblocks. Other people aren’t excited; the pastor doesn’t want to implement your new missions strategy; your husband doesn’t want to sell all of your possessions and move to an immigrant... [continue]

Boys with Down syndrome help develop special needs ministry in Germany

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]

¿Y ahora qué? ¿Qué hacer después de una experiencia transformado

A todos nos ha pasado. Vamos a una conferencia que nos cambia la vida o escuchamos un sermón que nos impacta o quizá solo tenemos un tiempo devocional hermoso al empezar  nuestro día, y después estamos súper cargados y listos para hacer cosas grandiosas por el Señor. ¡Estamos listos para cambiar al mundo!

Y después, salimos de ahí o regresamos a casa o entramos a nuestras iglesias, y ya no nos sentimos tan seguros. No sabemos cómo empezar o empezamos y nos encontramos con  obstáculos o caminos sin salida. Otras personas no están tan entusiasmadas; el pastor no quiere implementar tus nuevas estrategia de evangelismo; tu esposo... [continue]

A journey for justice detailed during Micah 6:8 Conference

SAN ANTONIO - As Jen Hatmaker described her own journey into becoming passionate about justice issues to attendees at the Micah 6:8 Conference, she detailed an experience of brokenness where she and her husband left their boots at the altar of a church, to be given to homeless people, and walked with barefeet to their car on a cold Easter night. It was a transformational moment which shaped their walk with God and people from that point forward.

The keynote speaker for the inaugural conference, hosted by the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, Hatmaker shared over two days about her experiences advocating for the needs of... [continue]

Running with endurance in South Africa

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]


SAN ANTONIO -- La autora y figura de televisión Jen Hatmaker describe su camino personal que la llevó a convertirse en una activista por la justicia –comenzando el día en que su esposo y  ella dejaron sus botas en el altar de una iglesia como regalo para indigentes y se fueron a su carro descalzos en una fría mañana de Pascua.

Como oradora principal de la Conferencia Miqueas 6:8 en la Iglesia Bautista Trinity en San Antonio, patrocinada por la Comisión de Vida Cristiana de los Bautistas de Texas, Hatmaker  habló de su experiencia en el activismo para suplir las necesidades de otros, por el ministerio de los desamparados en su... [continue]

Why the church must be involved in caring for those with mental health issues

According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2014, 18.1% of U. S. adults aged 18 or older had experienced some form of mental illness within the past year. This statistic translated into an estimated 43.6 million adults, or 1 out of every 5 adults, and did not even include the millions of children with mental disorders! Given these numbers, it is important for churches to develop plans to engage and serve people who struggle with mental health issues. There are at least four reasons that the church must do so.

Firstly, the church must care for people with mental health issues because of our... [continue]