May 2016

Good Brunch: How healthy relationships can change the world

Good conversation about meaningful things leads to healthy relationships and healthy relationships can change the world. I didn’t want to lead this post with too bold of a statement. How did I do? All sarcasm aside, I genuinely believe in that statement. I believe that healthy, authentic, transformative, life-giving relationships can change families, neighborhoods, communities, cities and ultimately the world. How much different would our election season be if those types of relationships were a pillar of campaigns and debates?... [continue]

First Cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists celebrates completion

The first cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists celebrated completion on May 23, through a special graduation celebration at the Executive Board Meeting for Texas Baptists. Participants received awards and recognition for their hard work and dedication to the nine-month long program in its inaugural year. The participants were a diverse representation of young Texas Baptists ranging from church planters and ministers to staff members at Baptist institutions. 

“For me, the key to Leadership Texas Baptists is developing... [continue]

Las Iglesias son el Fundamento de Una fe Activa

(Rand Jenkins es el miembro más reciente del personal de la Comisión de Vida Cristiana; tiene un nuevo papel: Especialista de la Comisión. A continuación Rand explica algunas de las cosas en su vida que han sido clave en su llamado a este ministerio.)

El haber crecido en iglesias que se interesaban en alcanzar a sus comunidades fue el fundamento de mi búsqueda de una fe activa. Nací en Fort Worth, crecí en Franklin, Tennessee, y siempre he sido parte de una familia activa y de una iglesia vibrante. En Fort Worth mi padre era parte... [continue]

Executive Board hosts graduation of emerging young leaders, revises administrative support policies

On Monday night of the May 23-24 Executive Board meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, ten individuals received trophies and certificates of graduation from the first cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists.

Leadership Texas Baptists, which met for the first time last fall, is a nine-month program experience to engage, equip and inform emerging leaders from churches across the state. Participants gathered once a month to hear from and dialog with Baptist leaders as well as... [continue]

Go Now celebrates 70 years of sending students on mission

Go Now Missions celebrated 70 years of sending college students on mission by commissioning 223 student missionaries to share the Gospel around the world this summer.

The ceremony, held May 22 at Dallas Baptist University, welcomed both past and present Go Now missionaries to celebrate students who have gone and are going to the ends of the earth.  

Since 1946, Go Now Missions, a Texas Baptists’ ministry, has mobilized 10,346 Texas university students to serve as missionaries across the state, country and world. 

The first... [continue]

GO: Family Missions

I used to think that being a “missionary” meant that you packed your bags to fly on an airplane to another country to do “missions.” In my mind, a “missionary” was someone who loaded his or her suitcase with American food like beef jerky and cheese crackers (just in case they didn’t like the local food), wore fanny packs and big straw hats with a camera around his neck, ready to take a picture of something exotic, and ready to do “missions” for God.

Thankfully, my view of what “missions” and “missionaries” are has drastically changed over the years! The world has... [continue]

Where to turn when ministry is hard

Ministry can be wonderfully fulfilling. It can also be incredibly taxing. Statistics concerning ministers are staggering! According to Life Recovered, 75 percent of ministry leaders report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. Thirty-three percent confess “inappropriate” behavior. The clergy has the second highest divorce rate among all professions. Forty-five percent of ministers’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual burnout.

Ministry leaders... [continue]

Struck by tragedy, family learns to be grateful for each new day

The Blanco River was only supposed to rise to 17 feet the night of May 23, 2015, but Theresa Graves felt an uneasiness. She opted to stay awake while her family slept peacefully in their riverside Wimberley house.

Graves was monitoring her phone app, which displayed updates about water levels, when the predicted numbers nearly doubled.

“At 11:45 that night,” she recalled, “the levels jumped from 17.4 feet to 34 feet in one update. At that point, I knew we needed to go.”

Graves rushed to wake up her two children,... [continue]

Churches provide foundation for active faith

(Rand Jenkins is the newest member of the Christian Life Commission staff. He is in a new role -- CLC specialist. Below, Rand explains some of the things in his background that have shaped his call to this ministry.)

My childhood in community-minded churches provided the foundation for my pursuit of an active faith. Born in Fort Worth and raised in Franklin, Tenn., I have always been part of an active family and vibrant church. In Fort Worth, my dad was on staff at Broadway Baptist Church and in Franklin, he worked at the Baptist Sunday... [continue]

Nueva Vida en la Comunidad Christiana: Una Historia de la Ofrenda Contra el Hambre

Una fiesta para el bebito que viene puede parecer simple: regalos, flores, risas; la fiesta es un momento para preparar y celebrar la nueva vida que viene y la familia que con ello crece. El amor y la expectativa son la esencia de la vida en Cristo, y si bien esta práctica podría resultar muy común para algunos, se trata de algo que puede marcar una gran diferencia para una nueva madre en un nuevo país.

La Dra. Zamira Izadi Page sabe a la perfección el tipo de impacto que este tipo de celebraciones puede... [continue]

What the new overtime regulation means for your church

On May 17, 2016*, the Obama administration announced that it will increase the salary threshold for determining if an employee is eligible for overtime pay to $47,476.00 annually. This is an increase from the current threshold of $23,660.00 and this new regulation goes into effect on December 1 of this year.

This new regulation doesn’t change the duties tests for the various current overtime exemptions (such as administrative, executive, professional), but it does significantly raise the pay threshold and the pay threshold must be... [continue]

New Life In Christian Community - A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story

A baby shower seems simple. Gifts, flowers, laughter; the party is a time of preparation and celebration of new life and a growing family. Love and expectancy are the essence of life in Christ. And while this practice may seem commonplace to some, it can make all the difference for a new mom in a new country.

Dr. Samira Izadi Page knows just how impactful a baby shower can be for a refugee mom. As the founder and executive of director of Gateway of Grace, she throws her fair share of celebrations. Gateway of Grace... [continue]

Ten Signs That You Have Super Summer Fever

Ten signs you might have Super Summer Fever

10. Your closet looks like a skittles commercial.

9. You call PE "Wild N Crazy" games.

8. You watch the promo video to see how many times you're in it.

7. You spent last week's allowance at Goodwill and Hobby Lobby on all things school spirit!

6. You plan your day around what Super Summer shirt you’re going to wear.

5. You cheered "Who can fight like Jackie Chan" at the last basketball game.

4. You ordered a pizza and did a double check to make sure your TL wasn't around.


Missions Discipleship...A Life-Shaping Experience

She has been in my life for over 20 years. Watching her grow from a girl into a mature young woman has been so much fun. Beautiful, funny, warm, loving, smart and wise are all words that describe my friend. Not having children of my own I feel blessed that her parents invited me into their family. Lots of great conversation happened around the dinner table as we shared together who Jesus is and how He is at work in the world around us.

Kara was introduced to Christ at a very early age. She became more aware of His work around the world... [continue]

Babs Baugh honored by Global Women

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” 1 Peter 4:10, NRSV

We are excited to announce that Babs Baugh will receive the Global Heart Award at the upcoming Global Women’s 15th Birthday Gala during the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C..

Global Women is a Hunger Offering recipient that seeks to love and serve vulnerable women across the globe. The award highlights Babs’ commitment to stewarding the “manifold grace of God” and caring for people who... [continue]

Youth compete for top spot at 2016 State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament

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... [continue]

Share your Story

We love hearing your stories about what God did at Super Summer! Here's one testimony from a Khaki student.

Share yours with us at

Name: Kenzie White

Church City: Plano

Campus: Hardin-Simmons University

School Color: Khaki

How has God used Super Summer to change your life?

Last summer when I was in green school I felt God calling me into missions, leading me to the decision to take a year off after I graduate this June to go to England and attend Capernwray, a mission training program.

Share your favorite moment from your time at Super... [continue]

Missions: More than a trip, a lifestyle

One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Elliot, “So many missionaries, intent on something forget that His main work is to make something of them.”

Missions can be more than a “trip” for your mission team if you seize the opportunity for discipleship. Training that takes place before the mission trip is an investment in members long after they come home from the “trip.” Through Go Now Missions, our ultimate goal is to grow up a generation of mission minded disciples of Christ. Our training consists of eight weeks of studies and scripture memory in an... [continue]

Being present and allowing God to work

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... [continue]

We are all in this together: Boomers and millennials on mission

“Without individuals, nothing changes. Without institutions, nothing survives.” So said French philosopher and statesman Maurice Talleyrand. He concluded there is a need for both the maverick individual who seeks to disturb the status quo, as well as the company man who presides over the equilibrium. We, Jim and Nick, both represent voices from generations that epitomize each caricature.

One of us is an Uber-riding, selfie-taking, student debt-accumulating, norm-bucking individual. Don't group him, because 'nobody puts... [continue]

Sharing your faith in a digital space

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... [continue]

Even to the ends of the earth

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... [continue]

Take a minute to say “thank you” to influencers in your life

Recently it has been my privilege on behalf of the Missions Foundation to participate in the Baylor Oral History project. In preparation for those conversations, they asked me to think back, not only over the 31 years of the life of the Foundation but over the path that led to my being president of this organization.

As is often the case, the journey back down the path found good decisions and bad; opportunities taken and missed; and occasional musings of “what if.” The most significant thing to me, however, was to remember the... [continue]

Education inequity should concern Christians

Some things are simply wrong. They harm people; they dishonor God. And, it is wrong what we are doing to children in Texas. We are failing to educate many of them during a time in which education is essential to their future well-being.

As Christians, we care not only for our own children and the kids in our church; we have a deep concern for all children because they contain the very image of God. Just as our “pro-life” stance causes us to care for the lives of unborn children, we are called to care for them after their birth. ( ... [continue]

Golf Classic raises $15,000 to help promote positive mental health through counseling

Stepping out on the green with golf clubs in hand and friends beside is not only beneficial to physical health but also promotes positive mental health, according to Texas Baptists Director of Counseling Services Katie Swafford, M.A., L.P.C.-S.

During the third annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic, held on April 25 at the Dallas Athletic Club in Dallas, 261 individuals from around the state competed to promote their own physical and mental health and to also raise support for Texas Baptists Counseling ... [continue]

Episode 2: Go - Family Missions

Ryan Jespersen, Director of Urban Missions, and his wife, Joanna, talk about ways to involve your family in mission opportunities during the summer.

How to pray first, often and strategically

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.) 

Praying strategically begins with looking at the model prayer Jesus gave us in Matthew 6. In this passage, the disciples came to Jesus and wanted to... [continue]

CLC offers National Day of Prayer Guide

Today is the National Day of Prayer. As I sat down to compile the the CLC’s prayer guide, the song, “Build Your Kingdom Here,” by the Rend Collective started playing on my streaming service. In it, the band sings, “build Your kingdom here, let the darkness fear, show Your mighty hand, heal our streets and land, set your church on fire...change the atmosphere, build your kingdom here.” Talk about providence! I couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song as the soundtrack of this prayer guide.

The National Day of Prayer is a way for Christians... [continue]

New Hunger Offering video released

Good news! The new Texas Baptist Hunger Offering video is ready to watch and share!

This video provides an overview of the Hunger Offering, highlights footage of people impacted by Hunger Offering initiatives, and displays the gospel in action. Not to mention it has cool graphics created by my friend, Josef.

I recently ate at Whataburger for the first time.

I know. The Texans are shocked.

As directed by the accompanying party, I ordered a Number 1 meal with cheese. Admittedly, I was pleasantly surprised by the experience despite my initial... [continue]

Want to Minister to People Who Live with Mental Illness? Here’s Where to Start

Imagine this.

You are a soldier, a veteran of war. The experiences that have made you stronger have also left your body marked by scars. The battles you have survived have helped you discover previously unknown parts of yourself that both make you proud and terrify you. Your training shows in the way you walk, the way you talk and the lines on your face.

You appreciate when people recognize you as a veteran and thank you for your service. But what you really need is to be with people who understand, who have... [continue]

El Nuevo Video de la Ofrenda Contra el Hambre

¡Buenas noticias! ¡El nuevo video de la Ofrenda Contra el Hambre ya está disponible para verse (en inglés)  y compartirse!

Este video muestra una presentación de la Ofenda contra el Hambre (en inglés), momentos importantes de personas que han sido  impactadas por la Ofrenda contra el Hambre, y una demostración del evangelio en acción, sin mencionar las lindas gráficas que mi amigo Josef creó.

Recientemente comí por primera vez en el restaurante de hamburguesas Whataburger. Ya sé, los tejanos se sorprenden. Por consejo de las personas... [continue]

A burdened heart to reach the lost

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... [continue]

Nourishing bodies and minds in Sri Lanka: Texas Baptist Hunger Offering

In villages across Sri Lanka, many mothers struggle with the harsh reality that they are unable to provide healthy food for their children to eat. Many are either too poor to put food on the table consistently, or they don’t know what healthy food is and how nutrition impacts the bodies and minds of their growing children. Children who grow up malnourished are more likely to struggle with illnesses and developmental delays, leading to more medical issues as they get older.

According to UNICEF, nearly one of every... [continue]