March 2017

Texas Baptists welcome two new Connections Team staff members

DALLAS - Texas Baptists recently welcomed two new staff members to the Connections Team. Tim Marrow is the new Area Representative for Area 6, serving the Central Texas region, and Anthony Cobbs joins the staff as a Church Starter for Area 3 in Southeast Texas.

For 21 years, Marrow pastored the First Baptist Church of West Albuquerque, NM. In Oct. 2011, he and his family relocated to Plainview, where he pastored the First Baptist Church of Plainview, a position he held until joining the Texas Baptists staff.

In his new role, Marrow will serve as a connection point for Central Texas churches to Texas Baptists. This will include... [continue]

Annual Meeting Impacted My Family

I was so impressed by last years theme and scripture Joshua 4:6 "that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying What do these stones mean to you."

After Rick and I came home from the state meeting last year, I was impressed by the Lord to put stones in a clear bowl, marked with each or our family's name and the date they were saved.  All of my immediate family (children, spouses and grandchildren) are saved by the blood of Jesus, Jesus as their personal Savior, except for the 2 youngest grands. (and they will be one day!)

But I sent an email asking my children and their spouse what one or two... [continue]

WMU’s 2016 Annual Meeting provided a wonderful time of worship, learning, and encouragement.  For grown up GA, JoAnn Lira, it was life changing- and she wasn’t even there! While we gathered to hear from NAMB missionary Andrew Mann and his missionary dog Proof, JoAnn was in her 5th grade dual language classroom praying.  JoAnn knew the Lord called her to children’s ministry at a young age.  He prepared her by placing mentors in her life who would instill in her a love for the Lord that would overflow to the children she was ministering to and eventually teaching. Unsure of what the next step was, JoAnn knew that God was letting... [continue]

Texas Baptist Church Starting process after 10 years

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]

Annual Meeting Changed Everything

WMU’s 2016 Annual Meeting provided a wonderful time of worship, learning, and encouragement.  For grown up GA, JoAnn Lira, it was life changing- and she wasn’t even there! While we gathered to hear from NAMB missionary Andrew Mann and his missionary dog Proof, JoAnn was in her 5th grade dual language classroom praying.  JoAnn knew the Lord called her to children’s ministry at a young age.  He prepared her by placing mentors in her life who would instill in her a love for the Lord that would overflow to the children she was ministering to and eventually teaching. Unsure of what the next step was, JoAnn knew that God was letting... [continue]

Embracing local culture: Country Church thrives in East Texas

As Pastor and Church Planter Jordan Wilson stands back and reflects on all God has done in the three-and-a-half years since Tyler County Country Church (TC3) began, he is truly in awe. Standing in a 16,000 square foot, two-story building in Woodville, which opened its doors in October 2016, Wilson can point to so many moments of God’s faithfulness and provision.

TC3 was started by Wilson and his wife, Emily, in 2013 after being approached by First Baptist Church Woodville and six other churches who saw the need for a new church in the area to reach a different segment of the population. Initially, the church was started as a... [continue]

Go Now students reaching the border for Christ

Can one week really change the course of your life? That’s the question Daniel Ortiz was asking when he heard about a short-term missions opportunity through Go Now Missions.

Ortiz, a sophomore nursing student at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), had been interested in serving through missions, but was unsure about heading overseas at this time in his life. When he learned of an opportunity to serve in Brownsville, Texas for a week during the Christmas break, Ortiz was excited—and curious.

“I’d hear things like, ‘These trips will change your life!’ and I used to wonder how that was really possible,” Ortiz recalls... [continue]

Texas Baptists reaching an expanding state through church starting

What breaks your heart? When you see a people group, a community or a neighborhood that is not being reached with the Gospel, are you compelled to action? Does your heart break when you see someone who may never hear the name of Jesus unless you do something? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you might be an ideal church starting candidate.

Texas Baptists Church Starting works to equip church planters with the skills, encouragement, mentoring and coaching, strategies and funding needed to successfully plant a church in an unreached area or with an unreached people group. Through years of implementation, evaluation and... [continue]

A look into the life and legacy of James B. Simmons

Dr. Travis L. Frampton developed a growing interest in Dr. James B. Simmons's life and works several years ago upon reading The Cause and Cure of the Rebellion, an abolitionist sermon published by Dr. Simmons in 1861. The following story details Dr. Frampton’s journey on his sabbatical to learn more about the life and legacy of the institution’s founder.

Having taught at Hardin-Simmons University for almost two decades, I am more invested in Hardin-Simmons than in any other school of which I have been a part. As my own life has been inspired and

changed for the better by Dr. James B. Simmons’ story, I wanted to know more about... [continue]

How 25 chickens transformed a family - a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story

Soontorn Inthayok is a day laborer and part-time guard, serving as the primary wage-earner for his family in Northern Thailand. The 49-year-old provides for his older sister, who is mentally disabled, and his son, who is attending technical college. He also overcomes his personal disability to bring home earnings of approximately $300 US dollars per month. While Soontorn works extremely hard, often the monthly expenses of food, utilities and tuition are more than what he earns.  

When Soontorn learned he was selected to participate in the Social Development and Service Unit (SDSU) Chicken and Cattle Farming Project, he was elated... [continue]

Homes of transformation

Monica was like a lot of women who come to the growing network of house churches Paul Gonzales leads on the west side of San Antonio. She was struggling in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend of 10 years and didn’t know where to turn.

She found support and encouragement from the roughly 20 Christians who gathered weekly. They talked about what God desires in a relationship between a man and a woman, including marriage.

Little by little, she shared what she was learning with her boyfriend, Matthew Flores. Once or twice he even acquiesced to her requests to come with her to church. After a year, Gonzales married the couple... [continue]

Hogares de transformación

Mónica era como muchas de las mujeres que vienen a la creciente red de iglesias hogares que Paul González dirige en el área oeste de San Antonio. Ella estaba luchando en su relación con su pareja de 10 años,  y no sabía a dónde recurrir.

Ella encontró apoyo y ánimo en los pocos 20 cristianos que se reunían cada semana. Ellos hablaban del deseo de Dios para la relación entre un hombre y una mujer, incluyendo el matrimonio.

Poco a poco, ella compartió lo que había estado aprendiendo con su pareja. Una o dos veces él aceptó las invitaciones de ir a la iglesia con ella. Después de un año, González casó a la pareja en un parque.

Por... [continue]

Sustainability projects lift Indigenous people out of poverty

Hunger Offering ministry strives to end the cycle of poverty among Hondurans and empower individual families through farming sustainability projects and enterprise. 

By Jaclyn Bonner

Five dollars will buy a venticoffee at Starbucks. Five dollars also isthe average daily living wage of the Lenca, the poorest people group in Honduras.

Coffee is a staple of the Lenca lifestyle. Many families harvest coffee during its season, and they likely drink more coffee than the average Starbucks customer. The Lenca live with entrenched poverty, but they also are notably hospitable, willingly offering a cup of coffee and a comfortable seat... [continue]


AUSTIN – El involucramiento político y cultural de los cristianos en la política y la cultura debe encontrar su dirección en el amor de Dios y en la práctica del discipulado, esto fue la lección aprendida por los participantes durante el reciente Día del Activismo de la Comisión de Vida Cristiana de los Bautistas de Texas.

El evento llevado a cabo en la Iglesia Bautista Hyde Park en Austin el 18 de febrero, presentó a los conferenciantes principales Gabe Lyons, fundador del ministerio Q y coautor de Good Faith, y Vicent Bacote, Profesor Asociado de Teología y Director del Centro de Ética Cristiana Aplicada de Wheaton... [continue]


Esta semana me gustaría enfatizar dos proyectos de ley que la Comisión apoya y que están relacionados con nuestras prioridades legislativas. Si desea leer sobre las prioridades legislativas de la Comisión, oprimaaquí.

HB 132

La HB 132 aumenta la posibilidad de un pago de $1,000 en ayuda para tíos y hermanos de un menor que ha sido removido del cuidado de sus padres y reduce la edad de 45 a 25 años de edad requerida para elegibilidad de pagos. Aproximadamente el 30 por ciento de las relocalizaciones con familiares en Texas es con otros parientes además de los abuelos.

Hay estudios que muestran que los niños que son colocados con... [continue]

Food for Body and Soul: Hunger Offering ministry meets needs across Metroplex

By Jaclyn Bonner

Linda, a ministry volunteer, gently challenged Tamara with two poignant questions. “Why do you always come with your hand out? Why don’t you come and serve?” Linda’s view of service as a blessing affected Tamara, who decided to serve at the food giveaway the following week.

Tamara, a South Collins resident, learned about Christ through Linda, the neighborhood Bible study leader, who brought her food from Mission Arlington each week and invited her to Bible study.

When Tamara met Linda, she was not making good choices. She was impressed with Linda’s kindness and love. Linda continued to serve Tamara, driving her... [continue]

Capitol Update

This week, I’d like to highlight two bills the CLC is supporting relating our legislative priorities. To review the CLC legislative priorities, click here.

HB 132

HB 132 expands eligibility for the one-time $1,000 cash assistance payment to aunts, uncles, and siblings of the child and reduces the age requirement from 45 to 25. About 30 percent of kinship placements in Texas are with relatives other than grandparents.

Research has shown that kids placed with relatives go through fewer placement disruptions, fewer behavioral problems, fewer mental health disorders, all while maintaining a sense of continuity in family... [continue]

Texas Baptists mobilized to influence lawmakers at 2017 Advocacy Day

AUSTIN - Christian engagement in politics and culture should be directed by a love of God and practice of discipleship, attendees learned at the recent Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission Advocacy Day.

The event, held at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin on Feb. 28, featured keynote speakers Gabe Lyons, founder of Q and co-author of Good Faith, and Vincent Bacote, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College.

“The purpose of Advocacy Day is to help Christians and particularly Texas Baptists engage in public policy and politics from a biblical worldview,” said... [continue]

Christian Life Commission recognizes State Rep. Ashby with Micah 6:8 Justice Award

AUSTIN - The Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission (CLC) honored State Representative Trent Ashby, of Lufkin, with the 2017 Micah 6:8 Justice Award on Wednesday, March 1, during a reception held at the State Capitol. The award was presented in conjunction with the CLC’s Advocacy Day, a time of workshops, training and advocacy engagement for more than 200 Texas Baptists.

In presenting the award, CLC Director Gus Reyes said Ashby was selected, “for his commitment to the common good of public education, and his advocacy on behalf of the 5.4 million children attending Texas public schools.”

Ashby currently chairs the... [continue]

Together Fed

By Jordan Corona

“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” (Acts 2:46, NRSV)

Hands in Service, an Amarillo-based organization, is fighting malnutrition in Mexico and helping Christians there to experience the same things as the early Jerusalem church -- sharing food, praising God, and showing goodwill.

Texas Baptists support Hands in Service through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.  Led by Director Lee Baggett, the ministry is teaching people how to grow gardens in their... [continue]

The problem with women friendships

Recently while preparing to advise middle school girls, I found myself stumped when it came to writing about making friends. I knew to tell them that making and keeping good friendships could be difficult, but beyond stating the problem, I had difficulty providing an answer to the friend-finding problem present in those years. Having the self-perceived gift of gab, I'm usually able to put a bright spin on just about anything, but my secret loneliness reminded me that I couldn't tell young girls how to make friends when I presently feel isolated.

In my state of writer’s block, I turned to Facebook to escape my self-pity. I asked... [continue]