May 2017

Meandering Down Hallowed Paths

Written by Sandy Wisdom-Martin, Executive-Director WMU SBC

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs website, several cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day celebrations. One of those happens to be Carbondale, Illinois, where I attended college, and home of Major General John A. Logan. In 1868, Logan declared there should be a national Decoration Day (later named Memorial Day). Logan’s orders proclaimed, “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance . . . Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and... [continue]

Two churches provide clean water for Liberian community

Great news!

On Monday evening at the Executive Board meeting, Dr. Tom Howe, pastor of Birdville Baptist Church, and Kris Drees, pastor of Haltom Road Baptist Church, presented a $29,345.33 check to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.

The two churches joined together in fundraising over two months to provide the gift to Hunger Offering partner Lott Carey Mission to renovate a water tower in Brewerville, Liberia. This is the largest project for a single Hunger Offering project to date.

In Brewerville, an estimated 25,000 people must walk five to 10 miles a day to access water, which is not always clean. It is imperative for the... [continue]

Teachers, we thank you for helping us become all that God intended

Their names stick in my mind with the glue of memory -- Moore, Smith, Emerson, Coffman, and Sandoz. They left more than their names in my mind; they were my teachers.

Another school year closes, and it seems appropriate to remember our teachers. They pour their lives into their students, and then those receivers of the gift of learning rush out into life. Teachers leave deep impressions whether or not they ever know the specifics. My teachers did -- for good and ill.

Ms. Moore, of grade one, accused me of lying. I hadn’t, and no evidence indicated I had. She, for some reason, simply thought I lied. It struck me as odd and wrong... [continue]

May meeting of Executive Board includes finale of uplifting outcomes

DALLAS - The May Executive Board meeting closed Tuesday with success stories shared by a number of Texas Baptists staff. The flurry of two-minute reports covered recent events, new ministry initiatives and professions of faith, making clear to board members that God is moving in and through the Convention and its churches.

Executive Board Chair David Russell noted at the conclusion of the May board meeting, held in Dallas, “It is a blessing to see our staff coordinating lay-people and churches in these efforts. There are a lot of feet doing this work, not just our dollars. We are doing a great work through the state and... [continue]

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Churches

When your child is sick, you begin a process of gathering information so you can determine what is wrong with her and what your next steps should be. Perhaps one of your first steps is to check her temperature. If the number on the thermometer is close to 98.6° you can relax a little and move on to your next step in making her more comfortable. If the numbers are too high, you know your child is not healthy and you need to act quickly. Numbers can be very helpful. They make good gauges and guides, but they make poor goals. Your child’s health is your goal, not the numbers on the thermometer.

The same is true in the church. Numbers... [continue]

Truth to be obeyed, not advice to be heeded

Some people have a sweet tooth; I have teeth made of sugar. My grande white chocolate mocha with extra whip and an extra pump of white chocolate epitomizes this. When the barista announces my coffee flavored sugar drink before the morning rush crowd, a tinge of shame comes over me. However, this shame subsides when she announces the next order – a no foam, soy milk latte at 91 degrees with two packets of Splenda and a light sprinkling of hazelnut.

Who would have thought warmed bean water could be so customizable?

Such is life in 2017. We know what we like, how we like it, and we expect the barista to serve our drink to us our... [continue]

Fearfully and wonderfully made: Empowering a new mother to celebrate life

When 19-year-old Angela* came to the Life Design Program, a Buckner Children & Family Services program supported by Baylor Scott & White Health, she was seven months pregnant and had nowhere to live. She moved back to Dallas after dropping out of college due to her unintended pregnancy and felt that plans for her life had taken a drastic detour.

Angela was bouncing from place to place, sleeping on friends’ couches, all the while continuing to progress in her pregnancy. She felt like her world had been turned upside down and struggled with insecurity and shame. Expressing feelings of failure and disappointment about her past... [continue]

Keys to a Gospel-centered summer: Q&A with the Great Commission Team

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]

5 steps to make the most of your camp experience as a leader

By Jennifer Deibel, Contributing Writer

The car washes are complete, the spaghetti dinners served, funds raised and you’re ready for camp.

For many youth and children, a week at camp each summer is the highlight of the year. It’s a time to get away from the mundane daily routines, meet new people and have lots of fun. It can, however, be much more than that. Camp can be a truly life-changing experience.

Danny Dawdy, executive director at Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center, says, “The power of Christian camping is one of the greatest tools a church has. Coming away from a student’s regular routine into an environment of... [continue]

Care + Share: 11 effective ways to reach your community

Outreach in any community begins with intentionality - caring for others and finding ways to share Jesus in a clear, concise way. The summer months provide an especially unique opportunity for churches to impact the lives of those around them. While the best outreach ideas often come from you and those in your church, your friends at Texas Baptists are always available to come alongside and help find more ways to make an impact in your community. Contact the missions team to learn more, or try one of the ideas below.

1. Fire up the lawn mower for someone in need

Ask your city if they know of any senior adults who are having... [continue]

Making the mystery of the Gospel known at Super Summer

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]

Cuidar + Compartir: 11 maneras efectivas para alcanzar a su comunidad

El alcance en cualquier comunidad comienza siendo intencional—cuidando de otros y encontrando maneras para compartir a Jesús de una manera clara y concisa. Los meses del verano proveen una oportunidad particular para la iglesias impactar las vidas de los que les rodean. A pesar de que las mejores ideas de alcance vienen de usted y los miembros de su iglesia, sus amigos en los Bautistas de Texas siempre están disponibles para ayudarle a encontrar maneras para hacer un impacto en su comunidad. Comuníquese con su equipo de misiones para aprender más, o trate una de las ideas a continuación.  

1. Use sus podadoras de grama o... [continue]

Pastoral transitions: Times to thrive

By John Hall, Contributing Writer

Moses is one of the most recognized figures in the Bible. He takes on Pharaoh. He leads the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God even gives him the 10 Commandments as they converse face to face.

He’s one of the greatest examples of leadership in all of Scripture, irreplaceable in his role in God’s story. But God’s story of redemption doesn’t end with Moses. It continues as Joshua transitions into leadership.

Today, many churches find themselves in times of transitioning leadership. Research consistently has shown the average tenure of a pastor is between three and four years, presenting... [continue]

The In-Between Vision

Every pastor knows they will hear this question: “What is God’s vision for our church?” Or, it might be stated a little differently, like, “What are we supposed to be doing? What is God’s will for our church?” These questions will be asked either during an interview with a search committee, or right after the pastor arrives new to a church, or both.

Many pastoral candidates have a ready answer. They have gone to a seminary class, or they have attended a leadership seminar, or they have read a book, and they have a specific image in their mind of what a church—every church—should look like. Unfortunately, those pastors’ plans often... [continue]

The Learn by Listening Dance

The Learn by Listening Dance

By Teri Dowell Ussery

I love to ballroom dance. Gliding effortlessly across the floor. Being swept away by the music. In the arms of a partner whose only job is to make me look beautiful.

Believe it or not, James’ letter to a bunch of early Jesus-believing Jews contained a dance as well.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20).

His letter is intended to help us put steps to our souls and feet to our faith. Having a belief that... [continue]

Texas Baptists to host Hispanic Education Fair in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – In an effort to provide resources and motivation for Hispanic students to excel in education, Texas Baptists is holding the Educate Texas Hispanic Education Fair at Life Church of San Antonio on June 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch for the first 250 registrants will be free.

“The goal of this day is to provide training and resources for parents and students to help students reach their full educational potential,” said Gabriel Cortes, director of Texas Baptists’ Hispanic Education Initiative and coordinator of the event.

While the Hispanic high school dropout rate has decreased significantly in the past few... [continue]


El Día de las Madres está a la vuelta de la esquina.

Al celebrar a su mamá o a las mujeres importantes en su vida, asegúrese de orar por las mujeres alrededor del mundo que tienen dificultad para alimentar a sus familias.

  • Ore por las mujeres que tienen hambre – De acuerdo a la organización Bread for the World (Pan para el Mundo en español), cerca de medio billón de mujeres alrededor del mundo carecen de una nutrición adecuada para una vida saludable; esto significa que el 60% de las personas padece hambre.
  • Ore por las madres que enfrentan problemas financieros – El Centro para las
... [continue]

La enmienda Johnson ‘no es una amenaza a la libertad religiosa’

El Dr. Gus Reyes, Director de la Comisión de Vida Cristiana de los Bautistas de Texas, dijo que la libertad religiosa es “importante para el funcionamiento de una sociedad pluralista”.

“Las protecciones justamente aplicadas a las iglesias, instituciones religiosas y organizaciones sin fines de lucro son vitales a fin de incrementar nuestra habilidad de servir fielmente a nuestros vecinos, miembros y comunidades sin miedo a comprometer nuestras creencias religiosas”, dijo Reyes.

“La enmienda Johnson, sin embargo, no es una amenaza a la libertad religiosa. Establece límites a las actividades políticas de las organizaciones... [continue]


Se aproxima a paso veloz el fin de la 85ª Sesión Legislativa. Algunos de los proyectos de ley que son prioridad para la Comisión están todavía en progreso, pero necesitamos su ayuda para asegurarnos que lleguen al escritorio del gobernador.

HB4: Cuidado familiar

Las familias cuyos ingresos son menores o iguales al 300 por ciento del nivel de pobreza serían elegibles para recibir un pago mensual de no más del 50 por ciento de la tasa de reembolso que reciben las familias temporales. La HB 4 ayuda a mantener a los niños con sus familias extendidas al incrementar el apoyo a los guardianes que tienen algún parentesco con los... [continue]

Bills Are Moving; Help Them Across the Finish Line

The end of the 85th Legislature is rapidly approaching. Several CLC priority bills are still moving, but we need your help to ensure they make it to the governor’s desk.

HB 4: Kinship Care

Families whose incomes are less than or equal to 300 percent of the poverty level would be eligible for a monthly payment not more than 50 percent of the reimbursement rate for foster families. HB 4 helps keep kids with their extended families by increasing financial support for kinship caregivers.

HB 4 is a wise investment in kinship care. Research has shown that children placed with relatives go through fewer placement disruptions, fewer... [continue]

Strength and Dignity -- A Mother’s Day Prayer

Mother’s Day is fast approaching.

As you celebrate your mom or the important women in your life, be sure to pray for women around the world who struggle to support their families.

  • Pray for women who are hungry -- According to Bread for the World, nearly half a billion females around the world do not have adequate nutrition for healthy lives, that’s 60% of people who are hungry.

  • Pray for mothers facing financial adversity -- The Center for Public Policy Priorities reports 42% of single-mother families in Texas live in poverty impacting their ability to provide adequate nutrition and housing for their families.

... [continue]

Texas Baptists and MinistrySafe to provide free child sexual abuse prevention training in Dallas

DALLAS – Texas Baptists, a state-wide denominational convention of more than 5,300 congregations, is partnering with MinistrySafe, a national leader in sexual abuse risk reduction, to provide nine regional child sexual abuse prevention training workshops throughout 2017.

Dallas County Cowboy Church will host one of nine Church Safety Workshops on Thurs., May 11. The workshop, which is free of charge to church leaders around the Metroplex, will be offered from 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and registration is required. Additional information is available at

“Texas Baptists takes very seriously the safety of... [continue]

Encouraging First Responders through theological education

By: Rochelle Rocha Roots

In light of the many stresses and challenges that face law enforcement officers today, South Texas School of Christian Studies (SCS) seeks to encourage and empower local public servants by offering affordable theological training. One way SCS put this mission into action was to offer its First Responders Servant Leadership Summit in November 2016.

The concept for the summit originated from conversations between Dr. Tony Celelli, president of SCS, and Troy Riggs, a board trustee of SCS and the former Corpus Christi Chief of Police. Their main purpose was to determine a way to provide education for public... [continue]

FBC Allen students take first place in State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament

(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

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]

Highland Baptist Church to host free child sexual abuse prevention training

LUBBOCK -- Texas Baptists, a state-wide denominational convention of more than 5,300 congregations, is partnering with MinistrySafe, a national leader in sexual abuse risk reduction, to provide nine regional child sexual abuse prevention training workshops throughout 2017.

Highland Baptist Church in Lubbock will sponsor one of nine Church Safety Workshops on Tues, May 9. The workshop, which is free of charge to church leaders around the Lubbock region, will be offered from 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Registration is required and additional information is available at

“Texas Baptists takes very seriously the... [continue]

Golf Classic Creates Connections, Brings Awareness

The Fourth Annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic was as much a reunion as it was a sporting event.

“We have senior pastors and other church staff, camp and associational directors, institutional leaders, and so many others who participate,” said David Adams, Texas Baptists director of church administration and special projects. “The fellowship is really great to experience, and I have been amazed at how many players come every year from all over the state.”

The Golf Classic took place on April 24 at the Golf Club of Houston with 235 participants from across Texas. Teams were comprised of church ministers, associational leaders... [continue]

Satisfying hunger: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering story

Even as a small child, Terri knew the meaning of hunger. She was poor for as far back as she could remember. Her mom resorted to writing hot checks to buy food and was eventually imprisoned for it.

Her early life took Terri from one challenge to the next. She dropped out of school in 7th grade. At 14, she started drinking and three years later she was using hard drugs.  

By age 40, Terri had already been in more than one abusive relationship and served a 2.5 year prison sentence for a drug charge. Not long after, she became pregnant. Unsure what her future held and with a new life on the way to care for, Terri sought help. She... [continue]

Texas Baptists leaders attend Brazilian Baptist Convention, meet MAP partners

Four Texas Baptists leaders recently traveled to Belem, Brazil, to attend the Brazilian Baptist Convention to formalize the partnership between the two conventions for the Missionary Adoption Program (MAP). Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage was accompanied by Danny Reeves, Texas Baptists president, Josue Valerio, director of missions and Jair Campos, director of MAP for Texas Baptists.

“I was so thankful to express, on behalf of our Texas Baptists family, how deeply committed we are to seeing the lost evangelized in the Amazon region,” said Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church of Corsicana.

In addition to... [continue]