November 2017


Johnson Amendment protects churches from political manipulation


The tax bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the version now being considered by the Senate would roll back the 1954 law prohibiting partisan political involvement by nonprofit organizations, including churches. This effort to repeal the Johnson Amendment would harm both churches and the American political process. Currently, pastors can speak to any issue that is important to them and their community, but they cannot push particular candidates in their role as pastor. In other words, from the pulpit, pastors can deal with any issue, but not with candidates. And, away from the church, ministers can work for a candidate, but not as part of their work for the church. Any Christian, including any pastor, can endorse and work for any candidate or cause; he or she simply cannot do it as the church organization without the church paying taxes... [continue]

For Beaumont church, Hurricane Harvey relief reflects heart for community


By John Hall, contributing writer

During the first service at Westgate Memorial Baptist Church following Hurricane Harvey’s devastating visit to Beaumont, Pastor Raymond McHenry made a promise to his congregation: He would not shave until every one of the four dozen families affected by the storm in the church was helped.

A beard emerged across McHenry’s face, but it would not be there long at the rate his congregation is responding. The stewardship committee approved $1,000 gifts to each affected family quickly after the storm to provide some immediate help. Church members have donated items, given financially to the relief... [continue]

Shining in the community in the midst of a disaster strike


By Kaitlyn DeHaven, Baylor University student

Rose City Baptist Church in Vidor, Texas, was in the process of rebuilding its church when disaster struck once again. Last year, the church suffered a catastrophic loss when 80 percent of the church burned down in a fire. Before Hurricane Harvey hit, it was three weeks away from reopening.

Tony Wilcoxson, pastor of Rose City Baptist, said that while there was a lot of hurt and pain that happened in his community, this aspect actually happened to be a blessing in disguise, because they had just put a new septic system in, which had provided them with 20,000 pounds of sand that could... [continue]

ETBU grad finds calm in chaos


By: Katelyn Cooper, ETBU senior business major

“I’m in New York City sitting in a room. It’s 10:00 a.m. and the CFO for the company walks in, and we knew that something was really wrong,” Peter Muriungi explained. “He said, ‘We have a problem, but everything will be fine.’ By 5:00 that evening, about $3 billion worth of investments were withdrawn as people called to get their money back. I got on a plane Thursday morning. I returned home Friday, and the company was sold for $2 per share. All my money and all I had ever done was in that company. That’s all I knew, so the crisis was probably the most dramatic change in my life.”

continue]

Assistant Chaplains encourage spiritual growth


By Grace Mitchell, Hardin-Simmons University Marketing Staff Writer 

At Hardin-Simmons University, the college years are not only a time for academic learning, but also a time for spiritual growth. In past years, ResLife has hired graduate students as chaplains in the dorms. This year, they have added a team of undergrads to serve as assistant chaplains in residence and encourage their peers in their spiritual walk.

One assistant chaplain works in each dorm, leading a weekly Bible study. They are also available for students who want to share a prayer request, talk about a struggle, or just go get coffee.

“The reason I wanted to... [continue]

FBC Refugio Regains Footing After Harvey


By Analiz G. Schremmer

Ninety to 95 percent of buildings in the small town of Refugio were damaged during Hurricane Harvey. That includes First Baptist Church Refugio, which lost most of its roof to the strong winds, rendering the building unusable.

“The storm essentially blew about three-quarters of the roof off the sanctuary, so the sanctuary was a total loss,” said FBC Pastor T. Wayne Price. “Our educational building was about one-fourth damaged. We still do not have the exact numbers, but we are talking about an interior rebuild. Everything in the sanctuary was destroyed.”

Price said the majority of his congregation was... [continue]

Thanks anyway


Charlottesville. Las Vegas. Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Maria. Sutherland Springs. These are the national crises we have faced as a nation just in the last six months. Not to mention the personal crises that may be enveloping you, your ministry, and your family that no one sees. It feels like we are limping to the end of 2017. Yet, somehow in the midst of all these things, we will stop and give thanks on Thursday... [continue]

DESARROLLE UN PLAN DE ACCIÓN DE EMERGENCIA PARA SU IGLESIA


por David Adams and John Litzler el 8 de noviembre del 2017 ennews

El reciente tiroteo en la FirstBaptistChurch Sutherland Springs nos recordó de nuevo que aun los lugares de adoración pueden ser inseguros. También debemos recordar que las congregaciones de todos los tamaños y localidades deben tomar pasos para abordar la posibilidad de sufrir una violencia inimaginable. Entonces, ¿cómo debemos “esperar lo inesperado”?

Prepare un plan de acción de emergencia (EOP, por sus siglas en inglés) designado especialmente para su iglesia. Aunque ejemplos de planes pueden ayudar a identificar la magnitud de su propio plan, la... [continue]

¿QUÉ HACER TRAS OTRA BALACERA MASIVA?


En la medida que nos dolemos por la matanza sin sentido en la FirstBaptist Sutherland Spring, me las he visto difícilpara saber qué decir personalmente a un nivel práctico, y he llegado a esta conclusión: si vamos a vivir en una sociedad que le permita básicamente a cualquier persona tener un arma de asalto, nuestras iglesias y otras organizaciones que se reúnen van a tener que contratar seguridad profesional. Con esto quiero decir principalmente la contratación de oficiales de la policía fuera de servicio para nuestra seguridad.

A muchos de estos servidores públicos no les caería mal un ingreso adicional,pues generalmente no... [continue]

DESPUÉS DE LA INUNDACIÓN: UN MINISTERIO DE LA OFRENDA CONTRA EL HAMBRE SIRVE A LAS VI


Por Abby Hopkins

El pánico, miedo e incertidumbregeneral surgieron en los díasposteriores al 25 de agosto, cuando el huracán Harvey tocó tierra y superó las expectativas sobre su potencial de destrucción en Texas. Muchos experimentaron pérdidas devastadoras, y el Estado y el condado se vieron forzados a enfrentar la latente pregunta: ¿y ahora qué?

El ministerio Polk County Mission Center, también conocido como el Center of Hope in Livingston (Centro de Esperanza en Livingston, en español) respondió a la pregunta sirviendo. Para aquellos que habían perdido la esperanza, el centro proveyó recursospara recuperarla al establecerse a... [continue]

HOY ESTAMOS DE LUTO


La tragedia del domingo en la First Baptist Church of Sutherland Spring es descorazonadora e incomprensible. Estas balaceras se sienten increíblemente personales; seguramente usted también las siente de ese modo.

Un servicio de adoración matutino un domingo en Texas -- ¿cuántas veces he estado en este mismo escenario? Para la iglesia bautista Sutherland Springs este momento ordinario se convirtió en una escena de horror. Si usted es como yo, se preguntará cómo responder a este tipo de eventos.

¿Qué digoal enfrentar tal tragedia?

¿Cómo respondo a algo tan devastador?

¿Debo tener temor de ir a la iglesia o vivir mi... [continue]

Hunger Offering partnering with Refuge and Hope for #GivingTuesday


By Abby Hopkins

Love, peace, and hope embody the character of the holiday season for believers in Christ. It is a wonderful reminder to those who long to embody those same qualities in their personal character. Jesus said,  “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, NRSV).

While Jesus provided the ultimate sacrifice and perfect gift, he calls us to imitate his actions by laying down our priorities, desires, and needs for the sake of others. We, at Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, would love for you to join us in this “laying down” of self as we participate in #GivingTuesday.

continue]

God carrying the church through Hurricane Harvey


Bevil Oaks, a small town located in Jefferson County on the outskirts of Beaumont, is a relatively quiet place. The neighborhoods are beautiful, the community is active and the people are kind. However, these characteristics did not protect the town from the harsh reality of Hurricane Harvey.

The rain began Friday, Aug. 25. As the storm grew worse, Robert Ring, worship pastor of First Baptist Church of Bevil Oaks, decided to make the call to cancel their Sunday morning church service.

“On Sunday, water began coming up into friends’ yards, and we weren’t sure how high the water would be getting. For us, the main part of Harvey... [continue]

Texas Baptists compelled towards God’s will, word and work


WACO–More than 1,700 messengers and visitors attended the 132nd Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco where they were equipped and encouraged to live compelled for Christ. Messengers adopted a 2018 total budget over $37 million, passed a number of resolutions, and through speaking, worship, workshops and fellowship, were urged to live out Great Commandment and the Great Commission in every aspect of their lives.

“Be compelled to seek God’s will, search God’s word and support God’s work. This is the heartbeat of Texas Baptists,” said President Danny Reeves during his Monday morning address.

Budget approved, resolutions highlight... [continue]

Challenging Texas Baptists to change the world by looking up


Delvin Atchison closed out the 2017 Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting Tuesday morning by calling Texas Baptists to “peer at our possibilities from God’s perspective.”

He preached from Genesis 15:1-5, a passage that deals with a conversation between Abram and God right after Abram has won a military victory. In spite of this win, Abram was grappling with his disappointment that God had not yet fulfilled His promise of providing descendents.

Atchison highlighted four statements from God to Abram that apply to Texas Baptists today.

First, He tells Abram “fear not.” Atchison points out that it’s an interesting moment for that... [continue]

Gregory discusses preaching to persuade


Trying to separate preaching from persuasion is a false dichotomy, said Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University.

Persuasion has gotten a bad rap lately, often because it has become associated with manipulation or even coercion, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It was almost a motto for Paul’s ministry, Gregory said.

Paul was always trying to persuade, from his first stop in each new town speaking to the Jews at the local synagogue to the Gentiles with his Areopagus address.

“When you seek to persuade, you’re preaching with a desire to change or reinforce attitude or behavior,&rdquo... [continue]

Church security basics and preparing for the unexpected


An additional workshop addressing church safety and security was added to the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting schedule following the tragic shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Led by David Adams, director of Church Administration and Special Projects, and John Litzer, legal consultant, the Tuesday morning workshop presented practical tools and resources to create an emergency operations plan and to discuss legal policies that influence churches.

“Use people in your church who know your church, community and law enforcement, and use people outside your church to help you prepare,” said Adams.

There will not... [continue]

I Was a Stranger


The Vickery Meadow area of Dallas is often referred to as “the Little United Nations.” On any given day, refugees and immigrants from Burma, Iran and the Congo can be found trying to make ends meet. This community is where Project: Start Refugee Resource Center, supported by Texas Baptists, engages in daily ministry. 

Project: Start Director Leonid Regheta led a workshop Tuesday morning at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, teaching fellow believers about the plight of refugees in the city of Dallas and how they can help “the least of these.”

For Regheta, it is a personal issue. As a child, he and his family fled the Ukraine... [continue]

Mancini challenges churches to dream big


A dream can move the people of God to do incredible things for the kingdom of God, but most churches aren’t dreaming big enough. Will Mancini’s keynote address at the Monday evening worship session of the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting urged leaders to seek clarity and specificity on their “special assignment from God.”

Mancini is an author, church strategist and founder of the non-profit church consulting group, Auxano. He said most churches he consults with have mission statements that are too broad and vague, relying on phrases such as “making disciples,” “glorifying God,” or “reaching more people in the next five... [continue]

Living Compelled to end hunger together


During the Monday afternoon workshop session of the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual meeting, Jeremy Everett, senior director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, shared a compelling message on the need for Christians to unite against the rampant issue of hunger in Texas, the United States and across the world. 

Everett works to educate and equip individuals with practical strategies to end hunger for those who are in need within their own communities. He opened the workshop by asking those in attendance about their personal experience with hunger ministry. From across the room, people from around Texas shared about food pantries, backpack... [continue]

Hardage bears witness to the good work of Texas Baptists


Texas Baptists participate in a vast array of life-changing work every day. To bring recognition and awareness to this year's most prominent ministry and evangelism efforts during his Monday evening report at the 2017 Annual Meeting, Executive Director David Hardage recognized notable leaders that partner with Texas Baptists.

Those Hardage recognized included Tamiko Jones, newly-elected executive director-treasurer, WMU of Texas; Mickey Lenamon, executive director, Texas Baptist Men, who shared about Hurricane Harvey Disaster Recovery efforts; Katie Sciba, governing board officer from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, who... [continue]

Church Unique: Strengthening Your Culture


Will Mancini, author and church strategist, presented the ideas published in his book Church Unique to an afternoon workshop on Monday, Nov. 13, at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Mancini, who has worked as a church consultant for 17 years, declared each church is as unique as a snowflake with many different needs.

He began the session speaking on the “cloning conference” epidemic many churches fall victim to. “You can’t go to a conference and cut and paste a playbook. Make your own playbook,” said Mancini.

In order to make a playbook, churches must have a clear vision of who they are as a church and what they wish to... [continue]

Texas Baptists officers re-elected to second terms


WACO–Officer elections bookended the business session of the 132nd Texas Baptists Annual Meeting Monday afternoon in Waco. Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church of Corsicana, was re-elected president; Joe Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Lewisville, was re-elected first vice president; and Jim Heiligman, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bryan, was re-elected as second vice president.

With First Vice President Fields presiding, Reeves was nominated for his second term as President of the convention by Bobby Bell, a messenger from First Baptist Church of Edna and district judge. Prior to his pastorate at... [continue]

Robert Pinder, Bob Feather and First Baptist Belton honored by Texas Baptist Mission Foundation


Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) honored two individuals and one church Monday at its annual missions awards luncheon.

Don Cramer presented the Adventurer Award to Robert H. Pinder.

“I wanted you to get a glimpse of his heart, so I asked him two questions,” Cramer said. “The first question was, ‘What was the most rewarding experience of your ministry?’” 

“Pinder said, ‘Starting four churches in Argentina and training six young deacons how to share their faith.’ That stood out among everything he’s done. Then I said, ‘How would you summarize your life and ministry?’ He said, ‘Seeing people come to know Jesus and maturing... [continue]

Texas Baptists urged to remain centered on Christ


“How on earth did we ever get into this mess?”

Danny Reeves, president of Texas Baptists, confronted the audience with this sobering question during his presidential address at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

“Between national debt, natural disasters, shootings and terrorists attacks, it seems like our culture is in complete disintegration. Some days I feel like I’ve had enough. The word that would sum this up is catastrophe.”

He continued, “Brothers and sisters in Christ, the question I ask you today is a recurring question Texas Baptists has been trying to answer all year long: In the midst of chaos in our world, what... [continue]

Cross-cultural, cross-generational communication in Hispanic churches


The United States has the second largest Hispanic population of any country in the world. This represents a huge opportunity for Texas Baptists in particular, said Rolando Rodriguez, director of Hispanic Ministries, in his Monday morning workshop at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

In the session, “Preaching to Reach Hispanics in Texas,” Rodriguez said the biggest challenge is finding ways to minister effectively to the diverse generations within the Hispanic community.

The first generation was born outside the United States and Spanish is used in the home most of the time. This generation tends to be very traditional and... [continue]

Churches to be recognized for faithful cooperative program giving at 2017 Annual Meeting


As Texas Baptists are called to live “Compelled” at this years’ Annual Meeting, nine churches were recognized for their Cooperative Program giving. Since 1925, the Cooperative Program has provided the fuel to fund mission work in Texas, the United States and all around the world.

“The Cooperative Program is effective because of the generosity of thousands of Texas Baptists churches working together,” said Chris Liebrum, director of the Office of Cooperative Program Ministry. “The churches we recognize at Annual Meeting represent giving among nine categories of church size and ethnicity, all exemplary in their commitment to mission... [continue]

A Theology of Caring in the church


“What is a theology of care? How is this appropriate in our church and our lives?” asked Rev. Byron Stevenson, pastor of The Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land, at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting workshop, “A Theology of Caring.” Stevenson opened the workshop with a time of prayer and worship to God, for “He is good and He is kind.”

The encouragement he shared was anchored in Matthew 9:35-36, when Jesus was moved with compassion for the multitudes.

“One of the things that blesses our church are the five pillars of faith our church is built upon - trust, faith, kindness, liberal giving and compassion,” said Stevenson. “And... [continue]

Christian Community Development, the mission trip that doesn't go away


“The people with the problem must be part of the solution to the problem,” shared Jimmy Dorrell, pastor of Church Under the Bridge and executive director of Mission Waco, during the “Caring for the least of These” workshop presented Monday morning at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

Dorrell detailed how he grew up without need and was blessed with more than he wanted. Upon arriving in Waco and attending college at Baylor University, his perspective changed. For the first time in his life, he saw real poverty.

“Our background is our glasses,” Dorrell said. “It shapes how we see things.” The lens Dorrell continually looked... [continue]

African American Rally encourages vibrant, not tepid Christianity


The 2017 Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting began with an impassioned crowd Sunday night at the African American Fellowship Worship Rally. Toliver Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Waco brimmed as members of different congregations came together to worship the Lord through song and teaching. The night was filled with enthusiastic preaching and passionate praise.

The praise team from Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church of Waco began the night with worship. Dr. Jim Heiligman, 2nd vice president of Texas Baptists, and pastor of First Baptist Church, Bryan, brought greetings from Texas Baptists and shared, “I am convinced that... [continue]

Cowboy Church Rally encourages attendees to pray big


Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and grandparents alike gathered on a beautiful Sunday night at Top Hand Cowboy Church in Valley Mills, Texas for a time of fellowship and to kick off the 132ndTexas Baptists Annual Meeting. The smell of southern barbecue filled the air and laughter and conversation flowed freely throughout the room as the church hosted the annual Cowboy Church Roundup on Nov. 12 in Waco.

Inside the church, a banner with vibrant red letters listed the church's main priorities: “Prayer, Bible study, serving God & others, and missions.” At the bottom of the banner read Matthew 22:37-40, the foundational verses of the... [continue]

Hispanic Baptists worship, emphasize being compelled to action


The Texas Baptists Hispanic family gathered Sunday night at Iglesia Bautista Maranatha in Waco to worship together, hear from pastors around the state, and encourage one another to live Compelled for Christ. The rally was one of three held on the first evening of the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

The first sermon of the evening focused on evangelism.

“A church in action is evangelism; a church in action is reaching the lost,” said Israel Villalobos, associate pastor of Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving.

If Texas Baptists want to be churches in action, Villalobos said, they need to look to Jesus’ example.

“Jesus was... [continue]

Grief: A unique reaction to death or loss


By: Fay Green, MA, LPC, LMFT, FT

Grief is a unique, personal natural, normal, necessary reaction to death and loss. Death is a universal part of the human experience. Grieving is the internal reaction following a loss while mourning is an outward or public expression of thoughts and feelings regarding a loss.  Bereavement means to be torn apart or robbed, to be deprived of something or someone.  

Grief can be anticipatory, sudden or traumatic. Anticipatory grief is a normal response to an upcoming loss or death. With anticipatory loss, individuals have an opportunity to complete unfinished business. 

Sudden death or loss happens... [continue]

How to care for trauma survivors Q&A


Unfortunately, in our very broken world, we all too frequently hear about tragedies at home and abroad. These events can have significant impact on the mental and emotional health and well-being of those involved and, in fact, have an impact on you and me. To help us all better understand trauma, I reached out to one of our network counselors, Brady Robinson, LPC-S, who specializes in coping with trauma for a brief Q & A session.

1.  How do I know if I have experienced trauma?

Trauma in a traditional sense of the word implies that one has experienced a real or perceived threat to their life or physical integrity. This can also... [continue]

After the flood: Hunger Offering ministry serves victims of Hurricane Harvey


By Abby Hopkins

Widespread panic, fear, and uncertainty erupted in the days after Aug. 25, when Hurricane Harvey made landfall and surpassed expectations of its potential destruction in Texas. Many experienced devastating loss as the state and country were forced to face the lurking question — what next?

Polk County Mission Center, also known as Center of Hope in Livingston, answered the question by serving. For those who had lost hope, the center provided resources to bring it back by establishing themselves as a 24-hour distribution center that began Aug. 31.

Thomas Crow, treasurer of Polk County Mission Center, said... [continue]

Today, we grieve


Sunday’s tragedy at First Baptist Sutherland Springs is heartbreaking and incomprehensible. These shootings feel incredibly personal. I bet they do for you, too.

A Sunday morning worship service in a Baptist church in Texas -- how many times have I experienced this same scenario? For Sutherland Springs Baptist Church, this ordinary time turned into a horrifying scene.

If you are like me, you have questions about how to respond.

What do I say in the face of such a tragedy?

How do I respond to something so devastating?

Should I be afraid attending my church or living my life?

How can I help?  

A few thoughts for this... [continue]

Developing an emergency operations plan for your church


The recent shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs reminded us again that even sacred spaces can be unsafe. We should also be reminded that congregations of all sizes and locations should take steps to address the possibility that unimaginable violence could happen. So how can we “expect the unexpected?”

Create an emergency operations plan (EOP) designed especially for your church. While sample plans may help identify the scope of your plan, your church is unique in its location, buildings, schedule, activities, and culture. Therefore, you must develop your own plan with the help of others.

In creating a planning... [continue]

5 ways to strengthen your church nominating committee


By Aaron Summers

Nominating Committees everywhere are starting to work hard to fill church positions. I have worked on both the local and state level in trying to uncover and discover and recover people to serve on various boards, agencies, teams, committees, and teaching slots. I have seen the good and bad side of filling positions. Often, we cherry pick the best people for certain positions and scramble to just fill the page. 

Tragic.

Somewhere in the deep recesses, we know there should be more people involved, but who has the time? In most cases in the church, there are two positions for every committee, plus trustees... [continue]

What do we do in the aftermath of another mass shooting?


As we all grieve over the senseless killings at First Baptist Sutherland Springs, I have grappled with what to say personally at a practical level. I have arrived at this: 

If we are going to have a society that allows virtually anyone to have an assault-type weapon, our churches and other organizations that gather are going to have to pay for professional security. By that, I primarily mean the hiring of off-duty law enforcement for security. 

Many of these public servants could use the extra income because communities generally do not pay them well enough. Also, regarding churches, it would be good to establish closer... [continue]

Is your pastor burdened with financial stress? The stats say Yes


By John Hall

Contributing Writer

Nine years ago, Darrel and Kim Auvenshine helped found Southside City Church in Fort Worth. The congregation primarily serves the impoverished, the down and out and the homeless.

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, Pastor Darrel pours his heart into the lives of others. He’s a networker, counselor, pastor and encourager. He’s the guide who continually points people to Christ, the man who seeks to meet everyone’s needs. Except his own.

Darrel and his wife always put others first, stretching their finances thin to improve the lives of others. Then the bivocational pastor lost his job... [continue]

Collaboration facilitates community impact


When Blanca Salinas attended a gathering of Baptist partners in San Antonio last February, she made connections which helped expand the reach of her ministry. At the meeting, Salinas, site coordinator for STCH ministries, shared about two programs she coordinates–Jobs for Life and Faith & Finances. 

Jobs for Life is a job-readiness ministry that equips individuals to transition from unemployed to employed. 

“Throughout the 12-week course, we also help equip people spiritually,” said Salinas. “This is a faith-based curriculum that explores people’s faith and spirituality. It speaks to far more than just the practical skills we... [continue]

Strengthening families in times of need


By Vicki Hewitt, STCH Ministries

When a single mom and her children first arrive at Homes for Families, a program of STCH Ministries, desperation often accompanies them. Dreams of a better life have worn thin from years of crises, trauma and anxiety. Yet the moment they choose to reach out for help, rather than continue to go it alone, a shift begins to take place.

For most of the moms, the motivation to give up their chaotic, familiar world for something unfamiliar comes from their desire to give their children a different, better life.

Current resident Amanda, a mother of four, shared that she came from a situation of abuse... [continue]

Discovering the ‘who’ in go and make disciples


What defines you? 

For some it is status or a title – doctor, pastor, or director. People can draw a strong sense of accomplishment from attaining goals that were once only dreams. This can take the form of how much money, how much privilege, how many possessions we have accumulated in life. The bumper sticker really says it all – “Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.” 

As the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team, our identity is found not in the “what” of ministry, but the “who.”

People continually ask the question, “How do you define discipleship?” Even in the Christian realm, we can become sidetracked into verbiage that... [continue]

On the front lines of the Great Commission at UTA


Before stepping onto the University of Texas at Arlington campus as a freshman, Ashleigh Hood had a lack confidence in her relationship with Jesus. 

Though she had been exposed to the Gospel and attended church semi-regularly, Hood felt her faith had never been her own. 

“I hadn’t accepted Christ. I had been baptized, but out of a social obligation. There wasn’t any meaning for me behind it,” said Hood.

For a multitude of reasons, including being surrounded by poor influences and feeling like she didn’t fit in with the church crowd, Hood abandoned church altogether by the time she was in high school. However, everything would... [continue]

Room in our hearts to love our neighbors


By Jacob West, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Stamford

About to rupture

Every summer my family heads to the beach for a week to relax and recharge. The waves provide never-ending delight for our children. Smiles stretch across their tanned faces throughout our time together. Before leaving this past summer, I took our aged GMC Yukon in for an inspection. Once the Yukon passed inspection, the West family was on its way. The trip went routinely. I knew the way.

Along the route we stopped at a gas station and I began to fill the tank. As I finished cleaning the windows, the pump shut off, but something was wrong. Unbeknownst to... [continue]

Transforming Bridgeport one haircut at a time


Located west of Decatur, Bridgeport is a town of 6,500 people. Though it’s small in size, residents like Martha Montejano are working to make a significant difference.

Montejano’s past was marked with difficulties. However, through the Lord’s redemption in her own life, Montejano has allowed her love for Christ and deep understanding of what it’s like to grow up lacking to drive her to be a light in her community.

Ten years ago, as she was going about her normal routine at her hair salon, The Hair Shop, Berniece Landers walked in for her first appointment. She sat down in Montejano’s chair and shared about Pleasant View Baptist... [continue]

Descubriendo el ‘quién’ en id y haced discípulos


¿Qué le define? 

Para algunas personas es una posición o un título—doctor, pastor, o director. Las personas reciben un fuerte sentido de satisfacción al alcanzar metas que una vez eran sueños solamente. Esto puede expresarse en términos de cuánto dinero, cuánto privilegio, cuántas posesiones hayamos acumulado en la vida. Hay un refrán que lo expresa bien—“El que muere con la mayor cantidad de juguetes, gana”. 

Como Equipo Gran Comisión de los Bautistas de Texas, nuestra identidad no se encuentra en el “qué” del ministerio, sino en el “quién”.

Las personas constantemente preguntan: “¿Cómo se define el discipulado?” Aun en el... [continue]

God’s people responding in a time of disaster


  • During the storm, Iglesia Bautista Redencion experienced 30 inches of flooding, resulting in over $100,000 in damages
  • Through donated resources, the church has been ministering to the community around them
  • With the help of partner churches, $20,000 has been raised to go toward the church rebuilding process

HOUSTON–“We couldn’t believe it. We never thought this would happen. We were here in the church worshiping the night before the flood, and we could have never imaged what was to come,” said Pastor Jesus Guillen of Iglesia Bautista Redencion of Houston.

After the storm subsided, Pastor Guillen was not able to get back... [continue]