profiles


HPU graduate Jo Beth MacTavish charts new waters as mom and minister


“Being a mother while a full-time minister is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done,” says Jo Beth MacTavish, Howard Payne University graduate and youth minister at Kenefick Southern Baptist Church near Houston. “When I say there are few footsteps to follow in this field, I mean it. The books on how to be both mom and minister are still being written.”

Having grown up in church, MacTavish was called to ministry at a young age.

“As a teenager, I was given more and more opportunities to serve in leadership... [continue]

The uncommon work of the Kingdom


Kingdom work is often the result of common people doing uncommon work in the unlikeliest of places for the most unlikely of people. This is certainly true when you consider a call to be a leader in ministry. It is evermore real as you consider Texas Baptists’ work.

As we think of the work we will do, most ministers in training whom I know picture a life of ministry that involves a church similar to the one where we developed in our faith. But, Kingdom work can be uncommon.

Until about 18 months ago, I personally did not know Pastor Jim Furgerson or of... [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]

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... [continue]

Celebrating the sanctity of marriage


In a sermon series addressing the issues of brokenness in the world, Pastor Chris Dupree of Baptist Temple McAllen focused one Sunday sermon on the sanctity, definition and value of marriage.

While society has attempted to define and redefine marriage over the years, Dupree encouraged the congregation with this simple truth, "God is the author, definer and creator of marriage."

Dupree invited Ron Smith, counseling pastor at Baptist Temple, to join him in preaching the sermon. Smith addressed the biblical concept of marriage, drawing from... [continue]

Hundreds baptized at cowboy church crusade


Filthy white towels lay soaked on the concrete floor. Dirty water filled the tin trough. Food crumbs were sprinkled all around the worship center.

The time had come to clean up after the Jan. 10-13 Main Event Crusade at the Cowboy Church of Corsicana (CCC). Church volunteers and leaders were tired. But most would say the spiritual excitement far outweighed the physical exhaustion.

"A crusade means bringing in the lost and helping them find Jesus, and that's what we hoped to do." said Derek Rogers, pastor of CCC, about the four-day event.

The... [continue]

Get to know: Clay Carter


  1. Where do you serve and what is your role? I serve at FBC Perryton as the Student and Education Minister.
  2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years? One book that has impacted me, which I just finished, is "Limited Church: Unlimited Kingdom" by Rob Rienow. Great book that challenges ministers on the effectiveness of current ministry practices.
  3. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?My youth pastor, Jerry Pritchett, who was my youth minister my junior and senior year of high school.
  4. What I love most about
... [continue]

Get to know: Scott Dishman


1. Where do you serve and what is your role?

First Baptist Church Palestine, Texas. Youth Pastor

2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

The most influential book is "Jesus Focused Youth Ministry", wish I has read it years ago. Made me take a total different look at my ministry to students.

3. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

My wife Laurie Dishman has had the most impact on my ministry. She has been my rock from the very beginning. She is always there to listen and puts up with my... [continue]

Church Starting Profile: Jair Campos


Jair Campos is the Church Starter for Area 3 which includes Beaumont, Galveston and Houston. Jair has worked for Texas Baptists for seven years, beginning in August of 2008. He began his relationship with Texas Baptists when he planted a church, and worked as a contract worker with the Intercultural Department. He was then hired on as a Church Starter.

As a member of the Church Starting team, Jair assists new church plants. In doing that, he works with the seven local Baptist associations as they also assist the churches.

If you'd like to get in touch with Jair, feel free to email him at .

Church Starting Profile: Mateo Rendon


Today, meet Mateo Rendon! Church Starter for Area 5.

Mateo has ministered with Texas Baptists for thirteen years! Before he came on with Texas Baptists, Mateo was the pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Corpus Christi. "I felt that God had something else for me to do and resigned." Mateo was right. At that time, Texas Baptists' Hispanic ministry wanted to promote a preaching conference at Truett Seminary in Waco, TX and needed someone to take that on. Mateo was the man for the job. He helped within North Texas, which then evolved into the... [continue]

Church Starting Profile: Marty Mosher


Today, please welcome Church Starter for Area 6, Marty Mosher!

Marty has been a Church Starter with Texas Baptists for a little over a decade. He started ten years ago on September 1. When asked to tell the story of how he was hired, Marty says, "It was clearly a God thing. I was in my third year as the planting pastor of The Fellowship at Plum Creek, and called the Texas Baptists Church Starter for my area about land loans and discovered he had retired and there was no one in the position." Marty then talked with the Director about what Texas... [continue]

Church Starting Profile: Meagan Stewart


Today, meet Meagan Stewart! Ministry Assistant for Areas 2 and 5.

Meagan has worked for Texas Baptists since March of 2014, after she met Paul Atkinson when he preached one Sunday at her church. "In his sermon he mentioned a people group from Burma called the Karen people. I was doing an internship with the International Rescue Committee at the time, and I worked with Karen refugees. So I went up to him after the service to talk to him about his sermon. He talked about what he does at the Texas Baptists, and my mom asked if he had any paid... [continue]

Church Starting Profile: Melody Rich


Today, please welcome Melody Rich to the blog! Melody is the Ministry Assistant for Areas 4 and 6.

Melody has been working for Texas Baptists since July 8, 2015. For over twelve years, Melody has dreamed of moving to Dallas. "After applying for dozens of jobs in the retail and fashion field, God showed me this. I was unfamiliar with Texas Baptists, though I'd grown up in a Baptist church. My mom and sister, who attends Truett Seminary, a Baptist institution, suggested I try there. I applied and a week later came in for computer testing. I had... [continue]

Church Starting Profile: Terry Lynch


Please welcome to the blog today, Terry Lynch! Terry has been with Texas Baptists for nine years. Before Terry started here, she worked for a church. A co-worker mentioned an open position with Texas Baptists and the rest is history! She serves as the Assistant to the Director of Church Starting, Paul Atkinson. She also assists the Church Starters in areas 1 and 3; John Silva and Jair Campos respectively.

If you'd like to get in contact with Terry, feel free to email her at terry.lynch [at] texasbaptists.org, or visit our page.

Get to know: Dan McGlasson


1. Where do you serve and what is your role?

I serve as Minister to Students at First Baptist Church in the center of the universe, El Paso, Texas. My responsibilities include the planning and coordination of the youth program, grades 6 through 12, along with general ministerial duties for the church

2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

I don't know about influential, but for practical it is "The 7 Best Practices for Teaching Teenagers the Bible" by Andy Blanks. Very concise and a good manual for my workers.

3. Who is the... [continue]

Church Starting Profile: Paul Atkinson


Paul Atkinson is the Director of Church Starting. He has been with Texas Baptists for over 16 years! Before Paul began his career with Texas Baptists, he was Director of Missions at Golden Triangle Baptist Association in Beaumont, TX. There he worked with Bernie Spooner in the Sunday School department developing a training program called "Jesus Cares 2000". Each year, their team trained 1,500 leaders on Sunday School, deacons, evangelism, prayer and missions. During his work there with Bernie Spooner, Paul learned of an opportunity for a... [continue]

Finding and restoring the lost


A large sign hangs in the hallway of nineteen:ten church with one simple word on display: Found. Each letter of the sign is made up of individual light bulbs. When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, turning their life from the darkness into the light, they turn on one light bulb, representing their decision. The sign serves as a reminder for church members and staff of the exciting new life found in Christ, and also of those who have yet to receive salvation.

The litmus test Pastor Jason Brown and his staff use to evaluate every component of their... [continue]

Get to know: Charles Washington


  1. Where do you serve and what is your role?I serve at the Texas Baptist Children's Home as the minister of youth and recreation.
  2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?No More Excuses by Tony Evans
  3. What I love most about youth ministry is . . .Building relationships with youth. I love the aspect of community building because it creates deep and lasting bonds. Despite the brokenness in the world, the kids I work with are great to be around, and as they come and go, the memories I make with them are life long, and will never leave.
  4. If I could see
... [continue]

Get to know: Mike Vasquez


Mike Vasquez is the youth pastor at First Baptist Church Hondo.

1. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

"Crazy Love" by Francis Chan

2. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

My home pastor, Bob McCarter. Pastor Bob taught/modeled what it meant to love the church, and what it meant to invest in relationships.

3. What I love most about youth ministry is . . .

I love students. They are the present and they are the future. Watching them grow and develop into men and women of God is my favorite... [continue]

Get to know: Stephanie Canaday


Stephanie Canaday is the Minister to Students at Faith Fellowship Baptist Church in Denison, Texas. I work with the students in 7th-12th grades and their families.

1. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

"Speaking to Teenagers", by Doug Fields.

2. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

Kathy Wilburn. She has taught me so much from how to teach a class, how to plan a large event, and how to always put people first. The greatest part was half the time I didn't even realize I was... [continue]

Get to know: Courtney Williams


Courtney Williams serves as the Minister of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Discipleship at David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Austin, TX.

1. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

Having gone through two Masters Theological programs in the past 3 ½ years, I've read numerous interesting texts alongside the Bible, but the most influential book I've read in the past two years is probably "Spiritual Warfare: The Battle for God's Glory" by Jerry Rankin.

2. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

... [continue]

Church reaches out to Russian-speaking Texans


PLANO—Children playing water games, listening intently to Bible stories and doing crafts—the scene looked like a typical American summer camp. That is until the children spoke and revealed their thick Russian accents.

The summer camp, hosted by River of Life Church at Hunters Glen Baptist Church in Plano, comprised of about 50 children who come from Slovak descent. Some had Russian heritage while others had heritage from Ukraine, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Latvia and other Slovak countries. The common denominator is they all spoke both Russian... [continue]

South Texas Children’s Home helping women find redemption


CORPUS CHRISTI – Nicolle Polanco struggled with alcoholism, which then affected every facet of her life. After being unable to take care of her children, she admitted herself into Grace House in Corpus Christi for rehabilitation.

South Texas Children's Home, a Texas Baptists partner ministry, serves in many more capacities than providing a home for children through the Jobs for Life program. It seeks to give women the chance to break out of destructive addictions or patterns, and prepare them for a life in the workforce.

Jobs for... [continue]

German interns unveil unique ministry need in Europe


LA GRANGE—While serving as interns at a Texas Baptist church, an engaged German couple, Christian and Henni, helped unveil an untapped ministry opportunity in much of Europe: the need for marriage counseling.

When Christian and Henni first met, Henni was not a believer in Christ and admittedly made bad decisions in her youth. As Christian stepped into her life, he opened her eyes to God and faith, which instilled many questions inside her heart.

Henni agreed to join Christian at a church baseball camp, where she was put on a team with... [continue]

Church Spotlight: FBC Weslaco


From operating a hunger care ministry to adopting a local school the amount of opportunities, and the ways our Texas Baptist churches reach and serve their communities are endless. Because each community is different, each church responds to needs differently.

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting with Dr. Steven Parker, pastor of First Baptist Church, Weslaco, and Joe Aguilar, youth and discipleship pastor, about two unique ways their church is assisting their community. "We really want the things we are doing to be an overgrowth of our fellowship,"... [continue]

Small town church cheers on senior as he achieves football dream


GOLIAD—Setting goals and working hard to achieve them is a strategy high school senior Ty Ross has clung to for years. Since sixth grade, his biggest goal has been to play college football, and the church family has been by his side to cheer him on.

A few weeks ago, dreams came true for the defensive end as he committed to play for the University of Mary Hardin Baylor (UMHB) Crusaders in the fall.

Ross' small hometown, Goliad, is home to less than 2,000 residents. His graduating class will walk around 100... [continue]

Ira Antoine


I am most passionate about influencing those who are influencers. Everyday I seek to find a way to influence those who influence the lives of others. I try to share the things that I learn and experience in my daily walk of life with others who are called to lead people. Because I am a bivocational pastor I understand where other bivocational pastors live. This excites me the most. I am not talking about something I have learned. I am sharing something I am experiencing.

Name: Ira Antoine

Spouse: Cynthia

Children: Two God-daughters (28 & 20) who are children... [continue]

Freebie Wednesday


"We started on a shoestring and look how God has grown it. We are investing in our kids because they are the future… And a lot of these kids won't have a homemade meal like this until next Wednesday." Virginia Cloud, volunteer

Almost every Wednesday during the school year, a group of volunteers gather in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Killeen, in a circle, hold hands and pray: "Watch over the teens that are coming to us today. Begin to open hearts and minds to you God for those who don't know you. For those who this is their first experience... [continue]

Connections


Department: Connections Team

Explain your ministry:

The Connections Team builds relationships with pastors and church leaders, connecting them to the resources, programs and ministries available through the Texas Baptists.

What are the different aspects of Connections?

Pastor/Church Connection, directed by Joe Loughlin

    1. Building relationships with pastors in order to connect them with the resources, programs and ministries available to help them do their job.
    2. Facilitating connections between Pastor Search Committees and potential ministry candidates who
... [continue]

Angie Carter


It all starts with a relationship. Most people won't respond to something that doesn't feel genuine – be real, vulnerable, and honest, and God will do the rest

Name: Angie Carter

Spouse: Nathan

Children: None, just a cat

Ministry: Hispanic Evangelism

Position: Events Coordinator

Number of years: 10.5, will be 11 in the summer

Where did you grow up?

Elsa, TX in the Rio Grande Valley

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was in the 4th grade and I remember it was at a revival at... [continue]

East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network


We realized our old methods of helping were not really providing people with the help they truly needed. In fact, some of our solutions were creating problems because they made people dependent on us.

Church: Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, TX

Pastor: Dr. David O. Dykes

Initiative: East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

We have completely revamped our method of helping people in poverty. Instead of operating a clothes closet, a utility... [continue]

Matt Snowden


"Joy. I love teaching on joy. The joy of the Lord is so powerful. It is a stream in the desert." -Pastor Matt Snowden

Name: Matt Snowden

Wife: Meredith Snowden

Children: Molly Katherine and Wes Snowden (ages 8 and 7)

Church: First Baptist Church Waco

Number of years: Four and I/4 years

Attendance: We have an active membership of 805

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi.

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I became a Christian at 11. I was baptized in the... [continue]

Kathryn Freeman


Name: Kathryn Annette Freeman

Ministry: Christian Life Commission

Position: Director of Public Policy

Where did you grow up?

Grand Prairie, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I became a Christian at seven years old. I remember learning about inviting Jesus into my heart at Vacation Bible School. I remember being very excited about taking the pre-baptism class and obsessively wearing my salvation bracelet until it fell off.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Texas A&M University... [continue]

Ministry Profile: Christian Life Commission


Department: Christian Life Commission

Staffers: Gus Reyes, Director; Ferrell Foster, Director of Ethics & Justice, Coordinator, Texas Baptist Hunger Offering; Kathryn Freeman, Director of Public Policy; Marilyn Davis, Congregational & Commission Specialist; Joyce Gilbreath, Hunger Offering Specialist; Julie Valentine, Ministry Assistant

Explain your ministry:

The CLC addresses ethical and public policy issues in order to help Texas Baptists follow Christ in their everyday lives. Each Baptist comes to his or her own conclusions about... [continue]

Ellis Orozco


When I was working as an engineer, God made it clear that I was in the wrong place; He wanted me to prepare myself to serve him for the rest of my life. I have never regretted it and have never looked back! -Ellis

Name: Ellis Orozco

Wife: Priscilla Ruth Orozco

Children: Gabriel Antonio Orozco (22); Michael Andrew Orozco (16); Celeste Iliana Orozco (15)

Church: First Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas

Number of years: 5 and a half

Attendance: 1200

Where did you grow up?

Pasadena, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and... [continue]

Run:4Justice


As a church we committed to a partnership to curtail sex trafficking in Cambodia. Then, last year we also partnered with two other churches for an area-wide Choose Life 5k to raise funds for multiple crisis pregnancy centers in the Tarrant Country area. -Pastor Joe Sanchez

Church: 121 Community Church

Pastor: Ross Sawyers

Initiative: Run:4Justice

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

Hosting and co-hosting fundraising runs for Justice and Life issues.

How did you recognize this need?

Our two Run:4Justice runs... [continue]

Bill Arnold


Name: Bill Arnold

Spouse: Margaret

Children: Meredith and Jonathan Grandchildren: Ryan, Mason, Jake, and Hank

Ministry: Providing financial resources for Texas missions

Position: President of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation

Number of years: 30

Where did you grow up?

Memphis, Tennessee

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

Eight years old at an RA camp on the Mississippi coast.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Mississippi College

If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?... [continue]

Texas Baptist Missions Foundation


Department: Texas Baptist Missions Foundation

Staffers: Bill Arnold, President; Larry Thomas, Vice President; Bob Feather, Consultant; Marcy Strube, Donor Relations Coordinator; Rita Griffith, Administrative Assistant

Explain your ministry:

The Missions Foundation works with individuals that want to financially support missions in Texas and around the world. We do this by receiving cash and noncash gifts as well as by working with people who want to include missions in their estate plans.

What are the different aspects of the TBMF?

Working with... [continue]

Vision 6000


Church: First Baptist Church of El Paso

Pastor: Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr.

Initiative: "Vision 6000"

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

“Vision 6000" seeks to stir the imagination and dreams of our people to envision touching the lives of 1% of the population of El Paso with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This vision statement challenges us to maximize our effectiveness at our home base, but also to stimulate the desire to plant new churches and ministries across the region. If we don't think and dream big we will probably settle for business... [continue]

Pastor Oscar Epps


Name: Oscar D. Epps, Sr.

Spouse: Belenthia

Children: Destany, Oscar Jr., Aderius

Church: Community Missionary Baptist Church, Desoto, TX

Number of Years: 21

Attendance: 3,000

Where did you grow up?

Dallas, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was 10 years old and very eager to be baptized.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Dallas Baptist University

If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?

Honorary Doctorate and am currently enrolled in... [continue]

Becky Holt


Name: Becky Holt

Husband: I will be marrying Steven Barnes this weekend!

Children: None yet

Ministry: Collegiate

Position: Ministry Assistant

Number of years: 14

Where did you grow up? 

Dallas until I was 8 and then Garland

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was 7 years old when I became a Christian. I was attending a GA Camp with my church at Mt Lebanon Baptist Camp. They had a puppet show and talked about sin and our need for a Savior. Although I had grown up in church, it finally clicked that I needed to be forgiven for... [continue]

Collegiate Ministry


Department: Center for Collegiate Ministry, Go Now Missions and Texas BSM

Staffers: Bruce McGowan - State BSM Director; Joyce Ashcraft - Ministry and Regional Coordinator; Brenda Sanders - Missions Consultant; Robert Hooker - Evangelism Consultant; Ginger Bowman - Church Life Consultant; Katie Gravens - Leadership Consultant; Rick Spencer/Nick Howard/John Pearce - Regional Coordinators and Ministry Assistants: Peggy Moulden, Cindy Zoller and Becky Barnes

Mission: To engage the 1.5 million college students in Texas to follow Christ and transform the world. We... [continue]

Alliance Education Initiative


Church: Alliance Church, Lubbock

Pastor: Jesse Rincones

Initiative: Alliance Education Initiative

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

We have been working to bring awareness to and address the educational challenges facing the Hispanic community, both inside and outside the church. This “one thing" is actually several different efforts that come under an umbrella that I call the Alliance Education Initiative.

Here are a few of facets that are part of this effort:

  • May Education Emphasis - part of each Sunday in this month is
... [continue]

Jay Abernathy


Name: Jay Abernathy

Wife: Kelle (McHan) Abernathy of Abilene, TX

Children: Hannah (married to Trevor Brown, youth pastor at FBC Round Rock), Hayley (a Master's of Social Work student at Baylor), Caleb (a Freshman at Baylor)

Church: First Baptist Church of Palestine, TX

Number of years: 14

Attendance: 250

Where did you grow up?

I started in Richardson, TX (FBC Richardson), but some may debate if it's a completed process yet.

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

When I was 7 years old, my grandfather... [continue]