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 need to find a job and keep a job.”
Dale Meinecke, another attendee and then-director of Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels campus, was interested in the Jobs for Life program and approached Salinas about future partnership opportunities between the two entities.
After brainstorming ways to introduce the programs to community leaders in New Braunfels, Meinecke and Salinas decided to host a Breakfast of Champions where Salinas could share more about Jobs for Life. Relationships were formed at the breakfast and Salinas will soon begin teaching Jobs for Life classes at the HPU New Braunfels campus, with the support of the community.
Also in the San Antonio area, Salinas coordinates Faith & Finances, a 12-week program that teaches biblical principles for managing finances. At the same February meeting, she was connected with Nick Holguin from Baptist Credit Union, who was interested in ways BCU could partner to serve participants in the courses.
BCU has reduced the membership fee for Faith & Finance students, allowing them to open savings accounts. They have also committed to personally explaining credit reports for students and will work with participants’ churches through low interest rate loans or incentive programs.
All of the collaboration and partnership was made possible through the work of Elizabeth Biedrzycki, South Texas regional coordinator for Texas Baptists. Biedrzycki seeks to collaborate with leaders in and around San Antonio and facilitate partnerships to better serve their communities.
“My hope is through collaborative relationships between Baptist institutions and the local church, more ministry can be done together and communities can flourish in San Antonio and South Texas,” said Biedrzycki.
In addition to this collaboration, Biedrzycki also connects with churches to reach upcoming generations, and seeks to find new and innovative ways to reach those who are predominately unchurched and growing up in a post-Christian culture.
One such initiative, entitled Good Neighbor, is a field guide to community engagement. The curriculum takes groups through a three-part journey of guided conversations, immersion experiences and action projects. Through the pilot project in San Antonio, Biedrzycki helped participants see how good conversation about meaningful matters can lead to healthy relationships. Healthy relationships, in turn, can change the world.
In the coming year, she will help facilitate groups around Texas. The desire is for non-Christians to use the guide alongside their Christian neighbors to begin steps toward a relationship with Jesus.
Biedrzycki also joined with San Antonio Baptist Association last spring to host a 9-session class on the millennial generation and missiology, alongside Dr. Darrell Horn, SABA director of mission. By examining specific generational trends, outward facing facts and the width and breadth of the emerging generation, attendees gained a better understanding of how to reach this group with the Gospel.
The shifts in culture throughout Texas are evident and will continue to broaden. Through giving to the Cooperative Program, Texas Baptists are able to imagine new and different ways to continue our long-lasting efforts to share the love of Jesus with those who need to hear.
To learn more about this work or how to get involved, contact Elizabeth Biedrzycki at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210.269.9400.