WACO - Texas is in a state of change and will be for many years to come, Dr. David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists told messengers and visitors at the 2014 Annual Meeting.
"This state is growing, and this growth is ushering a whole new level of diversity like we've never seen before," Hardage said.
Not only is Texas changing in ethnic diversity but also in religious diversity, he said, noting 45% of Texans do not believe in anyone or anything.
He told the audience that on an airplane ride about two months ago, he had a revelation from God that made him ask the question, "What makes Texas Baptists different?"
God further showed him Texas Baptists gives equal emphasis to both the Great Commandment, found in Matthew 22, and the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28.
He assured the 1,204 messengers and 480 visitors in attendance at the Annual Meeting that the commitment of BGCT staff is to serve Texas Baptists.
"We love Texas Baptists, and we are here to serve you…it is about you and your church and your mission," he said. But he admitted, "Frankly, it's not really about you either, it's about them. It's about that 45% out there who don't know the God you know, who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus like you have."
He noted that Texas Baptists, through Disaster Recovery, have sent seven containers of food to Liberia over the past month providing 1.7 million meals to people being affected by the Ebola Crisis. This is a prime example of living out the Great Commission by meeting their human needs and giving the opportunity to meet their spiritual needs.
"Texas Baptists, we are a Great Commandment people, that's what we do," he said. "And we are a Great Commission people."
Shortly after Hardage's speech, the final votes were announced for the election of BGCT officers, which concluded as the most diverse selection of officers in the 129-year history of the Annual Meeting.