Building healthy and strong families in Peru
by Kalie Lowry on September 18, 2018 in great commandment
When Elizabeth Mejía Laguna first came to the Buckner Family Hope Center, a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering recipient, she was shy and kept to herself. She often stayed in her home and did not interact with her neighbors...
Life trailer provides community outreach for local churches
by Guest Author on September 11, 2018 in news
Throughout the vast expansion of land, Robert Wheat, the director of missions for the association, wanted the churches to have a mobile resource to reach people in need of the Gospel. After months of dreaming, Wheat envisioned a ‘Life Trailer’ that was mobile and versatile for churches to utilize in reaching their communities...
Finding La Mano de Dios in Soccer
by Analiz G Schremmer on July 13, 2018 in great commandment
La Mano de Dios, a group of soccer tournaments across Texas, introduces the Gospel to soccer players and their families...
So all may hear along the Amazon
by Kalie Lowrie on July 13, 2018 in great commission
Twenty-eight Texans partnered with MAP missionaries along the Amazon River to share the Gospel and strengthen the ongoing work in Brazil...
BOUNCE students bring hope to Houston after Harvey
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 13, 2018 in great commandment
After months of hopelessness following the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, Houston homeowner Gaye Stephens was shown compassion and joy for the first time through middle and high school students...
The transforming power of God in prisons
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 13, 2018 in great commandment
Prisoners lives are being transformed as their fellow inmates are living out the call of the Great Commission to start ‘Philippi Churches.&rsquo...
El poder transformador de dios en las prisiones
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 13, 2018 in great commandment
Las Iglesias Filipos son grupos de presos que se reúnen para orar, adorar y testificar del amor y el poder de Dios dentro de las prisiones...
Basketball and building up the faith
by Guest Author on July 2, 2018 in great commandment
By Analiz G. Schremmer, Contributing Writer
Most men love sports. And competition. It’s what makes basketball one of the best avenues to draw them closer to God.
Texas Baptist Men (TBM) has been capitalizing on that knowledge for almost 50 years through the Royal Ambassadors program.
“Local churches use RA to enlist men and boys to learn basketball and compete,” said Keith Mack, children and youth mission and state Royal Ambassadors and Challenges director. “It also gives them the opportunity to evangelize. It opens doors to disciple young men and help them grow in their walk in faith and testimony.”
Mack said the Royal...
Loving the lonely in Vancouver
by Guest Author on June 19, 2018 in great commandment
"...there's a sense of pride and accomplishment for being at this university, but there's also this loneliness that comes with that. It's not loneliness like I see back at the University of Texas. No, it's loneliness without a purpose...
by Guest Author on June 14, 2018 in great commandment
Believe it or not, there are people in Texas who have never heard the true Gospel. These people are your next-door neighbors. Who will tell them?...
Unreached Nations in the Heart of Vancouver
by Guest Author on June 14, 2018 in great commandment
“This is very hard because we’ve never thought about God before.” ...
Trusting God at Mission Arlington
by Guest Author on June 14, 2018 in great commandment
It's easy to trust God when you know what's going on and what He has planned. But trusting God in the waiting? Trusting Him in the silence? ...
Orientation Weekend: Preparing Our Hearts and Minds
by Guest Author on May 25, 2018 in great commandment
Go Now Orientation weekend has just ended and I think it’s safe to say everyone involved gained something from attending. Before attending orientation, I was overwhelmed with worry about many different things. What would we learn? What if I don’t fit in? What if I am not capable or equipped to do the tasks presented to us?...
Do child sponsorship programs really work?
by Guest Author on May 8, 2018 in great commandment
Food. Water. Shelter. All things that most of us would agree are at the most basic level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Yet many people spend their lives without the assurance of these necessities. ...
The reimagined ministry of the Gaston Christian Center
by Kirsten McKimmey on April 6, 2018 in great commandment
When Gaston Oaks Baptist Church faced the impending reality of closing its doors for good, leadership in the church sought to utilize the resources and property the Lord had given them to keep their ministry alive. The result was a reimagined ministry that would reach the nations right in their neighborhood. They named this new endeavor the Gaston Christian Center....
Hundreds serve on Spring Break missions through pancakes, drywall and prayerwalking
by Kalie Lowrie and Kirsten McKimmey on March 21, 2018 in news
The combined missions efforts of Texas Baptists over Spring Break involved more than 1,400 middle, high school and college students engaged in ministry across the United States. Projects ranged from rebuilding homes in Houston damaged by Hurricane Harvey, providing free van rides and pancakes to fellow college students in South Padre Island and engaging in evangelistic efforts alongside church planters in New York City...
Seeing God at work through Discovery Weekend
by Guest Author on March 5, 2018 in great commandment
I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the Discovery Weekend for Go Now Missions from February 16-18. During those three days I learned a lot. I learned to trust in God, to listen to what He was telling me and to follow my heart. I went into the weekend with a feeling that I was supposed to go to a specific place. ...
The Lord’s battle plan
by Guest Author on January 27, 2018 in great commandment
By Beca Acuna, student missionary Go Now missions
In the last few years of college, I have heard a lot about spiritual warfare. We have had workshops about it at our BSM and Go Now training events, and I have talked about it with several friends who have served in various parts of the world. I still don’t completely understand what the Bible explains as our spiritual battle with things unseen, but I can definitely say that the Lord is teaching me a lot about the real war for people’s souls.
In December, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Georgia and serve at a Pregnancy Crisis Center for a week. This ministry (called The...
The Impact Center: Meeting needs and making disciples
by Guest Author on January 16, 2018 in great commandment
By Analiz G. Schremmer, Contributing Writer
The Impact Center at Christian Family Baptist Church in San Antonio ministers to local military members and their families each month through a feeding center.
“We work with veterans and active duty military - those are our primary clients,” said Christian Family Baptist Church Pastor Rob Johnson, a retired military veteran. “That’s always been the DNA of our ministry going on 15 years.”
"from the beginning, the key focus was to meet the needs in the community and make disciples"
The Impact Center, which is a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministry recipient, aims to feed clients...
Training eternally-focused churches in community ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on January 16, 2018 in great commandment
The First Baptist Church of Valley Mills sits atop a hill in a community of around 1,200 residents. While the church has engaged in ongoing community ministry since its inception, Pastor John Wheatley was interested in finding new ways to minister. He approached the Baylor University School of Social Work and was soon connected with Travis Engel, a social work intern who began serving with the church in the fall of 2016.
One of Engel’s first tasks was to conduct a community assessment by creating an asset map of the community with the help of an assessment team which was made up of people from the church and the community...
Entrenar iglesias eternamente enfocadas en ministerios a la comunidad
by Kalie Lowrie on January 16, 2018 in great commandment
La Primera Iglesia Bautista de Valley Mills se encuentra en la cima de un monte en una comunidad de alrededor de 1,200 residentes. A pesar de que la iglesia ha participado continuamente en ministerios a la comunidad desde sus comienzos, el Pastor John Wheatley estaba interesado en encontrar maneras nuevas para servir. Él se comunicó con la Escuela de Trabajo Social de la Universidad de Baylor y pronto le conectaron con Travis Engel, un trabajador social quien comenzó a servir en la iglesia en el otoño del 2016...
Sitting at the feet of Jesus
by Guest Author on January 9, 2018 in great commandment
It was Christmas morning. There were 10 of us crowded into my grandmother’s toasty living room. The torn wrapping paper was piled high and the folded gift bags were stacked neatly to return to the box for next year. The smell of bacon and sausage filled the air and each of us sifted back through our hauls to see just how good Santa was this year...
Seeing a life transformed through care and love
by Guest Author on December 11, 2017 in great commandment
By Marina Vega, Go Now Missionary
"M-a-r-i-n-aaaaaaa! Why we have to do math? My brain can't handle too much math. We always do math." These are the words of one of the girls I'm working with. Her name is Atlehang. She is 13 years old and has been living in Restoring Hope Village for more than six years. She is one of the people who has impacted me the most in this trip. Knowing her past and seeing where she is right now, I can see how God is working in her. When they rescued her, she was living in very bad conditions. But with care and love, she is now a healthy young girl with new vision and purpose for her life.
Recognizing grace in hardship: A refugee testimony of faith in Bidi Bidi
by Guest Author on December 5, 2017 in great commandment
As the head of a 21-member household and pastor of a small, South Sudanese congregation in Bidi Bidi, Uganda, the largest refugee settlement in the world, Jeremy* faces many challenges. ...
ETBU grad finds calm in chaos
by Guest Author on November 24, 2017 in great commandment
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.”
Room in our hearts to love our neighbors
by Guest Author on November 2, 2017 in vol 5 issue 6
By Jacob West, Pastor of First Baptist Church of StamfordAbout 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...
Transforming Bridgeport one haircut at a time
by Kirsten McKimmey on November 2, 2017 in vol 5 issue 6
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...
Physical and spiritual healing through medical missions
by Guest Author on September 11, 2017 in vol 5 issue 5
By Analiz SchremmerContributing Writer
ACUNA - Dr. Luis Arturo Davila has two demanding medical jobs, and also finds time to volunteer at his church, lead a Bible study for his patients and spend two weekends a month doing medical clinics for the impoverished in Acuna, Mexico through Texas Baptists River Ministry.
“We work all morning, sometimes 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. One time we saw as many as 200 patients in one day,” said Davila, who serves with his wife, Nurse Imelda Cruz de Davila.
Davila, 50, has worked in the hospital for 26 years and is only two years from retirement, but shows no sign of slowing down.
“Medical work is a...
Sanidad física y espiritual por medio de las misiones médicas
by Guest Author on September 11, 2017 in vol 5 issue 5
Por Analiz SchremmerAutora colaboradora
ACUNA—El Dr. Luis Arturo Dávila tiene dos trabajos médicos exigentes, y además encuentra tiempo para hacer trabajo voluntario en su iglesia, guiar un estudio bíblico para sus pacientes y pasar dos fines de semana al mes haciendo clínicas médicas para los pobre en Acuna, México a través del Ministerio del Río de los Bautistas de Texas.
“Trabajamos toda la mañana, a veces desde las 8 a.m. hasta las 8 p.m. Una vez vimos hasta 200 pacientes en un día”, dijo Dávila, quien sirve con su esposa y enfermera, Imelda Cruz de Dávila.
Dávila, de 50 años de edad, ha trabajado en el hospital durante 26...
God’s plan for prisoners
by Guest Author on September 7, 2017 in great commandment
By Dr. Gloria de la PeñaHealth Care Missionary in Piedras Negras / Acuña, Mexico
I was walking downtown when someone called my name.
It was Nancy. She looked so different outside of her prison uniform.
I met Nancy when she started her ministry to prisoners. We had lost touch years ago, when Nancy was transferred to Las Islas Marías, a prison where people have little contact with the outside world and usually spend the rest of their lives.
Nancy had had an on-again, off-again relationship with the Lord, and this is where he wanted her to be.
He used this time to mold and shape her life. Although she had no Bible, she started...
Developing a love for literacy in Del Rio
by Guest Author on August 28, 2017 in great commandment
By Analiz G. Schremmer
DEL RIO–When a family is struggling to put food on the table, stocking the house with interesting literature while fostering a love of reading in their children isn’t usually a priority.
“You can’t normally find a bookshelf in low income housing,” said Janeene Young, who started a literacy program with her husband, Shon, last summer. “Most of these children don’t own their own books.”
The 2016 summer program for children grades 1-5 lasted for 10 weeks and served more than 45 children in three different subsidized housing communities in Del Rio.
Shon Young, Texas Baptists River Ministry missionary for...
Grasping the depth of lostness and urgency for the Gospel
by Guest Author on August 15, 2017 in great commandment
John writes about the Samaritan woman's encounter with Jesus, in the Gospel of John and most the focus is how He rescued her from sin. But have you ever stopped to think about why Samaria? Why that woman?
I spent this last summer in the Middle East. I met a friend who drew me back to this story over and over again. She was beautiful and kind, eclipsing all the generosity the region is known for.
One evening she invited two friends and I to the evening breaking of fast during Ramadan. After eating, we sat around, played with her toddler brother, and chatted. I asked her what her greatest dream in life was, and the...
Seeing the impact of investing in Tahoe City
by Guest Author on August 4, 2017 in great commandment
I have spent a chunk of my life working with children in various aspects. When I went off to college, I learned the important skill of investing in people and through multiple interventions by God, I finally started investing time in children.
This summer has been full of investing in children, and God has really shown me lately how important it is. You see, investing in all people is important and needed. We should definitely do that with people of all races, nationalities and ages, but when we invest in children, we get the unique opportunity to be apart of building their foundation and building their frame of reference.
Answered prayers for softened hearts
by Guest Author on August 1, 2017 in great commandment
By Rachel Scott
In West Africa, people walk around leisurely and talk to everyone they encounter to show them they are important. They do this a lot, so now that we have become more a part of their community, we get to do it as well. It affords us the opportunity to tell stories about Jesus.
One evening, we were making a circuit of the compounds at the far end of our village. We left one compound after an hour and a half of talking and we were feeling really discouraged. We wanted them to know the truth so badly and it seemed like they're trying to understand but something was in the way. As we walked through another compound...
MAP Director experiences firsthand mission work along the Amazon
by Kirsten McKimmey on July 31, 2017 in great commandment
Texas Baptists’ new Mission initiative, the Missionary Adoption Program (MAP), exists to partner churches in Texas with churches in Brazil to jointly sponsor missionaries. These missionaries focus on evangelism, discipleship and church planting.
In other words, “MAP is about planting churches intentionally with indigenous peoples,” said Jair Campos, director of Texas Baptists’ MAP.
Campos, a native of Brazil, has experience as a missionary in Europe. While he was overseas, individuals from his church decided to sponsor him financially to ensure that he could continue his work without any worry.
“When I came to the states in...
Sharing the Gospel on a soccer field in Zambia
by Guest Author on July 27, 2017 in great commandment
By Tim Williams
God is good. He truly is strong when we are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Today was my lowest day yet. I felt lonely. I felt weak. I felt bitterness. I continued thinking of home, family and friends. I felt discouraged.
But, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Thank you, Lord, for my national teammate David. Our program today got cancelled, so David came over around 13:30 so we could look for some ministry opportunities. Before he came and before we left, I prayed that God would glorify himself in whatever we did. I prayed that he would make...
Go Now partnership allows Korean students to serve in Texas
by Guest Author on July 26, 2017 in news
By Ruth Whorton
Jinjoo Oh is a university student. She works two jobs, has a curiosity for new cultures, and she is active in her local church. She has a deep love for God and missions with a smile that radiates. She feels lonely sometimes, but clings to prayer. She had an experience this summer that redefined and expanded her view of our God.
While she is a college summer missionary serving with Go Now missions, she is not from Texas or even from America. Jinjoo is from South Korea.
Jinjoo traveled 6,777 miles from South Korea to Texas, arriving in Austin on May 29. Through the summer, she served with youth and children at...
Finding hope on the side of the road
by Guest Author on July 19, 2017 in great commandment
By Analiz G. Schremmer
Baby Benjamin was abandoned on the side of the road wearing nothing but a small white blanket and bearing a note saying that anyone who wanted him, could have him.
“He was found by the villagers who passed by the road and informed the local authority,” said Rosy Lyn Htut, caseworker for Love for Myanmar. “They took the baby to one of our children’s homes called Kid’s Life.
“The home caregiver once showed me the baby photo when they first found him. He was so skinny, having sores on his whole body. He was about to die, and he couldn't even cry because not enough strength.”
Htut added that another baby...
Thank you for investing in future generations
by Guest Author on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 feature
By Katie Burkhead
Thank you, Texas Baptists!
When I think of my experience at the University of Texas at Austin, I think of more than my major, my classes, the all-nighters I’ve pulled and the stress I have endured. I always think of my time at the Baptist Student Ministry and how God has used the people there to shape me, challenge me, encourage me and help me pursue God with all that I am. As a young freshman, I (naively) thought that I was following Jesus pretty well and that this was how I would follow Him for the rest of my life. After all, I had been raised in the church, read my Bible most days and went on trips with my...
Training DBU business students to serve in the marketplaces of the world
by Guest Author on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 feature
By Ross O’Brien, Ph.D.Director, Center for Business as MissionDallas Baptist University
It has become apparent that too many Christians in the business world believe they are an auxiliary to mission work. They think of themselves as providing means and finances, but they rarely view themselves as missionaries.
Jesus’ commandments to serve others in Matthew 25 and to make disciples among all peoples in Matthew 28 were not directed solely to those employed by churches or mission agencies.
Incredibly, all followers of Jesus have the privilege and responsibility of serving God in these ways, and He has equipped each one of us with...
Project:Start helps Kenyan church expand capacity for refugee ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 spotlight
In January, members of Upendo Baptist Church in Garland gathered to pray and fast that God would grow their church.
Only a week later, Pastor Shadrack Ruto was connected to 60 people in search of a new church home. The initial three visitors to the church were not from a Kenyan background, like the majority of the church membership, but were refugees from the Central African Republic who lived within 10 miles of the church. The families had recently moved to the United States from refugee camps. Ruto heard story after story of trauma and need from the families and the church leaders gathered to see how they could help.
Filling Hearts through Lunch Program
by Guest Author on July 13, 2017 in vol 5 issue 4 spotlight
By Analiz G. Schremmer
Every Wednesday, at least 300 people line up outside of New Light Baptist Church of Lubbock for a sack lunch. They receive food, but are also served a helping of love, respect and kindness.
“I don’t care what they look like or what their hygiene is like, we will treat them with dignity and respect,” said New Light Baptist Church Pastor Kenneth Jackson. “I think a lot of them are shocked by the reception they get; but we are Christians so we are supposed to be full of compassion.”
The Love and Lunch program started in 2008 with a distribution of 15 sack lunches. Jackson said 337 were...
Being faithful to ordinary tasks as a missionary in Arizona
by Guest Author on July 10, 2017 in great commandment
By: Brayant Lopez
These first days of our mission trip we have been living in an apartment complex very similar to the one that I live at back home. It is a two-bedroom apartment composed of a kitchen, living room, bathroom and even a TV. The only difference is that I do not have as many distractions as I would in my apartment back home.
Another similarity that we have (and many of us have) is our neighbors–those people which we see every morning and sometimes throughout the day. However, there are some slight differences with these neighbors. For example, they tend to dress in very vivid colors with different kind of fabrics...
Feeling thankful and complete through ministry
by Guest Author on July 6, 2017 in great commandment
By: Danielle French
10:40 p.m. – My eyes want to crumble. My body is ready to shatter with just one touch. I’ve never felt so drained. I’ve never felt so exhausted. Yet, I’m content. I’m not worried about how tomorrow goes, or what I’ll have to do.
I feel at peace with the fact that it is an honor to serve here and build these relationships. It is an honor to reflect Christ’s light onto all of these children, teens and adults. It is an honor to feel like I am about to collapse, but still feel the Holy Spirit working in me, pushing me through it. It is an honor spending the summer working my soon to be shattered body, and slowly...
From India to Arlington: Serving an undeniable God
by Guest Author on July 5, 2017 in great commandment
By: Ruth Whorton
ARLINGTON - Originally from India, Lokesh Ganta is a master’s student at Texas A&M Kingsville who came to the United States to study engineering. With many financial obligations, Lokesh was prepared to work all summer to earn tuition money for the upcoming fall semester. Little did he know how the Lord would work in his life to change the course of his summer.
Through Texas A&M Kingsville’s Baptist Student Ministry (BSM), Lokesh was connected with Go Now Missions. Go Now is a Texas Baptists mission sending program for college students supported by the Mary Hill Davis Offering. Lokesh felt called to participate...
I did not sign up for this
by Guest Author on June 27, 2017 in great commandment
By: Jenifer Wilkes
I have made it to another weekend. It has been long. It has not been what I thought it was going to be, but here we are. There have been multiple times this week that I have said to myself “I did not sign up for this.”
Here are some examples:
- I did not sign up to do data entry.
- I did not sign up to clean bathrooms every Monday through Friday.
- I did not sign up to live with 12 girls.
- I did not sign up to live, work, worship, etc., all in the same building.
- I did not sign up to listen to a pre-school child tell me a story we had to report to CPS.
- I did not sign up to cook for 12 girls.
- I did
BOUNCE students renovate homes in Dallas community
by Guest Author on June 22, 2017 in great commandment
By: Courtney Reeves
Teenagers travelled to Dallas for the summer, not to shop or catch a baseball game, but to work on remodeling houses. The week of June 12-17 saw three youth groups come to the Metroplex as a part of BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery, a Texas Baptists Missions program.
BOUNCE students worked at three locations in Dallas, which were selected by the City of Dallas’ People Helping People. One of these three homes belongs to 81-year-old Wilma Curry. Curry lived in her house since 1965 and said this was the first time anything had been done for it.
She praised the BOUNCERS, calling the new paint and siding on her...
Cowboy Church builds relationships, churches and soccer fields in Honduras
by Kirsten McKimmey on June 21, 2017 in great commission team
With a heart for missions and church planting, members of Texoma Cowboy Church in Wichita Falls have traveled on three mission trips to Olanchito, Honduras, in efforts of planting new cowboy churches. Known as the “Christian Cowboys” to the local people, the church has sought to pour into and build relationships with the people of the community.
Their most recent trip to Honduras took place from February 27 to March 4. In past trips, members of the church have focused on evangelism and community involvement, but this third trip was unique. While watching a soccer game a few years ago in Olanchito, an idea came to Jay Lawson...
A place to stay, a path to restoration
by Kalie Lowrie on June 19, 2017 in news
ABILENE - After the six-hour drive from Lufkin to Abilene, Roseanne Welch was thankful for the warm welcome she received as she walked in the door of the Eunice Chambless Hospitality House.
“I felt like I was coming to visit my family,” Welch said. “Everyone was so kind and welcoming from the moment we arrived. It felt like home.”
This was the first trip Welch made to visit her son, who is incarcerated in the French Robertson Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, since he was transferred from Huntsville to Abilene. As a single mom, with one son still at home, Welch’s budget was tight. Before hearing about the...
Allowing God to use inadequacies for His glory in Leeds
by Guest Author on June 14, 2017 in great commandment
By: Seth Grant
During our first week in Leeds, Paul and I would walk every morning from our host home to the Emmanuel Centre, the university chaplaincy headquarters. On one such walk, I became terribly aware that none of my clothes fit. At least, that was how they felt: oversized, almost oppressive, tailored for a man far more substantial than I.
In many ways, that was my ever-present struggle on this trip. The clothes never seemed to fit. I am, by nature, a shy, reserved, look-before-I-leap creature of habit with an utter lack of confidence in social interactions; Leeds called me to be a gregarious, warm, adaptable risk-taker...
Dreams of Jesus in South Asia
by Guest Author on June 7, 2017 in great commandment
Today marks one week since we left Dallas for this great adventure! Each day, we wake up to prayer walk and evangelize in the slums from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The people here are friendly and willing to talk. Let me share one encouraging story with you before we head out for another day.
On our second day of evangelizing in the slums, we met a woman who said we could pray and share the Good News with her. She listened politely but was not interested.
While we were talking to her, however, the woman who lived next door popped her head out the door and waved for us to come in. We went in with our translator and found out that this...
Go Now student missionaries commissioned to serve from Arlington to Zambia
by Kalie Lowrie on June 5, 2017 in news
“The genius of the Great Commission is that every one of us is entrusted with the Gospel, and we can share it and teach others to share it,” Gary Stidham, BSM Director at the University of Texas at Arlington, shared with a room filled with Go Now student missionaries and their family members on May 21.
Two hundred thirty students were commissioned during the Go Now Missions Commissioning service, held at Dallas Baptist University, with a total of 278 students to serve on mission trips during the summer. The Go Now students completed a weekend of training and orientation in advance of the commissioning.
"It is amazing to see...
ETBU Students Renovate Local Homes
by Analiz G Schremmer on June 1, 2017 in great commandment
Constance Steadman was afraid to live in her own home.
“I was scared to walk into my bathroom because the floor made a popping sound when I stepped on it and I was afraid I was going to fall through,” she said. “There was a lot of air coming into the house from outside and the ceiling was leaking.”
Steadman applied for help through the City of Marshall and was chosen to receive home renovations through the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative. The initiative is a collaboration between the City of Marshall and East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) to pour into the local community.
ETBU students on scholarship are required to do 12...
Fearfully and wonderfully made: Empowering a new mother to celebrate life
by Guest Author on May 22, 2017 in great commandment
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...
Care + Share: 11 effective ways to reach your community
by Ryan Jespersen on May 22, 2017 in great commandment
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...
Cuidar + Compartir: 11 maneras efectivas para alcanzar a su comunidad
by Ryan Jespersen on May 22, 2017 in great commandment
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...
Satisfying hunger: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering story
by Analiz Schremmer on May 2, 2017 in great commandment
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...
Texas Baptists leaders attend Brazilian Baptist Convention, meet MAP partners
by Kalie Lowrie on May 1, 2017 in news
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...
Meeting needs on the border: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering story
by Kalie Lowrie on April 25, 2017 in great commandment
Many people who live in Agua Dulce, a small community in the southeast region of El Paso, have limited access to food and medical care. A large percentage of the community consists of undocumented immigrants and many families do not have fathers and husbands to provide for basic needs. Texas Baptists River Ministry Coordinator Jesus Galarza has worked around Agua Dulce for several years and has built trust with the residents in order to help meet basic needs.
This spring, Galarza coordinated a medical mission trip with students and physicians from UT-Southwestern Medical Center Baptist Student Ministry to provide medical...
Bringing justice to dark places during Houston Week
by Guest Author on April 7, 2017 in great commandment
I have lived in Houston for about three years now, and it has become home to me. I am in love with the myriad of cultures that live here. They stand out in the various neighborhoods that are somehow pushed together in a way that creates unlikely neighbors out of people from all over the world. I am still enchanted when, even from the outside, I get to watch people celebrating in ways that are different from my own experiences.
Houston is also a significant place in my journey of knowing Yahweh. God has used this place and the people here to teach me to grieve the losses I have accumulated throughout my life. I accepted Jesus and...
UH student missionaries shine God’s light at the beach
by Guest Author on April 6, 2017 in great commandment
Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) students from the University of Houston sacrificed their spring break to share God’s love and generosity with others all over Texas. Some spent the week building relationships with international students, others dedicated their vacation to local Houston ministries and still other students made their way to South Padre Island to serve at Beach Reach.
UH students joined other missionaries from all over Texas to serve at Beach Reach, an annual mission experience that reaches thousands of college students that flock to the beach in search of a good time. More than 1,000 missionaries served at Beach Reach...
UTEP students share personal stories of Beach Reach work
by Guest Author on April 5, 2017 in great commandment
Since 1980, students from universities from across the country, especially Texas Baptists college ministries, have traveled to South Padre Island during Spring Break. The UTEP Baptist Student Ministry has made the trek down to South Padre Island for eight years. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why on earth would a Christian Baptist organization go party it up in Padre?” Well the answer is they wouldn’t. It is quite the opposite, actually.
The Baptist Student Ministry students are there to work. This is a mission trip called Beach Reach. South Padre Island is an incredibly popular spot for students on spring break. People from...
DBU students serve throughout the World during spring break
by Guest Author on April 5, 2017 in great commandment
DALLAS – More than 200 Dallas Baptist University students spent their Spring Break 2017 traveling the country and the world building houses, providing safe rides, hosting camps, studying leadership and exploring international business.
For the fourth year in a row, a group of 21 students headed to Washington, D.C. with the Gary Cook School of Leadership to explore the legacy of leadership as observed in the lives of the nation’s Founding Fathers. They toured historic sites, such as the Lincoln Memorial, the National Cathedral, Williamsburg, Mount Vernon and many more, stopping at each location to reflect on the men and women who...
How God used the smallest of actions during Beach Reach
by Guest Author on April 4, 2017 in great commandment
Even as a veteran Beach Reacher, walking the sands at Rockstar Beach intimidated me. Women danced all around. Rap music blared from the speakers on my right. A cloud of smoke drifted by as I made my way through the crowd of strangers. I felt out of my element, but I did not venture to South Padre Island for the purpose of remaining comfortable. I refocused my mind and pressed on.
I walked the shoreline seeking opportunities for conversation. Fixed atop crude PVC contraptions, collegiate flags flew high above the crowd. My eyes scanned the horizon, and I noticed various clusters of students. I wandered over to a Harvard flag and...
Experiencing God at work through Beach Reach
by Guest Author on March 31, 2017 in great commandment
Beach Reach is one of the most powerful, exhausting and challenging mission trips that college students can experience during their spring break. There are some absolutely incredible things that happen throughout this trip that students can expect to be part of. During this week, I have personally seen God show up and show his power and goodness to those on South Padre Island. However, I believe there a few things students should know in advance.
The first thing that students should be informed of before making the trip to the Southern tip of Texas for the week is the very intense spiritual warfare that takes place on the island...
How God refined my heart while on mission in my community
by Guest Author on March 31, 2017 in great commandment
“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts” Prov. 17:3 (NASB)
Last week, I participated in a mission trip in my own city of Houston. Although I have missionary in my intern title, I hadn’t been a part of a short-term mission experience since the beginning of college. These past experiences honestly left me with some residual issues of identity and inadequacy.
As the time approached for me to lead a couple of the college students during Spring Break, I carried some anxiety, but also a strong desire not to bring my mission trip baggage along for the week. After talking to my counselor, I...
Go Now students reaching the border for Christ
by Guest Author on March 20, 2017 in great commandment
Can one week really change the course of your life? That’s the question Daniel Ortiz was asking when he heard about a short-term missions opportunity through Go Now Missions.
Ortiz, a sophomore nursing student at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), had been interested in serving through missions, but was unsure about heading overseas at this time in his life. When he learned of an opportunity to serve in Brownsville, Texas for a week during the Christmas break, Ortiz was excited—and curious.
“I’d hear things like, ‘These trips will change your life!’ and I used to wonder how that was really possible,” Ortiz recalls...
How 25 chickens transformed a family - a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story
by Kalie Lowrie on March 20, 2017 in great commandment
Soontorn Inthayok is a day laborer and part-time guard, serving as the primary wage-earner for his family in Northern Thailand. The 49-year-old provides for his older sister, who is mentally disabled, and his son, who is attending technical college. He also overcomes his personal disability to bring home earnings of approximately $300 US dollars per month. While Soontorn works extremely hard, often the monthly expenses of food, utilities and tuition are more than what he earns.
When Soontorn learned he was selected to participate in the Social Development and Service Unit (SDSU) Chicken and Cattle Farming Project, he was elated...
Homes of transformation
by Guest Author on March 20, 2017 in great commandment
Monica was like a lot of women who come to the growing network of house churches Paul Gonzales leads on the west side of San Antonio. She was struggling in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend of 10 years and didn’t know where to turn.
She found support and encouragement from the roughly 20 Christians who gathered weekly. They talked about what God desires in a relationship between a man and a woman, including marriage.
Little by little, she shared what she was learning with her boyfriend, Matthew Flores. Once or twice he even acquiesced to her requests to come with her to church. After a year, Gonzales married the couple...
Texas Baptists mobilized to influence lawmakers at 2017 Advocacy Day
by Kalie Lowrie on March 9, 2017 in news
AUSTIN - Christian engagement in politics and culture should be directed by a love of God and practice of discipleship, attendees learned at the recent Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission Advocacy Day.
The event, held at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin on Feb. 28, featured keynote speakers Gabe Lyons, founder of Q and co-author of Good Faith, and Vincent Bacote, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College.
“The purpose of Advocacy Day is to help Christians and particularly Texas Baptists engage in public policy and politics from a biblical worldview,” said...
DBU Patriettes use dance to share the Gospel in England
by Guest Author on February 24, 2017 in great commandment
This January, the Dallas Baptist University dance team, the Patriettes, travelled to Northern England to spend a week in ministry, using their gift of dance to spread the love of Christ.
The trip was the second time the team has traveled overseas as a part of DBU Athletics’ Global Sports Mission Initiative program, allowing various athletic teams to travel internationally on mission once every four years. This year, the team connected with UKUSA Ministries and served in the communities of Teeside and York.
The team spent the week in area schools, assisting as guest instructors in dance, drama and religious education classes...
Healthy Lunches, Brighter Minds: Nutritional meals for children help entire family
by Guest Author on February 9, 2017 in hunger offering
By Jaclyn Bonner
It is rare to find third graders who are eager to eat their fruits and vegetables, but every day 9-year-old José Chanco excitedly tells his family about the nutritious lunch he eats at the Operación San Andrés’ educational enrichment program for children in Collique, Lima, Peru.
José attends Fe y Alegría, a local primary school. He is one of about 170 children served through two OSA hunger alleviation programs.
Through the Living Water-OSA program, he is able to spend weekday mornings at OSA House. He benefits not only from healthy lunches that include fruit, vegetables, meat, and rice but also gets guidance...
The impact of institutional giving: Natalie’s story
by Kalie Lowrie on January 26, 2017 in great commandment
Since Natalie Rodriguez was 12-years-old, Texas Baptists have invested in Natalie Rodriguez in multiple, life-changing ways.
At the age of one, Natalie was placed in the foster care system, where she grew up living in multiple homes with her younger sister. Then, in 1996, she and her sister were brought to the Texas Baptist Children’s Home. During her first few months, she tried to adjust to new surroundings but was very overwhelmed and unsure about the permanency of her new home.
“I heard about Jesus daily, but I was so upset,” Natalie said. “I wasn’t ready for someone to actually be there for me.”
That December, Natalie was...
The land of rice and oil and century old eggs
by Guest Author on January 25, 2017 in great commandment
God moved mountains this Christmas Break. When I got the email that I would be spending two weeks in a foreign land, with foreign people, doing something something completely out of the ordinary, my nerves went through the roof.
During my trip to East Asia, I got the chance to work alongside some of the most servant-hearted people I have ever met. Christ could not have blessed me with a better group to travel across the world with.
A bakery that started it all has changed everything. From the simple baking of a scone, girls have been unshackled and have received the grace of the most high God. By getting to spread the love of...
Single father discovers joy in new beginning through Buckner
by Guest Author on January 24, 2017 in great commandment
Hector Flores’ home in the middle of June was hot, dusty and cramped. Tattered bed sheets tried to block the blazing South Texas sun coming through the small square windows. As a single parent with four children, it’s hard to find time to keep up with the housework.
Flores has been a single dad of four – Hector Jr., 14, Rene, 11, Sandy, 7, and Tania, 6 – for the past five years, officially. He used to live in a tiny, trailer-like home that he slowly assembled by himself in an attempt to give his children a safe place to live.
Unofficially, he’s been a single dad for eight years since his ex-wife left for Mexico without telling...
Hendrick Breast Institute and the Hope Fund
by Guest Author on January 24, 2017 in great commandment
Before they turned on the office computers or answered a phone that first day of work at the Hendrick Breast Institute in Abilene, the staff lined a hallway and prayed with Hospital Chaplain Bruce Lampert.
Breast Institute Registry Coordinator Melissa Boyd and her staff listened as Lampert spoke to them of the gentle power within the scarred hands of Jesus Christ.
“That same power exists in your hands,” Lampert told them. “And, just as the aroma permeates the air around us, the work you do here will be far-reaching.”
Boyd sees that morning as the beginning of a powerful ministry that would save the lives of countless women and...
How one ministry is equipping churches to reach people at their point of greatest need
by Guest Author on January 23, 2017 in great commandment
It does not take much searching to find alarming statistics about the financial health of the typical American household. USA Today recently reported that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.1 Perhaps even more alarming is a study quoted by CNN Money, which reveals that up to 35% of US households are in debt collection.2 Add in the fact that the average credit card debt is over $16,000 for households that carry a balance,3 and it becomes clear that an overwhelming number of Americans live in a precarious financial state.
Jimmy Rodriguez has seen the toll taken on families by financial strain and uncertainty first...
In His hands
by Guest Author on January 23, 2017 in great commandment
When it came to asking God why things happen the way they do, Lulee was all too familiar with that inquisition. Having never met her biological father, Lulee was raised by her aunt and her mother, who battled a serious illness.
For years, Lulee prayed to God and asked Him to heal her mom. But, with no tangible improvement, Lulee quickly gave up on praying and believing that God was in control. Her young life began to spiral out of control.
In high school, Lulee sought love and approval in relationships and tried to escape her pain with drugs and alcohol. Though she had the support of her aunt and ailing mom, Lulee still rebelled...
Casă dulce casă (home sweet home)
by Guest Author on January 23, 2017 in great commandment
Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) is the overseas branch of BCFS, formerly Baptist Child & Family Services, a global system of non-profit organizations. As a Christian health and human services organization, CERI brings hope to children living in extreme poverty around the globe, including some of the poorest regions in Eastern Europe.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova struggled to transition to a market economy. As a result of political instability and economic decline, Moldova became the poorest country in Europe. Living conditions deteriorated rapidly, especially in rural areas, and poverty was...
God's Best Plan
by Guest Author on January 23, 2017 in great commandment
Both rewarding and challenging, the path that God has appointed for Kimberly and Doug Uyechi is one they have been quick to acknowledge as “a family mission.”
The Uyechis have three adopted children and, for the past seven years, they have been opening their hearts to foster children by providing a safe, loving home where their individual needs are met. Over 50 children from hard places have been comforted by Kimberly and Doug’s loving embrace, the majority of those within the last year. Twelve months ago, the Uyechis began serving STARRY as foster parents who were willing to take children in emergency settings so that children...
Rebuilding homes, caring for lives in Baton Rouge
by Guest Author on January 19, 2017 in great commandment
When I received the email that I would be serving in Louisiana, the excitement was overwhelming. It was my very first Go Now mission. The nerves and excitement slowly became more and more.
Louisiana was a place I had never been before, but had heard of many stories. Baton Rouge was the area where we would be working. This area was the most affected by the flood in August. Words can not describe the damage that was done. As we arrived to Baton Rouge, we slowly discovered how bad the people of Louisiana were affected.
I loved working with the team I was placed with. At first, I was very scared to get to know them, to share with...
How God changed my heart
by Guest Author on January 18, 2017 in great commandment
South Asia is an interesting place to visit, especially for an introvert. When I applied for a mission trip, I thought about construction work. God had a different plan in mind.
God sent me to a South Asia.
I was sent here for a reason – to share Jesus Christ with others. Who would have thought a shy college student would be going around looking for people of peace?
Before the trip, I had a fear of sharing the hope of Jesus with others. As I ended the trip, God opened my heart. Now, I want to share this news with everyone. I learned many ways to spark a conversation, turn the subject and share the Gospel.
One of the stories...
Ministering where you are: The power of missional communities
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2016 in great commandment
As a softball player at The University of Texas at Austin, Stephanie Ceo spent a lot of time with her teammates on and off the field. One teammate, Rachel, was always kind and encouraging and also professed to be a Christian. Stephanie had been to church before and knew about God, but did not believe He existed. She had great difficulty understanding how God could allow bad things to happen.
In their conversations over four years as teammates, Stephanie noticed differences in the way Rachel treated her and was more open to having conversations about faith. One day in their senior year, Rachel invited Stephanie to Free Lunch on...
Family spends summer serving together and helping flood victims
by Kalie Lowrie on November 2, 2016 in great commandment
Vaughn, Sunshine, Jax, Lily and Milo Managan took up residence in the small town of Deweyville, Texas, this summer serving as volunteer coordinators for Texas Baptist Men Disaster Recovery. Each member of the family played a valuable part in the work of helping families rebuild their homes following a devastating flood which damaged more than 700 homes.
Throughout the summer, Vaughn and Sunshine coordinated nine different church and association groups, mobilizing over 200 volunteers from 16 different churches or associations, working on nine homes. The Managan’s children, ages 7, 11 and 13, went along with them each day...
How Tarleton BSM’s new Northwest partnership is an answer to prayer - Part 2
by Guest Author on September 27, 2016 in great commandment
Morgan Little shares about a partnership Tarleton State University BSM has created with Northwest Collegiate Ministries to reach the lost in the Northwest region of the United States. To read more on this partnership, click here.
Tarleton has begun a 2025 vision. Their prayer is that over the next ten years 20 Tarleton graduates will move to the northwest after graduation to work among college students. Their prayer is that in 10 years they will be able to mark 20 northwest campuses from the unengaged campus list because of Tarleton BSM graduates. There are currently three Tarleton students preparing to move to the northwest after...
How Tarleton BSM’s new Northwest partnership is an answer to prayer - Part 1
by Guest Author on September 22, 2016 in great commandment
In June of 2015, Clayton Bullion, the BSM Director at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, and his wife Bethany ventured to Portland, Oregon to visit five of their Go Now Missionaries who were serving with the Northwest Collegiate Ministries (NCM) for the summer.
“Our hope was to encourage our team, visit as many campuses as we could, and get a ‘feel’ for college ministry there and see if there was anything we could do to help,” Clayton said. “We were not prepared for what we encountered.”
From Seattle, Washington, down to Eugene, Oregon, they visited 12 campuses and realized that hundreds of thousands of university...
Rice BSM students spend Labor Day weekend assisting with disaster relief in Louisiana
by Guest Author on September 7, 2016 in great commandment
Over Labor Day weekend, we took six students from Rice University to Baton Rouge to help Southern Baptist Disaster Relief work to begin rebuilding homes from the recent flooding. The team was mostly compiled of students that had never really hung out together, and some I barely knew.
When we started talking we all learned that none of us had ever been involved in a mission trip like this or ever worked with disaster relief. Personally, I had never done anything like this and had no idea what to expect. We were told that we would be mudding out houses, but I assumed it wouldn’t be too hard.
When we got to the first house the next...
Texas Baptists Chaplain Leading Louisiana Flood Relief Effort
by Eric Whitmore on September 1, 2016 in great commandment
Editor’s note: To learn more about how Texas Baptists are partnering to help Louisiana flood victims through long-term Disaster Recovery efforts, click here.
“The devastation in Livingston Parish is overwhelming.” Bob Page reflected on the destruction as he stood in the middle of a neighborhood in Denham Springs, Louisiana. The city and surrounding areas were all but destroyed in the wake of historic flooding of the Amite River.
A 42-year Air Force veteran and retired Texas Baptist Chaplain, Brigadier General Page said he had never seen anything like this. “It’s deeply disturbing and breaks my heart.” Thirteen people are known...
Extending a hand to those in need in Spain
by Kalie Lowrie on August 24, 2016 in great commandment
Ali Hearon, Hunger and Care Ministries specialist, and I recently returned from a trip to Spain to visit our Texas Baptists Hunger Offering partners in Barcelona and Denia. To read more stories about the Hunger Offering at work, check out - Let Love Be Genuine: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story and Reaching out to neighbors and fighting to end poverty.
As Oretta stirred the huge pot of soup, almost as big as she was, she shared with us about her childhood in Italy where she learned to cook for large groups of people. She has lived in Denia, Spain, for many years and finds great joy in making meals at the daily feeding ministry...
Why I wasn't ready to get off that plane
by Guest Author on August 23, 2016 in great commandment
I was gone for two months as a missionary. There were times I was hungry, times I was cold and times I missed my family. Oh man, I was ready to return to my homeland. I was ready to tie a flag around my neck and run around like all those stereotypical, Fourth-of-July celebrators. Y’all, I even sang “God Bless America” as I landed on the airstrip at the DFW Airport. I cried in the embrace of my family because the sense of relief overtook me. I had set foot on American soil, I felt safe and I was able to breathe. I was ready to step off that plane, or so I thought.
You see, I thought I was ready until the first day that I went out...
Can you see Him working?
by Guest Author on August 15, 2016 in great commandment
Throughout our daily plans and schedules, God is present, anointing conversations and authoring divine appointments with perfect precision. It's easy to become distracted from God's presence by our own thoughts and to-do lists; however, when we ask God to provide opportunities to trust Him, He does. And He did for me.
The day after our ministry in Orlando was over, a few team members and I decided to go out to eat for dinner. Our original plan was Steak 'N Shake, but after seeing how crowded it was, we decided on Wendy's.
While enjoying our fast food, a man approached our table, looking like he had seen better days. The man...
Praying for conversations in the Middle East: Part Two
by Guest Far on August 11, 2016 in great commandment
Click here to read Part One.
The next day, we went to a mall with the hope of finding some women shopping. It was about lunch time and we met a girl in the restroom. One of my teammates asked her where would be a good place to have lunch. This girl seemed extremely friendly, so we started talking about the places we’ve visited and asked her where else would be good to go. Suddenly, she invited us to her house on Friday to have a meal with her family. For Muslims, Friday is an important day, like our Sunday. So we felt very honored to be invited and also very excited to visit a local family.
This girl has five siblings. Her...
Praying for conversations in the Middle East: Part One
by Guest Author on August 10, 2016 in great commandment
This country is definitely blessed and incredibly beautiful. By embracing all the extremes of nature - from sea to desert and the mountains to cliffs - it composes the most breathtaking symphony. I am totally in awe of God’s amazing creation and masterpiece here. His love and grace can be found everywhere.
On one side is the immense ocean - a nurturing, magnificent abundance of life, full of grace. On the other side is the boundless dry land, yellow sands, brown stones and rocks - where God’s grace is even more demonstrated on the traces of life through the yellowish grass and bushes, goats, camels, etc.
Such extremes of living...
A first-hand Go Now Missions story
by Guest Author on August 4, 2016 in great commandment
For those of us from a church context, the woman at the well is a familiar story. I encourage all of you to talk a minute to read John 4:7-42.
This passage tells a story of a woman, who after encountering Jesus, immediately goes and tells everyone she knows about him. This is the account of what she did:
“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ’ They went out of the town and were coming to him ... The people of that town came to Jesus, and they encountered him too. What happened after that? And many more believed...
Praying for Fish in Alaska
by Guest Author on August 3, 2016 in great commandment
I wanted to share a neat story about something that happened on our beach last Sunday. After setting up our equipment early Sunday morning, we served hot dogs for a few hours before shutting down for an informal church service in front our our tent. We put up a cross and gathered in front of it.
Throughout the weekend, we had been inviting people to come and a fair number of people showed up. Up until this point, fishing had not been good for the whole beach. Standing out with their huge dip-nets in the close to freezing water and bone chilling wind, most people did not have a whole lot to show for all their time and...
A campground committed to the Lord: How Go Now students are sharing the Gospel in Spain
by Kalie Lowrie on July 28, 2016 in news
Priscille Murphy and Naraim Enriquez are serving as Go Now missionaries at Alfa & Omega camp in Denia this summer, watching the Lord at work in mighty ways in a region where Christianity is scarce.
Almost 60 years ago, American missionaries established Alfa & Omega camp on the southern coast of Spain, in the town of Denia. At the time of its establishment, Christians in the region were under persecution for their faith and the Iglesia Evangelica Bautista La Trinidad connected with the camp only had a handful of members.
Pastor Jorge Pastor of Iglesia Evangelica Bautista recalls the day the land was purchased as a small child and...
In His Kingdom: there’s never ‘being late’ but always ‘being perfect’
by Guest Author on July 26, 2016 in great commandment
Susie* is a recent believer from a closed country who came to faith through the BSM on her campus. She was commissioned as a Go Now missionary this summer and below shares about her excitement over obtaining her visa to be able to go on her assignment.
I have been waiting for my visa to go to my mission field for a long time and there are so many people praying for it. Finally, I got it today! My teammates have been there already there for a few days, but I will still be able to catch up with them and will not miss a lot. Our God is definitely a miracle working God. Not only that, His timing is always perfect and His plan is...
Blacking out windows
by Guest Author on July 25, 2016 in great commandment
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying “’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” – John 8:12
Alaska–The Final Frontier. Those of you who have seen this gorgeous state know that God’s presence sings off the mountains and pours down from the waterfalls. There is so much raw beauty surrounding each side of you at all times in Alaska, especially by the Kenai River.
One of the most special things about this interesting land is that it only gets dark for about an hour during the summer. For an example, it’s 10:49 p.m. right now while I’m writing this and the sun is...
After trust is earned
by Guest Author on July 21, 2016 in great commandment
When I first got to New York City, I was the minority. Not only was I new to the community, I was a Christian.
The church that I work with has three very clear goals: love God, love people and serve the community. Yes, many churches can say they have the same objectives, but do they really live up to them?
The work done on Sunday is not the only day the work is done. In fact, the work should be done every day leading up to Sunday. Then, that is the day we rest and praise God for what He's accomplished.
Working at Swerve Church in Brooklyn has taught me how hard the hustle of church planting is. Every single day you give every...
Let Love Be Genuine: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story
by Ali Hearon on July 20, 2016 in clc
The people of Spain are “really tired of hearing about Christ. ... They need to see real love, real love through real people,” Pastor Antonio Calero Cerrado boldly proclaimed.
Pastor Cerrado heads an outreach ministry of Iglesia Evangelica Bautista La Trinidad in Denia, Spain. He and Pastor Jorge Pastor have co-led the thriving church, averaging 400 in attendance in week, at a Baptist campground for the past 40 years.
Both pastors highlighted the difficulty of evangelism in Spain. The church history is wrought with persecution, dwindling numbers, and community disdain. Despite the barriers, the Lord has answered their prayers...
Faith Put to the Test: Will You Let God Heal You?
by Guest Author on July 18, 2016 in great commandment
It's easy to view the recent tragedies occurring in our world and respond with "God is in control," a few prayers and dismiss it completely. It has become normal for our culture, especially Christians, to react this way, because unfortunately, we have become desensitized to the reality of death and hatred. I found myself in the similar numb trap; a lack of feeling. Until today.
This morning, after spending two hours ministering to children from Scotland at a hotel kids club, I received a call from my mother. A wake up call to reality.
Through her sobs, I was informed that a freak accident while swimming in a lake resulted in...
Florida Restorative Justice: The Gospel Behind Bars
by Guest Author on July 12, 2016 in great commandment
As I stand in the entryway of the chapel, a man explains to me that his wife was due to have a baby last week, but he has not heard from her in awhile. The last report he had was not good.
With a broken heart I think to myself, “What a great opportunity to begin showing this man how to have hope and begin mending a relationship.”
But there's just one problem. He's one of 180 inmates streaming into the prison chapel at Century Correctional Institute. I am the only chaplain on the compound today and I have volunteers waiting to begin the service. A Church of Christ volunteer is here to conduct a separate service and I need to...
Obeying the conviction of Christ
by Guest Author on July 7, 2016 in great commandment
On Friday morning, after performing a set of singing and puppetry at McDonald’s, I felt convicted to speak to an 8-year-old little girl who was sitting alone in the audience named Veronica.
After making brief small talk, I asked her if she went to church, to which she replied “no.”
I, then, asked her if she knew who Jesus was, to which she replied “no.”
Little Veronica had no clue what the Bible was, nor of what sin is, nor of what prayer is. This caught me by complete surprise. I had the opportunity to tell her about Jesus and what He did for her on the cross 2,000 years ago to save her from her sins, and her eyes sparkled in...
What is your coat?
by Guest Author on July 6, 2016 in great commandment
This past week I have been writing some curriculum for a D-Now that our team will be running next weekend. We’ve been going through the life of Joseph and seeing how what Jesus did on the cross has finished every trial and struggle that Joseph faces. We pointed out four main things that are finished in his life, his self-worth, self-identity, fear and his independence.
Identity means so much here in Portland. How you express yourself, your interests, your feelings and your sexuality define who you are. Coming from South Texas, I really struggled to understand where people were coming from and why they expressed themselves the way...
Becoming a laborer for Christ in South Asia
by Guest Author on July 5, 2016 in great commandment
I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 15 years. I have learned a lot about following Him throughout this time and honestly, I have a lot more to learn about following Him. In no way do I claim to have all of the answers, wisdom, understanding or experience. But, I do have what He has been teaching me lately and that is what I am writing about today.
I have read Luke 10 multiple times, and I have taken notes throughout my share of Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings, retreats, conferences and planning meetings. However, the Father has really deepened my understanding of this passage and how I can apply it to my life...
A new opportunity to share God’s word in Haiti
by Guest Author on June 30, 2016 in great commandment
In Haiti, I met a “crazy” man – one for whom I had prayed to encounter.
We had been in clinic for two days, yet I had not had a single opportunity to share the Gospel with a person who did not know Christ. It bothered me so much that I asked my supervisor to explain the clinic tickets were allocated among the community. Why were we reaching only the believers in our efforts?
For the most part, the decision was left to the pastors of the local churches; nonetheless, I found myself searching the word of God and praying earnestly for an opportunity to reach the lost. Never had my heart so yearned to share His light.
Sharing the Gospel in Taiwan
by Guest Author on June 29, 2016 in great commandment
Sunday nights in Taichung are my favorite. Along with my team and a full-time missionary, I get to walk through Bible stories that I've known since Sunday school with people across the Christian spectrum, from mature Christians to those who have never heard about Jesus.
Tonight, I was blessed to interact with one of the latter. Jason is an exchange student from mainland China and tonight was his first time to come to our meeting. One of his friends (also from China) has been coming for a few weeks and has been really curious about Jesus and decided to invite him.
Just a few hours ago, he got to hear for possibly the first time...
God’s hand at work in Seattle
by Guest Author on June 28, 2016 in great commandment
I'm working with my team at Epic Life Church here in North Seattle. This week is our biggest week of the summer concerning the church because we're working an event called Celebrate North Seattle. This event has grown to over 2,500 attendees in past few years and it celebrates the achievements and businesses around the community. This is our major outreach event of the year. There have been countless hours worked over the last six months by the staff at Epic Life and we've been able to join in the process. Because this event is happening this Sunday, we're doing any and all last minute preparation in order to be ready.
Sharing the hope of Christ in East Asia
by Guest Author on June 27, 2016 in great commandment
Walking down the city streets, I saw handicapped individuals selling lottery tickets and knock-off sunglasses to pay for their next meal. I saw a beggar crouched in the corner of a stairwell, his hands clasping a paper cup. I saw bald, orange-clad monks asking for food offerings for their monastery. I saw an old woman presenting drinks before a spirit house. I saw the most intricate and magnificent architecture constructed to honor an idol made by human hands. I saw graffiti on an overpass that read “Where is the hope?”
The people of this country are 97% Buddhist. They believe that all life is suffering, and the only way to escape...
You will be hated for my name’s sake
by Guest Author on June 24, 2016 in great commandment
Coming from the South, New York City was a huge culture shock. New York City has a population of 8 million +, when my hometown doesn't even reach close to 1 million. At first, I told myself there's no way I could live here. You don't even feel the freedom to breathe. But then it grew on me.
I am living in Manhattan and commute to Brooklyn where I have begun to work with Pastor Danny at Swerve Church. Bushwick is a neighborhood two square miles wide and home to 140,000 people. It is filled with art, culture and a great need for God. You learn very quickly that you are in their territory, which makes ministry here very relational...
Defining Work in Oregon
by Guest Author on June 23, 2016 in great commandment
I have found the word “work” to be one of the hardest words to define when speaking about ministry here in the Northwest. In the American context, most define work as space to complete a task or an hourly fulfilment. However, these examples are constructed with a beginning and an ending. Work is merely the time in between.
The work I’m a part of here redefines and challenges the concept because I am always on the clock with my students. I travel, eat, I feel pain and live life with them every day.
The international students who I minister to are in need of a friend who can answer the awkward cultural questions, give advice...
Seeking God’s presence in California
by Guest Author on June 22, 2016 in great commandment
I came to California not knowing what to expect, but knowing that I need to be obedient to the call of making disciples among all the nations. My trip includes serving the Afghan community in Fremont, California. When we got here, Ramadan - a time when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset - had just begun.
For me it was hard to come and not have a set schedule of what to do, but the Lord showed me Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!”
Jesus has been teaching me to be still in his presence since February, but he has been reminding me, “Ana...
Sharing the Gospel with Greeks
by Guest Author on June 21, 2016 in great commandment
Click here to read the previous post from Ginnie.
The following day, our team of 11 split up and four of us volunteered to do a 24-hour shift at Skala, which is a stage two refugee camp. Typically, no one willingly volunteers to be at Skala, since there have not been many refugees since the EU-Turkey Accord in March; however; Eurorelief requires that a team be there just in case a few boats happen to get past the Turkish Navy.
I really did not want to go, but when my leader asked for volunteers, I felt the Lord nudging me to go. After a few moments of awkward silence, I listened to the Holy Spirit and volunteered...
Texas Baptists bring BSM to Guadalajara University
by Leah Reynolds on June 20, 2016 in news
Home to over 116,000 students, the University of Guadalajara lies in Guadalajara, the state capital of Jalisco, Mexico, which has a mere 1% Christian population.
For over 15 years, the university was without a Baptist ministry presence. In recent years, Texas Baptists, in partnership with the Baptist Convention in Guadalajara has helped develop a Baptist Student Ministry on the campus, in hopes of engaging college students with the Gospel.
College students are open to question and wonder, said Director of Texas Baptists River Ministry Daniel Rangel, making it a prime location for ministry.
The ministry started in 2014, when the...
Continuing to share life-giving words in East Asia
by Guest Author on June 16, 2016 in great commandment
Jennifer has served as a semester missionary in East Asia for the past few months. Here are her thoughts as she contemplates leaving those she has befriended and have yet to receive salvation.
How often do we pause to think about God's love for us? The depth of God's love that caused Him to take our debt so that we may live with Him forever. It is a love that we cannot fully understand until we begin to grasp the debt we owe.
Then, let the weight of such a gift give a desire for friends to accept His love also. With this love, it is nearly unbearable to watch friends hesitate to make a choice and watch them consider whether or...
Breaking fast in Greece
by Guest Author on June 14, 2016 in great commandment
The Lord is always good, but the Lord has been especially good these passed few days here on the island of Lesvos, Greece. The beauty here is unimaginable. The rolling hills, the glistening Aegean Sea, the Greeks whose smiles and warm nature always make your day. At times you might forget that just a couple miles away lies a refugee camp. While the tension and the hurt is palpable and real, I cannot deny that the very essence of God flows through every inch of that camp and the entire island.
As the days have passed in the camp, there have been families I've come to know and love, children who I could see playing on my street back...
Texas Baptists raise over $26,000 to aid Syrian refugees in Lebanon
by Leah Reynolds on June 9, 2016 in news
Generous contributions, totalling $26,800, from Texas Baptist individuals and churches helped numerous Syrian refugees survive yet another cold winter and spring in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.
Donations were given through the Texas Baptists’ Refugee Relief Project, which originated in October 2014 through a partnership between Texas Baptists and the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD).
The funds raised this winter and spring through the project will help support local Lebanese churches in their mission to be the hands and feet of Christ to the millions of Syrians who have been fleeing to Lebanon since...
Riding on a rickshaw and seeing God at work
by Guest Author on June 7, 2016 in great commandment
I have been in South Asia for 10 full days and I can honestly say that everything is completely different from anything I've known before. The language, food, architecture, culture, people, dress and transportation are all very different than life in the States.
Today, I'm going to focus on the transportation difference though. In the United States, we have a lot of traffic laws and regulations that are in place to promote order, safety and peace of mind amongst its citizens. In South Asia, there are some traffic laws, but most of them aren't followed because there are millions of people trying to get where they need to. There...
Go Now celebrates 70 years of sending students on mission
by Leah Reynolds on May 25, 2016 in great commandment
Go Now Missions celebrated 70 years of sending college students on mission by commissioning 223 student missionaries to share the Gospel around the world this summer.
The ceremony, held May 22 at Dallas Baptist University, welcomed both past and present Go Now missionaries to celebrate students who have gone and are going to the ends of the earth.
Since 1946, Go Now Missions, a Texas Baptists’ ministry, has mobilized 10,346 Texas university students to serve as missionaries across the state, country and world.
The first team of Texas Baptist student missionaries consisted of four individuals from Baylor University who...
Missions: More than a trip, a lifestyle
by Brenda Sanders on May 10, 2016 in great commandment
One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Elliot, “So many missionaries, intent on something forget that His main work is to make something of them.”
Missions can be more than a “trip” for your mission team if you seize the opportunity for discipleship. Training that takes place before the mission trip is an investment in members long after they come home from the “trip.” Through Go Now Missions, our ultimate goal is to grow up a generation of mission minded disciples of Christ. Our training consists of eight weeks of studies and scripture memory in an accountability group before they go.
Prepare to Share
“Because we loved you so...
How to pray first, often and strategically
by Ryan Jespersen on May 5, 2016 in great commandment
Recently, I posted about prayer on a social media account, because I was writing up course lessons for urban pastors. A wise friend commented and asked me the question, “How do you define praying strategically?”
I wanted to briefly answer that question in a blog post. (Be on the lookout in September for a more extended course on how a church can pray strategically for its community and world.)
Praying strategically begins with looking at the model prayer Jesus gave us in Matthew 6. In this passage, the disciples came to Jesus and wanted to know how they were supposed to pray. After seeing all of the miracles, it was obvious...
Nourishing bodies and minds in Sri Lanka: Texas Baptist Hunger Offering
by Guest Author on May 2, 2016 in great commandment
In villages across Sri Lanka, many mothers struggle with the harsh reality that they are unable to provide healthy food for their children to eat. Many are either too poor to put food on the table consistently, or they don’t know what healthy food is and how nutrition impacts the bodies and minds of their growing children. Children who grow up malnourished are more likely to struggle with illnesses and developmental delays, leading to more medical issues as they get older.
According to UNICEF, nearly one of every five children in Sri Lanka is born with low birth weight and approximately 29 percent of children under five years...
Providing hope and a new start for mothers reentering society
by Kalie Lowrie on April 26, 2016 in great commandment
The first day a mom and her children set foot at Exodus Ministries, they are welcomed into a beautiful, fully-furnished apartment. Each apartment is uniquely decorated by thoughtful volunteers. Each kitchen comes completely stocked with groceries, through support of the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Each detail is covered in prayer and the family has everything they need to begin a new life.
Having just been released from incarceration or a residential rehabilitation facility, these mothers often come to the complex with only the clothes on their back. The look of wonder and awe as they take in their new surrounding is Case...
A Short Walk to Another World: Reflections on ministry on the border
by Guest Author on April 14, 2016 in great commandment
On a beautiful clear Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to join Josue Valerio, director of the Missions Team, and my daughter Kalie Lowrie, publications manager for Texas Baptists, on an outing to help train a handful of pastors in the Juarez Valley. Our day began with a short walk over an International Bridge from El Paso into Juarez. In less than 30 minutes, God transported us by foot into another world—a world of opportunity.
A local pastor named Jose Angel Hernandez, also a Texas Baptists River Ministry coordinator, greeted us in his older model Suburban and transported us along streets and byways much more like a third...
The impact of Beach Reach stretching far beyond the small island
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2016 in feature
Beach Reach by the numbers
1,040 students served over the course of three weeks
11,000 pancakes were served by Texas Baptist Men
25,262 free van rides were given on South Padre Island
186 commitments to Christ were made
62 people were baptized in the Gulf of Mexico
It was around 12:30 a.m., Wednesday morning of the third week of Beach Reach. Students were assembled in their assigned roles around the island. For some it was directing traffic in the busy Looie’s parking lot, others struck up conversations with spring breakers over pancakes. Some spent hours in the sanctuary of Island...
Beach Reach finds new opportunity to serve city officials during spring break
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2016 in great commandment
College students around the country know that South Padre Island is the place to go for a good time during spring break. Between the sand, sun and fun that is had by thousands, it is a one of the busiest weeks of the year. One night, 1,500 new guest checked into a local hotel, which is about half of the population of the entire island.
As college students, with a sprinkling of families and a few “winter Texans,” provide a substantial boost to the economy, the influx also requires a substantial increase in police officers and city workers to help maintain safety in the community.
Since 1980, Christian students from Baptist...
Houston's brokenness: College students respond to the mega city's greatest needs
by Leah Reynolds on March 24, 2016 in feature
HOUSTON--Home to nearly 2.2 million people, Houston is labeled the fourth most populous city in the nation and has over 145 languages spoken. Along with its large population and immense diversity comes more startling statistics:
- Houston has more victims of human trafficking than any other U.S. city.
- 6,300 people are without a home on any given night in Houston.
- Crime reports showed 283 people were murdered in Houston in 2015.
- There are more than 1 million foreign born residents in the Houston metro area, accounting for one in four of the population.
Over spring break, 130 college students embraced the city and its...
Medical missions--Providing light in a man's darkest moments
by Guest Author on March 24, 2016 in great commandment
"'For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me'...And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:35-36,40
How does God work to save a man from taking his own life? How can a clinic team and two pastors reach a man in his darkest hour? God alone can be the explanation.
This week, I traveled with a group of pre-med and medical students to El Paso...
Today we have hope, today we are fed: Texas Baptist Hunger Offering at Work
by Guest Author on February 22, 2016 in great commandment
Ruth sat at a table in the two-room shack where she lived with her abusive husband and four hungry children in the Dominican Republic. She stared at a cup of tea in her hand that would cause her to abort a fifth child she was now carrying.
"Ruth! Ruth!" She heard Rosa Elena calling her name from across the street. It became a God-moment, and the calling of Ruth's name saved the precious life of Ruth's unborn child.
Rosa Elena did not just cry out to Ruth; Rosa Elena fed Ruth and her children, and shared God's love for her and spoke of the gift of life Ruth carried within her.
Today, Ruth serves in a kitchen preparing food for more...
Revival through the radio waves in Honduras
by Guest Author on February 11, 2016 in great commandment
This past month, Radio Rio de Dios had an incredible time of ministry. During the last week of January, during our monthly marathon, special guest Pedro Paz came to the radio station to pray, share the Gospel and minister to the listening audience.
Over a period of six days, more than 500 people came to the radio station seeking help, prayer, and to bring offerings for the radio ministry. People waited for hours outside in the hot sun to receive prayer and in some cases healing from various illnesses.
During the week over 175 decisions were made, many accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior for the first time, while others renewed...
Lesson learned: The power of words for church leaders
by Ryan Jespersen on February 10, 2016 in great commandment
I remember his faithfulness in leading out in the ministry of the church. I remember he was one of the most familiar faces from my childhood. What I will never forget about him is the Sunday evening he stood in a business meeting at our church to discuss some changes and he proclaimed "the church is gone."
He was actually quoting from a business meeting in that same church that had happened 12 years earlier when the church had split. For me, it was the first time I had ever imagined that a church could or would die. It shook me because this was the church I had grown up in, and the thought of it being gone really got to me.
Five ways to have a strong Christmas Eve outreach
by Ryan Jespersen on December 8, 2015 in great commandment
Christmas seems to come sooner and sooner each year. Most retailers are displaying and selling Christmas merchandise in the middle of October, some before the end of September. Radio stations begin playing Christmas music in the middle of November. My daughters begin talking about Christmas in March. Facebook memes will typically come out on December 26 touting 364 days until Christmas. While some people get quite annoyed at the early nature of Christmas, others welcome it. Regardless of how you feel about it, as church leaders we can embrace the Christmas season as a time when our church outreach efforts can bear much fruit...
What to give when friends and family have all they need
by Leah Reynolds on November 18, 2015 in great commandment
The season of gratitude and giving is just around the corner, and the stressful question is likely beginning to linger, "What do I give my friends who family who have everything they need?"
This holiday season, Texas Baptists is offering 34 opportunities in its first-ever Missions Gift Catalog to give unique gifts to people in Texas and around the world who do not have everything they need, especially the one thing they need most—hope of eternal life.
"Why would you want to give to someone that already has a lot when you could give to someone who has so little?" said Josue Valerio, Director of Missions for Texas Baptists.
From brokenness to redeemed: Community transformation and the church
by Ali Hearon on October 26, 2015 in great commandment
When teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus declared to the Father, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). His prayer was an invitation for redemption – but it was also a bit of a cliffhanger.
How does a community go from brokenness to redeemed as it is in heaven? What does it look like for those words to become flesh? While I do not have a complete answer, I do believe the Lord has charged churches with a divine call to act as catalysts for this transformational process.
Isaiah 58:12 says:
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;you...
Vision-casting for missions during budget time
by Ryan Jespersen on October 7, 2015 in great commandment
In my work, I hear churches talk about wanting to get back on mission in the community. However, until a church puts actual dollars towards this goal, it is very unlikely it is ever going to happen.
As the groups who put the budget together sit down each year look at what the spending will be for the next year, the budget needs to include funding for any outreach that will take place.
When you budget two things are important, specifics and flexibility.
Spend some time praying, asking the Lord to give you a vision for the next year and gather others around you who will do the same thing. Particularly gather those who are either...
For the city
by Ryan Jespersen on September 21, 2015 in great commandment
The following prayer guide is a monthly outline of ways to pray for Texas Cities. It is specifically for churches and church leaders in these cities. Our prayer is that the Kingdom of God will be advanced and these churches will be encouraged. Also that they will be healthy as the work to be the church in our urban areas.
Please use the following prayer as guides, though they can be prayed verbatim it is better for you to put these prayers in your own words.
- Father you are the ruler of the universe (Psalm 115:3). Thus you are the ruler and the God of the cities of Texas. Father because you own all things, you are the one who has the
Prisoners starting churches: Philippi churches bring unique spin to prison ministry
by Linley McCord on September 9, 2015 in great commandment
MCKINNEY, TX – Prisoners have souls in desperate need of God's grace, just like the rest of us. One former missionary's observation of this truth led him to begin a simple Bible study in an East Texas detention center, which has now grown to a ministry across more than 20 prisons in the state.
Ted Lindwall served in Guatemala as a missionary for 45 years, but in 2005, he moved to Texas and began teaching a class on Christianity in the Collin County Detention Center.
"[The students] took the same [Bible] studies we used in our class and took them all over the jail and shared them with fellow prisoners," Lindwall said. The...
River Ministry in Piedras Negras: Where compassionate ministry transformed a community
by Leah Reynolds on August 31, 2015 in great commandment
Texas Baptists River Ministry connects and assigns churches to specific projects along the Texas/Mexico border as well as in the top 10 most populated cities of Mexico. The ministry is made possible by funds given through the Mary Hill Davis Offering. The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering is September 13-20, 2015. Click here for resources for your church to help promote this special offering in your church.
In some parts of Mexico, families often choose to live with physical discomforts in order to avoid pricey medical care. Medical equipment such as examination machinery, wheelchairs and...
When was the last time you did a reality check?
by Ryan Jespersen on August 24, 2015 in great commandment
One thing social media has done is portray others' lives to be better than they really are. In some cases, people blatantly lie about their lives, but in most cases, people put all the positive things about their lives on social media. They choose to leave out the negative stuff, the real life complaints. This has happened amongst pastors, too, in some ways. When is the last time you saw a pastor post on Facebook, "Attendance was way down yesterday, seems to have been a trend lately?" For many reasons, pastors will probably not post a statement like this. They are only going to post when they had a "great day," or when the "Spirit...
How to put the Kingdom of God first in your ministry
by Ryan Jespersen on August 12, 2015 in great commandment
If we are to be honest, we have to admit one of the key concerns for us as church leaders is how many people participate in the "main" worship service on Sunday morning. It is a challenge to work hard and not always the see the results of our efforts. The key to understanding this, however, is to realize that the results are for the Kingdom. The men and women who find Christ in one of our church ministries are those we will see in heaven, which is our ultimate goal as ministers of the Gospel.
Many churches have ministries for children and youth on Wednesday nights, and some of those participants do not come on Sunday mornings. Maybe...
Bounce 2015 Is A Wrap!
by Amy Valenta on July 29, 2015 in great commandment
The BOUNCE staff is very pleased with the results of the week of ministry in San Marcos and WImberley! We've seen the restoration of homes and hope brought through the service of students. Christ has been reflected well this week in San Marcos. A total of six worksites were completed. Houses got new roofs, walls, insulation, and other improvements. Before BOUNCERS left, they presented their homeowner with a picture of their team as a gift.
Ms. Joyce Adams, an 82 year-old deaf homeowner, was greatly impacted by the flood on May 24 of this year. Through sign language, she explained that the manager of her trailer park tried to knock...
Missions Is A Lifestyle
by Amy Valenta on July 28, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCERS woke up early this morning to eat breakfast and kick off their day with GO TIME! Go Time is a brief meeting where BOUNCERS all meet together in the parking lot at the lodging facility, are prayed for and sent off to begin work. A total of six ministry teams consisting of over 70 students and leaders went out into San Marcos and Wimberley to reflect the love of Christ through their service.
Anna Alvarado, a 14 year-old from Cowboy Fellowship, said she has learned that Missions shouldn't just be here. She lives pretty close to San Marcos, and it could have been them. She stated "Mission work should be a lifestyle, not a task...
Bounce San Marcos Is Underway!
by Amy Valenta on July 27, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCE staff is happy to announce that all of our BOUNCERS have arrived safely in San Marcos. Students and leaders are excited for what lies ahead. We welcomed about 75 BOUNCERS through the doors of First Baptist Church of San Marcos today. A total of six churches brought student missionaries this week. Churches participating are Lakeside Baptist Church in Granbury, First Baptist Church Canyon Lake, Life Church of San Antonio, Cowboy Fellowship of Jourdanton, First Baptist Church Lampasas, and San Isidro Baptist Church.
Groups had long drives this morning and are excited to finally arrive in San Marcos. They're excited to see how...
We're Ready To Bounce!
by Amy Valenta on July 26, 2015 in great commandment
We had a great time in Mineral Wells, Texas last week! Now, BOUNCE staff has arrived in San Marcos, Texas for another week of serving the community. About 65 BOUNCERS will be arriving tomorrow afternoon to kick off our last BOUNCE of summer 2015 in San Marcos. Our participating Churches this week are Cowboy Fellowship of Jourdanton, Texas, FBC Lampasas, FBC San Isidro, Lakeside Baptist Church of Granbury, FBC Canyon Lake, and Life Church of San Antonio. BOUNCERS will be lodged and fed at First Baptist Church San Marcos and worship will also be held each night at First Baptist Church San Marcos.
This week, a total of six teams will...
BOUNCE Mineral Wells is in Full Swing!
by Kyle Crim on July 22, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCERS had a great night of rest and were up early this morning to continue on their worksites in Mineral Wells. They were looking forward to going out and seeing more progress made on the houses they were working on. Many BOUNCERS have found it surprising that they've been having fun on their worksites despite the physical demands that the work entails. They are also enjoying meeting and working alongside students from other youth groups.
Students have already learned a lot about service this week. There are several students who are feeling God work in their lives this week. Many are feeling affirmed in calling to missions and...
Work in Mineral Wells Has Begun!
by Kyle Crim on July 21, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCERS woke up early this morning to eat breakfast and kick off their day with GO TIME! Go Time is a brief meeting where BOUNCERS all meet together in the parking lot at the lodging facility, are prayed for and sent off to begin work. A total of six ministry teams consisting of over 70 students and leaders went out into Mineral Wells to reflect the love of Christ through their service.
Kayla Kemp, a 17 year-old from FBC Copperas Cove said that she hopes that this week strengthens her relationship with God. She also hopes to strengthen her friendships with her Christian Friends. There are young children at the house next door to...
BOUNCE Mineral Wells is a GO!
by Kyle Crim on July 20, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCE staff is happy to announce that all of our BOUNCERS have arrived safely in Mineral Wells. Students and leaders are excited for what lies ahead. We welcomed over 70 BOUNCERS through the doors of Mineral Wells Jr. High today. A total of four churches brought student missionaries this week. Churches participating are Brazos Meadows Baptist Church of Waco, First Baptist Church Copperas Cove, First United Methodist Church of Farmington, NM and Sharpstown Baptist Church.
Groups had long drives this morning and are excited to finally arrive in Mineral Wells. They're excited to see how God will work in them and through them this week...
BOUNCE Mineral Wells Set to Kick Off
by Kyle Crim on July 19, 2015 in great commandment
We had a great time in Moore, Oklahoma last week, and now, BOUNCE staff has arrived in Mineral Wells, Texas for another week of serving the community. About 70 BOUNCERS will be arriving tomorrow afternoon to kick off BOUNCE in Mineral Wells. Our participating Churches this week are Brazos Meadows Baptist Church of Waco, First Baptist Church Copperas Cove, First United Methodist Church of Farmington, NM and Sharpstown Baptist Church. BOUNCERS will be lodged and fed at Mineral Wells Jr. High and worship will be held each night at Immanuel Baptist Church.
This week, a total of six teams will be headed out into the city of Mineral Wells...
Moore Students are Geared up to BOUNCE Back Home!
by Kyle Crim on July 17, 2015 in great commandment
The BOUNCE staff is thrilled with the results of the week in Moore! All the work on the sites has been completed and we could not be any more proud of the hard work put in by BOUNCERS this week and the way they reflected Christ's love in Moore. A total of 15 worksites were completed. Houses got new roofs and paint jobs and some BOUNCERS cleared brush and built and painted fences. Since today was the last workday, homeowners were presented with a bible as a gift from the BOUNCERS who worked on their home.
Tonight concluded with the WRAP PARTY, which covered some of the highlights of the mission, including the BOUNCE Mission Offering...
BOUNCE is More Than Just Work
by Kyle Crim on July 16, 2015 in great commandment
On the third day of disaster recovery work here in Moore, BOUNCERS are working very efficiently. It will not be a problem finishing all of the sites by tomorrow afternoon. After working hard each day, one of the things the students have to look forward to is the time of worship that is conducted each night. This has been a time for students to reflect on what God's been doing in their lives this week.
Students hear from Worship Speaker, David Scott about the life of Peter and his failures, which were eventually turned into triumphs. He has been emphasizing that it will be hard to become who God calls us to be, but it's better to be...
Disaster Recovery Work Continues in Moore!
by Kyle Crim on July 15, 2015 in great commandment
After a good night of rest, BOUNCERS were up and working early this morning in the Oklahoma City and Moore area. They were eager to go back out into the community and continue showing the love of Christ to their homeowners. The BOUNCERS are having fun at the worksites as they are able to meet and form friendships with students from all across the state of Texas.
Many media outlets have been covering BOUNCE so far this week. Two television stations, a newspaper and a radio station have all come to worksites to interview students and feature BOUNCE! They've been able to communicate the heart of service that BOUNCERS have to the...
Work in Moore Has Begun
by Kyle Crim on July 15, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCERS were out and about at the crack of dawn to kick off their week with GO TIME! Go Time is a time where all BOUNCERS meet together in the morning, pray and are sent off the begin work. A total of fifteen ministry teams and over 150 students and leaders were sent out into the Oklahoma City and Moore area to spread the love of Jesus to the community.
Topanga Fagan, a 15 year-old from FBC Cisco, says she wants to be a missionary when she grows up. This week, she hopes to hear from God and that she can narrow her choices as far as what, exactly, God will call her to do.
BOUNCERS made it through the hottest day of the year so far...
Moore BOUNCERS Have Arrived
by Kyle Crim on July 14, 2015 in great commandment
All of our participants have arrived safely in Moore! All of them appear to be excited to spend the week aiding Moore residents in long-term disaster recovery. We welcomed 150 students through the doors of Emmaus Baptist Church. We have a total of six churches that brought BOUNCERS this week. The churches participating are Baptist Temple of San Antonio, First Baptist Church Cisco, First Baptist Church El Paso, First Baptist Church Ponder, McQueeny Baptist Church and South Main Baptist Church of Pasadena.
Groups drove for hours to get here and were excited to finally arrive in Moore. They are eager to encounter God this week and to...
First Disaster Recovery BOUNCE of the Summer Mission Kicks Off Tomorrow!
by Kyle Crim on July 12, 2015 in great commandment
We had a great week in Waco last week and the BOUNCE staff is excited to welcome our BOUNCERS who will be serving in Moore, Oklahoma! BOUNCERS will be arriving tomorrow afternoon. We are expecting about 150 students and leaders for our Moore mission. Churches participating in this week of BOUNCE are Baptist Temple of San Antonio, First Baptist Church Cisco, First Baptist Church El Paso, First Baptist Church Ponder, McQueeny Baptist Church and South Main Baptist Church of Pasadena. Students and staff will be lodged and fed at Emmaus Baptist Church in Moore
This week, teams will be working in long-term disaster recovery efforts as...
BOUNCE Waco is a Wrap!
by Kyle Crim on July 10, 2015 in great commandment
The BOUNCE staff is very pleased with the week in Waco! We are proud of all the BOUNCERS who came this week to reflect Christ's love here in the city. We are very excited to say that all of the houses were completed today! A total of ten homes got either a new roof, a new paint job and even new steps and a new ramp. Most importantly, however, the homeowners were presented with the gospel through the words and service of many students and leaders this week. Homeowners were also given a bible by BOUNCERS.
Kolten Porterfield, a 15 year-old from Kingwood's First Baptist Church said that coming into this week, he didn't know the impact...
Waco's BOUNCE is in full swing!
by Kyle Crim on July 8, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCERS headed out to their worksites early this morning to continue ministering to the city of Waco. Students are learning how to do their tasks and are doing a great job on their sites. BOUNCERS from different churches are getting along well with one another. The common purpose of rehabilitating homes has really united the students to keep pressing on to continue the work at their sites.
Several media outlets have already covered BOUNCE. A television station, a newspaper, The Waco Regional Baptist Association, The City Council and Waco Community Development have all come out to sites to feature BOUNCE over just two days. They've...
BOUNCE'S First Day of Work Is a Wrap!
by Kyle Crim on July 7, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCERS kicked off their first day of work this morning with GO TIME! GO TIME is a rally where students participated in warm-up activities to prepare for the day ahead. Following this, BOUNCERS were prayed for and commissioned by Worship Speaker Brian Pearce to head into Dallas to begin rehabilitating homes! A total of ten ministry teams were sent out to work on various homes in the City of Waco.
The weather was surprisingly mild, which made for a great day on the ministry worksites, BOUNCERS worked hard on various activities such as scraping paint, applying paint, roofing, and building steps and ramps. Lunch this week for the...
BOUNCERS arrive in Waco!
by Kyle Crim on July 6, 2015 in great commandment
We are excited to announce that all of our students arrived safely in Waco, ready for an action-packed week of BOUNCE! We welcomed 138 Students and leaders from 4 different churches. BOUNCERS this week are from Christoval Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Kingwood, Southwest Park Baptist Church of Abilene and Woodridge Baptist Church of Kingwood.
Students were excited to arrive at Columbus Avenue. They are ready to serve God and see what He has in store for them this week.
Alex Penn, a 17-year-old from FBC Kingwood said that this week she hopes to make an impact on someone's life. She said that she is most looking forward to...
Week 2 of BOUNCE is Ready to Kick Off!
by Kyle Crim on July 5, 2015 in great commandment
The BOUNCE staff is busy preparing to welcome all of our churches serving in Waco this week! We are expecting about 145 students and leaders to be coming in for our Waco mission. Churches participating are Christoval Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Kingwood, Southwest Park Baptist Church of Abilene and Woodridge Baptist Church of Kingwood. Students and staff will be lodged and fed at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.
This week, teams will be rehabilitating homes all over the city of Waco. In order to make this happen, BOUNCE has teamed up with Waco Community Development and Waco Regional Baptist Association Churches. We...
Texas Churches Meet the Need in Eagle Pass
by Olivia Williams on June 24, 2015 in great commandment
In June of 2013, a flooding disaster left residents of Eagle Pass in great need of reconstruction and attention to damage due to rising water levels. Two years after the natural disaster, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is continuing to send groups of volunteers to help the community repair damages, provide service to those in need and share the love of Christ.
Eagle Pass, a town on the border of Texas and Mexico, is located in Maverick County, which is the ninth poorest county in the United States. Due to the flooding from 2013, the community's poverty levels only increased as many people lacked the resources to properly fix...
Youth help rehabilitate homes in South Dallas through BOUNCE
by Kalie Lowrie on June 16, 2015 in great commandment
Armed with hammers, power tools, paint and enthusiasm, 100 junior high and high school students flooded into South Dallas June 8-13 to help repair homes through Urban BOUNCE. The Texas Baptists Student Disaster Recovery program, which began in 2014, started a new track this year with an emphasis on urban areas in need of rehabilitation.
The students formed nine teams and worked on seven homes, identified and secured through a partnership with by People Helping People through the City of Dallas.
"Our partnership with People Helping People is a great asset," said David Scott, director of BOUNCE. "They help identify qualified...
Working yourself out of a job
by Ryan Jespersen on June 10, 2015 in great commandment
It may come in a meeting, time alone in your office, casual conversation … it's the thought that if you, as a pastor or church staffer, help lead your church down the road to truly reaching your community you may no longer be the right person to lead, due to demographics, age or some other factor. The church called you because you reflected the church, but now that the church is changing will you need to bow out? What will this mean to your family, your career and the rest of your ministry?
I pastored a church in an area of over 75 percent Hispanic of which 62 percent spoke Spanish at home. I had a wife and 2 small children to...
BOUNCE work has begun!
by Kyle Crim on June 9, 2015 in great commandment
BOUNCERS kicked off their first day of work this morning with GO TIME! GO TIME is a rally where students participated in warm-up activities and relay races to prepare for the day ahead. Following this, BOUNCERS were prayed for and commissioned by Mission Coordinator Shawn Edwards to head into Dallas to begin rehabilitating homes! A total of nine ministry teams were sent out to work on various homes in South Dallas.
It was a hot day on the ministry worksites, but that didn't stop BOUNCERS from working hard. BOUNCERS scraped paint, worked on roofs and painted houses. Lunch this week for the ministry worksites is being provided by...
BOUNCERS arrive in Dallas!
by Kyle Crim on June 8, 2015 in great commandment
We are excited to say that all of our students arrived safely in Dallas! We welcomed 82 students and leaders from 5 different churches. FBC Rockwall, Spring Creek Fellowship of Big Spring, FBC Chilton, Crosswinds Community Church of Hobbs, NM and FBC Lufkin were the churches that brought BOUNCERS to serve with us this week.
There is a general sense of excitement and energy around our lodging facility. Students are eager to serve the community here, as they have been preparing spiritually for this week for quite some time. They are ready to witness to their homeowners through their construction projects.
Shortly after arriving...
Bounce Student Disaster Recovery kicks off this week!
by Kyle Crim on June 7, 2015 in great commandment
The BOUNCE staff is very excited to welcome all of our teams coming to serve with us in Dallas tomorrow! We're expecting around 85 students and leaders from FBC Rockwall, Spring Creek Fellowship of Big Spring, FBC Chilton, Crosswinds Community Church of Hobbs, NM and FBC Lufkin to serve with us this week. Students and staff will be lodged at Duncanville's First Baptist Church and will be rehabilitating homes in Dallas.
BOUNCE has also partnered with The City of Dallas' People Helping People and Dallas Baptist Association Churches to help make this week possible. We cannot express enough gratitude to our partners.
When disaster hits home
by Kalie Lowrie on June 5, 2015 in great commandment
WIMBERLEY - As Bobby Catt and his family were on vacation in his hometown of Wimberley over Memorial Day weekend, the flood waters rose and the small stream of the Blanco River swept homes off foundations and left many stranded.
Catt, who serves as a youth minister at First Baptist Church of San Angelo, knew as he assessed the damage on Monday morning he wanted to return as soon as possible to help his friends and former neighbors recover.
Nine days later, Catt and three members from his home church traveled to Wimberley to begin work. Their project was helping mud out the home of Catt's longtime friends and recover belongings that...
Del Rio Church Responds to Tornado Disaster in Mexico
by Olivia Williams on June 2, 2015 in great commandment
After an F4 tornado struck Acuna, Mexico on Monday, May 25, First Baptist Church Del Rio responded by becoming a collection point for any churches willing to donate volunteers and resources for disaster recovery.
By partnering with a neighbor church, Templo Bautista Bethel, FBC Del Rio is sending long-term help and ministering to those affected by the tornado that killed 13 and injured over 200 residents of Acuna. Teams of volunteers from FBC Del Rio were sent to feed both the disaster recovery workers and the affected families.
Following the crucial support given by the volunteers of FBC Del Rio, Pastor Larry Floyd and...
FBC Del Rio reaches across the border to assist tornado victims in Mexico
by Guest Author on May 30, 2015 in great commandment
As needs are arising in Texas following flooding, tornadoes and other severe storms, many in Mexico are also experiencing great difficulties from weather damage. Larry Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church Del Rio, led a group from their church to minister across the border in Acuna, Mexico, following an F4 tornado. Read his report below:
Day 5 in Mexico was one of importance. We sent a group of seven to continue our presence for those that have been displaced by the F4 tornado on Monday. As we went in Jesus' name, we made an initial stop by our partner church Templo Bautista Bethel. There we stumbled upon a pastor's gathering in...
Even if you're bad at it
by Ryan Jespersen on May 21, 2015 in great commandment
Recently, the Texas Baptists' Missions team went through some missional coach training, which we are ready to do with mission leaders and pastors in Texas. One thing I learned through this training (something I knew as a pastor, but was never able to put words to), our trainer Dr. Bob Logan said if pastors will engage in a missional evangelistic lifestyle, church members will then follow in the kind of lifestyle.
What he said next is what really got me: The level of effectiveness of a pastor, doing this kind of work, really does not matter. What matters is that they are doing it. Even if you believe you are "bad" at...
Ebola Free Liberia Baptists Say, “Thank You”
by Guest Author on May 19, 2015 in great commandment
We received the following letter from Olu Menjay, president of Liberia Baptist Missionary & Educational Convention, Inc, vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and principal/chief administrative officer of the Ricks Institute. He gives his thanks with a grateful heart, and thanks you for your prayers and tangible support during the raging storm of Ebola in Liberia.
"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in everyone of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5
On Monday, May 11, 2015, we attended the official...
Refugee families adjust to life in the US with help of Houston ministry
by Leah Reynolds on May 4, 2015 in great commandment
Loaves & Fishes is a ministry actively seeking to alleviate hunger amongst refugee children in Houston. They receive funds from Texas Baptists Hunger Offering via the Union Baptist Association, which help the ministry in a variety of ways:
- Providing a hot meal for children on Saturday nights, when they do not receive a meal from school
- Keeping a stock of food items such as rice and lentils for families to take when food stamps run low
- Packing children's backpacks in the summertime with food
Margie Randall, retired IMB missionary, has a special place in her heart for children. Ever since God called her to help refugee...
The mission of the Church in an ever-changing world
by Gerald Davis on April 27, 2015 in great commandment
God continues His mission of redeeming, restoring and reconciling the world unto Himself. His ultimate goal is to transform the world to what He originally intended. Can you imagine a community, a place where nothing is missing, nothing is broken and everything is as it should be? God is in the process of bringing His Shalom (His wholeness) to broken communities and into individual lives. God is very aware that His creation is in a fallen and broken state, and He is at work to heal and restore His creation.
God is an unchanging God, although his creation continues to evolve and change. A changing world should then cause God's...
Children in volatile community find hope and health through local ministry
by Kalie Lowrie on April 22, 2015 in great commandment
Open House Ministries is a ministry actively seeking to alleviate hunger and poverty in Homestead, Florida. They receive funds from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which help OHM in a variety of ways:
- Providing healthy snacks for 70 students after school daily
- Teaching elementary-aged students about nutrition and healthy eating habits as they help grow vegetables in six community garden beds
- Interacting with youth and children through homework assistance, Bible stories, music, art, sports and computer training
Open House Ministries is a community ministry, which rose up out of needs following Hurricane Andrew...
Alfalfa concentrate and education help alleviate malnutrition in Mexico
by Leah Reynolds on April 14, 2015 in great commandment
Hands in Service Ministries (HISM) is a ministry that is actively seeking to alleviate hunger in Mexico. They receive funds from Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which help HISM in a variety of ways:
- With travel and material costs to allow HISM to offer family garden courses
- To provide intensive gardening techniques for those in urban and suburban areas
- To help families to begin small animal production by providing quail, chickens and rabbits
- To set up one alfalfa-processing unit that is functioning on a weekly basis
- Will allow HISM to set up another unit in another community shortly
While out walking one day in...
The voice of the church
by Ryan Jespersen and Josue Valerio on March 31, 2015 in great commandment
In the 1950s, both pastors and churches had a sort of automatic "voice" in the community. People listened to pastors simply because of who they were. Being a church and a minister gave one a certain level of "prominence" in whatever community they were in. More and more we live in a culture where this is no longer the case.
In many ways, we live in a "post-Christian" culture; gone are the days when one can assume everyone was either a Christian or had a respect for Christians. In Jeremiah 29, the children of Israel find themselves in a similar situation. While in the Promised Land, they settled into a life of comfort; they were...
BOUNCE students bring hope of restoration to South Austin
by Leah Reynolds on March 17, 2015 in great commandment
AUSTIN—Chris Rubs was cleaning his garage on the night of October 31, 2013, unaware that outside his door, torrential rains had caused the neighborhood creek to overflow.
He suddenly heard screams coming from outside and opened the door to find an unnerving sight: floodwaters were engulfing his neighborhood and neighbors were chasing after a little girl who had been swept off her feet by the rapids. Together, with other men and the help of a chain-link fence that snagged the girl's clothing, Rubs helped bring her home to safe arms.
Once he waded through water back to his own home, Rubs crawled through a window to get inside, where...
Benevolence and the local church
by Ryan Jespersen on March 11, 2015 in great commandment
I remember sitting in the pastor's study at Grace Temple. A former member left the church a very large sum of money and I was looking over the documents when the bell rang. Sitting across from me, was a man who claimed to need $20 for a prescription.
I remember thinking, "How in the world could this church, who had just been given money, turn away this man who has this need?"
We gave him the funds he requested for the prescription. Sometime later, he came back to my office, and openly admitted to me that he had not used the funds appropriately, but at that moment he needed something to eat.
I walked with him over...
Educating parents impacts communities
by Kalie Lowrie on March 4, 2015 in great commandment
Two years ago Principal Marta Plata of Manuel Jara Elementary School realized her staff of excellent teachers and leaders could work tirelessly every year to seek to educate their students and empower them to be the best they could be. However, without positive reinforcement at home, many of the lessons taught in the classroom would not change the behaviors of their students.
Through collaboration with Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Plata was able to begin a program called Parent University, which is a 13-week curriculum educating parents on the 40 developmental assets that will help their children succeed.
Our God is not limited
by Leah Reynolds on February 9, 2015 in great commandment
I had been on African soil for three days. To conclude a week of training in Botswana, my teammate and I were dropped off at a traditional village home for the weekend.
We learned to adapt to what I would consider a slow, laborious lifestyle. The nationals we resided with laughed at our efforts to pluck a chicken, take a bath in a bucket and speak the native language.
On Sunday morning, we put on our long skirts and began the trek toward the village church. We followed the lead of our hostess, who faithfully walked half a mile on the dirt road to church every week in her well-worn, red high heels.
The small church building...
Local Chinese restaurant opens doors for ministry in Big Spring
by Leah Reynolds on February 6, 2015 in great commandment
BIG SPRING—Community evangelism comes in all shapes and forms, but oftentimes begins with a simple conversation. For First Baptist Church in Big Spring, one small seed planted in a local Chinese restaurant has grown to form a much-needed ministry in the community.
When Sherry Lindsey moved to Big Spring six years ago, she felt compelled to visit the local Chinese restaurant and meet the waiters. After that initial conversation, the restaurant quickly became a hub for church members to connect with local Chinese and show Christ's love to them on a regular basis.
One waiter was able to study for the United States...
The story of Yana: Abandoned, rescued, and now victorious
by Willie Gendke on January 29, 2015 in bible drill and speakers tournament
When Leroy and Willie Gendke signed up to deliver containers of humanitarian aid to Ukraine with Texas Baptist Men, they did not realize God would have a child with a cleft palate waiting for them. Willie shares the remarkable journey that has taken place over the last 18 years as she has learned to care for her daughter, Yana, and watched her defy odds and become a victor at the 2014 National Speakers' Tournament.
Yana was born in Latugeno, Ukraine and abandoned in the hospital. She had a severe cleft palate and lip. When I found her, she was 6-weeks-old and had lost more than half her birth weight.
The nurses did not...
by Rachel Hendricks on January 21, 2015 in great commandment
"We must learn to not regard people in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer."- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
His name was Richard. Just being released from the hospital, he retreated home – a familiar place of peace and solitude, but that night he woke to his house under water. Richard, a victim of the October 31, 2013, Austin floods continued to live in his home sans electricity and water with a growing pain and wound to his psyche. That is until one of the first BOUNCE: Student Disaster Recovery teams came to help rebuild his home and his hope last July.
In the summer of 2014, David Scott,...
What you can't see pastor
by Ryan Jespersen on December 18, 2014 in
It's Monday morning. Yesterday was a long hard day. In some ways it was a good day, a little boy from the neighborhood came to church for the first time and gave his life to Christ. However, a teenager spent the entire service talking behind Mrs. Smith and of course this bothered and she let you know about it.
In the last few years, your church has made the commitment to get on mission in your community, yet it seems some days this decision is one you would like to reconsider because well, it just gets tough sometimes. You are reaching new people, but the work is hard and sometimes you cannot see the results. Take a minute and...
Now is the time: Texas Baptists winterizing refugees in Lebanon
by Leah Reynolds on October 17, 2014 in great commandment
In Lebanon, millions of refugees are trying to figure out how to survive brutal temperatures as the winter months approach. Through the development of a winterization project, Texas Baptists are sending necessities like blankets and heaters to help refugee families prepare for the winter.
Since early 2011, when the Syrian conflict began, more than 1.5 million refugees have fled to Lebanon seeking safety. At least 10,000 Iraqis have also sought security in the country. Most of them have little money and no place to live.
Lebanese churches from various denominational backgrounds have embraced many of the refugees, displaying the love...
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering and Disaster Recovery help bring relief during Ebola crisis
by Leah Reynolds on September 29, 2014 in great commandment
DALLAS - Through funding from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) and Restore Hope are sending food and supplies to areas that are experiencing starvation due to the Ebola crisis.
In Liberia and Sierra Leone, many farmers have contracted the Ebola virus and died causing farm workers to lose their jobs. In-country prices have escalated since less food is being produced.
CNN reported in a recent article that the number of Ebola cases could rise to between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January if there are no additional interventions or changes in community behavior, an estimate derived from the...
Hand-painted prayer reminders
by Kalie Lowrie on September 19, 2014 in great commandment
ADAMSVILLE - Betty Rials was looking for a way to remind her church members at Adamsville Baptist Church to pray for state missions during the WMU of Texas Mary Hill Davis emphasis week. She looked out in her front yard and found the answer - bricks! Betty became a brick collector about 25 years ago, and knew the value of the bricks made in Ferris, Texas, between 1902 and 1903.
She gathered together 12 bricks and began painting the names of River Ministry Coordinators Mario Garcia, Dr. Gloria de la Pena, and Vanessa Quintanilla on them. After an especially difficult summer along the border, Betty knew the River Ministry Coordinators...
Japan Ministries Continue
by Guest Author on September 15, 2014 in great commandment
The Japan Mission Trip for August 2014 was a richly rewarding experience for the seven Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery volunteers who participated, led by retired IMB Missionary to Japan, Sherwood Moffett. Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami of northern Japan, teams of Christian volunteers have expended time, money and energy to be the face of hope and the arms of grace to the survivors.
The team spent the first few days in the city of Sendai, the largest city in the disaster area, worshipping with Taitomi Baptist church and participating in ongoing youth fellowships and adult Bible studies. The aim of these activities was to show...
For the least of these
by Guest Contributor on August 21, 2014 in great commandment
Johnnie Musquiz serves as Pastor of Iglesia Bautista Houston. Below is a first-hand account of his experience taking a volunteer group from his church to serve Central American family units in McAllen.
Three weeks ago I toured the Catholic Charities in McAllen. I came back and showed pictures to my church about the need and also the opportunity. My son (Timothy) came and shared with me that he wanted to organize a group and go help with the effort at the Catholic Charities. The dates (Aug 15-16) were scheduled and a group of nine volunteers were enlisted. We took brand new clothes that were donated, 200 plastic water bottles, and...
Never too young
by Kalie Lowrie on May 6, 2014 in great commandment
FREDERICKSBURG - You don't have to be an expert cyclist to take part in the week-long Bike Out Hunger event. Our youngest rider this year, Gertie Kate Adair, is only seven years old.
Gertie Kate is from Dripping Springs and she is a proud supporter of her dad, Ben. Last year, when Ben spent the week riding with Bike Out Hunger, Gertie Kate decided that she wanted to join her dad for his next ride.
"I've been waiting a whole year for this," she said. When asked why, she said she really likes to ride her bike and spend time with her dad, and she wanted to help.
She rode 9.42 miles today, right alongside Ben. It was hot and there were...
Backpacks of food and hope provided through Hunger Offering
by Kalie Lowrie on May 5, 2014 in great commandment
FREEPORT - Most children look forward to 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, signaling the end of school and beginning of the weekend. There are roughly 65 hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning when school starts again. Many kids delight in these hours, but for children who do not have food at home, the hours can be long and hard. While many schools have feeding programs for breakfast and lunch for students in need, the weekends can be a time when food is scarce.
Operation Backpack, supported through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, seeks to step in and provide homeless and chronically hungry students in the Freeport and Jones...
Growing to live through hunger offering
by Kara Kistner on April 21, 2014 in great commandment
GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Hands in Service, an organization that receives funding from Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, provides family garden workshops through missions and churches in the poverty belt around the city of Guadalajara and other communities, as well as in rural areas. These workshops help train and educate people to grow their own food to provide better nutrition at a lower cost.
Family Gardens is a project designed and carried out in cooperation with Manos Hermanas, in Guadalajara and numerous other areas where space is available to train and optimize intensive gardens to benefit those in poverty to help them feed their...
Honduras: A display of His splendor
by Kalie Lowrie on April 11, 2014 in great commandment
CENICERA, Honduras - The kids here in Honduras have stolen my heart! Last night we attended a worship service at a house church in Cenicera, just a few miles from Gracias. When we arrived, I recognized several of the kids from the day before when we were at their house interviewing their parents. One precious girl named Ruby came up and hugged me, followed by another six I had never met before. They looked up at me with these beautiful eyes and told me their names. I hugged them each back and repeatedly asked, "Como estas?" (the only Spanish I really know).
Ruby is nine and currently suffering from leukemia. Her family receives food...
Hunger in Honduras: The face of a thankful heart
by Kalie Lowrie on April 10, 2014 in great commandment
CATULACA, Honduras - Felipe is paralyzed from the waist down after a tragic accident about five years ago. He has undergone eight surgeries and was forced to sell most of his land to pay for the medical procedures. He was the primary breadwinner for his family of six and now many times they wonder how they will eat. The family raises pigs for income and has many chickens roaming around the yard to provide sustenance.
When we arrived at his house today, Felipe, his wife, daughter and brother were overjoyed to see Shannon Hopkins, a missionary with 61 Isaiah Ministries, and his friends. They were also beyond thankful for the food that...
Hunger in Honduras: Bringing hope across a footbridge
by Kalie Lowrie on April 9, 2014 in great commandment
GRACIAS, Honduras - Today, we saw the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in action, with three men carrying nearly 60 pounds of food on their backs, across a shaky wooden footbridge to a family in need. Shannon Hopkins and his friends, Kevin and Hugo, carried the load of food to a family of 15, living in extreme poverty.
Shannon serves as a missionary with 61 Isaiah Ministries, a ministry that receives funding from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, and seeks to provide food to those in crisis situations in and around Gracias, Honduras. 61 Isaiah Ministries also partners with Ellis Baptist Association to receive support for the work they...
Hunger offering inspires others to give back
by Kara Kistner on April 7, 2014 in great commandment
FORT WORTH - This year churches are holding a special offering on Mother's Day to support the Mother's Day Hunger Offering. By uniting the efforts of Texas Baptists, we can raise $1 million this Mother's Day to end hunger one mom at a time. One mom that has received help from this offering is a woman named Kay Schmenk.
Kay Schmenk is a 73-year-old who has been participating in the Senior Supplement Program, a monthly feeding program at Northside Inter-Community Agency (NICA), since 2006. She lives off of her Social Security check each month of less than $700.
NICA, one of several ministries in Fort Worth that receives support through...
Hunger Offering helps family overcome poverty in Bangladesh
by Kalie Lowrie on March 24, 2014 in great commandment
BHALUKA UPAZILA, Bangladesh - Conditions were hard for Asma Khatun and her family of five, living in extreme poverty in a small village in Bangladesh. While her husband, Babul Dhaly, worked hard to provide, they did not own any land to plant crops and they were not able to earn enough income to provide three meals a day for their family.
Not only did she learn about business and agriculture, but Asma was also provided with a...
Hunger funds help mom find a shoulder to lean on
by Kalie Lowrie on March 11, 2014 in great commandment
NEW BRAUNFELS - Gloria Mata needed help. Medical bills from her daughter's illness stacked up, and the single mother realized she no longer had enough money to put food on the table for her family of six.
Deliverance came in the form of a voucher from her daughter's school that referred Mata to the Harvest Food Pantry, a ministry of New Braunfels Christian Ministries, which is funded in part through Texas Baptists' special Mother's Day Hunger Offering.
Providing spiritual nourishment for those in need
by Kalie Lowrie on November 25, 2013 in great commandment
CORPUS CHRISTI - Juan Rena was hungry and hurting when he came to the Crossbridge Fellowship Church food pantry. He had no idea how the Lord would change his life in the following year and lead him to become the director of the ministry that impacted him in so many ways.
Addicted to cocaine and meth for more than 25 years, Juan wanted to find a way to turn his life around and find meaning again. He was also in need of food, which led him to Crossbridge's food pantry just a few streets away from his home where he could come twice a month for essential needs.
As Juan and his girlfriend, Tina, received food each month, they noticed...
Students to help communities 'Bounce' back after disasters
by John Hall on October 18, 2013 in great commandment
DALLAS - Texas Baptists are turning to students to help communities "bounce" back after disasters.
This fall, the convention is launching Bounce, a pre-packaged missions experience through which students minister in the wake of disasters. Bounce makes taking youth teams on mission easy, working out logistics for leaders such as where a group will stay, what they will eat and what they will do on mission.
Students will serve communities through debris removal and cleanup, construction and other ministry projects that will accelerate the bounce back recovery process.
"A lot of folks have a sense of hopelessness after disasters," said...
God is Not Limited
by Guest Author on October 15, 2013 in great commandment
There are three things you might notice when driving into Crawford, Texas. Perhaps you'll notice the billboard featuring George and Laura Bush, our most famous property owners. Perhaps you'll notice the welcome sign from First Baptist Church, or perhaps you'll notice the city limit sign, which reads, "Pop. 717."
The Crawford community sits about 20 miles west of Waco. Yet, Crawford does not share the big city features of its larger neighbor. Crawford has one post office, one blinking light, one restaurant, and one high school. You get the idea.
Yet, First Baptist Church is a unique blend of business owners, stay-at-home moms...
A world away, a single bag in hand
by John Hall on October 9, 2013 in great commandment
DALLAS - The world is coming to Texas, landing at the airport with a single bag.
Texas is the leading point of arrival for refugees, who often land with all of their belongings in an issued bag. With this small cache of items, a family will begin a new life in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar customs.
"There's gold in those bags," said John Parsons, World Relief regional director. "Actually, what's in there is worth more than gold."
Beyond the sentimental value of the objects, the bags contain the paperwork needed to live and work in the United States. As refugees settle in a land where little is like the society they fled, those...
North Texas Team Works in Piedras Negras
by Guest Author on October 7, 2013 in great commandment
A team from Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, just completed a very successful health clinic in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The team worked in cooperation with Iglesia Fuente de Vida and mission coordinator Gloria de la Pena to minister to the needs of the people of the city. The clinic was focused in the four areas of wheelchair ministry, eyeglass ministry, dental care, and health screening.
As a result of this clinic, 53 people received wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. Our dental team provided care for 120 people in cooperation with a great team of dental professionals from Piedras Negras. The health screening team...
The Main Thing
by Ryan Jespersen on October 1, 2013 in great commandment
Jim Collins is known for a couple of different books, Good to Great, and Built to Last. However, there is another short little read he has called "How the Mighty Fall." This particular volume talks about the rise and fall of really huge companies.
As a pastor, and now a denominational employee, I could not help but see in this book several ways where the church could learn a great lesson. One of the biggest ways Collins points out that the mighty fall is when a company stops tending to the thing that made it great. He gives several examples of this and it is worth the read.
The church of Jesus Christ is to be a place where people are...
Ignite Your Passion Outreach
by Guest Author on September 16, 2013 in great commandment
The Ignite Your Passion Outreach was a huge success this past weekend. Pastors and Church Leaders in Eagle Pass, Texas had hoped to have a prayer meeting spanning across the bridge (between Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico) which serves as a walkway across the border. They had received permission from city officials but the decision was rescinded at the last minute and therefore the group met in the parking lot at the border and prayed for the border violence and needs of both cities.In spite of this development, over 300 from the community participated in the outreach. The event consisted of a block party, concert...
ISAAC Projects opens center to directly minister to immigrants
by John Hall on September 5, 2013 in great commandment
SAN ANTONIO - The Immigration Service and Aid Center opened its doors on the Baptist University of the Américas campus Aug. 30 to directly help people with their citizenship issues.
The ISAAC center is Texas Baptists' first effort to directly help immigrants work within the law and navigate the complicated path toward citizenship. In addition to helping people resolve their citizenship status, the center will serve as a training institute for people who desire accreditation to help immigrants.
In recent years, the ISAAC Project, a collaborative ministry of BUA and the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, has focused on training...
May Christ's mandate determine our work
by Daniel Rangel on September 5, 2013 in great commandment
Osvaldo Lerma, River Ministry Coordinator in Brownsville, TX and a few other River Ministry Coordinators were invited to go on a mission trip to Ciudad Victoria the Capital City of the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico (about 180 miles from the Texas border) with Lakepointe Baptist Church. Lakepointe has been doing ministry for years in this town but they had not traveled on the road to this town for years because of the threats of violence. Recently the reports of violence have subsided. During the Spring many of the roads on the border that were once unsafe to travel were now free of violence and well protected by the Mexican Military...
Are you thinking about missions in Mexico?
by Daniel Rangel on September 3, 2013 in great commandment
For the past four years we have not had Texas Baptist Churches working with us during Spring Break on the Mexican side of the border. This year Lamar BC of Beaumont, TX and FBC Vidor, TX decided to take a step of faith and go to Reynosa, Mexico in the spring. They had a medical clinic and VBS. They attended to 251 people in the medical clinic and had an average of 75 children attend VBS. 29 people made professions of faith, 6 were baptized and 1 new organic church was planted.
Here is a short letter from one of the mission team members:
On Friday we went to a small church, not far from where we were staying. We had an opportunity to...
Serving as the eyes and ears of Jesus in Oklahoma
by Guest Author on August 21, 2013 in great commandment
Gary Henneke, Pastor of Frelsburg Baptist Church of New Ulm, Texas joined 140 volunteers who served during the recent "Loving Oklahoma" event. Gary is a trained NOVA Chaplain and joined to see how his training could be of assistance on the field. Gary wrote the below account of his experiences and concluded that Chaplains are very much so needed as Disaster Recovery teams continue to serve in areas affected by disasters. Gary stated "We certainly need to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus during these times but we must not also forget to be the "eyes and ears" of Our Lord during these recovery events." Gary worked with "Field of...
FBC Dripping Springs brings foreign missions home
by John Hall on August 20, 2013 in great commandment
DRIPPING SPRINGS - To share the gospel overseas, churches do construction projects, prayer efforts and service initiatives.
First Baptist Church wondered: Can't it do something very similar in its own community?
Out that spirit, the congregation birthed Mission Drippin', a weeklong effort to invest in their community. This July 28-Aug. 4, mission teams met in homes across the area to pray for their neighbors and neighborhoods. The next day, they prayed specifically for the schools their children attend.
Then they took to the streets, cleaning up part of the Dripping Springs from which the city's name is derived. They cleaned up a...
Texas Baptists give more than $230,000 for hungry through Mother's Day offering
by John Hall on July 31, 2013 in great commandment
Texas Baptists gave more than $230,000 to help the hungry through last Spring's Mother's Day offering.
Congregations donated $234,164 through the Mother's Day emphasis for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which feeds and assists hungry people through 210 projects including 115 in Texas.
Texas Baptists' Executive Director David Hardage thanked Texas Baptists for their generosity, believing this was a great first step toward the convention's goal of eventually raising $1 million for the hungry on Mother's Day.
Texas Baptists willingness to give throughout the Spring shone brightly as churches not only gave to the Mother's Day...
Texas Baptists set to help tornado victims by
by John Hall on July 29, 2013 in great commandment
Texas Baptists are preparing to help people affected by last Spring's tornados through "Loving Oklahoma," five-day concentrated service effort to assist those around Oklahoma City.
Volunteers and teams will be working Aug. 5-10 on projects identified through local long-term disaster recovery officials. The ministry will vary from cleaning up debris to working distribution centers to light construction.
The mission opportunity is made possible by Texas Baptists' Disaster Recovery, through a partnership with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Disaster Response. Officials aim to bring aid, encouragement and the hope of Christ to tornado...
Texas cooking draws people in - even in Italy
by John Hall on July 29, 2013 in great commandment
The smell of Texas barbecue tickles noses, makes mouths water and attracts a crowd.
Even in Italy.
A mission team from Coastal Bend Fellowship in Kingsville discovered Texas barbecue is an ideal way to bring Italians together. Partnering with Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board missionaries Charlie and Shannon Worthy, the Texans held two barbecues during a June 7-17 trip.
The team held a barbecue for the missionaries in their neighborhood, where as many as 150 curious people - at least half of whom were non-Christians - came to experience a taste of Texas. The missionaries were in the process of relocating from...
Love for neighbor should compel us toward immigration reform
by Ferrell Foster on June 28, 2013 in great commandment
The U.S. Senate has shown both courage and wisdom in passing the sweeping immigration bill. In order to get bipartisan support, the bill had to reflect the concerns of people across the political spectrum, and this has resulted in a bill that addresses the needs of security, business and immigrants.
Scripture teaches us to care about the "stranger" in our midst, and it also teaches us the importance of honoring laws. As a result, those of us who are Christians can rejoice in the fact that these two principles are being honored.
We know, of course, that there are many good people, including Christians, who are concerned about...
Loving West volunteers help city move forward
by Guest Author on June 24, 2013 in great commandment
WEST -- Media outlets across the nation have told the world how an explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked this small Central Texas town.
But that's not where the city's story ends. Thanks to Texas Baptists, in some ways that's where the story begins. The convention has partnered with First Baptist Church in West to help with recovery efforts since the blast. On June 15-22, hundreds of volunteers from across the state, armed with shovels and servant hearts, partnered for Loving West -- a week-long recovery effort coordinated by Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery.
"One of the greatest ways God is blessing us is by these...
The little things: God uses volunteers to answer big prayers in Oklahoma
by Guest Author on June 13, 2013 in great commandment
By: Molly Livingstone
LITTLE AXE, Okla. - Dressed in a long-sleeved gray shirt ornamented with a small orange OSU emblem, Zach Rowell, stood in the bed of his white truck as the sweltering summer sun beat down relentlessly. Carefully, he pushed a large, maroon corduroy recliner to the back of the bed, securing it with yellow bungee cords.
Rowell traveled June 4 to Little Axe with a youth group of about 25 people from University Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater to help with tornado relief efforts. The group does a service project each Tuesday and chose to help the tornado-ravaged communities. He ended up being an answer to...