Replanting conference focuses on giving old churches new life
by Bonnie Shaw on January 23, 2020 in news
On Jan. 10-11, approximately 50 people from around the United States gathered at Houston’s First Baptist Church to attend “Am I a Replanter?,” a conference centered on nation-wide church replanting. ...
Lives changed and community restored
by Kalie Lowrie and Stephanie Arosemena on October 22, 2018 in great commandment
After attending Texas Baptists Church Planting Center (CPC) training in Houston, Pastor Ryan Thompson set out to plant a church that would reach the lost and the broken in Nederland, Texas...
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...
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...
What I saw and heard in my city
by Ryan Jespersen on July 27, 2016 in faith
Outside the city of Brownwood, lies a small Baptist encampment where I was spending a week as camp pastor of an RA/GA camp when the reports out of Louisiana and Minnesota came in. These were quite disturbing to me. I attempted, even from a distance, to minister in the midst of these reports by calling African American pastor friends who I knew were having to work through this in their churches and communities.
Then, Thursday night, the world I knew fell apart. Coming back from worship I began to hear the reports, out of my home city of Dallas, about the shootings and terror on the streets of downtown.
When it was all said and...
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...
Being present and allowing God to work
by Kalie Lowrie on May 10, 2016 in faith
Living on mission, according to Josue Valerio, director of the Missions Team, is being present with the people around you and pointing them to a deeper relationship with Christ. As Jesus sent out 72 disciples in Luke 10, He gave them instructions to pray, travel light, seek a person of peace, practice receiving hospitality and to proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand. Following His directive, the disciples were to remain in a home and be present with those living there - to experience life with them and share Christ’s love.
Whether we are practicing these principles in our neighborhoods or in a community halfway around the...
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...
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...
Ministry is done with people, not for people
by Ryan Jespersen on February 24, 2016 in great commission
I have often thought back to a meeting one afternoon with the "consultant" in regard to attendance. The church was at its lowest point in my tenure. I was desperately trying to figure out what our church could do in the midst of decline, and a neighborhood we seemed not to match up with. The "consultant" told me to build a church with the affluent and let the affluent minister to the non-affluent. The key in all of it, though, was that our main worship service was going to primarily only serve the affluent. Part of me still cringes a little bit inside, not because of what he said, for perhaps I misunderstood, but because there was...
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.
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...
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...
Disaster Recovery trip combines missions with summer fun
by Leah Reynolds on August 4, 2015 in news
GALVESTON–Last week, volunteers teamed up with Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) to take part in a unique missions experience—one that allowed opportunities for mornings of servant-hearted labor and afternoons of summer entertainment.
Forty volunteers from five Texas Baptists churches spent the weekday mornings painting homes, building fences, cleaning yards and making repairs for homeowners who are still reaping the effects of Hurricane Ike, which devastated much of the Island in 2008.
In the afternoons, the volunteers spent their free time playing miniature golf, going to the beach, visiting Pleasure...
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...
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...
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...
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 citizenship...
The Long Haul
by Ryan Jespersen on January 7, 2015 in feature
I want to tell you a story about my friend Larry Venable. Larry has been pastor of Freeman Heights Baptist Church for 31 years. 31 years in the same church, coming to same office, ministering in the same community. This community, Central and West Garland has changed significantly through the years; it has become much more ethnically and socially diverse.
In fact, when Larry first arrived in 1983 this was already beginning to happen. Most guys in situations like his might just bide their time until they are able to find a new place of ministry – an easier spot to do the work, but not Larry. Larry has stuck it out through the...
God moving every step of the way
by Jenifer Wilkes on January 6, 2015 in news
I just recently got back from Bennington, Vermont for a mission trip. While there, I saw God work in miraculous ways, and it took almost no time at all. The collegiate director at Summit Church, the church we worked alongside, constantly told us to pray before we act. Throughout the week we saw just what the power of prayer could do.
Our first day after arrival, we went to Rutland to help with the first preview service of a new church, Rutland City Church. While we were on our way and even when we got there we prayed for God to move and for people to just come. That day about 65 people showed up and five accepted Christ as their...
Training Mexican church leaders in communal evangelism
by Leah Reynolds on November 3, 2014 in news
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Eight Texas Baptist organic church leaders journeyed to Mexico City, Mexico the first week of October to train local church leaders on how to share the Gospel in their communities using personal evangelism and the 4byfour method. Throughout the week, they experienced God's provision and power. Forty individuals on the streets accepted Christ as Lord, and 19 young people surrendered to the call to ministry. Read these personal testimonies from a few of the missionaries:
Sharing Christ in the community
As we went out to the streets of Mexico City to share about God, it surprised me to see that the...
Understanding the city and the culture
by Josue Valerio on October 1, 2014 in news
Cities are known for their cultures and for their role of influence in societies. Also, there are other forces, which are constantly shaping the city and its cultures. But today, it is crucial for us to understand the city, the communities within the city and their cultures in order to collaborate in ministry and serve the different groups who live, work and visit the city.
I believe the basic elements of culture are languages, artifacts, practices, values, institutions and stories.
We all contribute towards the creation of culture, and culture re-creates the city and its inhabitants. This is why it is important to understand how 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...
A fascinating day in the Quilombola village
by Guest Author on September 4, 2014 in news
On August 9, Linda Freeman (a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth) and Bertha Vaughn (a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Houston) joined seven other Texas Baptist church leaders through the African American Ministry. Each followed the call to serve eight days in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. Here the team did door-to-door evangelism and held Bible studies for Quilombola villagers under a shade tree. Read Freeman's and Vaughn's testimony as they recall unforgettable experiences from the village visits.
BRAZIL - It was a fascinating day. We visited two of the Quilombola villages. In the last village we...
A Church on Mission
by Ryan Jespersen on August 27, 2014 in feature
A new neighborhood, a new school, and a new place without the foundation of family and a familiar community—all of us know how hard that would be for a young person. Yet one little girl's mother, Tasha, was praying and asking God to bring a church into her daughter's life, a church where she could find Christ and be a disciple in that faith.
Enter the Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Garland, a Texas Baptist church whose youth group and church body had recently been renewed in its commitment to reach the surrounding neighborhood for Christ. The youth group at Eastern Hills decided that one way they could reach their community...
Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem
by Leah Reynolds on August 18, 2014 in news
VICTORIA - Through discovering a community need and a partnership with the local food bank, Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Victoria has begun a feeding program that is making an impact in both the city and the church.
"We believe that the church is not supposed to be an institution that caters to itself," said Montari Morrison, pastor of Greater Mount Calvary. "The church is always supposed to be a resource to the community. Our message is supposed to go outside of the walls and not only be a spiritual help but also a physical help."
Since April 2014, volunteers from Greater Mount Calvary, as well as neighboring churches...
The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary
by Guest Author on August 14, 2014 in news
Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.
The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed's ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan Jespersen at email@example.com or (214) 828-5278.
Oh July...it started quietly, but was...
Quebec: Afraid to believe
by Ellie Denton on August 12, 2014 in news
Trying to communicate camp rules and activities to the French campers was challenging enough. Keeping the campers focused and interested during devotional time is a whole different ball game - especially when I'm trying to discuss a chapel message that was given in a language that I don't understand.
After starting the week off with uninterested campers begging to go play instead of talk about God, I couldn't help but be frustrated and growing impatient at my inability to reach my group of girls. I couldn't understand why my girls were so cold to Christ and why they didn't seem moved at all by the stories of his love and sacrifice...
Orlando: When the world comes to us
by Guest Author on August 11, 2014 in news
Central Florida is fortunate to be blessed with more than 50 million souls to minister to throughout the year.
Orlando has broken its record of people passing through the city with 59 million people, representing different cultures, ethnicities, languages and races. It is beautiful to imagine the hearts that could be touched, seeds that could be planted and souls that could be saved.
What is even better is the thought that one changed soul can change a nation or area. As we spread the gospel to one person, that one person can spread it in their home, and then “Bam!" From right here in America, we have reached China, North Korea or...
Vancouver: A summer of sowing seeds ends
by Kasey Chinn on August 8, 2014 in news
Here in Vancouver, we've been hanging out with some university students every Thursday this summer to play Ultimate Frisbee. They've let us join in supporting their team, even though not all of us play. They've let us come along to dinner with them after games. And now I can finally say that they let us share the gospel.
On a recent Thursday, I talked with three of the girls over dinner about what I believe and how Christianity differs from other religions. I shared with them the gospel and planted seeds of news they hadn't heard before. We're making the most of these relationships in our final days here by spending time with them...
Eternal victories through soccer tournaments
by Kalie Lowrie on June 24, 2014 in evangelism and missions
GUADALAJARA -- As the little boys gathered around preparing for the final game in their soccer tournament, River Ministry coordinator Pedro Munoz reminded them that this was the moment they had been preparing for over the past month.
"Some of you will be winners today, as your team wins the tournament, but all of you can be winners if you give your life to Jesus Christ," he said.
Arenas, the area where these boys were playing, can be very dangerous at times. When Pedro was on the street the day before, he encountered teenagers with cocaine and marijuana in hand, not fazed by the public visibility. Located on the outskirts of...
The need for No Mas Violencia in Guadalajara
by Kalie Lowrie on June 20, 2014 in news
GUADALAJARA -- People are gathering across the globe in masses to cheer on their favorite team in the World Cup. Watch parties have emerged in several areas in Guadalajara as nationals cheer on the Mexican team, or enjoy watching games like Greece vs. Japan. This week, amongst soccer jerseys and team paraphernalia, individuals wearing black shirts with the simple message "No Mas Violencia" can be found around the city. Churches in the Emmanuel Baptist Regional Association in Guadalajara have handed out 35,000 flyers around the city, promoting the message of peace and many have been very receptive and interested in learning...
On mission in South Africa
by Kara Kistner on April 24, 2014 in news
SIBASA, South Africa - "I believe that when biblical principles are put into practice then the biblical results can be expected," said Joe Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Lewisville. "We are mandated by Christ to go and make disciples; if we do our part, Christ is faithful to do His part."
In February 2013, Fields and his congregation at New Beginnings Church were blessed to partake in a mission trip to Sibasa, South Africa. During their stay, they were able to evangelize to all walks of society; senior citizens, youth and children encountered the love of Christ and Field's team shared about salvation with all.
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...
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...
Lebanese partnerships spread hope and aid to Syrian refugees
by Kalie Lowrie on September 23, 2013 in news
Spiritual revival is taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis.
With the escalating disputes in Syria, many are fleeing to neighboring countries to escape the crossfire. Media reports depict the great suffering and desperation, yet "God is doing great things in the midst of a great crisis," said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society. "The church is in revival in Syria. We are able to reach people we never dreamt of before."
Costa acknowledges that the situation is extremely dangerous, but he has also seen God working in mighty ways and His name being glorified.
"God is at...
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...