Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good news from Amarillo

Tim and I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in Amarillo, TX at the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. For those of you unfamiliar with Baptist life, the BGCT is the place where Baptist churches from all over the state gather to set the budget and agenda for our cooperative mission endeavors next year. This work includes Texas Baptist universities, children’s homes, chaplaincy programs, collegiate ministries on state campuses, and much more.

Beyond the business meeting side of it, the annual meeting always a good time for ministers to see old friends from around the state. I enjoyed catching up with seminary classmates who now serve in churches in almost every corner of Texas. I was glad to hear from the dean of Truett Seminary that theological education in Texas continues to thrive and grow. Nationally, seminary attendance dropped 2% last year. Truett’s attendance increased by 10%. Two of those new Truett students have Southland connections – Isa Torres and Jeremy Boucher.

Another highlight of the meeting included the Christian Life Commission’s Hunger Luncheon. The Christian Life Commission is the arm of the BGCT that manages the Texas Baptist World Hunger Offering that we collect each time we observe the Lord’s Supper. My heart was moved by testimonies from ministers who receive those funds to feed the hungry. One such testimony came from a pastor in the Houston area whose church feeds over 100 children every day after school. Many of these children are from immigrant families who are hearing about Jesus for the very first time. Another testimony came from missionaries to a country in North Africa who use a grant from the hunger offering to feed girls who have been abandoned by their families. In doing so, they are also spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in that predominantly Muslim country.

All in all, I left Amarillo encouraged by the work that’s being done through Texas Baptist ministries here in our great state and across the globe. You should be encouraged that every time you place money in the offering plate a portion of it goes beyond the walls of our church to support the various ministries of the BGCT, ministries that are doing good work for the kingdom of God.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

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