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NEWS BRIEFS MARCH 2016 6 ANNIE ARMSTRONG EASTER OFFERING 14-15 Newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convent...

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MARCH 2016



Newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention N MORE NEWS AT TEXANONLINE.NET


Believers learn ‘Rhythms’ of Christian life in new discipleship curriculum

By Michael Foust TEXAN Correspondent

For Lance Crowell, discipling new Christians isn’t optional. It’s essential. Crowell, a church ministries associate at the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, has seen firsthand the benefits of disciple-making, having been personally discipled as a new Christian. “Disciple-making was a big deal in my spiritual growth and maturation,” Crowell said. “Someone discipled me. That was a big part of my life.” A new seven-session curriculum/resource published by the SBTC and co-authored by Crowell seeks to change how churches teach and view the subject of discipleship. See RHYTHMS, 13


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Baby Boomers



change dynamics of senior adult ministry By Bonnie Pritchett TEXAN Correspondent

In an increasingly fragmented society, churches must navigate the tension between affinity groups, meeting the spiritual and physical needs of each while encouraging all to be united in the cause of Christ. But what’s a pastor to do with the rapidly growing group known as Baby Boomers that is united by one characteristic—their age—but not by their life experiences? Answering that question and equipping churches for

ministry to older adults is the goal of four SBTC conferences hosted across the state beginning March 3 in New Braunfels and March 10 in Grapevine. Speakers at the conferences will be Scott Shulick, pastor to maturing adults at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview; Bob Neely, senior adult pastor at First Baptist Church Euless; and Billy Barnes, senior adult pastor at FBC New Braunfels and SBTC senior adult associate. They spoke with the TEXAN, offering their perspectives on ministry to senior adults

across Texas. Larry Lilley, minister to senior adults at Houston’s First Baptist Church will also speak at the conference but was unavailable for an interview. Simply defining the term “senior adult” is a point of dispute. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) welcomes those as young as 50 years old into the fold. The Golden Years will save you some green at a host of restaurants and movie theaters. At 62 you can score

a U.S. National Parks Service lifetime pass for $10. But for church ministry purposes the term “senior adult” defines members and evangelistic outreach to populations who top 50 years of age. Still, for some, that label sticks in their craw. “With the Boomer generation you better not use that term. You’re going to get a lot of push back,” said Schulick. See BOOMER, 8


EVANGELICALS FOR LIFE CALLS FOR PRO-LIFE ADVOCACY AT EVERY LEVEL 5Samuel Rodriguez (right) speaks on pro-life issues along with (leftto-right) Russell Moore, Jim Daly, and Charmaine Yoest during the inaugural Evangelicals for Life conference in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21. PHOTO BY CHAD BARTLETT

By Tammi Reed Ledbetter Special Assignments Editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. The first Evangelicals for Life Conference co-sponsored by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and Focus on the Family offered plenty to celebrate with pro-life legislation sweeping across the nation, younger generations embracing the sanctity of life, and issues like racism meriting attention as part of a whole-life ethic. The Jan. 21-22 conference at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill also served to bolster increased

See EFL, 3







PRODUCERS OF UNDERCOVER VIDEOS, NOT PLANNED PARENTHOOD, INDICTED OVER SALE OF ABORTED BABY PARTS By Bonnie Pritchett TEXAN Correspondent HOUSTON In an ironic legal twist, the undercover investigators seeking to expose Planned Parenthood as profiting from the sale of fetal remains were themselves charged Jan. 25 with purchasing fetal remains and tampering with a federal document. No charges were filed against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC), the initial target of the investigation. Following a two-month investigation a Harris County grand jury cleared PPGC of any legal wrongdoing following accusations of selling fetal remains for profit in violation of federal law. Instead, the jury indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for tampering with a government record. Daleiden, who led the undercover sting of Planned Parenthood offices, was also indicted for “prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs.” Details of the charges against Daleiden and Merritt are still forthcoming from the Harris County District Attorney’s office. “We respect the processes of the Harris County District Attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well,” Daleiden said in a statement posted at The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) website. “Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales

captured on video for all the world to see.” CMP spearheaded the three-year undercover operation into allegations that several Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, including PPGC in Houston, sold fetal remains for a profit. Abortion clinics are only allowed to recoup the cost of delivering fetal remains to research facilities. Daleiden and Merritt posed as procurement representatives for a fictitious medical research laboratory in order to gain access to PP abortion clinics in Texas and other states in an attempt to show the organization did more than break even on the transfer of fetal remains. Abortion rights advocates cheered the turn of events claiming the grand jury vindicated their accusations that The Center for Medical Progress, not Planned Parenthood, was violating the law. “These people broke the law to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their extreme antiabortion political agenda,” said Eric Ferreo, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA). On Jan. 14, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in federal court charging Daleiden and other pro-life activists with an “elaborate, illegal conspiracy in order to block women’s access to safe and legal abortion.”

The undercover videos produced by CMP released over the course of several months last year revealed, if not illegal activity, a callous attitude toward the abortion process and the aborted remains. Although denying any illegal activity and charging that the videos were “heavily edited,” Cecile Richards, PPFA president, admitted that the videos revealed a callous, seemingly uncaring tone by PP representatives. During an on-stage interview at the Evangelicals for Life conference in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, Daleiden denied that the videos were illegal or crossed the line of morality by lying. “I think that undercover work is fundamentally different from lying because the purpose of undercover work is to serve the truth and to bring the truth to greater clarity and to communicate the truth more strongly,” Daleiden said in the interview with Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family. When asked about his response to critics who cite the videos as being heavily edited, Daleiden replied that CMP has been “more transparent than any news agency” in showing what goes into the production of video files that wind up as the final cuts seen by the American public.

CMP founder David Daleiden shares with the audience at the Evangelicals for Life Conference, Jan. 21, about why he created undercover videos of Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue. PHOTO BY CHAD BARTLETT

The videos prompted state and local investigations in Texas and the U.S. Congress and calls for defunding of the largest abortion provider in the nation. Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization, receives almost $500 million in federal funding each year. Prolife activists have long called for the extrication of tax dollars from the abortion industry. In a statement released Jan. 25, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state continues its own investigation into the actions of Planned Parenthood as revealed in the videos. “The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue,” Abbott said. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “The fact remains that the videos exposed

the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry. The state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is ongoing.” Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said what began as an investigation of alleged criminal activity by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast led to a different conclusion. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case,” Anderson said in a prepared statement. The charges of tampering with a governmental record is a 2nd degree felony. The attempted purchase of human organs is a Class A misdemeanor.

Churches play key role in applying defense of sanctity of life By Tammi Reed Ledbetter Special Assignments Editor WASHINGTON, D.C. “The sanctity of life suite has a broad array of applications,” reminded Southern Baptists of Texas Convention President Nathan Lino in a Jan. 21 breakout session of the Evangelicals for Life Conference co-sponsored by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Focus on the Family. “We should absolutely fight for the unborn and care for women’s pregnancy resource centers as a key part, but there are applications like care for the elderly, the disabled, special needs, racism and other issues—these are all sanctity of life issues.”

Lino, the pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church, moderated a panel that showcased examples of pro-life ministries, reminding the audience to seek God’s direction as to what role their churches might play. “Each of our churches should listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as to which application of the sanctity of life we should engage in our city, trusting the other churches and other believers are listening as to where they should engage,” Lino said. Amy Ford, founder of the Texas-based Embrace Grace ministry, described an opportunity for churches to offer a 12-week study for girls referred to them by local pregnancy resource centers. “We can hold our signs out in the march and

say we’re pro-life and vote prolife and that’s great, but love is what’s going to change the girl’s heart,” Ford said. “That’s where transformation takes place.” Without the power of the gospel, many women who come to a pregnancy center will be back within 18 months, facing another crisis, explained Mary Chapman, director of church outreach and engagement for Care Net, a nationwide network of pregnancy centers. “And in 18 years her daughter or son will be in your pregnancy center because they have not had the high view of marriage, family and the gospel integrated into their lives,” she added. “The Word of God is the only way we can transform lives and truly make a lasting dif-

ference,” Chapman insisted, urging churches to partner with local pregnancy resource ministries to help their clients “so they can live in a thriving, healthy environment and learn what abundant life is.” Joel Dillon, the president of Jill’s House, described the potential for ministry to the 2.6 million families raising children with severe intellectual disabilities. “This is truly an unreached people group,” he said, describing the vast majority of them as outside the church, experiencing a 60 percent higher level of stress than the general population and an 80 percent higher likelihood of divorce. The Virginia-based ministry provides overnight respite care to kids and their siblings for

a weekend, allowing physical rest for parents. Partnerships extend to several other states, including a facility at Twin Oaks Ranch in the Hill Country of Texas. “Preach the gospel boldly to these families and love them to Jesus,” Dillon encouraged. “Walk alongside them in their joy and their pain in every way possible.” Quoting John 10:10, Lino reminded Christians to contend not only for spiritual life, but also for physical life in whatever form it takes. “Being a gospel-centered church means you will end up in sanctity of life ministry,” Lino said. “The Word of God is central to those who are suffering and struggling. It sets them free.”

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requirements that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that facilities comply with safety standards. Yoest countered the CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 “reproductive autonomy” arguparticipation by evangelicals at ment offered by more than 100 the annual March for Life Rally female attorneys who claim in on the National Mall in Wash- their amicus brief that “they would not have been able to ington, D.C. “Our burden was to see the attain personal successes they reborn stand up for the unborn have achieved had it not been and for all of those who were for legal abortion.” “This is an offensive and created in the image of God,” stated ERLC President Russell deeply impoverished view of Moore in opening remarks at women,” Yoest said, calling the conference. The predomi- abortion activists “the true minantly young audience arrived sogynists” in society. “Arguing days ahead of the march to a woman’s destiny is shaped hear from nearly 40 evangeli- negatively by motherhood and cal pro-life leaders who taught that her equal citizenship is dehow to extend their influence pendent on abortion is fundawith a broader, more diverse mentally anti-woman.” “The abortion advocacy movebase of support. Focus on the Family President ment has been successful in Jim Daly praised the creative driving a wedge between us and ways younger evangelicals are women, … putting them on the illuminating “the difference in side of defending women and us on the side of defending babies.” light and darkness.” After years on the defense Pro-life advocates must have “a “trying to not let them score an- mother-child strategy of putting other touchdown,” the former those two people who are at risk football player appealed for an in an abortion clinic together offensive strategy that reduces and understanding their destiny, the number of abortions and in- hope and future is bound up tocreases the number of adoptions. gether,” she encouraged. “The church is the vehicle for Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest de- creating and defending the digscribed the success of “an under nity that feminists are looking the radar offense that has been for,” she added. “Hold up that very aggressive,” chipping away alternate vision of being able to at the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision be that woman of power as we that legalized abortion by shift- are created in God’s image in a complementary way with our ing the battle to the states. “More abortion restrictions male colleagues in Christ.” Conference participants reacross the country have been enacted since the 2010 election peatedly heard appeals similar than in the entire previous de- to that of Focus on the Family’s cade.” Yoest said, praising “re- vice president for community markable work in Texas” with outreach, Kelly Rosati, who adpassage of an omnibus piece vised pro-life advocates to temof legislation banning nearly per their message with love. “May we never forget to reall abortions after 20 weeks and requiring abortion provid- mind people no matter what ers upgrade their facilities and they’ve been involved in that forgiveness and mercy and standards of practice. The U.S. Supreme Court will grace are available through the hear an appeal March 2 to the cross of Christ,” Rosati said.


Advocating a movement that “reconciles conviction with compassion,” National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Samuel Rodriguez, said, “I am committed not only to seeing the emergence of the staunchest pro-life demographic in America, but I am likewise committed to building a compassionate, Christ-centered, Bible-based pro-life firewall.” He warned attendees against separating their responsibility to God and nation by voting one way and preaching another, declaring consistency to be crucial to steering the cultural landscape in America toward a greater respect for life. “We must rise up,” Rodriguez said, refusing to approach the voting booth based on the color of his skin. “I am not first and foremost black, white, yellow, brown, Hispanic, charismatic or automatic. I am a Christian. I am a Christian above everything else.” Votes have consequences, he reminded. “I cannot create a schism between what I vote and what I preach and what I believe. There must be continuity, and that’s what we call integrity.” Several speakers called for consistency in caring for human life at every stage, with Moore turning to Hebrews 2 when asking ministry leaders to identify with the crucified Christ as they stand up for the unborn, the aged, the disabled, the persecuted, the immigrant, the orphan, the widowed, the addicted, those in prison and the poor. “The image of God is more significant and more important than anyone’s definition of usefulness.”

Ministry in an abortion culture must keep the cross of Jesus at the forefront, Moore said. “What we have to offer the world is not our voting block, our cultural influence, or our philosophical argument. What we have to offer to the world is the gospel of freedom from condemnation, and if we lose sight of that we have nothing else to offer.” Addressing the future of the pro-life movement, Moore said, “We can’t be the people who rightfully refuse to compromise on the life issue and then we compromise on the racial justice issue,” calling race baiting “contrary to the righteousness of God.” Yoest observed that the abortion industry specifically targets black and Hispanic neighborhoods as they recognize the potential for increased profits. Moore expanded on her concern, describing the drama series “East Los High” geared toward Hispanic teenagers with a message of sexual liberation combined with abortion rights ideology. “The consultants are Planned Parenthood, Catholics for Choice and other pro-abortion organizations specifically trying to target urban Hispanic teenagers with a message that for them becomes part of a profit motive.” While supporting efforts to reduce abortion through legislation and assisting unwed pregnant mothers with supportive programs, Mennonite ethics professor Ron Sider said he was “disturbed by what seemed like a fundamental inconsistency in some parts of the pro-life move-


ment” that fail to protect and defend human life at every stage of development. Careful to make a moral distinction between abortion as “the directly intended taking of human life” and “allowing poor people to starve or growing tobacco which kills people or even executing people convicted of murder,” Sider encouraged extending the discussion to address the impact on life and death from poverty, environmental degradation, smoking, racism and capital punishment. “Surely pro-life people should be concerned about every situation where death that could be prevented killed persons created in love by our Lord and Savior.” “The evangelical pro-life movement is right to be deeply committed to ending abortion,” Sider affirmed, calling for “a completely pro-life movement that would profoundly reshape American society.” International Mission Board President David Platt connected Jesus’ compassion toward children with the Great Commission, describing opportunities for fostering and adopting children. “In a culture that devalues life and denigrates children, we don’t stay silent.” He told the audience, “Christ compels, calls, and commands us to go into the culture around us,” commissioned to “run toward need, not away from it” and “to engage culture, not to ignore it.” In addition to keynote speakers and panel discussion, breakout sessions at the Evangelicals for Life Conference addressed adoption and foster care, disabilities and special needs, pregnancy resource centers, legislative issues, millennials and sanctity of life, church-based pro-life ministries, international threats to human dignity, and bio-ethical concerns. —Sharayah Colter contributed to this report.

Hispanic leader: In voting, immigration reform must not trump life By Sharayah Colter TEXAN Correspondent WASHINGTON, D.C. Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference warned attendees of the Evangelicals for Life conference, Jan. 21 in Washington D.C., against separating their responsibly to God and nation by voting one way and preaching another, saying that consistency is crucial to steering the cultural landscape in America toward a greater respect for life. “We must rise up!” Rodriguez said, adding that he will not approach the voting both based on the color of his skin. “I am not first and foremost black, white, yellow, brown, Hispanic, charismatic or automatic. I am a Christian. I am a Christian above

everything else, and when I approach that voting booth, I must approach that voting booth understanding that my vote has consequences, and I can’t differentiate or distinguish. I cannot create a schism between what I vote and what I preach and what I believe. There must be continuity, and that’s what we call integrity.” In speaking directly to his Latino brothers and sisters, Rodriguez said voting for someone with an appealing position on immigration reform must not trump voting for someone who will commit to protect life. “Indeed, immigration has a legitimate space to occupy as it pertains to the conversations, as long as it’s not amnesty or illegal immigration—we need to stop that,” Rodriguez said. “But whatever we’re advocating

for, it shouldn’t trump life. We must begin with life!” Silence is not an option, Rodriguez said. “Now let me explain what that means, and this may be politically incorrect. I am committed not only to seeing the emergence of the staunchest pro-life demographic in America, but I am likewise committed to building a compassionate, Christ-centered, Bible-based pro-life firewall, understanding the following: That today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity. That we are what we tolerate. That there is no such thing as comfortably Christianity. And that truth and love and life must never be sacrificed on the altar of political, cultural or sexual expedience. “There has to be continuity and consistency,” Rodriguez

Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, speaks at the Evangelicals for Life conference in Washington D.C. Jan. 21 on standing up for life at the voting booth. PHOTO BY CHAD BARTLETT

said. “If we preach pro-life on Sunday, we cannot support a candidate that advocates abortion on Tuesday.” Rodriguez, who made a specific note that he spoke

only for himself and not on behalf of conference organizers, received enthusiastic applause and affirmation from the crowd throughout his time on stage.







first noticed it about five years ago, about the time I qualified for a “senior” discount at Taco Bueno. Approaching the front door of a store, I saw a young pregnant lady ahead of me. I’d have passed her up and held the door for her, but it would have been an awkward race. Instead, she, arms full of packages and maybe 30 pounds over her usual weight, stepped aside and held the door for me. It was weird because she did it on purpose and went out of her way to do it, though cheerfully. Why? I wasn’t in a wheel chair or carrying a refrigerator. I think she did it because my mustache was gray and my face is more wrinkled than hers will ever be … because I’m old. It wasn’t offensive; but it was a watershed. Things I said when I was 40, then designated “smart” or “quirky” or “wrong,” are now

“wise” or “interesting.” A clerk at Walgreen’s offered to sign me up for Medicare (I was not yet 60). A few times I’ve received senior discounts that I was two to five years from deserving. One day those things never happened, and the next day they happened often enough to notice. No offense taken, but I’m not less hearty or hale than I was 10 years ago. I’m no more interested in “Murder, She Wrote” or the Bill Gaither Trio than I ever was. People my kids’ ages—my pastors, peers, policemen and physicians—sometimes have trouble telling the difference between me (their own father’s age) and my dad (their grandfather’s age). From the vantage point of 60 years, the difference is no less significant than that between 60 years and 40 years old. Church leaders, there is a lesson in that perspective, a lesson not unique to me. I don’t hear the term “senior adult” as relating to “seniority” in normal usage but rather as a short hand to refer to retired



folks. Even the term “retired” means something very different now than it once did. I don’t know any people who plan to stop working and go fishing. Perhaps we have a vision to change some of the things we do vocationally, but nobody I know plans to hit the brakes until limited by health. That is, perhaps, why we often don’t join a senior adult Sunday School class. That department, fairly or not, is too often associated with people who were formerly able to be active in ministry. All this implies a two-pronged approach to ministry to our elder church members; one for those between 55 and the need to cut back, and a second approach to those who are less vigorous. Although all of us can tell the difference between the first and second groups, we don’t always behave as if we can. Those of us who are in the age group of nearly every president and world leader want to help, to lead, to contribute to the ministries of our churches in the

BALKANIZATION OF OUR CHURCH ACTIVITIES HAS BEEN TO THE DETRIMENT OF ALL OF US. A MINISTRY THAT LOOKS LIKE HEAVEN WILL HAVE PEOPLE OF ALL TRIBES BUT ALSO PEOPLE OF ALL AGES. same ways we did before our hair started to turn gray. Retirement has almost nothing to do with this except the freeing up of time and neither does turning 65, or even 70. But a significant part of the initiative should rest on the backs of older church members. During the years of influence we must seek ways to build up our younger brothers and sisters, from the youngest up. We often have the power to build up or tear down our pastors, who may be the age of our children. We too rarely cut them the slack we’d cut our own children. There really is nothing we shouldn’t be willing to try. More 50- and 60-somethings need to listen when the church asks for volunteers to teach children and students. Of course, more churches need to be open to gray-haired volunteers in even the Jr. High ministry. Churches, additionally, need to structure ministry and

fellowship so that the generations mix. Young and old must be willing to be mixed during these opportunities. Balkanization of our church activities has been to the detriment of all of us. A ministry that looks like heaven will have people of all tribes but also people of all ages. Maybe we won’t all be eternally 18 in heaven; we might be eternally 65. I still want to go, don’t you? Minister to senior adults? Absolutely, just like we do to those in other stages of life. Evangelize one of the most underevangelized groups in our nation? You bet, lostness among Baby Boomers has snuck up on us. But don’t forget, you 30-somethings and you 70-somethings, ministry and leadership by experienced, vital, and sometimes wise, members of our congregations. An elder church member may be the right choice, even if you have plenty of younger people to choose from.

Mobilized for Missions Barry Calhoun

SBTC Mobilization Director


he SENT Regional Conferences were well received last year, so we have scheduled four conferences for this year in Arlington, McAllen, Tyler and Abilene. Teaching your church to live SENT is at the heart of God and resonates with pastors. This year workshops will include reaching the changing cultures in your community, how to plan a missions trip, how to lead teams, the importance of travel/safety training, having a mobilization contingency plan, and more. Registration is open for all four conferences (April 16 & 23 and July 16 & 23). For more information or to register go to: or

Our partnerships in Ecuador and Seattle are exciting, and churches are mobilizing for vision tours. Additionally, plans are underway and

Jim Richards, Executive Director

churches are responding to the Reach Houston Initiative as the SBTC’s first “Reach City.” If you want to reach the nations, you need only to look at Houston.

Contributors: Jim Burton, Ronnie Floyd,

Southern Baptist TEXAN VOLUME


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Gary K. Ledbetter, Editor Keith Collier, Managing Editor Tammi Ledbetter, Special Assignments Editor Sharayah Colter, Staff Writer Gayla Sullivan, Circulation Manager Russell Lightner, Layout/Graphic Artist


Michael Foust, Roy Hayhurst, Stephanie Heading, Bonnie Pritchett, Thom Rainer, Jane Rodgers, Juan Sanchez, Andrew J.W. Smith, Paige Turner, Meredith Yackel


I ask that you join us in prayer about these training opportunities and partnerships. Consider sending your members for training and also calendar a

mission trip to Texas, Seattle or Ecuador. For dates of the current scheduled vision tours or missions opportunities, go to

The Southern Baptist Texan is the official newspaper of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, P.O. Box 1988, Grapevine, Texas 76099-1988. Toll-free 877-953-7282, Phone 817-552-2500, FAX 817-552-2520. Email: [email protected]

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he Cooperative Program is the most tangible way Southern Baptists express their support together for missions and ministry. Certainly, there are many worthy appeals that deserve our attention, including special offerings and designated gifts to benefit a specific need or project. Still, the best way to extend the influence of the gospel is to regularly and consistently give through the unified giving plan of Southern Baptists—the Cooperative Program (CP). The SBC budget is determined by the messengers each year at the annual meeting in June, and CP funds are distributed to SBC agencies according to a percentage-based funding formula. The International Mission Board receives a fraction above 50 percent of CP dollars. Most Baptists are aware of the serious shortfall in operating cash for IMB. David Platt is to be applauded for his willingness to right the financial ship at IMB.

Presenting the gospel to those who have never heard takes priority for us. If you give more, more will have the opportunity to hear. We must rally behind the foremost reason for collaborative work among Baptists— missions. The SBTC is committed to seeing more dollars go to the places that need it most. The North American Mission Board receives almost onefourth of all SBC Cooperative Program dollars. While NAMB coordinates disaster relief, pastoral care, and other ministries, planting churches in the west and north is the focus of NAMB. Going to major population areas that are least evangelized is where your dollars travel through the Cooperative Program. The SBTC is committed to investing the gospel in dark areas of North America. Southern Baptist seminaries equip pastors, church staff and missionaries. Because of the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptist seminary students have a portion of their education paid. You can have confidence in the theological integrity of each seminary’s faculty and staff because The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is the

instrument of accountability. Some state convention-owned seminaries do not have this guarantee. Put your students and your money where your biblical convictions will be taught. You invest in the future when you give through the Cooperative Program. The SBTC supports seminaries that are doctrinal compatible with our faith statement. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission gets a tiny amount in comparison to the other SBC ministries but is a needed ministry in precarious times. In January the ERLC hosted an event in Washington D.C. championing the sanctity of life for the unborn. The SBTC and the ERLC joined in an amicus brief to uphold the Texas law that requires abortion providers to meet reasonable health standards for women. The ERLC speaks to social and moral issues that range from pornography to the First Amendment. The SBTC joins with the ERLC in biblically based efforts to be salt and light in the American culture. Although the Executive Committee of the SBC is not a glamorous part of the Co-

WHEN YOU PARTNER THROUGH THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM, YOU GIVE INTERNATIONALLY, NATIONALLY AND ACROSS YOUR STATE. operative Program budget, it is a necessary one. Two days once a year, the messengers of the churches gather as the Southern Baptist Convention. The Executive Committee operates for the SBC ad interim. Public relations, communications, race relations and the SBC annual meeting itself are all functions of the Executive Committee. The SBTC is grateful to SBC EC for their frugal management. When you give to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention through the Cooperative Program, 55 percent is directed to the SBC and 45 percent is invested in Texas. Church Planting is exploding all across our state, while established churches are being revitalized with a passion for people. Churches are being strengthened and pastors encouraged. Communities are impacted through our disaster relief volunteers.

Texas is rapidly growing with a population of 26 million people. Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in the nation. The need is great. This past November SBTC messengers voted to send 100 percent of all funds exceeding the 2016 Cooperative Program budget to the Southern Baptist Convention. Prayerfully consider having your church increase Cooperative Program giving so more can know our Lord Jesus. When you partner through the Cooperative Program, you give internationally, nationally and across your state. Lives are being changed through the Cooperative Program. You will meet someone in heaven who will be there because you gave through CP. That’s why your church should participate through the Cooperative Program! Cooperative Program Sunday is April 10. For more information, visit our website at sbtexas. com or

Gospel-Shaped Community Juan R. Sanchez Recording Secretary, SBTC


e all want to belong, and our world offers many opportunities for belonging. We take our infant children to playgroups so they can be around other children and learn how to play well. As our children get older, we may reg-

ister them for scouting, recreational athletics, dancing, music. Then, in junior and senior high, we encourage our children to try out for band, athletics, clubs. Even as adults, we look for groups where we may fit in and where there are people that like the same things that we like. After all, that is where we are most comfortable: where people understand us and where it’s not hard work to relate with others.

There will always be people that we like to be with more than others. It could be because we share the same ethnicity and culture; it could be because we like the same music; it could be because we are the same age; it could be because we are in the same stage of life; it could be that we are in the same line of work or have the same hobby. There may be a thousand different reasons why we like “these” people and find it easy to hang out with “them.” It just seems so natural. So strong is the power of commonality in drawing people together that churches have adopted this same strategy as a way to reach the unchurched. The technical name for this principle is called the homogeneous unit principle: like attracts like. But should a church be marked by what attracts people naturally? Or should a church be marked by what attracts people supernaturally? In their book, The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive, Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop argue that there is a difference between community that is built around what is merely natural and com-

munity that grows out of what is supernatural. To be sure, we will always be attracted to people like ourselves, and in many ways there is nothing wrong with having friends that like the same or similar things as we do. But what do you think is a more powerful witness to the gospel—a bunch of college students getting together just because they like each other and have a lot in common or college students hanging out with senior adults because the gospel has drawn them together. I think you know the answer? The gospel brings together both Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2) into one new man—the body of Christ. Together, this unified diversity displays the power of the gospel and the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:9-10). As a result, Christians are to fight to maintain the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-6). We do not create or build gospel unity; the Spirit of God creates gospel unity. It is our duty to maintain this Spiritgiven unity as we share a life in common (Ephesians 4:3); that is true commUNITY. So, how may we begin cultivating supernatural community,

Christ-rooted, Spirit-given, gospel-shaped community? Obviously, we need to work at getting to know the Christian brothers and sisters in our church, especially those who are different than we are: different age, stage, ethnicity, etc.? If you don’t know where to begin, let me encourage you. First of all, greet people before and after the Sunday gatherings. Get to know people you presently do not know. If your church has a membership directory, begin studying it, and use it to pray for the members of the church. As you get to know new brothers and sisters in Christ, ask each other questions about your life and history. Tell one another your stories of coming to faith in Christ. Then be hospitable. Go out for coffee or a meal together. Invite people over to your home. I pray that the Lord would allow our SBTC churches to be attractive witnesses to unbelievers because when they’re around us, they observe a genuine community that is not of this world, a gospel-shaped community that displays the gospel to all those around us who presently do not know Christ.





Baylor’s sexual assault response draws protest

BRIEFS SBTC joins amicus brief for Supreme Court case on Texas HB 2 The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention signed onto an friend-of-the-court brief filed in the Whole Woman’s Health case at the U.S. Supreme Court, Feb. 2, urging the court to uphold Texas’ House Bill 2 (HB 2), which requires abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and their doctors to receive admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The brief was written by the Conference of Catholic Bishops and also joined by the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, National Association of Evangelicals, Texas Catholic Conference, and the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod. Hearing is set for March 2.

New LifeWay headquarters location authorized

Trustees of LifeWay Christian Resources authorized the purchase of land and construction of a new corporate headquarters in downtown Nashville during their Feb. 1-2 meetings. The property is five blocks north of LifeWay’s current headquarters with frontage on Interstate 40/65. LifeWay administration will continue its due diligence on the 2.7 acres of land in Capitol View, a new mixed-use development site in Nashville’s central business district. Rainer told trustees the Capitol View development would be a great location for employees and provide convenient access to hotels, restaurants and meeting space for LifeWay visitors and conference attendees. About 1,100 LifeWay employees are based in the downtown offices and will move into the new building. Rainer estimated the completion of the new building could be as early as November 2017. -from

LifeWay to close stores on 3 seminary campuses LifeWay Christian Stores are closing at three Southern Baptist seminary campuses, the retail chain confirmed to Baptist Press Feb. 10.

The LifeWay Christian Stores chain also confirmed the closure of its longtime downtown Nashville location due to the sale of SBC entity’s 14.5-acre campus last November and the relocation of its offices to a new facility late next year also in the downtown area. A change in buying patterns among seminary students was cited as the reason for the closures at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. LifeWay Christian Stores at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary “have not been as significantly affected,” vice president Cossy Pachares said, “because they draw customers from outside their student population. LifeWay will continue to operate these stores at this time.” LifeWay’s store at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in the San Francisco Bay Area closed last year as the seminary prepares to move to a new campus in Southern California later this year. LifeWay has operated its bookstore at Southwestern since 1930; at Southeastern since 1951; and Midwestern since 1958. The store at Southwestern will close Feb. 29; at Southeastern, April 30; Midwestern, May 31. -from

WMU search committee named National WMU President Linda Cooper has named the search committee for identifying the woman God would have as the missions organization’s next executive director and requested prayer for the committee’s work. The committee members are Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky WMU, who will serve as chairperson; Debby Akerman, former national WMU president (2010-2015); Jill McNicol, president of Illinois WMU; Kathy Sheldon, president of Pennsylvania/South Jersey

Saeed Abedini released from Iranian prison Saeed Abedini, the 35-year-old American pastor who endured beatings and harsh punishment during three-and-a-half years in prison in Iran for his Christian faith, was released Jan. 16 as part of a prisoner swap between

Baylor University’s response to reports of campus sexual violence drew scores of protesters to the university president’s house and provoked at least two observers to call for the severing of official ties between Baylor and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Baylor President Ken Starr responded to critics with two statements, which affirmed the protesters’ “poise and maturity” and stated the university is conducting a thorough review of its response to reports of sexual violence.

WMU; and June Tate, president of Colorado WMU. On Jan. 11, Wanda Lee, who has served as executive director since 2000, announced to the WMU board her intention to retire, providing ample notice for a search committee to be formed and seek a new leader. -from

Wheaton College, Larycia Hawkins to ‘Part Ways’

Two weeks after faculty leaders unanimously asked Wheaton College to drop its attempt to fire tenured professor Larycia Hawkins over whether her views on Islam fit the school’s faith statement, provost Stanton Jones revoked his recommendation to terminate her employment, Feb. 6. He also issued an apology for his “lack of wisdom and collegiality” in his initial interactions with the political science professor and “for imposing an administrative leave more precipitously than was necessary.” He maintained, however, his concerns over Hawkins’ theological statements regarding Muslims and Christians worshipping the same God. Shortly after Jones’ public announcement, Wheaton and Hawkins issued a joint statement that the two sides had “come together and found a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation” and “the College and Dr. Hawkins have reached a confidential agreement under which they will part ways.” -from Christianity Today

Iran and the United States as part of nuclear disarmament talks. Abedini received medical treatment in Germany before being transported to the U.S. to be reunited with family. News of marital strife between Abedini and his wife, Nahmeh, surfaced in the months preceding his release, and the couple has asked for prayers as they privately work on their relationship. —from



A BGCT spokesman told Baptist Press the convention will “celebrate the good and work to resolve the bad” in its “long and storied relationship” with Baylor. About 200 people participated in a candlelight vigil at Starr’s home Feb. 8 asking Baylor to “handle campus rape cases better,” according to The Dallas Morning News. The vigil occurred one week following allegations by ESPN’s Outside the Lines that in multiple instances, “school officials [at Baylor] either failed to investigate, or adequately investigate, allegations of sexual violence,” including two instances of

sexual assault by former members of the university’s football team. The football players referenced, Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwauchu, both have been convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to prison. -from

Episcopal Church Suspended from Anglican Communion over Same-Sex Marriage The senior bishops of the 38 Anglican provinces voted, Jan. 15, to censure The Episcopal Church in the United States for three years for its official affirmation of same-sex marriage. The censure includes denying the Episcopal Church’s ability to represent Anglicans on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, restricting it

China detains pastor of largest statesanctioned church Chinese officials detained the pastor of the country’s largest state-sanctioned church in late January, likely as a punishment for speaking out against the government’s campaign to demolish church crosses in Zhejiang province. If so, Pastor Gu Yuese of Chongyi church is the latest victim in a nationwide crackdown on dissent that has included human rights lawyers, publishers and pastors. The Zhejiang branch of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), the state-run Protestant church body, said on Jan. 29 that Gu is under investigation for embezzling funds and other unspecified economic crimes. But Bob Fu of Texas-based China Aid said the detention is absolutely a politically motivated charge. Gu has been outspoken about the government’s crackdown on church crosses, which has resulted in 1,800 cross removals since 2014. Ten days before his arrest, officials sent Gu a notice removing him from his position at Chongyi, a mega church with

from participating in Anglican committees and decision-making, and demoting it to “observer” status. The measures were done with the hope that the Episcopal Church will repent and return to fellowship with the Communion.

about 10,000 congregants. Gu and his wife sent a note to the congregation saying they would stay at the church. -from the

Gospel for Asia sued for fraud A class-action lawsuit was filed Feb. 8 against Gospel for Asia Inc., a Texas-based international ministry. The lawsuit accuses GFA founder K.P. Yohannan and other ministry leaders of “covertly diverting the money to a multi-million dollar personal empire.” Last year, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) booted GFA from its membership after an investigation found the ministry did not meet ECFA’s guidelines. The ECFA found GFA hoarded as much as $259 million during some months rather than spending the donated funds on church-planting, missionary work, or charitable relief for the poor. —from WORLD

MARCH 2016


T E X A N O N L I N E . N E T



With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court has lost its most ardent pro-life voice two weeks before the court hears a Texas lawsuit considered one of the most important abortion-related cases since Roe v. Wade. Also lost is the precedent-setting ruling that would have settled legal challenges to abortion regulations across the nation. Scalia died in his sleep Feb. 13 at the age of 79 while on a hunting trip in West Texas. His absence on the court could jeopardize the outcome of pro-life and religious liberty cases pending before the court, including Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt—a challenge to Texas abortion regulations established in 2013. The court will hear those arguments March 2.

Confident he would have upheld the Texas law, known as House Bill 2 (HB 2), pro-life advocates said it is Scalia’s voice, informed by the intent of the Constitution’s framers, that will be missed during oral arguments. John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life was not confident any of the remaining justices could fill that void. He said Scalia argued the Constitution applied to the pre-born and opposed efforts by his fellow jurists to “rewrite history.” Seago believes Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, particularly, have pushed to reframe the Roe v. Wade decision away from its “right to privacy” foundation to one of gender equality. Without Scalia’s counter arguments the more liberal wing of the bench could hold sway over oral arguments and the final decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy will be the deciding vote giv-

ing pro-life advocates a tie or handing them a 3-5 loss. A 4-4 decision will let stand the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit ruling upholding the Texas law, but it will not apply across the country like a majority decision would. States with similar legal challenges will have to argue their own cases before the high court. Many conservatives were hopeful a majority decision upholding HB 2 would once and for all define “undue burden,” an ambiguous requirement dictated by the Supreme Court in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v Casey. Without quantifying the “undue burden,” the court left open to legal challenge attempts across the nation to regulate the abortion industry. “That’s one of the things we were hopeful about. But now that’s been taken away,” said Seago. “It’s unfortunate that we can’t settle this.”

If upheld there are two exceptions to the implementation of HB 2. The U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit ruled last year Texas could require abortion facilities meet ambulatory clinic standards and require abortionists attain admitting privileges to hospitals within

a 30-mile radius of the abortion clinic where they work. But the court made an exception for Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in McAllen and El Paso. Both facilities faced closure for failure to comply with the regulations. Using the “undue burden” argument, attorneys for the abortionists said the clinics’ closures would force ab ortion-minde d women to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest Texas abortion clinic. The appellate court agreed. If HB 2 is upheld, Seago said, about 15 Texas abortion clinics will be forced to close pending compliance, leaving 10 or 11 facilities open.





Too often they are not asked to work in ministry because it is assumed they will respond with, “No. I’ve done my time.” CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 But allowing any member to “When you abut generations, rest on their laurels does a disthere will be tension between service to them and the church, the two.” Barnes said. Such is the disparate characAlthough it is an oversimter of senior adults in America plification of their generation, and the church. The “Builder” Neely said Builders tend to work and “Boomer” generations in service to the church taking generally define anyone over on the roles of teacher, nursery the age of 50. The Builders—so worker, greeter, usher, counselor named for their role in building and mentor. They are reliable, a thriving post-WWII Ameri- faithful in giving and loyal to ca—are those 65 years old and the church. As a group they are up. Boomers, aged 50-64, grew often followers, submitting to up in the America created by the direction of the senior adult the Builders. Pastors and lay ministry director, whether that leaders must recognize the is a layman or a pastor. distinct differences between Boomers are a little harder to the two groups in order to nail down. maximize their service to and “They’re a challenge,” Neely through the church. said. Once Boomers hit retireAnd preconceived notions ment, “they have other plans.” of what it means to be a senior Some Boomers bring to their adult must be dispelled said approaching retirement unBarnes who has seen churches flattering perceptions of senior squander the potential of their adult church life. Springing to older members. mind are “Meet, eat, burp and “Churches could better uti- go home” monthly lunches or lize their senior adults. A lot of the physical and mental infirchurches are trying to pacify mities that come with advancthem (and) just let them do what ing years. Although these stethey want,” he said. reotypes are not unfounded,

Boomer Fact Although Boomers head up 38% of U.S. households, they’re responsible for

50.3% of all charitable contributions. —2010 CONVIO SURVEY




Boomers live to dispel those characterizations. “They still think they can change the world,” said Neely. “A lot of Boomers like to get in and do quick services. They like to get involved in some meaningful projects.” And they like to lead. So ministry directors need to have confidence in their Boomers and “get out of the way,” Schulick said. Neely agreed, saying, “Give them the responsibility and cut them loose to do it.” But Boomers often have many irons in the fire. They’ll fit ministry activities in between work (they don’t necessarily retire at 65), leisure activities, grandkids, travel and the whole array of retirement daydreams. For this reason, pastors who want to tap into the resource that is their younger senior adults should calendar ministry opportunities, like short-term mission projects, in advance. Some Boomers at FBC Euless have incorporated evangelism into their leisure activities. A group of men who enjoy rebuilding and restoring old cars join local enthusiasts in showcasing their work at local car shows. Congenial “shop talk” can easily segue into a discussion of how a person’s life, like the cars they pamper, can be restored by Christ. The Builders at FBC Euless host a ceramics class that draws to the church people who might not otherwise come. Neely said it is that kind of difference in the two groups that he, as a pastor, finds exciting and enjoyable. Sharing the gospel with their peers—be they Boomers or Builders—is always the end game of any ministry. The pastors agreed

Boomer Fact 59% of Boomer parents provide financial support for adult children ages 18 to 39. — 2 0 1 1 S T U DY BY T H E N AT I O N A L E N D O W M E N T F O R F I N A N C I A L E D U C AT I O N

service inside and outside the church is vital and very much appreciated, but senior adults need help seeing the lostness in their own community. “There is a presumption that older folks are saved,” Schulick said. Neely said it is assumed seniors “are getting closer to heaven and they’ll pay attention, but they don’t.” And Boomers are particularly indifferent to the gospel, not because they are from the rageagainst-the-machine 1960s but because they are so focused on enjoying retirement that they don’t or won’t think about what comes next. But infirmity comes to most who live long enough. Although that is the reality of aging, it does not have to define the age. Senior adult ministry is about the long haul—ministering to and through church members at every stage of life. Those who can no longer serve should be ministered to by those who can, paying special attention to members with no family living nearby. When ministering to their members at home or in nursing facilities, church members can take advantage of the opportunity to share the gospel with other residents.

And, Barnes said, it is vital to stay connected to senior adults who can no longer attend church or be a part of ongoing ministries. “They’re not dead!” Barnes said. “There’s something for everybody to do.” For those homebound and nursing home church members limited only by physical constraints, they should still be incorporated into the work of the church. Schulick encourages churches to create and maintain a sense of community among these older believers who can pray, write letters and financially support ministries they can no longer physically take part in. How senior adults are utilized in church ministry is dependent, in large part, on the pastor, Barnes said. Those who keep their older congregants engaged do so to their advantage. Getting them working toward the same goal is sometimes difficult, but encouraging Builders and Boomers to appreciate the gifts and life experiences the other brings to the church is vital to maximizing what can be done in and through this rapidly growing and changing demographic.

Books offer advice on retooling ministry to Baby Boomers by Tammi Reed Ledbetter News Editor

The 78 million people born between 1946 and 1964 have been a driving force behind many of the changes experienced in American culture. As they approached politics, fashion, child rearing and religion differently than their parents, author Amy Hanson observes, “It should therefore come as no surprise that they are approaching the later years of life in a different way than the generations before them.” In her book Baby Boomers and Beyond, Hanson offers churches advice on harnessing the potential of a huge demographic shift by reinventing ministry to older adults. “There are ways in which our churches have bought into the same mind-set as society—that younger is somehow better,”

Hanson calls on churches to count it a privilege as well as a responsibility to help older adults not waste the remaining years of their lives. Co-authors Bill Craig and Donna Gandy wrote Respect: Meaningful Ministry with Baby Boomers in Your Church and Community with the recognition that ministry to older adults will look radically different than it has in the previous generations. Through hundreds of conshe writes. “Is it possible to be a that in doing these things, they versations with church memvibrant, growing, active church can find purpose for their life bers, Sunday School teachers, that intentionally seeks to reach today and rectify mistakes they deacons, pastors, ministers of middle-aged and older adults?” made in the past.” education, senior adult minisshe asks, offering guidance on Significant changes, a quest ters and individuals who had looking at aging as “something to find purpose in living, and no ongoing relationship with good and desirable, with poten- the desire for meaningful rela- a local church, their research tial and possibility.” tionships are factors that can focused on “a generation that In her chapter on “matters of draw older adults to Christ, she has changed every stage of life faith,” Hanson considers how explains, offering methods for they’ve lived through—and evaging causes people to reflect reaching boomer adults. By at- ery institution and organization and make changes. “They hope tending to their discipleship, of which they’ve been a part.”

A 2006 study by LifeWay Research found that more than two-thirds of formerly churched adults are open to the idea of attending church regularly again, even after staying away for an average of 14 years. Craig and Gandy offer ideas as to what would cause Baby Boomers to return to, remain with, or seek a relationship with the church. Biblically sound preaching and trained class leaders are two elements that stand out, along with flexibility in the timeframe of discipleship studies as well as serving opportunities. “Boomers are not interested in just filling slots in church ministries,” the authors write. “Now that the nest is empty, and discretionary time more plentiful, they are seeking their heart ministry—ready to invest in a cause that truly matters,” drawing on experience acquired over previous decades.

MARCH 2016



IN REACHING BABY BOOMERS: VIDOR CHURCH LEVERAGES GENERATION FOR KINGDOM IMPACT By Stephanie Heading TEXAN Correspondent VIDOR America’s Baby Boomers are aging. In 2014, the last of the Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964— crossed the threshold into their 50s; and whether they liked it or not, they received their first invitation to join AARP and entered the ranks of “senior adults.” Aging Boomers present new challenges for churches, who now must balance ministering to younger Boomers, who do not consider themselves to be seniors, and their Builder Generation parents, many of whom are still active and involved in the same churches and ministries as their own children. In his 21 years of ministry to seniors at First Baptist Church of Vidor, Phil Burnaman has seen huge changes in senior adult ministry. For years, senior adult ministry was a “silo” ministry, according to Burnaman. “All our ministries—preschool, children, youth, adults and senior adults—were separate and competed for people, time and budget. Our senior adult ministry was activity- and fellowship-centered. It was set up like a youth ministry for 60-70-year-olds.” However, about 10 years ago, FBC Vidor rewrote its mission statement and shifted how it does ministry in all areas, including senior adult ministry. “Here, we eliminated ‘silo’ ministries,” Burnaman says, adding, “All our ministries (now) work together as a team.” Part of the shift included changing the name of senior adult ministry to “Encore Adults”—saving the best for last. That reorganization, in addition to the dynamic of having both Boomers and Builders in-

At First Baptist Church in Vidor, Baby Boomers and members of the Builder Generation remain active in ministry, service and worship. PHOTOS COURTESY OF FBC VIDOR

“Boomers couldn’t care less volved in senior adult ministry, Band, comprised of younger fueled a significant change in Builders and Boomers, goes to get together for a program,” how FBC Vidor views minis- into the community to minis- Burnaman says. “They like large try to and by older members. ter, so it is part of the church’s group meetings for a cause. They also like conferences or fo“Our senior adult ministries impact strategy. don’t focus on activities but on Even as Encore Adult activi- rums with things to help them how Boomers and Builders can ties support the mission state- enjoy life better, such as ‘how to be effective in serving and in ment, they are also grounded be a better caregiver.’“ growing in our walk,” Burnaman says. Burnaman also says everything in the Encore Adult ministry has been brought into alignment with the church’s ministry statement: “First Baptist Church of Vidor exists to make disci—PHIL BURNAMAN, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF VIDOR ples who worship God, grow in Christ, serve others, and impact Boomers are also facing adthe world.” Every activity of in the church’s small group Encore Adults must fall under program. Currently, 145 Baby ditional challenges that don’t one of the four tenets of this Boomers are enrolled in Life plague Builders. Boomers church mission statement. Groups, which are divided by are “the sandwich generation”—caring for their elderly For example, The Glory Sing- age and stage of life. ers, a choir of Builders and With the structure firmly parents while also raising Boomers, minister inside the in place, Burnaman is then their own children. Due to church and fall under the wor- free to minister to both Baby the number of single parents ship component of the mission Boomers and the Builder Gen- raising children alone, Boomstatement, while The Glory eration, striving to meet each ers are also being called on to group’s unique needs. “If you help raise the next generation. want to be effective, you have “Many are focusing on takto be creative and strategic to ing care of their grandchildren,” provide ministry opportuni- Burnaman says. ties for two different generaWhile Builders and Boomers tions,” he says. are both considered “seniors,” “Baby Boomers do not want Burnaman has also noticed when all of the to be called ‘seniors.’ Baby that Boomers themselves can Boomers are not interested in be divided into two groups— Baby Boomers doing the same things as their those who grew up in the will be 65 years parents. The main thing with church and those who did not. and over, Boomers is how they serve, im“Boomers who grew up in pact society and socialize.” the church have been menThe Builder Generation, on tored and see the importance the other hand, is more inter- of long-term projects and are of the total U.S. population ested in clubs, game nights, day willing to mentor long-term,” trips and luncheons, but these Burnaman says. Therefore, activities are not priorities for Encore Adults is currently inBaby Boomers. volved in a spring mentoring —U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

Boomer Fact By 2029,

more than 20%

will be over the age of 65.

program for students in grades 1-12, teaching them how to become godly young people. On the other hand, Boomers who grew up outside the church see everything from the point of view of the “Me Generation,” according to Burnaman. “They are willing to do short-term projects but want freedom to fulfill their social needs. They will participate in projects, such as mentoring young people, if it’s worth their time and is self-satisfying, making them feel good.” Over time, Burnaman believes that Boomers can move away from their “Me Generation” upbringing and learn to worship, grow, serve and impact their communities. “We have to be patient with Baby Boomers who did not grow up in church. They are at a stage of life where they are thinking about spiritual things. However, they see things through their anti-establishment filter. You must earn their trust, and once they accept Christ as their Savior, they put everything into it. They are a valuable asset.” As Boomers continue to age and people in general continue to live longer, their impact on the church will continue to be felt for some time. Boomers have many more years of active service left to give to the Lord and to their churches. “Baby Boomers have had an impact on the world,” Burnaman says. “They bring that experience to the local church. Boomers have vast experiences that will help the younger generation, if they will listen.”

“Our senior adult ministries don’t focus on activities but on how Boomers and Builders can be effective in serving and in growing in our walk.”





RETIREES SAY VOLUNTEERING IS BEST THING THEY’VE EVER DONE Editor’s Note: Volunteers over the age of 55 serve as Career, ISC and Masters missionaries, bringing a lifetime of experience, skills and wisdom to places and cultures that revere and embrace senior adults. They also work through the IMB’s Marketplace Advance programs, using their skills as doctors, educators and business professionals to reach the lost. For more information, visit go/serving.aspx#Masters. By Paige Turner IMB

Kathy Hudson* didn’t know being able to drive a stick-shift vehicle would introduce her to the man she’d marry, the man with whom she’d serve a decade overseas, fight cancer and, come retirement, help disciple local believers in South Asia. It all started when players from the Baptist Student Union flag football team at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, asked if Kathy and her friends who’d come to watch the game would get more water for the team. “You can take my car,” BSU president Michael* offered. “I was the only girl among those five or six of us who could drive stick,” Kathy said. So Kathy, a junior-year transfer, drove the car and met her future husband her first week on campus. Today, they’re best friends who enjoy traveling, visiting national parks, going to the ocean and giving each other a “hard time.” In 47 years of marriage the couple has done a number of things. Both worked several years at Vanderbilt University, with Kathy doing lab work at the hospital and Michael working in hospital administration.

They served 10 years with IMB in the Philippines and 21 years with LifeWay Christian Resources in Tennessee, where Michael worked in human resources. “We love to teach,” Kathy said about the passion that has led them to teach Sunday School classes for adults and youth. That passion, coupled with a lifelong commitment to missions, has these newly minted retirees now leading training courses in South Asia. Although a long way from their 6,000-population community in rural Bon Aqua, Tenn., outside Nashville, it’s this most recent South Asia adventure that is, much to their surprise, proving the sweetest of them all. “South Asia was one of the last places I wanted to go,” Michael said. This part of the world wasn’t high on Kathy’s list either. “A lot of people have stereotypes about what it would be like to go to a foreign country. We had a stereotype about South Asia,” she said. “But it was not anything at all like we were expecting. We found out we loved these people very much.” ‘These people” are local church leaders and pastors who lack access to seminary education. South Asian partners of the IMB start hundreds of churches some years. With new churches and new believers comes the need to disciple not only new believers but also their pastors and church leaders.

Boomer Fact In 2010, almost


of Baby Boomer volunteerism was religiously affiliated. —VOLUNTEERING IN AMERICA STUDY



There aren’t enough international Christian workers to train everyone who needs to be trained, and that’s where the Hudsons come in. For the past several years, since Michael retired from LifeWay, the Hudsons have volunteered two or three months each year in South Asia helping train church leaders who serve among large Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu populations. “We are going to learn how to study the Bible for ourselves,” Michael said to a group of pastors and leaders gathered for

Michael and Kathy* join in worship with the young pastors and their families as the training begins with these new believers lifting up their voices in praise. PHOTO BY IMB/CHLOE LEWIS

students will be showing us some of the things they’ve learned this week,” Kathy said to the church members. “They are excited and search the Scriptures diligently.”

No problem, they said. “You may be a businessman, but you’ve taught Sunday School all your life,” a friend told him. Turns out Michael and Kathy were just the people needed to help develop and teach a series of six, three-day courses on foundations for teaching the Bible. They’ve also trained volunteer teams from U.S. churches that came to South Asia to teach. During the months they’re in South Asia they miss grandkids for sure, but serving after retirement does have benefits. “You have more experience. You have a perspective on life you don’t have when you’re young,” Michael said. For this couple, perspective also came when Kathy was diagnosed with cancer about 11 years ago. When God healed her, Kathy saw life’s brevity more clearly. “You need to be bold sometimes in the things you want to do and the things God is leading you to do,” she said. The couple jokes that when it comes to free time Kathy usually goes along with what Michael wants to do. But after cancer, when she told him she wanted to learn to sail, he signed them up for lessons and bought an old sailboat. At the time the Hudsons thought retirement would bring time to sharpen those sailing skills. Volunteering in South Asia and training U.S. teams hasn’t left much time for sailing. It’s OK, though. They know they’re right where they’re supposed to be. “This is probably the most beneficial thing we’ve ever done,” Kathy said. “You see the value to teaching. It’s something that will last beyond yourself.”

“You have more experience. You have a perspective on life you don’t have when you’re young,” —MICHAEL HUDSON

three days of training. “As leaders you have the responsibility both to train others and continue learning yourselves. Only if we teach others can we grow in the kingdom.”

Down another dusty dirt road not too far away, Michael joined another house church meeting. “Didn’t he do a good job?” Michael asked after a student finished telling the Bible story.

“This is probably the most beneficial thing we’ve ever done. You see the value to teaching. It’s something that will last beyond yourself.” — K AT H Y H U D S O N

At a house church meeting with everyone bunched together on thin blankets that did little to warm the cold, damp concrete, students told a Bible story they’d learned that week with Michael and Kathy. Mainly women and children had come, and they gathered on the right side of the room, with the handful of men seated on the left. Hints of smoke wafted in from the kitchen as women prepared dinner for after the service. With a yellow scarf covering her head, Kathy shared her testimony and then introduced students to tell the Bible story. “Tonight I am especially blessed because two of our

Training house church leaders is not exactly what the Hudsons had in mind for retirement. “We knew we wanted to volunteer, but my background is in business. I assumed we’d be filling in an office somewhere,” Michael said. A year before retiring Michael led his second volunteer trip with LifeWay to South Asia. During that trip God moved the Hudsons from, “We never wanted to come here,” to asking, “How can we serve here when we retire?” Michael and Kathy certainly weren’t expecting they’d be asked to help train leaders. “I’ve had a little Bible training,” Michael told them, “but I’m not a Bible scholar.”

*names changed

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About 10,000 Baby Boomers daily reach retirement age and will continue to do so until 2030, Pew Research reports. However, this does not mean Boomers are retiring and becoming inactive. No one-size-fits-all methodology of evangelizing Boomers exists, according to ministry leaders from Lake Pointe Church of Rockwall, First Baptist Church in Dallas and Spring Baptist Church in Houston. At Lake Pointe, evangelism is a church-wide, relationally based focus involving all ages. “We challenge members to identify three unchurched people and build relationships with them over a year,” said Carter Shotwell, executive pastor of ministries. “It’s mobilizing the entire church to do the Great Commission,” Shotwell said, admitting that Boomers can be challenging to mobilize. “Many Boomers are active on weekends. Church attendance is optional,” Shotwell said. “You have got to find a way to impact them beyond Sundays.” Other avenues include helping Boomers become involved with Christian social ministries. “We reach unchurched people because they want to be a part of that and help the community.” What separates Boomers from younger, socially conscious groups? “Many Boomers tried church early on and wandered away from it, but some in their 20s might never have tried it. Their Boomer parents had already quit organized religion,” Shotwell added, noting that Boomers are still “hungry DALLAS

for connection,” a need motivating the church’s emphasis on life groups. While Boomers are open to relationships, their life stage makes it hard to make connections, Shotwell said. “They are mobile. Their kids are grown. They have the freedom and money to travel, making it harder for them … to commit to ongoing groups.” For this reason, Lake Pointe encourages some Boomer life groups to meet midweek. But Boomers may never be part of a “senior adult” ministry. “Even when Boomers turn 65 and 70 they are probably not going to want that,” Shotwell said. “They won’t see themselves as senior adults. They are going to see themselves as something different.” Ryland Whitehorn, executive pastor of ministries at First Baptist Dallas, echoed Shotwell’s assessment of Boomers as financially flexible, observing that prosperity has left many empty. Approaching retirement, they realize they have “focused energies on career, status, making money, or even recreation” but still experience a void. On the “other side of the spectrum” are Boomers “who did not make provision economically or spiritually for the phase of life they are about to enter,” Whitehorn said. “We deal with people in their 50s and 60s all the time who are having a personal confrontation with life and reality and coming to Jesus.” “People our age ... are reluctant to admit they need salvation,” added Gary Shepherd, a Lake Pointe life group leader. “Don’t forget, we used to be called the ‘Me Generation.’ When you’ve spent your whole

Boomer Fact During the past

20 years,

the percentage of unchurched Boomers has risen dramatically, jumping up 18 points. At 41% they are now the generation most likely to be unchurched, surpassing the 39% level among Busters. —2011 BARNA REPORT

life making sure the world revolves around you, it’s difficult to give up that control.” At First Baptist Dallas, Boomers are called “median” adults. “Boomers are still motivated by points of action,” Whitehorn noted, explaining that Boomers recognize hierarchy and absolutes. Unlike Millennials, whom Whitehorn finds are more driven by feelings, Boomers “simply want to know biblical truth.” When presented with a clear message from scripture, Boomers tend to respond, said Whitehorn. “It’s really refreshing. Black and white. You don’t have to put on a show.” “Evangelizing Boomers is not as relationally based as with Millennials,” Whitehorn said, “but relationships are important. You can see that from Facebook, which they’ve taken over.” Hence, Sunday School classes are not intergenerational. “Boomers tend to want to be together. Many have been so focused on careers that they didn’t

develop lifelong friendships.” To facilitate relationship, First Baptist Dallas encourages each class to subdivide into smaller geographical share groups. The Dallas church further enables this generational desire for connectedness through planned social events and Discipleship University—short term courses offered two semesters a year on Sunday evenings. Whereas traditional Sunday night services might draw 600, Discipleship University reaches 1,400 with classes addressing specific felt needs, Whitehorn said. Medians make up the majority of attendees. “Boomers want to be mentored. They want to understand God’s Word. They want to make a difference before they die.” For Laura Hazelwood, who works with senior adults at Spring Baptist Church, Boomer lifestyles may contribute to a “disconnection.” “A lot is going on in their lives,” Hazelwood said. “Their

kids are raised. They are tired. They want to take a break and go visit the grandchildren. Or with the economy, they may start a second career.” Hazelwood, who raised three children as a single mother, should know. With two children still at home, financial challenges forced her eldest daughter and family to move in also. “For two years, it was a very full house,” Hazelwood laughed. “Many of my generation are raising their grandchildren,” Hazelwood said, noting that churches must become more “creative” in reaching Boomers who may be pulled in many directions. “We try to reach out, draw them back in, keep them. They have a wealth of wisdom to impart to our younger people.” Unlike Lake Pointe and First Dallas, Spring Baptist emphasizes intergenerational activities. Boomers remain a busy, often well-traveled group. Like many Boomers, Hazelwood also assists elderly parents. “Society is different. Saturdays are errand days. Sundays, children and grandchildren play sports. Many [Boomers] want flexibility. We try to offer new things,” said Hazelwood, adding that Spring is planning mission trips and adding a disaster relief ministry to provide meaningful service opportunities. While strategies of evangelizing Boomers may be diverse, commonalities emerge. Boomers understand absolute truth, like doing life together, want to make a difference and demand flexibility. Just don’t call them seniors.

When Boomer pastors retire Thom Rainer

LifeWay President


n Jan. 1, 2011, the first Baby Boomer turned 65. In fact, on that day, 10,000 of them turned 65. And that pace of aging will continue until 2030, when every Boomer is 65 or older. The implications for churches are staggering. This generation is not of the mindset of previous aging generations. According to a Pew Research study, the typical Boomer does not believe old

age begins until age 72. And the typical Boomer feels nine years younger than his or her chronological age. The implications for church leadership are even more challenging when we realize how many Boomer pastors specifically will be retiring. This generation was, until recently, the largest generation in America’s history. Millennials now represent the largest generation. Keep in mind that the ages of these pastors today range from 50 to 70. The Boomers have more pastors represented in their generation than

any other. There are many pastors reaching retirement age every month. And I’m not sure our churches are ready for this transition. As I see it, five immediate issues need to be addressed: 1 There will be more pastoral vacancies than qualified candidates. This issue is a demographic reality. There are not enough Gen X and Millennial candidates for pastoral ministry to replace the Boomers. Each of those subsequent generations has a much smaller Christian population base. 2 Few churches are giving any thought to pastoral

succession. I commend those congregations that are being proactive about this issue. William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird have written an excellent book on this topic— Next: Pastoral Succession That Works. 3 There will be an abundance of qualified pastors for interim and bivocational positions. These Boomer pastors will not be idle. They will be seeking other ministry opportunities, particularly positions with part-time pay to supplement their incomes. 4 Some Boomer pastors will stay at their current po-

sitions into their late 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, a number of these pastors are not financially able to retire. There will be many older pastors in some of our congregations. 5 Some Boomer pastors will view their pending retirements as an opportune time to move their churches to merge with other churches. This reality is already taking place in a number of churches, many of which are struggling. While I am an optimist about our churches, my caution and concern is for us to be prepared to respond to the looming challenges in pastor staffing.








Jeremy Pierre, associate professor of biblical counseling at Southern Seminary, explains his counseling method at Winter Alumni Academy, Jan 7-8. SBTS PHOTOS BY EMILE HANDKE

By Andrew J.W. Smith SBTS LOUISVILLE, Ky. Two leading biblical counselors role-played a typical counseling session, teaching a full room of pastors by example during the Jan. 7-8 Winter Alumni Academy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jeremy Pierre, associate professor of biblical counseling and dean of students at Southern Seminary, and Deepak Reju, pastor of biblical counseling and family ministry at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C., led all 10 sessions of the Alumni Academy. The theme of the event was based upon their co-authored 2015 book, The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need. With Pierre playing the role of a bluecollar church member struggling with occasional panic attacks and Reju counseling him, the two put their writing to action. A pre-session form—which Pierre sends to prospective counselees and reviews before the initial meet-

ing—was distributed beforehand to each attendee, which Pierre filled out in character as a man named “John Stubb.” Reju did not discuss Pierre’s character before the session and only consulted the form, so he knew no more than the audience did when the session started and counseled Pierre as he does in reallife sessions. “What I’m going to attempt to do in my role is just give you representative examples of things that we see in counseling, things you’re going to run into,” Pierre said before the session. Reju then simulated with Pierre’s character the three basic tasks of counseling: listening to the problem, considering responses of the heart, and speaking the truth in love using Scripture. The live demonstration was the application of lessons Pierre and Reju taught throughout the two-day event. Face-to-face counseling is the place where ministers of God’s Word apply biblical wisdom and encouragement during church members’ most pressing troubles, said Reju, who has also written

Deepak Reju, pastor of biblical counseling and family ministry at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C., conducts a live counseling demonstration with Jeremy Pierre during Winter Alumni Academy, Jan. 7-8.

On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church and Preparing for Fatherhood. “In the midst of the mess, we can’t lose sight of the privilege of caring for God’s flock,” he said. Pastoral counseling must listen attentively to the problem at hand and address the truths of the gospel to it, Reju said. The good counselor does not merely offer “cheap advice” but instead demonstrates how the gospel preached every Sunday morning affects a struggling person’s life, Reju said. “Consider all the typical self-reliant lies that people tell themselves: ‘I can fix this on my own’ or ‘maybe this gospel stuff is helpful at church but it won’t make a real difference in my life,’” he said. “Your job [as a pastor] is to throw a grenade right in the middle of that thinking, to not let people live by those lies.” Pierre said pastors should first listen attentively to the presenting problem, then consider how the human heart responds to various involved

factors. Pierre described four aspects of believers’ heart response: the circumstances they face, the people who surround and influence them, how they feel about themselves, and how they relate to God. Pastors must think carefully through each of these categories when counseling their people, according to Pierre, diagnosing problems and revealing them gently and graciously. “As pastors, you need to be heart specialists,” he said. Pierre concluded the event with two case studies, during which he walked pastors in attendance through how to counsel church members dealing with pornography and marital conflict, respectively. The academy also featured an open Q&A and a live panel with Pierre and Reju, along with Robert Cheong, pastor of global care at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, and Brian Croft, pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville.

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Called Rhythms: Spiritual Rhythms of Multiplying Churches, the free 67page booklet teaches new and veteran Christians alike how the spiritual life is not one of simply learning more about God but also one of living that knowledge out. Crowell said he and co-author Spencer Plumlee, senior pastor of Riverview Baptist Church in Osage Beach, Mo., wrote the curriculum because they saw a need. “There is a lot of good curriculum out there for disciple-making—good robust theological curriculum. But one of the things that seemed to be missing in a lot of them,” Crowell said, “was more of an entry-level curriculum. … Theology is important and a necessary part of spiritual growth, but a lot of times we get people who know a lot about the Bible but don’t know how to live the Word of God out.” The Rhythms curriculum gets its name from the musical term, Crowell said, noting that rhythm is the foundation of a musical piece.

Similarly, the Christian life is built off of various “rhythms” or foundations to the Christian life. Five of those are covered in the curriculum, which takes readers on a journey to learn more about their identity in Christ and their calling to impact the world for Christ. Rhythms is broken into five primary sessions: • Fellowship with God • Fighting for holiness


• Impacting at home • Impacting believers • Impacting the lost

Plumlee, who formerly served as a college pastor in the Fort Worth area, said the vertical relationship with God “fuels” the horizontal relationship with others. “We’re talking about investing in our families, investing in other families, and investing in the lost,” Plumlee said. “The reason this is such a passion for me is because I don’t think we really know what to do with people once they come to Christ. The goal is to move people to multiplication.” Discipleship, Plumlee added, involves far more than teaching people about evangelism. “It’s also about being a believer—you growing in your faith and trying to be more like Christ,” Plumlee said. “We really believe that is a neglected area in church life. If there is not something somebody has to pass on to somebody once they lead them to Christ, you really have a hard time seeing multiplication happen like you do in the New Testament.” The best model for learning how to disciple someone, Crowell said, is Christ.

“When Jesus was discipling his disciples, he was teaching them about the kingdom of God and he was doing life with them,” Crowell said. “He was showing them how to live life. He was modeling for them the gospel.” While Rhythms can be used with new Christians, it also holds value for some who have been Christians for year, he added. “There are a lot of people who have been in church a long time and have never been truly discipled at all,” Crowell said. “They’ve never had someone walk them through how to live out the gospel in an evangelistic way, in a missional way, in a growing-in-Christ way, in walking in maturity.” The book’s introduction notes that there are millions of Christians in the world today, but it all began with 12 disciples who “were obedient to take the gospel to the world.” “We want to see multiplication be the end-objective of disciple-making, so that someone’s taking ownership of investing in others,” Plumlee said. For more information and to order the book Rhythms: Spiritual Rhythms of Multiplying Churches, visit rhythms.




Approved exhibitors at the SBTC Annual Meeting include (subject to available space) SBTC ministries, SBC agencies, SBTC ministry relationships (under the oversight of the Ministry Relationships Committee of the Executive Board), Baptist associational ministries, and any host church. All other entities desiring booth space must submit their request in writing to Joe Davis at the SBTC, prior to June 1, 2016. Entities or individuals may share exhibit space with approved exhibitors only with the approval of the Committee on Order of Business. For profit entities that have no formal relationship with the SBTC shall not be granted exhibit space. All exhibit material must be in agreement with the SBTC Constitution and Bylaws, which includes the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. Fund raising or sales that do not conflict with SBTC priorities will be allowed in the exhibit area.







WATERFRONT CHURCH AIMS TO BE A FORT IN THE NATION’S CAPITAL By Jim Burton NAMB WASHINGTON, D.C. Zack Randles believes that the nation’s capital needs another fort, and he’s willing to build one. The fort he envisions, however, will not look anything like the military installations that protect the hub of America’s government—this fort will be a church. The young West Texan set his heart toward Washington during his senior year at Oklahoma State University where he studied sociology. He committed to God in prayer to “do whatever you want me to do.” Randles had prayed that before, but this time was serious about obedience for the first time in his life. “That day the Lord cast a vision for a place I’d never been and for people I’d never met,” Randles said. “I felt drawn to Washington, D.C.” During the next several years, Randles worked on ministerial staffs of several large Texas churches while attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He regularly led mission trips to the nation’s capital with his wife, Autumn. In 2005 with 42 students, “The spirit just fell in a way that I had not experienced before. We knew that we would come back here.” What he didn’t immediately know was that coming back would involve church planting.

A Ministry Legacy Randles grew up in the pastorates his father served. Jon Randles was a pastor and an evangelist. When the senior Randles served existing churches as pastor, those churches typically experienced much

growth. But his father never planted a church. “My dad was my absolute hero,” Zack said. “It was not always this way. It’s rare to find someone who is your dad, best friend and hero all wrapped into one. He was an incredibly godly man.” Zack was already following in his father’s steps by preaching at events for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, something his father did for years. So if the Lord wanted him in Washington, there surely would be an existing church calling him. “I had been filled with so much pride that I had to take over a pre-existing church,” Randles said. “I thought people planted because they couldn’t plug into an existing system. I was incredibly wrong.” God was calling the younger Randles to a city that many churches had recently abandoned for the suburbs. During his trips there, he determined that if his calling was to pastor in Washington, he would have to plant the church. The “follow me” passages of Luke 9 helped bring him to that realization. Of the three people Jesus encountered that day, Randles realized that the only person Christ called to action was the second one. He wanted to bury his father first. “The second guy in the story, Jesus has a mission set aside just for him,” Randles concluded. “It’s strategic and timely.” Randles then understood God to say, “Trust me, and do the mission I’ve called you to do.” His father became sick before Randles left Texas. A month after arriving in Washington, the diagnosis was pan-

creatic cancer. There was no turning back, but his heart was clearly back home. As Zack and Autumn poured themselves into starting Waterfront Church, they wrestled with how best to support Jon. For Zack the answer was to preach. His dad had said to him, “If a Randles can preach, he should preach.” The flights between Lubbock and Washington and the emotional roller coaster stretched him. His father died April 1, 2015. Several days later, after preaching an Easter message in Washington, he returned to Lubbock to preach his father’s funeral to about 2,500 people in attendance and several thousands more via a live stream of the service. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Randles said. “Planting a church is a close second.” Building the Fort The Randles felt God’s call to plant along a revitalized area between the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, less than a mile from the capitol and just two blocks from

Major League Baseball’s Nationals Park. “In the years we came here to do short-term mission work, we met brick wall after brick wall when it came to the gospel message,” Randles said. “When we moved here, it was the exact opposite. We prayed for 25 people. God sent us over 100.” Waterfront Church launched August 10, 2014, at the Courtyard Marriott Navy Yard. By Easter Sunday 2015, Waterfront Church had 150 in attendance. Randles baptized 15 people in the first eight months of the church—11 of whom were adults. Randles calls Waterfront the bridge between politics and poverty. Though the neighborhood is now upscale, homeless people are still in the area. “A homeless man walked in late,” Randles said of one Sunday service. “He sat next to a congressman.” Waterfront is mixed culturally, ethnically and economically, Randles said. Members range from Capitol Hill workers to military to hot dog sales people

at the nearby ballpark, and the congregation is not necessarily a young one. “We don’t sell ourselves as the young-person church or the southern-gospel church,” Randles said. “We sell ourselves as the church that really does care about our community and wants to share the gospel message above all else.” Planting a church in Washington hasn’t been cheap. Waterfront’s five-year budget is $1.3 million. An acre of land sells for $10 million. Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® and Cooperative Program funds helped Waterfront launch. In spite of the cost, Waterfront’s leadership plans to have a permanent presence in the capital. “Our goal is to establish a fort,” Randles said.

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As the cities across North America have continued to grow, Christianity has been on the decline. The United States Census Bureau recently posted that although cities only comprise about 3.5 percent of U.S. land area, the majority of the U.S. population (62.7 percent) live within them. Along with population density comes influence, and the Send North America strategy works to come alongside pastors and church planters to provide the training and resources needed to be influencers and plant churches in these cities. One of the best


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ways to learn more about one of the 32 Send Cities and gain clarity on how God can use you and your church to be an influence for his kingdom is through the Catch The Vision tours. “We, as Southern Baptists, need to realize that the North American Mission Board is us. And we need to know what we are about,” said Steve Kramm, pastor of Troutman Baptist Church in Troutman, N.C. “I am thankful for the experience to become a little bit more aware of what the North American Mission Board is doing.” Kramm, along with several other pastors, had the chance to be a part of a Catch The Vision tour in Baltimore in 2015. These

three-day, two-night tours introduce pastors and church leaders to church planters and ministries within one of the 32 Send Cities to show them how God is already moving and for them to explore how they can get involved. By going and experiencing the city in-person, pastors gain a better understanding of what it means to plant churches within an unban context and also gain a heart for the people within that context. “I did not previously have a heart for Baltimore,” said Brad Harrison, pastor of Wrightsboro Baptist Church in Wilmington, N.C. “I was nationally aware of Baltimore and



what has happened there in the past few years, but I was never broken for Baltimore. Now I find myself praying for Baltimore every day. It seems somewhat of a different world than where I come from, but it is still a world that needs Jesus. “Every church is called to fulfill the Great Commission and make disciples,” said Harrison on getting involved in church planting. “There will be revival in Baltimore. It’s going to happen with or without us, and the question is, are you going to be in it?” “We need Southern Baptist Churches involved in these cities,” stated Kramm. “This is

the job of the church—to get outside our comfort zones and reach into the hard places. It can be really hard. I don’t spend a lot of time in a downtown location; I just don’t live there. We have to be on mission though. Part of that is going outside of our Jerusalem.” NAMB scholarships for the ground expenses are available for participants who have not yet partnered with a church plant or a planter in a Send City. Travel expenses to and from the Send Cities are to be arranged and covered by the attendee for all CTVs. Watch a video and learn more about Catch The Vision tours at

Creativity meets church planting challenges in Montreal By Jim Burton NAMB MONTREAL There may be no city in North America that’s more European than Montreal. The French-speaking province of Quebec is fiercely independent— independent to the point that Canada has faced referendums concerning possible secession. Surrounded by Englishspeaking Canadian provinces and the United States, Montreal often feels the pressure of more dominant societies. So the city digs in and fiercely stands its ground to protect its culture— one that largely wants little to do with churches. When Tony Silveira’s family arrived in Montreal in 2006, the Portuguese native was not naive. After starting churches in Toronto for 12 years and assisting with efforts in Montreal, he knew challenges existed in an anti-religion city. “In general, churches don’t have a good reputation,” Silveira said. A city that he now says is against religion was once nicknamed “the city of 100 bell towers,” evidenced by the presence of so many churches. Many were extraordinary cathedrals, some nearly 200 years old, with exquisite architecture. Today, most are empty on Sundays. Many of those bell-tower buildings are now tourist attractions. Local governments have zoning laws that make locating churches on a main thoroughfare virtually impossible, which calls for creativity.

South Shore Community Montreal’s regional population of more than 5 million people is bounded on the south by the St. Lawrence River. The South Shore community where Silveira is church planting has about 1.5 million residents. While permits for churches in high-traffic areas are impractical, municipalities are anxious for commerce. Silveira found prime real estate that has an estimated 200,000 cars passing every day and started The Studio, a convention center venue for business seminars and meetings—and churches. “It looks more like a Starbucks than a church,” Silveira said. “It’s cozy–not too big.” Creating a business center aligned with Silveira’s objective to reach marketplace leaders and university students. Besides community and business events, the venue now hosts six churches, three of which he started. The Studio doubles as a multi-congregational site. Each pays rent to make the location viable. Research reflects Montreal’s ambivalence toward Christianity. Some statistics say less than .5 percent are Christian, but Silveira believes it’s closer to 7 or 8. “The gospel is growing very fast here,” he said. That growth stems partly from youth rebellion, as teenagers and young adults often do the opposite of their parents during that stage of life. “Millennials are where I see the best potential for growth,” Silveira said. “Their parents are anti-church, and, naturally, when

they go through the rebellious stages, they will look for church.” Churches Across Montreal Silveira brought about 27 years of church planting experience to Montreal from his work in Europe and Toronto. But he knew nothing about the North American Mission Board (NAMB), Send North America or the farm system. That changed when he met Jacques Avakian, NAMB’s lead church planting catalyst for Quebec. Silveira’s introduction to the farm system, NAMB’s method for identifying and mentoring potential church planters, aligned with his vision and experience. “I listened to his story and the vision God had given him,” Avakian said. “I loved what I heard.” Meanwhile, Silveira was pleased to learn about what was already happening in Montreal. “I was so touched by seeing the other church plants that NAMB has here,” Silveira said. “The farm system was the first time I’ve ever heard about it. It’s the best church planting model I’ve seen in the world. “I started Passion Canada to mentor church planters,” Silveira said of his registered ministry. Passion Canada is the umbrella organization under which Silveira plants churches and mentors others. With The Studio, he’s created a reproducible model. “He is very creative,” Avakian said. “His whole church planting strategy speaks for itself.” Silveira preaches at the 9:30 a.m. English multi-cultural service called The Church Unlimited. At 11:15 a.m., there’s a French-

From the homeless population to high-powered businessmen, Tony Silveira’s location along a main thoroughfare affords him the opportunity to meet and minister to a variety of people. The Silveiras are North American Mission Board 2016 Week of Prayer Missionaries. The goal for the 2016 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is $70 million. To learn more about the Week of Prayer, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and how your church can be mobilized to push back lostness in North America, visit NAMB PHOTO BY CLAUDINE CHAUSSE

speaking congregation called La 180 Zone. Then at 6:30 p.m., an English service called WeR1 (We Are One) has mostly youth and young adults. One of his protégés leads that service. “I’m about to launch two other churches through the Passion Center,” said Silveira, who intended to start six new churches by the end of 2015. (He calls The Studio the Passion Center when it’s hosting churches.) Meanwhile, he preaches every other week at a Mohawk First Nations church on the South Shore, and, when possible, he travels to Northern Quebec to minister to the Cree tribe. The average giving of a Christian Quebec church member is $7 per week, Silveira said. His only other financial support comes from NAMB through the

Cooperative Program (CP) and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® (AAEO). “Without the CP and AAEO, I would not be where I am now,” Silveira said. “My vision is to multiply what we have here,” Silveira said. “I don’t see that the next generation wants a mega church. What I foresee is opening multiple locations where 300 people can still do community.” The next generation also isn’t likely to want bell towers, preferring a simpler church model built on userfriendly evangelism, discipleship and fellowship. “I would like to expand the model,” Silveira says, “with different flavors and styles of churches in different regions of Montreal.”







“ AM E R I C A’ S B I G G E S T S E C R E T ”


Following the March 1 Texas primary, just after the polls close, small citizenry bands will gather in civic centers, private buildings and county offices. Ideas will be bandied about. Votes will be cast. And when all is said and done, they will have hewn the first planks of what will eventually become the state and national platforms for the Democratic and Republican Parties. The meetings are not secret nor are they for “members only.” But what is crafted there will impact the nation’s political landscape This summer both political parties will host their national conventions and officially nominate their candidate for U.S. president. At that same meeting their party platforms—an itemized list of what each party supports or denounces—will be offered to the delegates for final approval. What is presented on the national stage will have had its genesis in precinct and county conventions in which civic-minded Christians can participate, offering platform resolutions.

“I call the precinct conventions ‘America’s biggest secret,’” said Skeet Workman, a laywoman from the Texas panhandle and former SBTC board member. Ken Lasater, minister of music at First Baptist Church in Bowie, said he was embarrassed once he realized how simple it was to participate in the conventions, calling it the proverbial grassroots involvement. But until friends noted the existence of the precinct conventions, Workman and Lasater had no idea that civic political involvement did not end, but began, at the voting booth. In the early 1970s, Workman and her husband, Don, attended a precinct convention following a primary election in Lubbock, where they lived and worked their ranch and farm. Although they have since switched parties, their involvement in the precinct, county, state and national conventions has not waned. Lasater said the idea of participating in a meeting that is foundational to the Republican or Democratic platforms can seem intimidating, but he found that was not case. For example, pro-

posed resolutions must follow certain rules but are not so cumbersome as to be off-putting. Here’s how it works: Up until 2014 the state Democratic and Republican Party rules were similar. That year Texas Democrats chose to drop the precinct convention, opting to begin the platform/delegate selection process at the county/ senate district level. Both parties hold their conventions on even numbered years following primary elections. N After polls close March 1, anyone who voted in the Republican primary election can attend the Republican precinct convention. Notice of the meeting should be posted at your precinct polling station. N At the precinct convention, citizens elect a convention chair and secretary. Attendees vote on resolutions and delegates that will advance to the county/ senate district convention. N The county/senate district convention will be held on March 19, 2016. This convention represents a county or senate district and varies across the state. People wanting to

participate in the Democratic convention must have voted in the 2016 Democratic primary or signed an oath of allegiance to the Democratic Party. N At county/senate district conventions the process starts again—resolutions and delegates for the next level are voted on. N At the state conventions— Republican, May 12-14, in Dallas; Democrat, June 16-18, in San Antonio—final state platforms are drafted and delegates to the national convention are elected. The respective platforms will be the touchstone for politicians running for office within Texas and a contribution to what will become the national platform. Many Christians, Workman said, are unaware of the role they can play in the simple convention process. She said that established platforms and pol-

icies reflect the absence of biblical influence in the conventions of both parties. Those looking for help in determining how to draft a resolution can look to the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for ideas. Resolutions passed during the state and national Southern Baptist Conventions can also provide insight. Believers from different precincts and counties can work together drafting resolutions that they then present at their respective conventions. Reviewing the political parties’ state or national platforms can shed light on where they stand on issues and how those issues should be addressed from a biblical perspective. For more information on the convention process and how to participate, go to the respective party websites.

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During this pivotal year of electing the next President of the United States, we need to be wise with our words and actions. There is much passion rising in America during this season. These are serious times. It is in the air. We sense it, feel it, and know it in our heart. Much is at stake. This is unquestionable and undeniable. Yet, it may do well for each of us to remember these things during the election season: 1. Keep everything in perspective. God is sovereign over all human affairs. Regardless of who wins the nomination of your preferred party or who wins the election, God is ultimately in charge. Keep everything in perspective.

I am not advocating passivism. I am calling for each of us to keep perspective. Our hope and trust is ultimately in the Lord.

honestly, America cannot afford for us to stay at home. Please be involved in the process of electing our next president.

2. Be involved in the process. I am deeply convicted that each Christ-follower needs to be involved in the processes of electing our next president. We need to know about the candidates, understand what they believe, measure it by the Word of God, and vote as we believe God is leading us. Yes, we need to vote not only in the general election but also in the primary of our choice. It is incumbent upon us to be involved in the process at whatever level is afforded to us. If you get a chance to meet a candidate, meet them. If you get a chance to speak into their lives and platform, step up and represent the Lord and his Word honorably. If you are never afforded this privilege, learn what you can by listening, watching, and reading. I say it again; it is incumbent upon us to be involved. Quite

3. Watch what you say and how you say it. Passion is rising over these matters. In our respective places and positions, each of us will be asked our opinions. Therefore, we need to be deliberate about what we say and how we say it. People are watching and listening to us. We represent our Lord everywhere, so we need to live up to this wisely. This does not keep us from providing insights and speaking up when appropriate, but it does call us to weigh every word we say and the way we say it. Do not lose your testimony and influence with others for the sake of pontificating, as if you are trying to win an argument or promote your preferred persuasion. This is difficult for each of us, but we must be wise with our words and gentle in our spirit.

In our congregations, we have people from all backgrounds with all kinds of opinions. This should not call us to silence or intimidate us into fearfulness. Yet, it does call us to be wise with our words and clear in every way, exhibiting at all times, the spirit of Christ. 4. Refuse to be categorized. Election season usually pushes us into categories and labels. Now, it is more than obvious by what we read that even evangelicals are broken into various categories. These categories are labeling different groups and how they will vote with different candidates. I hope each of us will strive not to be categorized by anyone. We are one thing ultimately: Followers of Jesus Christ. This is our badge of honor. If we abandon this by our actions or opinions, we will begin to lose our prophetic voice during this critical hour in America.

5. Pray for God to raise up his next leader for our nation. Daniel 2:21 (NIV) says, “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” God does have a will for our nation, and he has the power to raise up whomever he desires to lead our nation. As followers of Christ, while we work in the processes afforded to us as Americans, we need to also pray for God to raise up his next leader for our nation. May he raise up such a leader where his mercy will extend toward us. And, regardless of this leader, I pray for the mercy of the Lord to be upon us. When we know we have worked in the processes and prayed for the Lord’s will to be done, when all is concluded, we have the peace to trust the Lord, who is sovereign over all affairs. Finally, let’s pray for one another to remember these five things during the presidential election season.







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SO, WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY DO AS A MINISTRY ASSISTANT? I mostly plan events. I plan the SBTC Annual Meeting, SBTC Reception at SBC, SBTC board meetings and retreat and other smaller events. HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR THE SBTC? Seven years IF YOU COULD GAIN ANY SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND HOW WOULD YOU USE IT? I would want to fly (that’s kind of boring isn’t it) WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING YOU’VE SEEN HAPPEN IN THE COURSE OF WORKING AT THE SBTC? Oh boy I’ve seen a few funny things: “the sisters” who emceed the SBTC Christmas Party, Garrett Wagoner’s impression of Heath Peloquin (Bluebell in hand




TEXAS HYMN SING High School and college-aged young adults participated in the first annual Texas Hymn Sing in Fort Worth, Jan. 30. Contestants sang from a pre-approved selection of hymns, and the grand prize for 1st place winners was $1,000. Group or individual performances were allowed.

and sweater vest worn), and Dr. Richards’ reveal as one of the wise men helpers (who helps them travel from afar all over the SBTC building at Christmas time). IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF PRODUCING THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE TEXAN NEWSPAPER, WHAT NEWSWORTHY TOPIC WOULD YOU MOST WANT TO INCLUDE FOR TEXAS READERS, AND WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE IT? The movement of college students leading out at their schools as they teach their classmates and others how to share the gospel using Can We Talk.

(left to right) Rebecca Lu and Skylar Woody (3rd place); Randy Roberts & Shirley Roberts (sponsors); Audrey, Jordan & Maggie Joyner (1st place); Amanda Olson (3rd place); and Drew Benson (2nd place). There was a tie for 3rd place so there were two 3rd place winners.

IF YOUR CO-WORKERS WERE SECRETLY INTERVIEWED ABOUT YOUR MOST INTERESTING HABITS, WHAT WOULD THEY SAY? I love Skittles, and when I eat them I separate them out on my desk in pairs from the combo I like the least (orange and green) to the combo I like the best (red and purple).

Southwestern Seminary professor Don Wyrtzen plays the piano as contestants sing.

CHURCH POSITIONS PASTOR u Fairdale BC, Hemphill, is seeking a FT pastor. Seminary degree is required. For more information, contact Jess Thames, Chairman Pastor Search Committee, at 409-579-3345. Send resume’s marked “confidential” to: Fairdale Baptist Church, Jess Thames, 4820 Fairdale Rd, Hemphill, TX 75948. u FBC, Mountain View, AR, seeking energetic and experienced FT senior pastor. Located in the foothills of the Ozarks, Mountain View is near White River with excellent schools and hospital. Send resume to Pastor Search Team, FBC, PO Box 27, Mountain View, AR 72560 or email [email protected] by April 1, 2016. u FBC Stinnett seeks FT pastor with either a seminary degree or one who is attending seminary. Must be ordained. Send resume to [email protected] or PO Box 1316, Stinnett, TX 79083. u FBC Rocksprings seeks FT senior pastor. Parsonage and utility bills furnished. Please contact First Baptist Church, PO Box 438, Rocksprings, TX 78880, 830-683-5186 or [email protected] Resumes will be received until March 4th. u Calvary BC, Woodville, is seeking a bi-vocational pastor. Send resume to PO Box 484, Woodville, TX, 75979 or email [email protected] u Martindale Baptist Church seeking SBC bi-vocational pastor with at least 5 years successful experience. Parsonage included. Position requires at least 20 hours a week, including Sunday service, visitation, and church functions. We are a 157 year old, Bible- led (Acts 1:8) church with a heart for missions. Send resume to [email protected] by March 31, 2016.

u Mt. Zion BC, Lufkin, is seeking a bi-vocational pastor. Please submit resumes to 4303 FM 842, Lufkin, TX 75901 or email [email protected] u FBC Higgins, in the Top of Texas Association, is seeking a bi-vocational pastor. Parsonage included. Send resume to FBC Search Committee, PO Box 279, Higgins, TX 79046, or to [email protected] MUSIC u FBC Clinton, OK seeks a FT music minister. Looking for a man with a pastors heart who will live, lead and love our community in western Oklahoma. Our desire is not to be limited by style but to create authentic worshipers. Email resume to: [email protected] u Robertson Avenue BC, Copperas Cove, is seeking a PT music minister to provide music for blended service of traditional and contemporary music with 2-3 years’ experience in leading worship services. Must play guitar or piano and read sheet music. Audition required. Send resumes no later than Mar 15, 2016 to [email protected] u Silver Oaks BC in Mauriceville, TX is accepting resumes for a PT or bivocational director of music. Please submit all resumes to [email protected] or to SilverOaks Baptist Church, ATTN: Music Director Search Committee, 16460 FM 1442, Orange, TX 77632. Salary commensurate on experience. u Northrich BC, Richardson, is seeking candidates for PT worship leader. Send resumes to Pastor Brent Tucker at [email protected] COMBINATION u Hagerman BC, Sherman, is looking for a FT music/youth minister. Other

combinations may also be considered. Resumes can be sent to Hagerman Baptist Church, 4619 Refuge Road, Sherman, TX, 75092. u Trinity BC, Bonham, is accepting resumes for a PT youth/children’s minister. The ideal candidate must possess a passion and dedication for youth/children ministry, leadership skills, a genuine interest in students’ lives and a willingness to get involved in the community. Send resumes to [email protected] net or mail to Trinity Baptist Church, Attn: Search Committee, 219 W. Denison, Bonham, TX 75418. u FBC Borger seeks FT worship arts & college ministry pastor. The successful candidate will partner with the senior pastor in communicating the mission and message of the church to the young and old, churched and unchurched, by creatively incorporating elements of song, video, and the visual and performing arts into an authentic worship experience. The successful candidate also leads college ministry to students at Frank Phillips College. Resumes to [email protected] by May 13, 2016. YOUTH u Sunray BC, Sunray, is seeking a FT student pastor who will be responsible for ministering to preschoolers12th grade with an emphasis in youth ministry. If interested, please send resumes to [email protected] com. Check us out on Facebook at u Calvary BC of Tishomingo, OK is seeking a FT youth minister. Experience in music is a plus but not required. Apply by mail to Calvary Baptist Church, 9700 S Hwy 377, Tishomingo, OK, 73460, or email to: [email protected] u Indiana Ave Baptist Church in Lubbock is seeking a FT minister of

youth. The qualified candidate will need both education (Bachelor’s degree minimum) and experience (at least three years full-time). Over 100 students are waiting for you. Send resumes to [email protected] u Forest Branch BC, Livingston, seeks a PT youth director or youth ministry intern. Submit inquiries to Pastor Hutson Smelley at [email protected] CHILDREN u FBC of Malakoff is searching for a FT children’s minister to lead out in our ongoing effort to reach the children and families of our community. Please email resume to [email protected], Attention Children’s Minister Search.

u FBC Borger seeks FT pastor to families with children responsible for partnering with families and seeing their children, birth - 6th grade, come to Christ, grow in conformity to the image of Christ, and form the foundation of a biblical worldview. Must minister to both children and their families. Send resumes to [email protected] u First Baptist Pineville, LA (Alexandria area) seeks a FT children’s minister. Submit resumes to [email protected] Position description available at fbcpineville. net/ministries/children. u Windom Baptist Church is accepting resumes for a PT children’s minister. Call Pastor Judd Strawbridge at 903-578-2190 or email [email protected]

Announcements u 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION of Southside Baptist Church, Tell, TX, on April 2-3, 2016. All former pastors and members are encouraged to attend. For information, contact [email protected] or call 940-937-2109. u ESSENTIAL NEEDS FOR A NEW CHURCH start-up on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. We will be conducting their first vacation Bible school & revival. Needs: Bibles, backpacks, new tennis shoes, socks & basic school supplies. All items are needed by July 1st. Bill & Bettye Roberts (Native American Partnership missions) 903-364-2515, 361 Harris Lane, Whitewright, TX 75491, [email protected]

PAID CLASSIFIEDS u CUSTOM SCREEN PRINTED T-SHIRTS for church events – Incredibly low prices, plus free shipping! Small or large orders welcome. Call David at Southeast Texas Printing Company (409) 622-2197.

u CAREER OPPORTUNITY Immediate earning potential. Be part of the rapidly-growing precious metals industry. Free training and ongoing support. Work from home. Rapidly growing international company. 888-644-4408. Call NOW!

MARCH 2016

TEENAGERS LEAD 5 TO CHRIST AT WENDY’S RESTAURANT By Jane Rodgers TEXAN Correspondent ARLINGTON South Texas cheerleaders in a crowded Wendy’s restaurant near the University of Texas at Arlington wound up with more than fast food on a recent Saturday. The girls had a life-changing encounter with Christ due to the boldness of teens attending the SBTC’s Student Evangelism Conference (SEC) North at Arlington’s Fielder Church, Jan. 15-16. “We encouraged the [students] to pray for one person to share the gospel with,” said Bobby Worthington, Criswell College associate professor of missions and evangelism who assisted at SEC North and South, held Jan. 22-23 at San Antonio’s Castle Hills First Baptist Church. Worthington accompanied youth from First Baptist


Church of Bells to Wendy’s where they discovered that students from First Baptist Church Paris had just shared Christ with the cheerleaders. “I talked to the cheerleader coach to let her know we were with a youth conference and asked if some of our girls could talk to hers,” said Nate Law, FBC Paris student pastor. A college cheerleader accompanying the group from FBC Paris facilitated the encounter, Law said. “That just opened

up the door big time [with the sponsor].” Law challenged two high school girls to share their faith with half the 10-member squad while a college student shared with the others. Four of the cheerleaders trusted Christ. “Our girls stayed in touch with them afterward, texting them and sharing scriptures,” Law said. Cheerleaders weren’t the only ones saved at Wendy’s that day.

Texas & U.S. Deployments:

Disaster Responses

3,863 Volunteer Days Served


Showers Provided

405 Tracts Distributed


Meals Prepared for Disaster Victims

636 Homes

Cleaned after Floods or Storms

309 Bibles


386 Gospel Presentations

1,171 Spiritual Contacts


Professions of Faith



Pieces of 12-foot Tin Distributed

Temporary Church Built

900 People Fed 500 Blankets

1,204 People

29 Kitchen and Laundry

Buildings Constructed

583 Gospel Presentations 48 Bibles Distributed 3 Church Fellowships Started 52 Salvations 9 Baptisms

Homes Assessed


Sets Distributed

84 Shelters Built

Treated in Health Clinics

4 School 45

Students Received School Supplies

5,327 Spiritual Contacts

Worthington and the FBC Bells students met Keith, whose car had stalled in the parking lot. After helping jumpstart Keith’s car, Worthington invited him into the restaurant and bought him lunch. “He seemed interested. We sat around the table. As I shared the gospel with him, the students began to talk, too.” The Holy Spirit’s presence was clear, Worthington said. Keith trusted Christ at Wen-

dy’s while restaurant employees watched. The 2016 SEC North and South events drew a total of 1,708 students from all over Texas, SBTC student ministry associate Garrett Wagoner told the TEXAN. “We challenge lost students to come to Christ, and we equip saved students to share their faith,” Wagoner said, reporting 130 salvations among SEC attendees, 13 salvations from evangelism efforts, 28 calls to ministry and 58 requests for baptism. “We are seeing a generation of students embrace the gospel and accept the challenge to take the gospel to Texas and to the ends of the earth,” Wagoner said. “There is a real harvest among teenagers today, and we believe that we can see a true movement of God when teenagers are challenged with the gospel.”

Church compensation survey deadline May 31 By Roy Hayhurst

International Deployment (Nepal): SBTC: 5 Teams; 30 Volunteers



The Met Collective leads worship during the Student Evangelism Conference North at Fielder Church in Arlington, Jan. 15-16. PHOTO BY KOBY DICKENSON



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GuideStone DALLAS The biennial SBC Church Compensation Survey in 2016 has been launched by GuideStone Financial Resources, along with LifeWay Research and Baptist state conventions. Southern Baptist ministers and church employees are invited to participate in the survey, a resource used by churches of all sizes to determine fair wages and benefits. Church ministers and staff have until May 31 to complete the online survey. Survey participants will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win an iPad. The survey and complete contest rules are available at GuideStone. org/CompensationSurvey. The winner of the iPad will be notified via email. Survey results are not reported individually. Compensation and benefit information can be contributed anony-

mously. At the conclusion of the survey, GuideStone and LifeWay will compile the submitted data and provide all users with access to the results. The survey’s results will be made available in the early fall, in time for churches considering their 2017 budgets. “The surveys can help churches benchmark their own salary and benefits packages against churches of like size within Southern Baptist life,” said O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources. Contact GuideStone Financial Resources for more information at 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) Monday—Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST, or send an email to [email protected]







‘SMALL’ CONGREGATION PLANTS 17 CHURCHES By Jane Rodgers TEXAN Correspondent HEARTLAND Any given Sunday will find Vista Church’s congregation of 180 gathered for worship in the local elementary school in Heartland, a small bedroom community just off Interstate 20 outside Terrell, near Forney and Dallas. As members assemble for worship, they do so aware of a common bond with the 17 churches from Boston to Toronto to Seattle to Bangalore that Vista Church has helped plant since its own founding in 2007. “For many in our congregation, church planting introduced them to something they would have never known. Now it has become part of our DNA,” said Kevin Cox, the church’s pastor. “’When is the next one?’ people ask.” Excitement about planting new churches has resulted in generous giving. A special offering the first Sunday in December 2015 brought in $35,000, Cox said, adding, “Our people have a kingdom mindset. Our giving [to church plants] will not expand our church numerically but will expand the kingdom of God.”

Cox’s commitment to planting churches solidified in 1997 when he and his wife started a church in Seattle. The Coxes returned to Texas nine years later, determined to make church planting a priority in whatever congregation they served. That chance came when Cox and five others sat around the family’s kitchen table in May 2007 to start Vista. “We wanted to plan and multiply,” Cox said, noting that from the beginning, the six Vista members set aside 1 percent of their budget for assisting the first church plant. Within 14 months, the Vista congregation had grown, accumulating

$2,500, which they used to assist a Southern Baptist church plant in Seattle. “We started giving money to the Seattle church before our own grand opening in 2008,” Cox recalled. Vista assists church plants in three-year cycles. “We commit to three years of monthly giving to the churches we work with and partner with,” Cox explained. This January, Vista began supporting church plants in Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon, in addition to continuing partnerships with churches in Bangalore, India, and the Texas communities of Rockwall/Heath and Mont Bel-

vieu. Vista contributed $45,000 to partner churches in 2015 and will give the same amount again in 2016, Cox said. This generosity comes from a young church in a commuter suburb of starter homes and young families. The average age of adult attendees at Vista is 32. Heartland is not even a town but rather a Municipal Utility District with a Forney zip code within the Crandall school district. Some 1,700 homes exist now; more than 6,000 are plotted. Eventually Heartland will be a community of 25,000 with seven schools, possibly annexed one day by Forney or Crandall. For now, it is “really a gigantic HOA,” Cox said. Laws forbidding door-to-door solicitations make advertising church events or ministering to residents challenging, so Vista church has engaged the community through volunteering at local events and serving the elementary school where Cox’s wife, Kathy, teaches special education. Vista is the only church in a community where, for many, Sunday is just another day. “Out here off I-20, we are under the radar,” Cox said. “Many

have gotten out of the habit of going to church.” Meanwhile, Vista Church remains united behind sister congregations across the nation and world. Partner churches are chosen partly as an outgrowth of the church planter training Vista offers in a facility built for that purpose by a family in the church on 40 acres of private property. “Teams come, stay for four days, and we work through the process of church planting with them,” Cox said, adding that Nic Burleson, pastor of Timber Ridge Church in Stephenville, has assisted in the training. Last Easter, 275 attended worship services at Vista. But across the world, more than 4,000 worshipped in the churches with which Vista had partnered. “We want to grow, but we want to see the kingdom extended even more,” Cox said. “You don’t have to be big to partner with churches. Don’t wait till you are big to partner with another church. You can be small and still have a huge kingdom impact.” For more information on Vista Church, see their website at