Page 1

January 31, 2013 • ISSUE 2

Texas poised to lead in compassion campaign to AIDS-stricken sub-Saharan Africa.

+ gay scout leaders? Boy scouts consider policy change on homosexual leaders

+ Does your church pass the 5-spot test?

Contents 2

A way that seems right to a man

With Scouts and the military alike, top leadership seems set on a way that leads to destruction.


Gay Scout leaders? Boy Scouts consider policy change on homosexuals in leadership roles.

6 BOOK REVIEW Jared Wellman has penned a substantive, readable and needed book on what Scripture requires of believers in the local gathering called the church.

Cowboy church in Robertson County sees rapid growth


Through music and the trappings of cowboy culture, congregation reaching a hard-to-reach people group.

3-4 Quick Hits 7

‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe?’ When it comes to the gospel, love authenticates our message.

8 COVER STORY Casting light on death’s shadow

Southern Baptists are re-launching The Bucket Project with the goal of providing 10,000 hospice kits to AIDS-stricken sub-Saharan Africa. Baptist Global Response is counting on Texas to lead the way.

TEXAN Digital is e-published twice monthly by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, 4500 State Highway 360, Grapevine, TX 76099-1988. Jim Richards, Executive Director Gary Ledbetter, Editor Jerry Pierce, Managing Editor Russell Lightner, Design & Layout Stephanie Barksdale, Subscriptions Contributing Writers Bonnie Pritchett, Jane Rodgers, Stacey Billger, Diana Davis To contact the TEXAN office, visit or call toll free 877.953.7282 (SBTC)

Gary Ledbetter

A way that seems right to a man What a crazy week for pro-family Americans. Last week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that women would, over the next three years, be allowed to apply for combat postings currently closed to them in the U.S. military current. The most reasonable rationale offered during the discussion surrounding the decision was that the careers of servicewomen are unfairly hindered by denying them combat commands. High-sounding statements about military readiness were completely unconvincing. This week, the leadership of Boy Scouts of America tipped their hand that next week’s board meeting would consider dropping the ban on openly homosexual Scout leaders. The earthshaking reversal seems mostly about money—the threats of big corporate donors, who in turn are responding to the threats and opinions of an increasingly confused mob of American consumers. My title quotes Proverbs 14:12; the remainder of that verse indicates that the way that seems right to a man ends in “death” or “destruction.” I take the proverb literally in its primary meaning that the blindness of man leads to spiritual and often even physical death. For two highly respected institutions like the U.S. military and the Boy Scouts of America, I think the proverb could also hold true in a figurative though disastrous sense. Such big policy reversals have to be seen as successful to accomplish their public relations purpose. That means that women will be in the infantry regardless of if they conform to current qualifications or not. Loudly homosexual Scout leaders will hold press conferences and turn their new role into an advertisement for 2 TEXANONLINE.NET JANUARY 31, 2013

the “new normal.” Neither result will be in service of the timehonored missions of those institutions. Those missions will be degraded by the placing of people in inappropriate roles. Another thing will happen and will accelerate the damage done to these masculine institutions. People most appropriate to military service and families formerly supportive of Scouting will flee. That’s understandable and is perhaps a consequence unforeseen by those at the top. It’s an incredible blindness that those whose sons experienced Scouting or combat do not suffer. Our dialog on both these issues has been mostly pragmatic. Those who favor the decisions point to the desires of individuals, the opinions of the masses, or the support of influential leaders. We who argue against both of these decisions talk about the complications of women in combat, the physical differences between men and women, or the risks of placing Boy Scouts under the care of those who may find them sexually attractive. Although we won’t win either argument in the near future, we’re wrong to stress merely pragmatic arguments. These are moral issues. There is an “ought” to these decisions that is simply disregarded at the highest levels. It is wrong and destructive to ask our young men to view a woman as merely “one of the troops.” The respect young men give to young women may be cultural but it is the best kind of enculturation. Our nation’s moral slide is seen far more clearly in the lack of consideration men give women than in any unreasonable exalting of the fair sex. It is wrong and destructive to break down walls of modesty or to ask service wives to face the added stress of knowing that their husbands are living intimately with other women. It’s a social experiment that will have victims at home and abroad. Our nation is immoral to do this thing to our children. The Scout decision seems more obviously a moral decision though not one imposed on an institution of our government. Scouting has been a tradition that adds much positive to our society. Values and responsibility we taught in our home were strengthened by leaders of two different Scout troops during the 1990s. Our confidence in Scouting as a friendly institution would have been severely damaged if we doubted the morality being overtly taught at meetings, campouts and week-long camps involving several troops. This bending to the breeze of public opinion and the blasting threats of wealthy men is a moral loss to our families. Part of the tragedy is that some of our best people will abandon these honorable institutions. Perhaps they should but regardless it is a loss to our nation. These are two very different decisions with a moral aspect in common. And in both institutions top leadership seems set on a way that leads to destruction.

Quick Hits CULTURE

Military suicides raise alarms Department of Defense officials say 349 service members took their own lives across the four military branches in 2012—a record number. The military suicide rate is slightly lower than that of the general public, but experts also have noted a corresponding rise in civilian suicides of those closest to military members on long deployments or who have been killed in action. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called it an “epidemic.” featured a story on the problem using the case of the Velez siblings of Texas. After one brother was killed in combat in 2004, a second brother committed suicide while on active duty in Afghanistan. The remaining sister, who had already struggled with depression, attempted suicide but survived after being rushed to an emergency room in the Killeen area. Monica Velez told NBC that the first time anyone had offered her any help with grief and substance abuse was when a friend near Killeen referred her in 2008 to a grief recovery program sponsored by military advocates.


BP photo by John Swain


AG taps ‘Choose Life’ advisory committee Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has appointed a seven-member “Choose Life” advisory committee to review applications for funding from the proceeds of “Choose Life” specialty license plate sales. In 2011, the state Legislature authorized the “Choose Life” license plates to fund organizations that promote adoption as an abortion alternative and mandated the AG’s office to appoint the committee. The advisory committee includes Judy Canon of Midland, Carol Everett of Round Rock, Kathy Haigler of Dale, Lois Kerschen of Lubbock, Matt Kouri of Austin, Mikeal Love of Austin, and Julie Stobbe of The Woodlands. All are adoption advocates. Everett is a former abortion clinic owner well known among pro-life groups for her activism, Kerschen is co-founder of Democrats for Life of America, and Love is an Austin obstetrician-gynecologist. “We hope that these ‘Choose Life’ plates—and the work of this expert committee—will result in more Texas children being adopted into loving homes across the Lone Star State,” Abbott said. “Choose Life” specialty license plates went on sale in November 2011. To date, more than 1,400 plates have been sold and nearly $32,000 deposited in the state’s designated “Choose Life” account. Funds from the account will be distributed via a grant process administered by the attorney general’s office with advice from the committee. Instructions for submitting grant applications will be announced at a later date, the AG’s office said.

Collegians from several states spent their break between semesters assisting disaster relief teams from Baptist state conventions who were working in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast. In the photo, Brenda Mancilla (left) and Bianca Rivers toss debris from a Staten Island home into a dumpster as part of mud-out efforts by DR volunteers. Mancilla, of Greer, S.C., is a student at Winthrop University and a member of Ministreio Internacional Nuevo Comienzo. Rivers, of Wagner, S.C., is a student at South Carolina State University and a member of New Mt. Zion Baptist Church. SBTC DR teams worked for several weeks aiding the victims in several cities on Long Island. JANUARY 31, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 3


Bible club sponsor fired A teacher in New York state has filed a federal lawsuit against her school district after they forced her to remove anything in her classroom that contained religious references. Fox News’ Todd Starnes reported that Joelle Silver, a high school science teacher in the Cheektowaga Central School District who served as advisor of a student Bible club, was ordered to remove all religious content or be fired. According to Fox News and Plano-based Liberty Institute, the teacher was forced to remove the Bible club’s prayer box and other items from her room, including a quote from former President Ronald Reagan, which included the line, “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” Silver was also ordered to remove sticky notes with inspirational messages and warned to “keep such material in a discreet location.” According to Liberty Institute, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) threatened to sue the school district if they did not take immediate action, based on complaints by a student. Liberty Institute is also defending the Conway, Ark., school district after district officials were threatened by FFRF for allowing student ministers to visit students on campus during lunch breaks.

Survey: Maturing believers exercise faith Believers who are progressing in spiritual maturity are more likely to exercise their faith by trusting God even in difficult circumstances, according to a survey by LifeWay Research. “Exercising Faith” is one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians. The attributes are part of the Transformational Discipleship study conducted by LifeWay Research. Among the eight attributes of discipleship tested, churchgoers have higher scores for Exercising Faith than any of the other attributes, said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. Yet, he pointed out, only 13 percent of attendees were able to give the best response to all of the questions in this attribute. “It is easy to say God has a purpose for everything in life, but it requires faith to enjoy seeing his plan unfold in difficult times,” Stetzer said. More info: 4 TEXANONLINE.NET JANUARY 31, 2013

March for Life Dallas draws 8-10k A crowd estimated by police to be between 8,000-10,000 people rallied along the streets of downtown Dallas on Jan. 19 in the annual March for Life. Organized by Texans for Life Coalition, Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas & Catholics Respect Life of Fort Worth, the march and rally also included a pro-life ministry fair at First Baptist Church of Dallas, which was along the march route from the arts district to the Earl Cabell Federal Courthouse, where the 1973 Roe v. Wade case began. Texans for Life Coalition President Kyleen Wright said police told her the crowd exceeded the 8,000 people at the 2012 march but was shy of 10,000. Evangelical and Catholic speakers lined the rally program. Among them were Wright, a member of Gateway Baptist Church in Mansfield, abortion survivor Angela Martinez Balderaz, self-described “new wave feminist” Destiny HerndonDe La Rosa, pastor and radio host Richard Ellis of Reunion Church, Dallas, and Chris Wheel (pictured addressing the rally), fatherhood ministry pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Church. Other photos include a crowd shot during the rally and a sign that reads “El Aborto Mata Ninos” or in English: Abortion kills children.

Gay Scout leaders? Boy Scouts consider policy change on homosexuals in leadership roles By Bonnie Pritchett

In a move that seemed to stymie opposition, the BSA executive board last July reaffirmed the long-standing policy of disqualifying homosexuals as troop leadLess than six months after upholding its policy exers. At the time BSA spokesman Deron Smith told the cluding homosexuals from leadership within its organization, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization TEXAN, “The BSA values the freedom of everyone to express their opinion and believes to disagree does not appears poised to abolish the policy when its execumean to disrespect.” tive board meets on Feb. 6. A brief Chip Turner, chairman of the BSA notice on the BSA website states the Religious Relations Committee and 103-year-old icon of American boyformer president of the Associahood could defer matters of leadertion of Baptists for Scouting, would ship qualifications to local councils, not speculate on why the issue has a move rife with legal and moral re-emerged but said some organizaimplications. tions, including some faith-based “This is a major mistake the Boy groups, continue to press for change. Scouts are considering. I don’t know On my honor, Turner expects his committee to hear what [they] think they will gain I will do my best a presentation of the proposal when from changing their policy,” said To do my duty to God all national BSA committees meet Jonathan Saenz, an attorney and and my country and to Monday in advance of the executive president of Texas Values, an Ausobey the Scout Law; board meeting. tin-based non-profit that defends The Religious Relations Commitvalues and laws related to faith and To help other people tee will not vote on the measure but family in Texas. at all times; could pen a resolution opposing it Saenz said fundamental prinand present it to the board for conciples of freedom of association To keep myself physically strong, sideration before Wednesday’s vote, are at stake. Pressure to conform to mentally awake and he said. the demands of homosexual advomorally straight. Weighing in on the potential cacy groups continues against the ramifications, Frank Page, Southern BSA despite the 2000 United States Baptist Convention Executive ComSupreme Court victory upholding mittee president, urged BSA leadthe private organization’s right of ers to stand on principle and not bow to pressure to free association, allowing the group to select leaders change policy. In a conference call to BSA Chief Execuaccording to its moral standards. If the organization tive Wayne Brock, BSA President Wayne Perry, and “caves,” freedom of association matters will no lonBSA National Commissioner Tiko Perez, Page warned ger be fought in judicial courts but the court of public faith-based organizations that sponsor the majority of opinion, Saenz concluded. Boy Scout troops may withdraw their support. The legal implications of deferring leadership qualiAccording to a report by Baptist Press, Page told the fication policies from the national office to the local councils will depend on the details of a new rule, Saenz leaders, “I believe this will be a death blow to Scouting. ... I think this is a self-inflicted wound.” said. He believes the Supreme Court decision would Saenz predicted the move could trigger a mass exoapply to local Scout troops that choose to maintain dus from the organization by individuals and churchthe current policy. But he expects they will find themes opposed to the change. selves vulnerable to costly litigation intended to force “What a tremendous ministry opportunity we would conformity to the national standards. JANUARY 31, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 5

be turning our backs on,” Turner said. But if the BSA executive board votes to remove the sexual orientation standard from its guidelines, disassociation by individuals and churches would be an understandable reaction, Turner admitted. Homosexual advocates opposing the policy claim BSA is forced to “adopt the theology of the largest users” of the organization, Turner said. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints make up the largest component of Scout troops with United Methodists, Catholics, and Baptists filling the ranks behind them. Of the 2.6 million members of the BSA, 1.8 million affiliate with a faithbased sponsor. Leaving leadership standards to local chapters is not a “cut and dry” proposition, Turner said. Associations among troops could be fractured with the establishment of differing leadership policies. Adult supervision of joint campouts will become a point of contention for families and their Scouts. The BSA has stated that sexuality is a topic for the home, guided by a family’s values and faith. Homosexual leadership foists the issue upon a local troop where different views may prevail. But of primary concern to Turner, dissolution of the sexual orientation policy violates the Judeo-Christian morals on which the BSA was founded, he argued. Though not strictly a religious organization, the Boy Scout oath taken by all Scouts states, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country …” The Boy Scout law concludes with the promise to be “reverent.” “There are some people who will stop at nothing to force their morality on people of faith. The homosexual community wants total vindication of their lifestyle. They are not entitled to that,” Turner said. Saenz said the Texas Values office received numerous calls and emails from people concerned about the proposed change. He believes the Boy Scouts underestimate the support they have to stand their ground and the societal ramifications if they do not. 6 TEXANONLINE.NET JANUARY 31, 2013


The Church Member a welcome help in being, doing church By Jerry Pierce With the kingdom of God as the ambition of the church, the danger is that churches would pursue lesser purposes, Jared Wellman writes in his introduction to The Church Member: Understanding Your Place in the Body of Christ. Wellman, pastor of Mission Dorado Baptist Church in Odessa, has penned a substantive, readable and necessary study on what Scripture requires of the local church and how believers should fulfill their God-given roles in it. The book is chock full of Scripture and relevant illustrations to fortify his biblical points with a quality that will challenge and edify the believer to godly devotion. Wellman begins with a discussion of what the church is and proceeds in subsequent chapters to address salvation, believer’s baptism, the Lord’s Supper, giving, singing, Bible study, prayer and fasting, missional living, respecting pastor-leaders, building others up and church participation. For the longtime church member, if familiarity with church practices exists alongside an ignorance of why they are practiced, the book forces them nose deep in the Bible. For new believers, the book is a virtual church member basic training, skillful in explaining how the personal spiritual disciplines dovetail with the corporate ministry of the church. The chapter on prayer and fasting itself is worth the price of the 124-page paperback. The book is dedicated to Jared and Amanda Wellman’s future daughter, Abigail Hope, whom they are praying for through the gift of adoption.

Jerry Pierce

‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe?’


hat distinguishes Christian compassion from the world’s compassion is an anointed motivation. Strip us down to the core and there is faith, hope and love. The unregenerate lack the first one in anything worthy, and any hope they have is misplaced. Of course, the world feels compassion. It’s by God’s common grace that a mother loves her children. We see a ferocious maternal protection in the animal kingdom. Pharaoh’s daughter had pity on the baby Moses. Even the notorious mobster Al Capone was said to have established soup kitchens and paid hospital tabs for needy folks in Depression-era Chicago. But the Christian knows something deep inside—an unyielding conviction the outside world can’t mimic. Our mercy wagon comes adorned with a banner proclaiming hope. I read a definition of compassion recently on a Bible website that was good but lacking, describing it as “[t]hat (human) disposition that fuels acts of kindness and mercy.” It’s a human disposition no doubt, but it began in God’s heart. He loved us first. We read that Yahweh had compassion on Israel that surpassed maternal love (Isaiah 49:15) and restored wayward people (Jeremiah 12:15). We read that he is longsuffering in his purposes. In the New Testament, Jesus is described several times as being moved with compassion for those with spiritual (Mark 6:34) and physical needs (Matthew 14:14). He even bears sympathy with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Thus we are no more like God than when we are loving others, and we are no more convinc-

ing than when love is there to authenticate our message. John 9 tells the story of a blind beggar who finds faith at the healing hands of Messiah. Jesus mixes saliva and dirt to touch the man’s eyes before dispatching him to the pool of Siloam to wash away the cakey substance. The Bible tells us he returns to Jesus, seeing for the first time. Imagine how his world changed in a flash. It was an unprecedented miracle in Scripture. Rather than responding in awe, the Pharisees are indignant and eventually send the man away, content to blame it on demons. Jesus, after all, has healed on the Sabbath against their rules, so they have a legal reason for being cranky. And they’ve already labeled him a demon-possessed Samaritan. The Lord appears again in the story in John 9:35-38: “Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.” This seeing man was transformed. John MacArthur tells a story of a woman in crisis who was turned away for counseling at her synagogue for unpaid dues. Desperate, she passed the California church where MacArthur is pastor on her drive home and was drawn inside during an evening worship service. Months later the woman recounted to MacArthur her conversion: She was so overcome by the love expressed by church members that evening, she was convinced of the gospel. The story is striking because she couldn’t recall anything about the sermon and wasn’t even sure MacArthur was in the pulpit that night. But the agape love overwhelmed her. The cover story in this issue is about a Texas-sized effort to collect 10,000 hospice care buckets from Southern Baptist churches in the state this year for dying people in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a Baptist Global Response endeavor called The Bucket Project (page 8). As you’ll read in the article, Texas is the pilot for this revived ministry of BGR, which is the human relief arm of Southern Baptists. When disasters strike internationally, BGR is there paving the way for disaster relief volunteers to bring practical and spiritual help to the suffering, as was the case with the South Asian tsunami in 2004 and an earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. With The Bucket Project, Texas Southern Baptists can help bring the compassion modeled by our God to thousands of dying people. In a crisis, it’s Christian love armed with a future hope that gains a hearing and prompts a question: Who is he, sir, that I may believe? In heaven we might get to meet those whose hearts were turned to the gospel in their dying days by unassuming buckets full of lip balm, cotton socks, bath linens, and hygiene goods.


Southern Baptists are re-launching The Bucket Project with the goal of providing 10,000 hospice kits to AIDS-stricken sub-Saharan Africa. Baptist Global Response is counting on Texas to lead the way. By Jane Rodgers

frica is never far from the hearts of Franklin and Paula Kilpatrick, who spent 40 years serving as International Mission Board missionaries in Zambia. Now retired and living in the Houston suburb of Pasa8 TEXANONLINE.NET JANUARY 31, 2013

dena, the Kilpatricks continue ministering to Africa as Texas coordinators of Baptist Global Response’s “The Bucket Project,” an effort to provide hospice kits to thousands in HIV/AIDSstricken sub-Saharan African countries.

The goal for 2013: Supply 10,000 buckets filled with items of comfort for the terminally ill. “Caregivers often cry when they receive the buckets,” Paula Kilpatrick said. “They have so little to work with to offer comfort.” The need is great in a land riddled with HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Baptist Global Response (BGR) estimates that nearly 23 million live with HIV in the subSaharan region. In 2012, 1.2 million died from AIDS there. Almost 15 million children have lost one or both parents to the epidemic. HIV infection rates exceed 20 percent in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, according to BGR figures. The Kilpatricks were well acquainted with the hospice kits before Lori Funderburk, BGR hospice kit project director, asked them in 2012 to become project coordinators for Texas as BGR re-launched the hospice kit effort initiated four years earlier. The Kilpatricks had been involved in the original venture from the beginning. BGR first began supplying hospice kits to Zambia in 2009. Mark Hatfield, BGR director for subSaharan Africa, asked the Kilpatricks if they would pilot the project in Zambia. They agreed. The first kits were delivered and stored at the Baptist Theological Seminary of Zambia, where the Kilpatricks spent nearly 20 years as educators. The Kilpatricks already provided training to military chaplains in AIDS prevention and home-based hospice care. Coordinating the distribution of the buckets fit their mission.

“The school was not officially involved, but the first container was situated there. Students and faculty helped with the distribution of the buckets,” Franklin Kilpatrick said. Currently, the seminary’s business manager and his wife coordinate the distribution of the buckets in Zambia, taking over for the Kilpatricks, who returned to the U.S. in January 2011. Students and faculty continue to be involved. “During our final stateside assignment [in 2011], we started promoting the buckets at churches, conferences and small groups where we spoke,” Franklin Kilpatrick said. “There were requests for over 6,000 buckets,” Paula Kilpatrick added. According to Franklin Kilpatrick, after hearing of the 6,000 requests, BGR decided to re-launch The Bucket Project, which had been suspended. Since the Kilpatricks were already promoting the buckets, Funderburk asked them to serve as Texas coordinators. “The Texas emphasis is aimed at developing a model to be used in other states beginning in 2014,” Franklin Kilpatrick said. The buckets of The Bucket Project are five-gallon containers with snap-on lids and wire handles available at Wal-Mart and Lowe’s. These are filled with vitamins, sheets, pillowcases, washcloths,

A church member prays with a bucket recipient in Africa. These buckets provide medicines and other necessities to comfort the dying in sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS is an epidemic. (BGR photo)


Franklin and Paula Kilpatrick address a church about The Bucket Project. The Kilpatricks, former IMB missionaries, are spearheading the effort in Texas to provide 10,000 hospice buckets to AIDS-stricken portions of Africa. Texas is a pilot this year for taking the effort by Baptist Global Response nationwide in 2014. (Photo by Jill Tanner)

towels, toothpaste, lip balm, lotion, fingernail clippers and disposable gloves, among other items. A complete shopping list, including product numbers and specific instructions for purchases, is available on the BGR website. The website features a short video on The Bucket Project and lists collection points for assembled buckets. Visitors to the BGR website may also download a step by step guide for bucket assembly, explanations of the purpose of each item included in the hospice kit, and a seven-day prayer guide educating readers about AIDS, hospice needs and sub-Saharan Africa. The estimated cost of each bucket filled with hospice necessities is less than $100. The investment is eternal. “The first bucket we gave out in Zambia was to an older lady who had been diagnosed with untreat-

able abdominal cancer,” Paula Kilpatrick said. “She was sent back to her village to die. We took her a bucket and kept checking on her. A year later, she died. Without the bucket, she would have had nothing.” “Cleo, our friend who had been a caregiver for others, found the buckets invaluable. Then Cleo was diagnosed with terminal cancer herself. A Zambian friend gave her a bucket,” Paula Kilpatrick recalled with a note of sadness. “Just knowing someone cares about you and is thinking about you is a help,” Paula Kilpatrick continued. “Prayer means a lot; so does the Christian witness [of those distributing the buckets]. Many [patients] have become Christians, and many dramatically improve after receiving the buckets. One lady who became a Christian was expected to die within hours, but

To the right is a list of collection points for the hospice buckets. For more information on how your church can help, email Franklin and Paula Kilpatrick at or visit Direct Shipping to BGR’s Warehouse A & O Services 2107 Loumour Avenue Richmond, VA 23230-4109 804-219-1505


FIRM Baptist Area Office 100 N. Central Avenue Cameron, TX 76520 254-697-6505 Charles Cole, DOM

she lived two years more.” TEXAN Digital caught up with the Kilpatricks between runs to different Wal-Marts in preparation for an upcoming packing day for the buckets at their church. They may be retired, but they are tirelessly promoting The Bucket Project. The Bucket Project is a nationwide effort, but “Texas is the key” to laying a solid foundation for it, Paula Kilpatrick said. At this writing, eight Texas churches and associations are listed as collection points. Buckets may also be shipped directly to the BGR warehouse in Virginia. Addresses are available on the BGR website— For additional information on how your church can help or to be a collection point, email Franklin and Paula Kilpatrick at or visit

Bethany Baptist Church 9250 FM 391 Hearne, TX 77859 979-279-5556 Randy Aly, pastor

Fellowship Baptist Church 2000 FM 389 Brenham, TX 77834 Phone: 979-836-3040 Darren Donaldson, pastor

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected region in the global HIV epidemic. While AIDS deaths and new infections have declined, the rates are still at epidemic levels. In 2011, according to the United Nations:

An estimated

23.5 million

There were about

1.8 million new HIV

people living with HIV were in sub-Saharan Africa—roughly of the global HIV population.


infections in sub-Saharan Africa compared to 2.4 million new infections 10 years earlier—a

25% decline over a decade.


1.2 million people died from AIDS-related illness, a 32 percent decline from 2005 but still an astounding number.

More than

90 percent of children

who acquired HIV in 2011 live in sub-Saharan Africa.

More than half

It’s estimated that there are

15 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa

In Nigeria and Ethiopia,

of people living with HIV in Zambia (52 percent), Rwanda (53 percent) and Kenya (56 percent) reported being verbally abused as a result of their HIV status.

one in five

people living with HIV reported feeling suicidal because of their HIV status.

PHOTO BY Karl Mueller | wikimedia

Abilene Baptist Association 2058 Marshall Street Abilene, TX 79605 325-673-8349 Truman Turk, DOM  

Bi-Fork Baptist Area 4220 Augusta Street Vernon, TX 76382 Phone: 940-552-2500 Derrell Monday, DOM  

Broadview Baptist Church 2500 S. 27th Abilene, TX 79605 325-692-2360 Vernon Ferguson, missions pastor

First Baptist Church of Perryton 415 South Baylor Street Perryton, TX 79070 806-435-3641 Stan Burleson, minister of music

First Baptist Church of Jacinto City 10701 Wiggins Street Houston, TX 77029 Franklin Kilpatrick, Texas coordinator 713-472- 6571; Email:


Weekly men’s and women’s Bible studies continue to grow at Robertson County Cowboy Church, which has grown from 10 people two years ago to more than 200 attending Sunday worship. The church baptized 23 people last year in a horse trough. Cowboy churches tend to reach a very distinct population segment that wouldn’t necessarily mesh in a traditional congregation.

Cowboy church in Robertson County sees rapid growth Through music and the trappings of cowboy culture, congregation reaching a hard-to-reach people group. By Stacey Billger What began as a stirring in the hearts of 10 people to reach the cowboy culture has now blossomed to more than 200 people gathering to worship at Robertson County Cowboy Church. From the vision to start the church to the location, “God continues to put everything into place,” Pastor Jimmy Sanders said. “We continue to see new faces every week … it’s amazing to see how God is working.” Sanders was pastor of a country church for 24 years and had heard about cowboy churches without much thought of planting one himself. Then God began stirring the idea in his heart. Sanders said


he visited a cowboy church and was “blown away by what God was doing and knew it was what he wanted me to be doing [pastor a cowboy church].” Once the vision was cast, the pieces began to come together. Core group members are quick to credit the Lord with the success and growth of the church. By their second anniversary Robertson County Cowboy Church grew numerically to the point of needing two services. Many who come to the cowboy church have never or may never set foot in a “traditional church,” Sanders said. “We are not ministering to a hobby … it’s a culture in the Southwest who need to be reached with the gospel.”

“Some come just to see (what the cowboy church is about) and they never leave,” Sanders said. Others have never been involved in a church and now want to be. One place for people to serve is in the church band. At 16 members and growing, their five hours of practice weekly is a testimony to the dedication to reach a culture with tools that speak to them. Members and visitors alike laud the atmosphere that speaks to them and draws them to the church. Mark Morgan said the church is a place that ties into what people can relate to. From the country and southern gospel music styles to sermon illustrations that relate to cowboy culture, the commitment is to reach a group that

5Robertson County Cowboy Church has plans to expand and build their own building on this 10 acres someone donated to the church—an obvious answer to prayer, the pastor, Jimmy Sanders, says. 4Pastor Jimmy Sanders (right) baptizes Michelle Haver with help from Chris Haver.

“We are not ministering to a hobby … it’s a culture in the Southwest who need to be reached with the gospel.” needs to know the Lord. “What draws them is the atmosphere of it. Even the building does not look like a church,” Sanders said. “The message is the same [the gospel] but I put it into terms and illustrations that they can relate to.” Ministry opportunities expand beyond the church walls and into the community, where outreach events such as sorting and roping take place. During every event a “seven-minute message” is presented that includes the gospel. “It’s amazing to see lives changed. A lot of people who come, come

because of the arena events and become active members,” Morgan said. Butch Walters, a member of the church, has lived in the area for years. He visited and soon realized that it was a place for him to be involved. Walters has seen unchurched people he has known for years become involved and attend every Sunday. “Some have accepted Christ, some not yet. But to see people I’ve known for 25 years suddenly show up [at church] is a blessing,” Walters said. Weekly men’s and women’s Bible

studies continue to grow. “We are seeing lots of people get involved and gaining new members every week,” Walters said. Last year the church baptized 23 people in a horse trough. With people being saved and making decisions to be a part of the church many more will be baptized sometime this year, Sanders said. Robertson County Cowboy Church has plans to expand and build their own building. After praying about a new location and land, someone donated 10 acres to the church, Sanders said. “Things keep happening that tell us, ‘this is where God wants us to be.’” Sanders said. “It’s a lot of hard work but its very rewarding.”



Religious liberty advocates protest Iran’s sentencing of American pastor Health in question, Saeed Abedini faces eight years Religious freedom advocates and the U.S. State Department have condemned Iran’s trial and sentencing of Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-born American pastor and a husband and father of two children. Abedini, 32, has traveled between his Idaho home and Iran for the last eight years aiding the Iranian house church movement. On Jan. 27, an Iranian judge with an international reputation as a “hanging judge” sentenced Abedini to eight years in prison in what has been denounced as a sham trial. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative group that specializes in religious liberty issues, is helping the Abedini family along with the State Department in asking Iran for Abedini’s release. A news release by the ACLJ said Abedini and his lawyer were only allowed to attend one day of his weeklong trial and that he has been beaten and tortured by his captors, raising questions about his health. ACLJ says the sentence by Judge Abbas Pirabbasi, part of the Iranian Revolutionary Court, required the approval of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Reportedly a former radicalized Muslim who trained to be a suicide bomber, Abedini helped form an underground church movement there after his conversion. Abedini moved with his wife to the U.S. in 2006 and became an American citizen in 2010. This week, the State Department ended its silence on the case, condemning Iran for its “continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion” and calling for his release. 14 TEXANONLINE.NET JANUARY 31, 2013

Diana Davis

Does your church pass the 5-spot test? Here’s a simple way to evaluate how guests

see your church building. Take the “5-Spot Test.” Stop at five specific places around your church site for five minutes and answer five questions.

Spot No. 1: church parking lot. Just before worship, park in a guest space. 1 How easy is it to find a parking space? 2 From here, how enticing is the building’s appearance and landscape? 3 Is the parking lot well kept? 4 Is the church sign current and attractive? 5 Is the main entrance inviting?

Spot No. 2: main church entrance. Walk inside at the most obvious entry. 1 Is the front door clean, attractive, well-maintained?

boards neat and current? 4 Are seats, ceilings, walls and floors in perfect condition? 5 Does worship center reflect careful consideration of décor, upkeep, seasonal touches?

Spot No. 4: preschool area. Use directional signs to find the preschool hallway. Stand by the 2-year-olds’ classroom door. 1 How simple is it to locate the children’s area? 2 Is it well-lit and spotlessly clean? 3 Does it seem safe and secure? 4 Are there obvious signs that Christian teaching occurs here? 5 Is the hallway and room updated, stimulating, inviting?

Spot No. 5: restroom. Use directional signs to find the nearest restroom. 1 How easy is it to locate the restroom? 2 Is it perfectly clean and well-lit? 3 Is décor very attractive and up-to-date? 4 Is there a baby-changing table, seat covers, Bible shelf, purse hanger?

5 Take a deep breath. Is the smell fresh? Haggai 1:4 reads, “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?” (NLT). Friendly people, wonderful worship and Godly teaching will impact newcomers, but the building itself is part of that first impression. Make it count. Diana Davis is author of Fresh Ideas and Deacon Wives (B&H Publishing). Print the 5-spot test chart and read more tips at

2 What’s your first impression? Consider décor, lighting, music.

3 Is the entry area perfectly clean? 4 Does signage direct guests to childcare, restrooms, worship center?

5 Are wall displays and printed materials attractive, positive, current?

Spot No. 3: back row panoramic. Sit on the third row from the rear, left side. 1 Is your view unobstructed? Can you hear well?

2 What is the overall atmosphere of the worship center? 3 Are pew envelopes, books, pens or clip JANUARY 31, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 15






Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Toll free 1.877.953.SBTC (7282) 16 TEXANONLINE.NET JANUARY 31, 2013

Texan Digital - January 31, 2013  

The Jan. 31, 2013 edition features a Texas-sized effort by churches to send 10,000 hospice buckets to AIDS-stricken sub-Saharan Africa, an u...