2015-2019 CONSTITUENCY REPORT
“MAY THE FAVOR OF THE LORD OUR GOD REST ON US, AND ESTABLISH THE WORK OF OUR HANDS FOR US; YES, ESTABLISH THE WORK OF OUR HANDS.” PSALM 90:17
LAKE WHITNEY RANCH
ADVENTIST BOOK CENTER
ADVENTIST COMMUNITY SERVICES
PLANNED GIVING & TRUST SERVICES
YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS
CARLOS J. CRAIG
In Psalm 95:1-3, David shares profound insight, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods.” As I ponder the Lord’s incredible blessing upon His Work here in the Texas Conference, I join the psalmist in his awestruck assessment of the greatness of Jehovah-Jireh. Although we could point to several, I’ll highlight five major areas of blessing over the last few years. I begin with the advancement of the Great Commission in this territory. Hope in Christ is being shared through preaching, teaching, Adventist education, community service, youth initiatives, and health programs in the Texas Conference. A second area of growth and development is the expansion of infrastructure in this Conference. With more than 100 churches planted between 2000 and 2010, the challenge of larger and more accommodating facilities became a stark reality. During the past eight years, we have had close to 70 active projects from construction, remodels, and property purchases. As our membership exceeds 60,500 people, having adequate facilities requires constant prayer. Thank you for your faithfulness to God and His mission in Texas. Without your passion for the Lord and His work, the mission would not have moved forward with such vigor. The third area to underscore is the advances made in children’s, youth, and young adults ministries. We have
purposely made strides to increase the younger generation in our pastoral team across the Texas Conference. We've also re-established a Children’s Ministries Department while our Club Ministries have swelled to North American Divisionleading figures. Most recently, we embraced the North American Division initiative of growing young, one that will focus on retaining and recapturing the young adults of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas. The fourth area to highlight is the impact that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is having in local communities. While we could point to large events such as Your Best Pathway To Health that treated thousands of people, there are day-to-day initiatives like church food banks, radio programs, and the spirit of unity felt as church members rallied to aid Houstonarea residents following Hurricane Harvey. Finally, we recognize the blessing of Adventist Education. At the Constituency Session in May 2019, we pray for a breakthrough that will strengthen Adventist Education in Texas, and make it more attainable for families both Adventist and non-Adventist. A special Texas Adventist Education Advance Committee has been meeting to carefully scrutinize what has worked for our schools in the past, and what we can do to move forward. Join us in praying for the students, parents, principals, teachers, and school boards who work diligently to make Adventist Education both a successful and spiritually redemptive endeavor. May God's rich blessing be with you today and always.
RICHARD M. WHITE
The Lord has truly blessed the Texas Conference. We continue to focus on the vision that the early pioneers in Texas had: to reach the state with the message of the Advent movement. The Office of Secretariat oversees membership, policy information, the recording of minutes for key committees, the granting of credentials, the processing of retirement applications, and the organizing of churches. Membership Growth As the previous constituency report shared, “the Texas mission was established with two churches and 92 members” when R.M. Kilgore led the group in 1878. The General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research shares a fascinating look at the historical leadership of the Texas Conference and its changes from the Texas Conference in 1878-1911 to the North Texas Conference and the South Texas Conference from 1911 to 1932. The Texas Conference rejoined as one conference in 1932, and you can find the list of presidents at adventistarchives.org/ texas-conf. Looking at our current statistics, as of December 31, 2018, the Texas Conference has 60,590 in membership by baptism, professions of faith, and membership transfers from other conferences. That is an increase of 7,939 since December 31, 2014. The chart on the right shows the total of baptisms/professions of faith for the previous four years along with the number of transfers. The gray bar shows the net
growth for each year after subtracting those members who left the Texas Conference by transfer, death, removal or missing/adjustments. Local Clerks/eAdventist Membership The Texas Conference has more than 250 churches utilizing the North American Division eAdventist reporting system for church membership and officer information. The Conference Membership Clerk, has continued the annual clerk certification program/training. Once the certification is completed, the church receives $200 to assist in purchasing a computer for the local clerk. Email email@example.com for more information about the certification process.
New Churches and Companies We are thankful for all the pastors, leaders, members, and partners who made this quadrennium a successful one here in Texas. Our membership is diverse, and is increasing growth in both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking congregations, as well as Korean, Kenyan, Haitian, Brazilian, Vietnamese, and Slavic groups among our Conference. Over the past four years, the Texas Conference has formed 56 active church plants with the ultimate goal of having a full-fledged Seventh-day Adventist church in the areas in which they’re located. So far, these church plants have established six churches, 28 companies, and 22 groups. While God’s work continues to grow in the Texas Conference, we pray for your continued partnership as we share the good news with those around us.
RANDALL B. TERRY, EFRAIN MURILLO
BARBARA CRAFT, BETSABE CUEVAS, FRANCISCO POLLOCK
The mission-minded focus and generosity of its members are a true inspiration. The Texas Conference Treasury Department’s mission is to serve our constituency, and to safeguard the resources God has entrusted to us. That is a vast undertaking for the Treasury Department’s staff that includes a new Undertreasurer, Efrain Murillo, who oversees all accounting functions of the department and serves as the Risk Manager for the Conference, as well as three Associate Treasurers, Barbara Craft, who oversees the payroll for more than 1,000 employees, Betsabe Cuevas, responsible for the posting of cash receipts, adjusting entries, and bank reconciliations, and Francisco Pollock, who oversees auditing for churches and schools. The department also employs an Accountant who assists with payroll and accounts receivable, as well as two full-time and one part-time Administrative Assistants who care for all the accounts payable, assist with Adventist Risk Management insurance, and process the remittances from churches. Since 2018, the annual church and school audits for the Texas Conference are now overseen by an internal Auditing Director and two Auditing Interns. A copy of the audited financial statements for the years ending December 31, 20152018 accompanies this report. These audits were conducted by the General Conference Auditing Service, and the statements report the financial activity for both the Texas Conference and the Texas Conference Association. The Association works with churches and schools to process purchases and sales of buildings, and review contracts with builders and architects with the help of our real estate attorneys. The audits take place annually and are just one piece of the internal control systems designed to give
the reader of the statements assurance that funds are being handled appropriately and with Christian integrity. The Treasury Department is charged with the sacred duty of administering the tithe. Leviticus 27:30 tells us, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” The Conference Tithe Distribution graphic below shows how tithe is distributed. In addition to providing funds for Conference ministries, a portion of the tithe is shared with the world church. The tithe returned to God literally takes a trip around the world to assist in proclaiming the gospel. Approximately four percent of the tithe sent to the Southwestern Union Conference and North American Division is returned to the Texas Conference in the form of an appropriation for education and evangelism. That means that 64 percent of your tithe dollar is used to operate Conference ministries. During the past four years, faithful members of the Texas Conference have returned $195.7 million in tithe, compared to $168 million in tithe for the previous quadrennial. That is an increase of 16.5 percent. The tithe graph shows a gain of 18.8 percent since 2014. Malachi 3:10 encourages us to, “’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, ‘says the Lord Almighty,’ and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” We are thankful for God’s blessings, and for your part in furthering His work in Texas.
Conference Tithe Distribution
The following information elaborates on the data seen in the graph below: • Ministries funds pastoral salaries and benefits, as well as Evangelism, Ministerial, Lake Whitney Ranch, Stewardship, Men’s Ministries, Women’s Ministries, Children’s Ministries, Sabbath School, and Youth and Young Adults Departments. • Southwestern Adventist University is the Conference appropriation to support our local university. • Education supports a portion of the teacher salaries and benefits, as well as expenses of the Education Department. • Retirement benefits the eligible employees who worked prior to the year 2000 and received qualified service credit. • Services funds Communication (including printing of The FLAME) and Health Ministries. • Administrative supports President, Secretary, Treasurer, Auditing, Human Resources, Planned Giving & Trust Services, Association and Data Processing Departments, as well as expenses for the overall operations of the Texas Conference office.
ADVENTIST BOOK CENTER
MICKEY JOHNSON, FRANCISCO ROBLEDO
In March of 2014, the Texas Adventist Book Center (ABC) returned as a department of the Texas Conference providing "A Better Choice" for our constituents. While many ABCs have had to close their doors, your continued support has propelled the Texas ABC to generate nearly $3 million in sales annually. We wouldn't be here without you. Moving into the previous First State Bank of Keene, the property was purchased by the Texas Conference Association from Pacific Press Publishing Association in 2017. The Texas Conference Executive Committee established a transition committee in late 2013 to negotiate the terms with Pacific Press and the timing for the transfer of ownership. Once the transfer was approved by the Texas Conference Executive Committee, the transition committee began to serve as the ABC Committee. They now meet quarterly and report to the Executive Committee via the Texas Conference treasurer, who serves as the chairman. The records are audited annually by the General Conference Auditing Service. The Texas ABC is the only one currently operating within the Southwestern Union. That includes the following conferences: Arkansas-Louisiana, Oklahoma, Southwest Region, Texas, and Texico, along with Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU). The ABC Committee’s function includes reviewing ABC sales and financial reports along with discussions on how to best serve churches and members within the Southwestern Union. The committee is comprised of a representative from the Southwestern Union, each local conference within the Southwestern Union, the officers of the Texas Conference, and several
Texas Conference lay members with financial acumen to make sure the ABC remains a financially viable operation. The Southwestern Union and its conferences assist in funding the ABC operation annually. The Texas ABC employs a full-time store manager and a full-time bilingual assistant manager. The other staff are part-time serving in various positions, which includes students from nearby SWAU. Texas ABC’s goal is to assist churches, schools, members, and others in finding the best Adventist books, music, sharing literature, Bibles, and vegetarian food. The store maintains an inventory of books and other materials in both English and Spanish to provide for its customers. Additionally, it offers a mail order service to all customers along with special orders for items not stocked locally. Its finance office coordinates the billing and distribution for Sabbath School and other church materials for local conference churches, schools, and institutions, allowing them up to 30 days to make payment without finance charges. Texas ABC employees are privileged to participate in large outreach and sharing programs sponsored by the Texas Conference. Most recently, that included Your Best Pathway to Health in Fort Worth. Employees travel to various locations providing a significant display of books and foods at all locally-sponsored English and Hispanic Camp Meetings. When possible, ABC book and food displays are offered for special weekend events such as Marriage Retreats, Prayer Retreats, Family Camps, English and Hispanic Women’s Retreats, VBS
Workshops, and Pathfinder Camporees. Direct to you (D2U) is a delivery program where pre-ordered food and other materials are delivered on a predetermined schedule, based on the response of members, to churches, schools, and members throughout the Southwestern Union for a nominal delivery charge of $5. Details can be found at abckeene.com. There are currently nine routes across the five states that make up the Southwestern Union. Orders year-round can be placed in one of three ways: 1. Calling toll free 800.333.1844 2. Ordering online: Pacific Press books (AdventistBookCenter.com) or vegetarian food items (abckeene.com). Other Adventist book publishers will be added to the Texas ABC website throughout the year. 3. Visiting the store at 201 South Old Betsy Road, Keene, Texas. Hours: Sunday– Thursday 9 am to 6 pm and until 4 pm on Fridays. We appreciate being your Texas ABC and strive to offer you the best products possible with outstanding customer service. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
ADVENTIST COMMUNITY SERVICES
MARSHALL AND JULIE GONZALES
August 2017 is a month that the Adventist Community Services Department will not soon forget. We had just begun our work as Director and Associate Director of Adventist Community Services and Disaster Response for the Texas Conference on August 1 when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast near Houston and became one of the state’s most dangerous storms a mere three weeks later. For the next three months, we quickly learned how to manage a warehouse in San Antonio that collected $2.7 million worth of products that corporations from across the country donated to help survivors of this disaster. Those items were sent to 28 different distributions sites in the Houston area, 13 of which were Seventh-day Adventist churches. At the same time, the ACS Warehouse in Keene saw non-stop activity as volunteers came to fill cleaning supply buckets, receive shipments, load trailers, and send items to the affected areas. It was a learning experience unlike any other, and helping local communities has been our focus ever since. Developing We traveled the first three months of 2018 and 2019 to the different areas of the Texas Conference offering training in How to Establish a Community Services’ Ministry, Community Services’ as Life-onLife Evangelism, Disaster Preparedness, Sheltering, and Emotional and Spiritual Care Provider. The results have been a marked increase in church members serving their communities, in addition
to establishing a network of nearly 50 emotional and spiritual care providers. We’ve also partnered with Seventh-day Adventist-affiliated hospitals in Killeen and San Marcos to make the Emotional and Spiritual Care Provider training available to more people in more areas in the coming years. Serving As of March 20, 2019, the annual 2018 reports from 24 churches revealed that $1,444,107.42 worth of services, as well as 33,051 volunteer hours, was provided to those areas. The ACS Warehouse staff and volunteers provided an additional $365,357.00 worth of services and clocked 3,286 volunteer hours. The ACS Disaster Van assisted five churches with its community services outreach programs. In addition, more than 1,400 cleaning supply buckets and 1,500 personal hygiene kits were donated and delivered for those affected by Hurricane Florence (North and South Carolina) and Hurricane Michael (Florida). In 2019, the ACS Disaster Van is already scheduled to assist eight churches with similar outreach programs.
fund the leveling of 15 homes and provided supplies to re-roof several others. It was wonderful to see hope return to the residents faces as they watched volunteers give of their time to make their house a home again. There are still many projects available in Refugio, Houston, Beaumont, and Port Arthur areas. If you would like to help, email email@example.com. We are greatly indebted to all the wonderful volunteers, and we consider them the backbone of this ministry. Together, we serve communities in Christ’s name.
Revitalizing After Hurricane Harvey, many homes were badly damaged and people needed a new start. Because of this, we are now assisting in long-term recovery for the area. Adventist Community Services recently took a group of people to southern Texas to put up drywall, paint rooms and buildings, and help clean some areas on the outskirts of Houston. Generous donations helped
Children’s Ministries is a renewed department in the Texas Conference. Over the past two years, it has grown in many ways with its focused mission to have “Every church engaged with every child in life-changing, Christ-centered, personal connections.” Since this starts with leadership, we provided training for local churches, entered into mentorship relationships with volunteers, and networked with children’s ministries workers through meaningful conversation and action, and will continue to do so in the areas of Child Evangelism, Children's Sabbath School, Vacation Bible School, and Family Worships. Establishing two children’s ministries coordinators in each area has allowed our network of leaders to grow, and they are now completing the North American Division Children’s Ministries Certification requirements. The long-term goal is to have an active and autonomous children’s ministries team in each area that will provide more events at the local church level. The Children’s Ministries website, txadventistkids.org, is regularly updated with events and training resources. The children’s ministries Facebook page, facebook.com/txadventistkids, provides an interactive way to share. Our monthly webinar series, CHAT (Children’s Ministries At Work), available in English and Spanish, focuses on relevant children’s ministries issues, and can be viewed from a smartphone, computer, or tablet via Adobe Connect. We are excited about our latest resources
created for local churches to use with child evangelism. You can find more information about them on our website. They will be available in English and Spanish. Dollar Tree Children’s Ministries is an ongoing YouTube project that contains videos demonstrating how to use items from local dollar stores for object lessons, active learning, and biblical engagement. The Button Challenge is a series of collectible buttons focused on different areas of a child’s spiritual development. These buttons challenge kids to get involved by doing an activity related to the button and telling their stories. Our collectible buttons are the Home Challenge, School Challenge, Bible Challenge, Smile Challenge, Service Challenge, and Prayer Challenge. Many Adventurer clubs, Sabbath schools, and families are already participating in these challenges. Adventure Church is a tool created for Vacation Bible School follow-up. It includes a nine-part curriculum to use as a familystyle outreach project that encourages total member involvement and a Bible learning experience for the community. We are abundantly blessed with enthusiastic support from other departments, encouraging prayer from church leadership, and caring volunteers. We do, however, have additional needs that include translators for our Spanish materials, children’s ministries team members in each of our eight areas, and helpers willing to pilot new programs developed in our office. If you would like to be more involved with children’s ministries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
JASON BUSCH, TAMARA MICHALENKO TERRY
The Communication Department of the Texas Conference has a wide variety of responsibilities from publications to social media management to coordinating the audio-visual aspects of several major Texas Conference events. We strive to communicate what is going on in the Adventist church in Texas both internally to our members and externally to the public. We also aim to help our churches effectively communicate to their communities. Within the scope of our duties is working closely with the Texas Conference departments to manage the Conference website, disseminate information on our various social media platforms, and keep our weekly employee newsletter stocked with up-to-date news. We also encourage all church and school communication directors and leaders to contact our department should they need any mentoring in their designated areas of responsibility. One of our major projects of 2018 was the adoption of the North American Division’s new branding guidelines for unions and conferences. These guidelines aim to create a greater consistency, unity, and visual connection between the different organizational entities, and should strengthen the overall identity of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church. Although the project is ongoing, most of our business materials including business cards, letterhead, and envelopes should be transitioning soon. As the world goes digital, the Texas Conference Communication Department has invested time and money into growing
our social media presence over the last two years. Our audience on Facebook has grown by 10 percent during that time, and our Instagram and Pinterest accounts, created in 2018, have close to 2,000 followers with more added every day. Look for us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest @TexasAdventist. The FLAME, our quarterly Texas Conference magazine, continues to push the envelope in denominational publications. The print circulation has grown close to 25,000 households, while the digital version at issuu.com/ TexasAdventist has registered over 8,000 reads and 65,000 impressions since its inception in 2016. The FLAME has also been recognized with numerous awards from the Society of Adventist Communicators, most recently winning Best Magazine Design amongst all North American Division magazines. We are honored to have received these awards and pass the praise to our designer, photographer, writers, and translators while acknowledging that the real recognition belongs to God. The best part of our job comes from being able to tell great stories from right here in Texas. Like the story of Lori Mathews in the fall of 2017, whose easy smile and warm hugs always turned heads in the oncology lab where she received her treatments for pancreatic cancer. Although she recently passed away, her story inspires us to live at our best even in the face of great adversity. Or there’s the story of Sualua Tupolo in the spring of 2018, a man who has cooked for heads of
state from around the world and served as the personal chef for three governors of American Samoa. Now, he’s brought his passion for cooking and food evangelism, as he calls it, to Southwestern Adventist University. Most recently, we told the story of Garett Cook, a man who had never even heard of the Seventh-day Adventist Church a few years ago and now serves as principal of Adventist Christian Academy of Texas in Conroe. Ultimately, the Communication Department facilitates ministry. We work together with churches, schools, leaders and members to share stories that impact, inspire, and connect our church, members, and communities.
JOHN HOPPS, RAUL AGUILAR, ELLEN THOMAS
For more than a century, the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has operated a kindergarten through twelfthgrade education system. We endeavor to provide schools that enhance the spiritual lives of our young people while encouraging academic excellence. One way we do that is through our Bible curriculum. Over the past two years, the Adventist Encounter Curriculum was introduced to provide a program that is intentional about exploring big-picture, biblical concepts with the goal of making a difference for eternity. This curriculum uses the classroom context to help build a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ, using the Bible as the source of truth. Every September, many of our students participate in the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). The Iowa Tests are nationally standardized tests that offer educators a diagnostic look at how their students are progressing in key academic areas. REACH (Reaching to Educate All Children for Heaven) offers a more individuallydirected look at how students develop and learn. Requiring a commitment by all, REACH helps parents and teachers assess a student’s understanding to know the best way for the student to excel. Currently in its second year of testing, 34 students have benefited from this program. Educate for Eternity provided financial assistance for 145 students each year during the past five years. This initiative offers a three-way matching program between the school, Conference and parent. These are students who have never attended a Seventh-day Adventist school
before. We pray more students will take advantage of this program in the future. In August 2018, Texas Conference teachers had the opportunity to attend the North American Division Teachers’ Convention in Chicago, Illinois where more than 5,000 Adventist educators gathered for professional development, spiritual encouragement, networking, brainstorming, and inspiration. The Office of Education continues to coordinate a fall Bible Conference for ninth-graders in every academy and tenthgraders in junior academies. More than 180 students have attended this event each year at the Riverbend Retreat Center in Glen Rose, Texas. The annual Seventh- and Eighth-grade Music Festival was held at North Dallas Adventist Academy in Richardson, Texas, this past February. More than 400 students attended with the final performance presented in the Canyon Creek facility. The spring Outdoor School for fifth- and sixth-graders offers a variety of classes such as art, Bible, bird watching, canoeing, crafts, cruise control (golf carts), survival skills, rockets, teamwork, and swimming. It is a full week of classes, recreation, and spiritual lessons. Carol Bradley, our former Associate Superintendent, passed away in December 2018, and was instrumental in helping with Outdoor School. She also co-directed the Seventh- and Eighth-grade Music Festival for the last 11 years. As this school year comes to a close, we look to initiatives taking place next year. One is a pilot program from the
Southwestern Union Conference focused on continuous school improvement. Every school will participate next year completing evaluations to determine pros and cons at the school. A scoring grid will provide data with an analysis of the responses, and will be a collaborative effort to benefit the schools. Currently, four of our schools are part of the beta testing process. We invite you to seriously consider becoming an active giver, both financially and prayerfully, to continue the Adventist Education work here in Texas. As 3 John 4 so eloquently states, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” We want every young person to have the opportunity to hear of God’s everlasting love in our Seventh-day Adventist schools and pray they will be in the kingdom as a result.
2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR Adventist Christian Academy of Texas
Burleson Adventist School
Burton Adventist Elementary School Chisholm Trail Academy
Cypress Bend Adventist School Dallas Christian Academy
Cleburne Adventist Christian School Coggin Memorial School
Fort Worth Adventist Junior Academy
Garland Christian Adventist School
Joshua Adventist Multigrade School
Katy Adventist Elementary School
Keene Adventist Elementary School
Killeen Adventist Junior Academy
Knowledge Seekers Christian School
Laredo Adventist Christian School
North Dallas Adventist Academy
San Marcos Adventist Junior Academy
Scenic Hills Seventh-day Adventist School
South Texas Christian Academy
Stonehill Christian Academy
The Oaks Adventist Christian School Tyler Adventist School
152 13 2253
DAN AND LOIS SERNS
Jesus is coming again soon! Everyone in Texas and beyond needs to be invited to accept Him as their Creator, Redeemer, Healer, Savior, Lord, Intercessor, and Sooncoming King, embrace all Bible truth, and unite with a vibrant Adventist group. In the Evangelism Department, our mission is to help mobilize every pastor, teacher, employee, young person, and older believer carry out the Adventist message to all Texas and the world in this generation through the Holy Spirit and Total Member Involvement. Proverbs 11:30 tell us that, “He who wins souls in wise,” while Ellen White says, in her book Evangelism to, “Work for the salvation of souls as though you knew by sight that you were in full view of the whole universe of heaven. Every angel in glory is interested in the work being done for the salvation of souls.” So, we place a big emphasis on evangelism and the good news of Jesus’s love and second coming. We praise God for a number of things including Total Member Involvement across the Texas Conference each year, mission efforts within Texas like Target Dallas and Target Central Texas in 2016, Target Houston and Target Valley in 2017, Multiply Austin 2016-2017, and Multiply Tarrant County in 2018-2019. We are thrilled to report that we had nearly 2,800 baptisms and professions of faith in 2018 alone! Through Total Member Involvement, we’ve equipped nearly 10,000 people with the resources to minister to their communities. We have helped train 55 student Bible workers and church planters through the SWORD
program in conjunction with Southwestern Adventist University, raised evangelists in conjunction with the Youth and Young Adults Department, and have generated thousands of new Bible study interests. Reach the World Next Door, a training center for refugees, immigrants, and international students in Houston has trained 80 cross-cultural missionaries, and unreached groups are being ministered to like never before. Additionally, Texas has adopted a global mission and hopes to establish Adventist work in ten cities throughout the Middle East and North Africa between 2015 and 2020. Although we’re excited by the projects we’ve undertaken, we aren’t without our challenges. There are millions of people in Texas who have been untouched by the Adventist message, as well as hundreds of cities with populations over 10,000 without any kind of Adventist presence. Our goals for the next few years include baptizing 12,000 new believers, planting 50 new groups in communities without an Adventist presence, filling baptistries in every church on one Saturday each quarter, and more. We believe that you can be a prayer warrior, GLOW missionary, or baptism coach. Additionally, every congregation, school, and Adventist institution can form a plan for giving Bible studies, creating small group sessions, and following up with people interested in the Bible message. Then, we will be able to fulfill the Great Commission to reach all nations, tribes, and tongues with the gospel. For more info, visit www.TexasEvangelism.org.
RUBER AND KETTY LEAL
God inspires the final verse of the Old Testament in Malachi to read, “turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents.” Those words were important enough that similar wording is included in the New Testament in Luke 1:17. The fact that both the Old and New Testaments include similar statements is not a mere coincidence, but rather a strong statement that heaven’s greatest pleasure is to see healthy and functional families. The Texas Conference Family Ministries Department works tirelessly to provide resources and opportunities to strengthen our constituent families. Here are some of the initiatives God allowed us to fulfill in the past four years. Equipping Leaders With more than 300 churches in our Conference, it is essential to create Family Ministries leaders in every congregation. An ambitious undertaking, we are pleased to share that more than 200 members have completed or are in the process of completing the North American Division Family Ministries Certification. Preparing Pastors Pastors are one of the first resources members turn to for Family Ministries needs. In the past four years, we have been able to certify more than 60 percent of our pastors in the Prepare/Enrich program that equips our pastors to help dating and married couples, as well as parents, with family issues.
Enhancing Family Relationships In the past four years, the Family Ministries Department offered more than 60 workshops, seminars, and retreats that have enhanced dating and marriage relationships, parenting dynamics, and adolescent development.
We praise God for the opportunity to serve the families in Texas, and for the way He has led this ministry for the past 10 years. For more information on how Family Ministries can serve you and your local church, please contact us at 817.790.2255 ext. 2143 or visit us at ForeverONEfamily.org.
Empowering Single Adults The Power of ONE: Enhancing the Gift of Singleness is one of the latest Family Ministries initiatives. Its goal is to provide networking opportunities for single adults across the Texas Conference. During the ForeverFAMILY events, single adult speakers united with many of our single adults to explore ideas on how to embrace the gift of singleness in both their personal lives and for the growth of God’s kingdom. Speaking to the Heart Since the spring 2013 issue of the The FLAME, Family Ministries has contributed on a regular basis to the Family page. The quarterly articles are written to encourage and uplift the spiritual and family journey for the nearly 25,000 households within the Texas Conference receiving the publication. Expanding the Impact A dozen pastoral couples accepted the call to assist the Family Ministries taskforce. These dynamic couples spend a few weekends during the year traveling across the state doing family workshops that continue to fulfill the mission of bringing the hearts of parents to their children and the heart of families toward God.
It’s not cliché to say everything that we accomplished in the Health Ministries Department was blessed by the hand of God. In the last four years, we’ve sought to identify new methods of reaching the community and new methods of evangelism through which volunteers can help others find God’s transforming love through health. Before reporting on our efforts of the last few years, the department would like to thank the Health Advisory Committee, Texas Conference administration, and the pastors and members who have partnered with us for their commitment to the many projects we’ve completed. Through a number of miracles, God brought AMEN (Adventist Medical Evangelism Network) mega clinics to Texas. In eight cities, over 6,000 people lined up to receive medical, dental, and various types of wholistic care. Additionally, an evangelistic team from the Utah Conference that had baptized a large number of people through their AMEN clinics came to McAllen, Houston, and Dallas to share their story. Their participation heightened the evangelistic fervor in some churches already involved with the AMEN Clinics as they came to be trained on how to follow-up with health event attendees. AMEN Clinic Pilot What would happen if a church fully accepted the principles of health ministries and practical evangelism? The AMEN clinic pilot provided answers. Subsequent to the health clinic offered, baptisms increased
400 percent and we learned many lessons about how to reach the community. On the Saturday of the event, church members served a plant-based meal and invited the community to partake. In addition, the pastor pre-scheduled baptisms every month in faith and baptized 29 new members last year. Another AMEN clinic is being planned for 2019. Health Evangelism The Health Ministries Department had the opportunity to visit every corner of the Texas Conference with the Evangelism Department, training personnel from different departments. In our last cycle, 218 people came to the classes on health evangelism. Your Best Pathway to Health 2018 Your Best Pathway to Health in Fort Worth was nothing short of a miracle. With God’s help, volunteers served over 6,800 people over the course of three days. We’re thankful to the Southwestern Union, its conferences, pastors, and the over 2,200 volunteers who came to help, a large portion of whom were not Adventist. With a goal of 700 baptisms and four new churches, the Health Ministries and Evangelism Departments teamed up to train 200 care group coaches, formed 100 care groups, and provided homes for hurting people seeking supportive therapeutic relationships. Throughout the last few years, God has also inspired many churches to promote health through health fairs/expos, cooking schools, seminars, or food trucks serving
as vegan restaurants. And new leaders are still emerging. Nine people from Texas went to the North American Division Health Summit in Albuquerque, and a team of Hispanic leaders is organizing to invigorate health ministries in their communities. As we look toward the future, area leaders are being trained to organize and coordinate the different areas of the Texas Conference, our Health Ministries website will be live soon, and a Texas Health Summit, with help from the NAD, is planned for 2020. God has been good and we look forward to seeing what He has planned for the future.
OSVALDO RIGACCI, ISMAEL CASTILLO
God has blessed us richly during these four years. We thank our Hispanic congregations, members, leaders, and pastors for what theyâ€™ve contributed to our Conference during that time. Our growth has been consistent for the past few years and weâ€™re happy to inform that our Hispanic membership in the Texas Conference now exceeds 28,000, making it the largest Hispanic group in the North American Division. Our department now oversees 143 churches and companies, with an additional 25 groups working hard to be recognized as companies. All these congregations are led by a fervent team of 84 pastors (71 full-time and 13 part-time), seven Bible workers, four pastors at the Andrews University seminary, and 11 lay pastors. During these last four years, seven churches and 15 companies were organized thanks to dedicated members. In the last four years, more than 7,200 people in Hispanic communities gave their lives to Jesus, which represents an increase in baptisms of 33.4 percent compared to the previous four-year period, with an annual average growth of 8.3 percent. This year, we are focusing on the GPS for LIFE program that we hope will mobilize approximately 1,000 small groups in evangelism. We continue to collaborate with other departments like Evangelism and Ministerial to train our members in evangelism, minister to elders and spouses, and strengthen lay leadership. This year, our department started a training school for lay leaders in coordination with
Andrews University spread across our entire Conference, and has already had approximately 400 participants. These initiatives have allowed us to have a better interrelation between churches and the Conference, and to respond to the concerns of the field. Financially, the Lord has blessed us abundantly. The economic crises of recent years have not held back generosity of our members. During 2015-2019, Hispanic congregations have given a combined $60.1 million in tithe, which represents a 25 percent increase in relation to the previous four-year period, with an average annual increase of 7.7 percent. Our churches contributed more than $27 million in local offerings and to our organization, equivalent to almost 45 percent in overall tithe. We recognize that, even in difficult circumstances and insecurity, our members have shown fidelity to God and His work. Our previous Hispanic Evangelist carried out an average of 12 Reaping Evangelistic Efforts per year collaborating with local and district evangelistic projects. Also, his effort in both empowering churches and producing materials for Bible studies and small groups has been crucial. He also assisted in the mobilization of Bible workers and instructors, and most of our churches have carried out at least two reaping meetings each year. The new Hispanic evangelist began work as of April 1, 2019 and we look forward to him making even more progress. We continue to focus strategically on the areas where our presence is lacking
through initiatives like Target Tarrant County and MORE Hope. The growth in San Antonio and Austin has been incredible, and we hope for similar results in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Finally, we thank God for the administrative team of our Conference and for the spiritual, strategic, and economic support that they have given us to carry out our work. The Hispanic Ministries Department looks forward to making even greater gains during the next four years.
RENEE CRAWFORD, TATIANA MEHARRY
Human Resources is responsible for confirming employment authorizations, assigning compensation based on the NAD pay scale, employment status changes, ERI/Cost of Living Analysis, FMLA (Family Medical Leave), short-term and longterm disability, healthcare applications, supplemental and life insurance plans, worker’s compensation, incident reports, job descriptions and postings, new hire orientations, processing retirements and terminations, payroll and benefits audits, child protection training, background checks, and much more. We utilize the NAD-provided payroll database, APS.net, bswift benefits management database, Laserfiche archiving (future forms and workflow for onboarding), ERI database, and the Verified Volunteers Child Protection training with background check platform - an area of high importance within the Texas Conference and within the scope of our department. The North American Division Child Protection policies require all volunteers associated with children’s ministries to train and screen every three years. Additionally, the Texas Conference requires all employees, volunteers, and those who hold office to complete Protect the Children training and submit to a background check every three years. Each school principal, pastor, club ministries leader, and voted local coordinator must ensure all volunteers are trained and screened prior to their first day of volunteer duty. The training provides education on child abuse, the signs of
abuse and neglect, as well as signs of grooming. The initiative is focused on preventing abuse, in addition to identifying individuals with a history involving crimes of a sexual nature, crimes associated with money, and automobile safety. We want to know if there is a criminal history that could be detrimental to the safety of individuals and the assets of the church. "Good people do not wear superhero capes and bad guys do not always have shifty eyes and devious-sounding chuckles. In real life, discerning the heroes from the villains often requires more than a visual assessment. You would never know whether someone is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ by looking at them when they walk through the front door to serve,” the Verified Volunteers program shares. More than 10,000 persons associated with Texas Conference (churches, schools, and club ministries) have trained and
screened through Verified Volunteers knowing they are helping to provide a safe environment for our children, elderly, and the vulnerable-at-large. The prevention of any future criminal activity and the focus on providing safe places to worship, learn and grow spiritually are at the forefront of this initiative. The Texas Conference Volunteer Screening Coordinator reviews all “red flag” results and works with a committee to adjudicate those red flags with consistency according to a predetermined points structure. The Human Resources Department is committed to excellent customer service, protection of information and assets, and providing a safe worship environment for members of all ages. In everything we do, we strive to honor our mission statement, "Providing services with excellence, for God's glory."
ZEB WORTH, RON MACOMBER
The words information systems refer to collecting, storing, and processing data. That data could be facts or statistics, but it can also be the characters to operate a computer. The Texas Conference Information Systems Department supports the Conference and its employees with technological (including data) needs in a number of ways beyond replacing and configuring new computers when the old ones have reached their end. Our work is more behind the scenes as it is a good day when everyone’s computer, email, or phone are working properly. When we are not answering technological questions, we assist with software development between the departments and external developers. We have also developed some software in-house to support Conference departments. As software and hardware continue to be updated, it is important to research the changes to make sure we are getting the best value for our ministries to use. That includes maintaining our backups, servers, and software within the network. There is nothing worse than having a computer crash and losing everything. That’s why we work with every department to ensure their work is stored properly, so it can be recovered in case of a computer glitch or hardware failure. When a new employee begins, we provide him or her with a new account and email to easily communicate with Conference staff. We also maintain and upgrade the Conference WiFi network monitoring usage and speeds when needed, especially during meeting times
and including weekend events. An ongoing job for our department is watching for and providing training to mitigate phishing attempts. Phishing is where an email is sent that may or may not look authentic and asks for personal information or simply wanting you to open something. In doing so, it opens up your computer to someone who may be trying to steal information from it. It is a good rule of thumb to check the return email for any suspicious email addresses. If it doesn’t look right, simply delete it. It is important for any organization to have firewall equipment to protect the internal network from malware, and that includes church organizations. No one is exempt from hackers trying to create havoc to computer systems. Recently, our department installed a new network server system that provides redundancy in case of hardware failure. Fans, disks, memory, and even a whole server can break without causing the network to go down. Some tips we recommend everyone (including employees) to do: 1) Periodically change your passwords. Make them strong with a capital letter, at least 12 characters, numbers, and a symbol. 2) Keep your passwords in a safe place, so someone is not able to log in to your accounts without your permission. 3) Perform monthly maintenance on your computers. Keep programs updated, eliminating ones you don’t need. Delete unnecessary files, like cookies, and periodically defragment your hard drive. If technology challenges you, remember YouTube is a great tutorial
resource covering a wide variety of topics for all levels of learners. 1 Peter 4:10-11 reminds us that, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” We are thankful to serve in the Texas Conference and give God the glory for the work He has given us to do.
LAKE WHITNEY RANCH
KEN AND SUSAN REIBER
Lake Whitney Ranch exemplifies the beauty and tranquility of Texas. On the south side of the ranch, 400+ acres feature large oaks, wild flowers, all types of wild life, and several waterfalls. The other 400+ acres provide open natural space, perfect for large groups. There is also a recreational pond and three beautiful lodges (now with fiber optic Internet) perfect for a weekend getaway for your family, church group, school, Pathfinder or Master Guide Club, or even a wedding. During the summer, the lodges are converted to cabin-style to accommodate the young people attending summer camp. Prior to summer camp this past year, an event center/dining hall was erected that can seat 200. That makes for a more enjoyable summer camp experience as campers can get a break from the heat. Two new ski/wakeboard boats provide additional waterfront options, and a generous member started the funding for a new boat house with five boat slips, four of them with boat lifts. Three new horses were added to the ranch providing around 15 horses available during summer camp. Another generous family donated 10 new saddles for them making it an even more enjoyable ride. We are so grateful for the support of our members who want to see the camp program flourish knowing that it provides more opportunities to share Jesus with those who visit. Currently, the summer camp program offers archery, basketball, canoes, crafts, fishing, go karts, horses, water options (swimming, water skiing, wakeboarding,
“banana” tubing), biking, geocaching, backpacking, and soccer in addition to Bible exploration, praise, and worship. Paulo Tenorio, Texas Conference Youth and Young Adults Director, is committed to helping each camper develop a relationship with Jesus while also having fun at the ranch. Since our last constituency session, a Lake Whitney Ranch operating board was convened and meets on a regular basis to discuss the needs and growth for the ranch. Some of the current updates include a new security entrance gate with LED lighting, along with additional LED lighting that has been added to camp housing, the basketball court, road intersections, the road to the event center, and lodge one, making it brighter for those traveling at night. Safety measures have been updated to include 911 street signage throughout the ranch giving medical/fire/police personnel precise locations in case of an emergency. Also, two portable AED defibrillators are available, if needed. Both ends of the maintenance building were enclosed providing additional storage and making things more accessible, especially during summer camp. Excavators and mowers were purchased to assist with ranch improvements and upkeep. The major roads were resurfaced, and drainage improved. The 15-hp well pump was replaced with a 60-hp pump to accommodate current and future needs at the ranch.
Ten new portable toilets will be placed in different areas around the ranch in concrete to make them stable. Lastly, improvements were made to the camp houses and landscape to align them with the aesthetics of the ranch. We are thankful for God’s provision in allowing us to make improvements to His property. We also appreciate those who have so generously donated (either monthly or with a one-time gift) to help improve Lake Whitney Ranch. Some have even included Lake Whitney Ranch in their estate planning. If you would like to know more about that opportunity, please contact the Texas Conference Planned Giving and Trust Services office at 1.800.847.2792 or email email@example.com. If you are interested in scheduling a visit or weekend stay, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for available dates. Thank you for your continued prayers and support of Lake Whitney Ranch to be A Light in the Heart of Texas.
TONY CORREA, JOSHUA REYNA
The Literature Ministries Department of the Texas Conference encompasses two main ministries: Regular Literature Evangelism (L.E.) and the Youth Rush program. Our mission is to carry the message of truth through the printed page to all of Texas and beyond until the coming of the Lord. These past few years, this ministry has flourished in Texas and we are thrilled to report the ways in which God has allowed us to grow. After some changes in spring 2017 to the administration of the department, the L.E. ministry has worked with 36 colporteurs to spread God’s truth through the printed word. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, they have sold a combined $111,888 worth of literature. It should be noted that some of the Regular Literature Evangelists work full-time while others work part-time. Our goal is to have at least 50 Regular Literature Evangelists working full-time in the near future. The Youth Rush program is a student literature evangelism program. They go door-to-door offering books such as Steps to Christ, The Great Controversy, The Desire of Ages, and Christ Object Lessons, as well as offering prayer and Bible studies. Every day during the school year, as well as during all school breaks, students from both college and high school participate in this program to raise money for their tuition. From March 2017 to March 2019, we have had 252 students who have generated approximately 800 Bible study interests and $777,419. That accounts for roughly 52,000 books filled with the message of hope and salvation.
From the Bible study interests raised, we know of 27 individuals who have given their lives to Jesus through baptism. The students who participate in the Youth Rush program come from many different backgrounds whether culturally, financially, or emotionally. Many of these students have come to the program with a dream to become professionals, but no way to pay for school. Several of them have graduated from Southwestern Adventist University while others are on their way to graduation. Even more astonishing, most these students are graduating with no student loan debt! There are so many additional benefits of being part of the Youth Rush program. For instance, students are encouraged to be faithful in their tithes and offerings, learn how to openly share their faith, develop a relationship with God as they are in constant prayer, make Christian friends in a critical time of their lives, become mission-focused, and more. Another exciting step taken this year has been the addition of a full-time Literature Ministries Associate who is focusing on leading the Youth Rush program. Our goal is to have a Youth Rush program for each academy in Texas within the next few years. We praise God for the things He has done through the Literature Ministries Department and for what He will continue to do. We keep Romans 10:15 at the forefront of our ministry: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
SEAN HARRIS, SERGIO RODRIGUEZ
Through events such as training weekends and retreats, we seek to leave a lasting impression on the men who attend. Our goal is for them to develop a firmer commitment to God, a stronger dedication to their families, and a desire to share their faith with others. We draw inspiration from and are challenged by the following quote by Seventh-day Adventist Church pioneer, Ellen G. White, in her book Education, “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” English Men’s Ministries The first English Men’s Summit was held at Hoblitzelle Camp & Conference Center in Midlothian, Texas with 140 men in attendance. The 2017 Men’s Summit was held at the same place, and the 2018 event was held at Lake Whitney Ranch in Clifton, Texas. These annual summits provide men with a three-day retreat where they come together to worship God, build friendships, receive resources, participate in plenary and seminar sessions, and simply have fun. We design the summits to be lifechanging and, for many, they have been. One 2018 summit attendee shared, “Thank you for the men’s conference. It’s like the speakers spoke directly to me regarding the issues in my life. I cannot
express how healing it was to know I have brothers who are struggling, and it was amazing to hear that I am not alone. The experience saved me.” The Men’s Ministries Department also supports the local churches. In 2017, we launched five area rallies providing men the opportunity to get acquainted with other Christians in their areas. The speakers challenged attendees to be leaders in their homes and communities while representing Christ wherever they go. Hispanic Men’s Ministries The Hispanic Men’s Ministries Department, known as Hombres Adventistas de Valor, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary of successful ministry. Its annual retreat is considered one of the most attended men’s ministries retreats in the North American Division. Texas is also home to the NAD’s Men’s Ministries Certification Training, and the Hispanic Men’s Ministries Department provides assistance for this training to other conferences around our Union, as well as for five countries outside the United States. Offerings taken at our events have made aid to many countries possible in the form of eye surgery campaigns, the purchase of two boats for overseas missionaries, hundreds of water filters for water-deprived areas, remodeling projects, and more. Around 3,000 men have been positively impacted during our area church rallies, mens’ breakfasts, or attending our annual retreats, and our department strives to facilitate a spiritual experience for all involved.
Upcoming Events In 2019, we encourage all men to attend the Southwestern Union Men’s Convention entitled EPIC, scheduled for May 31 – June 2, at Lakeview Camp & Retreat Center in Waxahachie, Texas. The guest speaker is former US Marine and actor, Ken Bevel, featured in the films Courageous and Fire Proof. This fall, there will be three regional Men’s Summits in San Antonio (September 20-21), Dallas (October 4-5), and Houston (November 8-9). We look forward to seeing you at one of the summits.
RICHARD M. WHITE
The ministry and mission of the Ministerial Department is to provide encouragement, training, mentoring, and support for the pastors in the Texas Conference. Over the past four years, established programs have continued to help accomplish this mission while others have been initiated with the intent of expanding the ministry of pastor and leaders within the Conference. From 2016 to 2018, over 90 of our pastoral couples have participated in the ForeverONE Marriage Retreat. This experience has enriched and strengthened the bond between both spouses. In spring 2016, ongoing training for local church elders was expanded to include the elders’ spouses. Since they often serve as a team leading the local church, the spouses were invited to join in the training, education, and support. This has proven to be a huge success and help for team ministry in Texas. In addition, leadership summits were conducted around the Conference focused on training and equipping deacons and deaconesses for greater service and fulfillment. A ministerial intern training program for associate and non-ordained pastors meets quarterly at the Texas Conference office for one-day seminars. The training, which covers a two-year period, has worked with over 70 associate and non-ordained pastors over the past four years. Here they meet with experienced pastors to discuss various topics and receive equipping information and material to aid in their pastoral development. In the past two years (2017-2018), the ministerial spouses of at least 40 associate
and non-ordained pastors were invited to Lake Whitney Ranch for a weekend retreat. It was a time of sharing and understanding the varied and sometimes conflicting expectations of ministry for pastors and their wives. The success of the weekend was present in the feedback form the spouses returned and promises were made to add depth and meaning to their ministry alongside their husbands. Focusing Leaders, a leadership and enrichment program, has continued to improve the lives of the attending pastors over the past ten years. The program creates a sharper vision and clearer understanding of the mission that God has called each of these pastors to share with Him and, over the last four years, 39 pastors have gone through this program. It continues to help pastors and lay-members alike see the calling that God has placed on their lives. Both pastors and laity are sensing God’s leading in their past and what impact He can have through them in the future with a life dedicated to Him. In addition, the Ministerial Department has offered training for ‘Straight 2 the Heart’ prayer ministries over the last two years. This seminar has been presented to at least 20 pastors, and focuses on helping pastors reach the needs of those struggling with addictions, abuse, vices, guilt, and pain through pointing the suffering person to the suffering of our Lord and Savior. As we look toward the future, the Ministerial Department's focus is to become more relevant to the personal needs of our pastors. To accomplish this, we plan to work closely with Family
Ministries and the Secretariat Department over the next four years. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of providing the encouragement, training, mentoring and support that is needed by our pastors in the Texas Conference.
PLANNED GIVING AND TRUST SERVICES/ASSOCIATION
ROGER MEKELBURG, LYNETTE ECORD
The Texas Conference Planned Giving and Trust Services Department specializes in helping church members navigate the complexity of estate planning. It’s our goal to educate our members in how good financial planning, together with good estate planning, can help them provide greater benefit for their families and for the furthering of the gospel. It’s also important for those with young children to choose who would care for them if they were no longer able to. Creating a personal financial plan is something many have on the ‘to do’ list, but never seem to get around to doing. We are passionate about helping our members create a personal financial plan that is in accordance with biblical principles. We want to help you leave the legacy you desire. An estate plan is important for everyone, no matter your current financial means. Good planning, and the appropriate legal documents, can help to avoid unnecessary legal fees, minimize family disputes, and ensure your wishes are carried out. During the last quadrennium (20152018), our department assisted 740 members in writing Christian wills. An additional 30 families established either a Charitable Trust Agreement or a Charitable Gift Annuity. These documents will provide a huge blessing to many local churches and schools as well as other areas such as evangelism, youth ministries, worthy student assistance, church building funds, Lake Whitney Ranch, and Texas Vision. Our Trust Officers are available for speaking appointments and workshops
in the following areas: Estate Planning, Stewardship, and Financial Peace/Personal Finance. For more information, please visit our website at texasgiving.org, call 1.800.847.2792, or email email@example.com. Association The Texas Conference Association of Seventh-day Adventists is the legal corporation that holds the title for Texas Conference-owned properties. It is important to contact this office before any discussions begin regarding buying, selling, or remodeling any Conferenceowned property. That includes all Texas Conference churches, schools, our summer camp, and other Conference-owned properties. A new Texas Conference building committee was established to evaluate construction policy, guidelines, and procedures to make sure all plans are meeting the needs of the organization, and abiding by city/insurance requirements. The following information shares the properties sold and purchased during the past four years. We look forward to working together to further the Lord’s work here in Texas. Church properties sold unless otherwise indicated 2015: Tyler Spanish (Vacant Land); Stephenville; Tyler Spanish; San Antonio Fil-Am (Vacant Land) 2016: Keller Come N See, Wichita Falls; Denton First; Houston Spanish Southwest (Vacant Land); Houston North 2017: The Colony Spanish Roca de Salvacion (Vacant Land); San Antonio Immanuel (Vacant Land); Palestine (Vacant
Land); San Antonio Valley View (Vacant Land) 2018: Waco Spanish; Baytown Spanish; Bowie (Building) Properties purchased by churches or schools 2015: Longview (House/Land); Stephenville; Mission Hope (Vacant Land); Mission Hope (Church/Gym); Country Life; Joshua Crossroad (House); Houston Spanish Northwest (House with two mobile homes); Houston Spanish Heights (Church/ House) 2016: Joshua Crossroads (House); Elsa Spanish (Land); New Discovery Bible School (Building); Chisholm Trail Academy (House/Land); Country Life (Vacant Land) 2017: Houston Spanish Southaven (House); North Dallas Adventist Academy (Church); Adventist Book Center (Store); Fairview Mosaic (Vacant Land); Houston Spanish Love (Church); San Antonio Immanuel (Church) 2018: Chandler Group (Building); Austin Spanish Central (Church); Waco Spanish (Church); Mission Hope (Vacant Land); Denton First (Church); Tyler Spanish (Church); Keller (Church); Dekalb (Church)
Services offered: Address Labels Announcements B/W Copying Binding Booklets Brochures Bulk Mailing Bulletins Business Cards Calendars Carbonless Forms Catalogs CD/DVD Duplicating Certificates Color Copying Direct Mail Directories Document Imaging Doorhangers Envelopes Flyers Graphic Design Evangelistic Handbills
Index Tabs Invoices Menus Labels Letters Letterhead Name Badges Newsletters Notepads Padded Forms Personal Stationery Postcards Posters Price Lists Programs Receipt Books Reply Cards Reports Scanning Self-Mailers Tags Tickets Typesetting
The Texas Conference Print Department completed more than 1,300 jobs in 2018 alone. That includes 1,484,374 copies and 1,531,382 items printed. Years ago, the department mission was created “to provide printed materials that enhance the spreading of the gospel while offering the benefits of customized service with reduced pricing through our internal organization.” Through the years, we have fulfilled that mission by providing our churches, schools, and organizations a one-stop shop for all designing, printing, and mailing needs. The Print Department has the capabilities to print black and white or full color small-run copies on our highspeed copiers, as well as larger runs on our Heidelberg Quickmaster Digital Imaging press. One of the Print Department's current priorities is looking at different ways to make printing even more affordable. Our in-house Graphic Designers are available to assist with church and school design needs, and our support staff are available to assist with printing and production. We are privileged to work with churches coordinating their promotional items for evangelistic series and outreach programs. We have also produced alumni newsletters, business cards, stationery, cards, invitations, brochures, booklets, posters, billboards, yard signs, tracts, and banners in addition to production of The FLAME, the Texas Conference quarterly magazine.
During the 2018 Your Best Pathway to Health mega-clinic in Fort Worth, we coordinated 167,000 copies including 6,200 intake forms and 400,000 advertising flyers. It gives us great pride to produce a quality product for a client knowing that it could be just the item to encourage someone to learn more about Jesus. As the Texas Conference adopts the updated Seventh-day Adventist Church logo, we are happy to work with churches and schools to incorporate the logo in their business cards, stationery, and other promotional material. This branding connects us as a global church providing an instant identity to those searching for biblical truth. “God calls for message-filled books, magazines, and tracts to be scattered everywhere like the leaves of autumn. As church members unite with literature evangelists in spreading the good news, the task will be accomplished,” said Ellen G. White in her book The Publishing Ministry. Let us be the print source to help you create those good news items for your health workshop, evangelistic series, or other church or community event. The chart on the left lists a variety of services we offer. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sabbath School has been an indispensable arm of the Adventist movement since its introduction in 1853. It is said that somewhere around 85 percent of the early church membership came to faith through Sabbath School. Early records show that for every hundred church members, there were around 108 Sabbath School members. Friends, neighbors, and relatives of church members were introduced to the Bible in the Sabbath School class. It was a comfortable place to ask questions and be loved into the Seventh-day Adventist family. Sabbath school shared much with our modern-day small groups—a place where a group of believers encouraged and supported each other. Sabbath School class members formed special bonds that extended beyond Sabbath services into daily life. Classes often reported weekly on activities that brought them into contact with their neighborhoods and communities. Assisting and meeting the needs of others in practical ways was the way that church members made their faith authentic. Today, however, this core ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist faith is experiencing a dramatic decline. Estimates indicate that on average, only 25 percent (or less) of church-going adults in North America attend Sabbath School on a regular basis. The Texas Conference appointed the first full-time Sabbath School Director in January of 2018 focused on providing training opportunities for members, teachers, and Sabbath School leaders. During this past year, more than 12 area trainings were conducted across Texas in addition to local church visit requests.
Left: Sabbath School attendance of the early Seventh-day Adventist Church Below: Sabbath School attendance today.
The first Sabbath School training event, known as IGNITE, was launched November 10, 2018, in partnership with the Southwestern Union and North American Division. Almost 300 youth, young adult, and adult Sabbath School teachers met at Keene Town Hall where Steve Case, Involve Youth President, and Vandeon Griffin, North American Division Youth & Young Adult Ministries Director, led the presentations. There are now two newly-designed Sabbath School training programs available. The first, ReVitalize BASIC Sabbath School training, is a three-hour event designed to provide essential knowledge, tools, and support for church members, teachers, and Sabbath School leaders. The emphasis is equipping existing and prospective teachers/facilitators and Sabbath School leaders in four core purposes of Sabbath School: Bible Study, Fellowship, Outreach, and Global Mission. That includes encouraging a devotional life in the study of the Bible and encouraging interaction beyond the Sabbath School class, such as serving together and impacting lives in meaningful ways that provide systematic contribution to the Great Commission. Additionally, ReVitalize BASIC provides strategies on key areas including: How to Develop Better Class Participation, Building Community in Your Class, Class Outreach, and Strategies to Encourage Study and Participation. ReVitalize ADVANCED Sabbath School training provides fresh ideas and approaches to struggling Sabbath School programs. The training focuses on three revitalizing steps that include: Phase 1—INITIATE, a major re-training and restructuring process that prepares the Sabbath School department for the next step. Phase 2—Re-LAUNCH Sabbath School, that encourages church leadership support and member participation, instituting a new class format and other enhancements. Phase 3—TRANSFORMATION, providing support for the Sabbath School Department and church leadership. In 2019, the Texas Conference Sabbath School Department is working with the Children’s Ministries and Youth and Young Adults Departments for area trainings and events. All Conference events can be found on the Texas Conference website calendar at texasadventist.org/events.
Whenever you hear the word ‘stewardship’ what images come to mind? Most of us instinctively think about money. While the word ‘steward’ describes a person who acts as an agent or someone who looks after the property and financial affairs of another, in today’s terminology, a steward is much like a manager assigned to handle people and assets to bring the greatest benefit. In simple terms, stewardship is a way of approaching life that places God firmly at the center. Much of our focus as a denomination has centered around financial management and giving. Although vitally important to the mission of the church, there is far more for us to consider in the area of stewardship. As followers of Jesus, we are encouraged to be faithful stewards in four areas of life: Time: Ecclesiastes 3:1; Ephesians 5:15-16 Health: 3 John 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Relationships: Mark 12:30; Ephesians 6:1-3; Hebrews 10:24-25 Finances: Romans 13:8; Proverbs 21:20 Proverbs 27:3 Stewardship takes a 360-degree view of life; it’s a wholistic journey towards balance in the major areas of our lives. The focus of the Stewardship Department is to resource and encourage our young and mature adults to become successful as they manage their time, health, relationships, and finances in a way that honors God and inspires others. Stewardship describes the function of delegated responsibility for all God gives us. The Stewardship Department utilizes three basic stewardship programs in order to achieve this (with more in development; materials are available in both English and Spanish languages): UnBroke, designed for Youth and Young Adults, shares biblical principles of money management and debt elimination for single and married life. 360 Steward offers a wholistic approach to stewardship, focusing on balance in the four, crucial areas of our time, health, relational, and financial management. Family, Faith, and Finances gives solid biblical grounding to families, sharing strategies for debt elimination and financial harmony between married couples. Sound approaches to help parents and guardians disciple children and teenagers in principles of stewardship are also provided. The Stewardship Department is in the early stages of development, but is gathering momentum. In October 2018, the Stewardship Department hosted
a first-of-its-kind 360 Stewardship Convocation featuring speakers from the General Conference, North American Division, Southwestern Union, and Texas Conference, and focused on strategies for achieving a 360-degree view of the four key areas mentioned earlier. In 2019-2020, we are working toward offering more opportunities to churches for training and equipping in this important area. Look for more information on events coming to your area in the near future. Above all, let’s remember that stewardship is not what God wants from you, but rather what He wants for you.
DENNIS HABENICHT, DAVID LAMBETH
The Texas Conference Transportation Department has been moving church employees and members throughout the United States for almost 65 years. Somewhere along the way, the slogan "We move with care, everywhere" was adopted, and its philosophy continues. More than just a transportation company, we pray before and after a move asking God’s protection and peace for all involved in the moving process. That is a blessing and witnessing opportunity to those we contract with to load or unload the trucks. We also pray during the move, especially when we encounter the unexpected. It is during those times we feel God’s presence the most as He provides the answers to our problems. It can be challenging, especially during peak times, moving everyone when they need to be moved, but we do our best to serve others
knowing we are representing Christ in everything we do. The current fleet of trucks include three semi-tractors and five trailers. The rigs are painted with the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists logo providing conversation opportunities as people inquire about the organization. The drivers and trucks have logged many miles in the past four years, and there are very few states that we have not driven through. The drivers have also lifted and driven quite a few pounds of property. The charts below share the total miles and pounds for each of the previous four years. It is interesting to note that it looks like people are downsizing as we moved less weight in 2018 even though the miles driven was about the same as the previous year. It could also be more single, younger people who have not accumulated
items like their parents and grandparents. In addition to moving people all over the United States, the Transportation Department provides logistical support for our Adventist Community Services and Disaster Response Department. Most recently, we transported supplies to Houston following Hurricane Harvey and to the Carolinas following Hurricane Florence. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the Texas Conference in this ministry. If you know someone looking to move, email us at email@example.com and we’d be happy to help. Thank you for keeping us in prayer as we continue to crisscross the countryside.
As you know, the Lord’s work is both challenging and refreshing. It is this work that makes us feel alive as we go about our daily responsibilities doing what He desires us to do. That thought inspired the title for the 2016 Hispanic Women’s Retreat theme, In God’s Garden, attended by more than 900 women at the Embassy Suites Conference Center & Spa in San Marcos with Erna Alvarado as the main speaker. This retreat helped attendees understand how to prepare the soil of our souls in order to flourish in this world, so others may want to come to Christ. We were reminded that in God’s garden everyone can flourish. The flourishing heart permits itself to be planted in Christ. Allowing oneself to be uprooted from one place to another, however, is not easy. To do so, the heart must release the past and embrace the future. This grafting happens when we surrender to God’s will and the loving care He so gently offers. The retreat closed with the invitation to dwell (and grow strong) in the Lord’s garden under His personal care. The 2016 English Women’s Retreat theme was Being a Light in a Dark World. More than 300 women attended this retreat held at La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa in Montgomery with Janet Page and Kelly Dulac as speakers. At this retreat, we learned that we can be lights that shine; we can bring joy to our Lord by allowing our lights to be beacons of light in the darkness of this world, so that others can see the great God we serve. Matthew 5:14-16 guided the weekend and reminds us that, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot
be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Hurricane Harvey postponed our combined 2017 English and Spanish Women’s Retreat themed, The Lord is Coming, Are you Ready? to January 19-21, 2018. The retreat was held at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio with 1,300 ladies in attendance. Speakers included Yami Bazan, Cindy Tutch, and Miriam Gonzalez. At this retreat, we were reminded of the importance of being ready for His coming every day of our lives. In closing, we'd like to thank the Conference administration for its support these past fours years, our Administrative Assistants and other volunteer personnel, and the Print Department. Thank you to the pastors’ wives and women’s ministries leaders who have always helped with all the events and much more. May the Lord bless us and keep us, may His face shine upon us, and may He lift His countenance upon us and give us peace.
YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS
is scheduled for August 2019 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We are excited and getting ready for this event as it only happens once every five years, and is a great opportunity for Pathfinders around the world to experience new cultures, enjoy the great outdoors, and gain profound spiritual insight.
World Changers is the motto for the Texas Conference Youth and Young Adults Department, and it’s based on Acts 17:6, which says, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” We aspire to inspire change in this world for Jesus. Club Ministries Currently, we have almost 9,000 Adventurers, Pathfinders, and Master Guides registered in the Texas Conference with 170 dedicated volunteers to support these ministries. Many of our Pathfinder camporees have dozens of baptisms, with one of the recent ones resulting in 72 of them. Our Teen Leadership Training program is also steadily expanding among our teenagers. Following Hurricane Harvey, 950 Master Guides assisted in recovery efforts. One of them was even featured in local media for rescuing 89 people during the floods. Additionally, the 2019 Adventurer Family Camp had the largest group of families we’ve had with 3,470 in attendance. Pathfinder Bible Experience, Bible Adventure, and Bible Achievement are all growing and helping our young people stay grounded in the Word. We have developed a GLOW tractsized brochure to share with community children what we are all about, encouraging them to join these wonderful clubs in order to fulfill our motto. Currently, we are working on developing a baptismal Bible study geared toward Pathfinders. The International Pathfinder Camporee
Bible Challenge The reality is that if we want to change the world, we need to start with ourselves. Earlier this year, we started the Bible challenge to encourage people to read a chapter of the Bible in the morning and another in the evening for 30 days. A wristband served as a reminder to dedicate this time for Bible reading and prayer, and Engage Conference close to 4,000 people in Texas and beyond The Engage Conference was created to accepted this challenge. provide a Conference-wide event for young Adventist Youth Leaders in Russia and people to address current issues. In the two Hungary joined with their youth as well. years that it’s been done, we’ve had around One young adult shared, “I was ready to 1,830 people in attendance resulting in 22 leave Church, I was pretty much gone until baptisms. I heard the sermon and altar call to join the Bible Challenge. I tried it and now I’m a Growing Young Adventists leader with the youth in our church.” These training sessions provide six For more info or to register for upcoming essential research-based strategies to events, visit us at txyouth.org or follow us engage and embrace young people. The on Facebook (@YoungTexasAdventist) and trainings are designed to help the church Instagram (@txyouth). retain its teenagers and young adults. On behalf of the Texas Conference, we want to thank the hundreds of individuals SENT and Glad Reaper (School of Evangelism in who have donated their time, creative Texas) energy, and resources to ministering to Recently merged, SENT trained more young people. You are an inspiration and than 600 young people to give Bible a blessing to us, and we look forward to Studies, preach, assist with church plants, serving with you in the future. health seminars, and much more. Glad Reaper resulted in 67 evangelistic campaigns throughout Texas done exclusively by young people. Summer Camp Our camp program has grown tremendously in the past three years. We currently offer eight weeks of summer camp including six weeks at Lake Whitney Ranch plus two weeks of day camp in the Rio Grande Valley area. Our number one goal is always to teach our campers how to develop a relationship with Jesus. Mission Trips Texas Conference youth have impacted people in Dallas, San Antonio, Guatemala, Peru, India, and Thailand through various mission trips. They have assisted with Vacation Bible School programs, evangelistic meetings, community services, and health initiatives. Our goal for the next mission trip is to take club leaders and plant Pathfinder clubs in Kyrgyzstan. Area Youth Directors These directors help coordinate events in each area to assist those who are not able to travel for Conference-wide events. They work in conjunction with the Texas Conference Youth and Young Adults department and organize local events.
“THAT IS WHY WE LABOR AND STRIVE, BECAUSE WE HAVE PUT OUR HOPE IN THE LIVING GOD, WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF ALL PEOPLE, AND ESPECIALLY OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE.” 1 TIMOTHY 4:10