BAPTIST GENERAL CONVENTION OF TEXAS 132ND ANNUAL
VOLUME 32, NO 2 I WACO I NOVEMBER 14, 2017
Hardage bears witness to the good work of Texas Baptists By Kirsten McKimmey & Kalie Lowrie Texas Baptists participate in a vast array of life-changing work every day. To bring recognition and awareness to this year’s most prominent ministry and evangelism efforts during his Monday evening report at the 2017 Annual Meeting, Executive Director David Hardage recognized notable leaders who partner with Texas Baptists. Those Hardage recognized included Tamiko Jones, newly-elected executive director-treasurer, WMU of Texas; Mickey Lenamon, executive director, Texas Baptist Men, who shared about Hurricane Harvey Disaster Recovery efforts; Katie Sciba, governing board officer from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, who presented a check for $50,000 to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts; Ray Clark, CFO, North American Mission Board, who presented
$250,000 for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts; and Ray and Lauralee Lindholm and Pastor Matt Zamudio, pastor of Windsor Park Baptist Church, DeSoto, representing Ethiopian churches connected with Texas Baptists work. Furthermore, Hardage noted additional workshops were added to the Tuesday morning schedule. The workshop “Church Security Basics: Preparing for the Unexpected,” presented by David Adams, director of Texas Baptists Church Administration & Special Projects, alongside legal consultant, John Litzler, was added in response to questions and concerns following the tragic events at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. “In the midst of what has happened, Texas Baptists will lift up high the name of Jesus and continue to do church,” Hardage said. “At the same time, if there are some sensible and reasonable ways that
we can add extra care of security and precaution, then we want to be wise in those ways.” “Caring for Homeless Youth,” presented by Josh Cogan, program director at OutLast youth, seeks to equip those ministering to homeless LGBT+ youth, who make up a large percentage of the adolescent homeless population. Hardage commented, “Texas Baptists love everyone.” Hardage closed by encouraging attendees in the continued work of Texas Baptists. “You are a blessing to me each and every week,” he said. “Every week, Texas Baptists gather together to worship, fellowship and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. For the humble honor I have of serving you, I am grateful.”
HELP FOR MESSENGERS + VISITORS Materials are prepared each year to help messengers during business sessions of the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Among those materials is the Book of Reports, which contains the annual reports of Texas Baptists Institutions and Agencies, the Texas Baptists Executive Board and a copy of the Texas Baptists Constitution and Bylaws. Additionally, the Texas Baptists Bulletin contains information about business matters to be voted on and proceedings.
Recycle Badges Annual Meeting is going green. Please help us by placing your name badges in the recycle bin at the inside back doors of Chisholm Hall.
Child Care First Baptist Church of Hewitt will be providing free childcare for infants through 5 years of age as a service for out-of-town messengers. Services are available: • Tuesday, November 14 - 8:00 am — 1:00 pm Space is limited and advance reservations are required. No walk-ins will be allowed.
Local Information Maps, restaurant guides and other local information are available at the Texas Baptists Information Desk located in the Upper Lobby of the Waco Convention Center across from the escalators.
First Aid First Aid is located in Room 213, next to the Information Desk in the Upper Lobby of the Waco Convention Center. First Aid will be available: • Tuesday, November 14 - 7:00 am — 1:00 pm A special thank you and note of appreciation to the staff of Baylor Scott & White - Waco coordinated by April Hayes, who has graciously donated their time to assist us in the First Aid Area.
Traducción Español/ Spanish Translation Todas las sesiones generales y reuniones de negocios de la Reunión Anual de la BGCT del 2017 serán interpretadas al español. Habrá radios de interpretación disponibles para usarse en la mesa de información localizada en el nivel superior del Centro de Convenciones en Waco. All General Sessions and Business Meeting Sessions of the 2017 Annual Meeting will be translated in Spanish. Headsets will be available for checkout at the Information Desk located in the upper level of the Waco Convention Center.
Lost & Found To find a “lost” item or to turn in a “found” item, please go to the Information Desk located in the Upper Lobby of the Waco Convention Center across from the escalators.
SCHEDULE + WORKSHOPS TUESDAY NOVEMBER 14 8:00 – 10:30 am: Registration Open 8:00 – 10:30 am: Exhibits Open 8:30 – 9:30 am: Workshops – Session 3 9:45 – 11:30 pm: Business – Session 2
Worship – Session 3 Delvin Atchison
NEW WORKSHOP CHURCH SECURITY BASICS: PREPARING FOR THE UNEXPECTED Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:30 – 9:30 am Texas Room North
Church Security Basics: Preparing for the Unexpected
David Adams John Litzler
Texas Room North
River Ministry: Reaching the Lost from Brownsville/Matamoros to San Diego/Tijuana
E. Daniel Rangel, R. Josue Valerio
Hilton - Brazos B
Compelled and Competent: Ready to Give a Defense of Your Faith
Hilton - Brazos C
Trends in Discipleship: Defining what is Discipleship
Hilton - Lavaca
I Was a Stranger
Hilton - Guadalupe
Love thy Neighbor: Be Compelled to Serve through Christian Men’s and Women’s Job Corps
Hilton - Sabine
The Art of Persuasion
Caring for Homeless Youth
Hilton - Brazos A 3
Celebrating Service November 13, 2017 Waco, Texas Proceedings Monday Morning Worship Session 1 1. President Danny Reeves welcomed messengers and visitors to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. President Reeves prayed for First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, that the Lord would surround and uphold them. 2. Congregational worship was led by Gary Rhodes, worship pastor, First Woodway Baptist, and the First Woodway Baptist choir, praise team and orchestra. 3. Executive Director David Hardage introduced Elijah Brown, executive vice president of 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and Baptist World Alliance General Secretary. Brown brought greetings from Baptist World Alliance. 4. Prayer led by James Alexander, Jr., associate pastor of young adults and college ministry, Community Missionary Baptist Church, DeSoto. 5. Scripture reading by Jordan Wilson, pastor, Tyler County Country Church, from Matthew 28:16-20. 6. Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program ministry, recognized the top CP giving churches: The Church Without Walls, Houston; Chinese Baptist Church of Houston, Houston; Northside Community Church, San Antonio; Christ the King Vietnamese Baptist Church, Hewitt; South Seminole Baptist Church, Seminole; Central Baptist Church, Carthage; Field Street Baptist Church, Cleburne; Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Abilene; and Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler. A video highlighting Longhorn BSM was shown. 7. Executive Director Hardage introduced Leadership Texas Baptist Cohort 3 members: Abigail Manes, Andrew Malone, Ashley Weir, Chris McLain, Daniel Camp, David Tate, Jillian Sanders, Josh Breslaw, Timothy Schmidt, and Ty Gist, along with Director David Adams. Not present: Nigel Robinson. 4
8. Executive Director Hardage introduced President Reeves to bring the Presidential Address. 9. Congregational worship led by Rhodes. 10. President Reeves preached from Colossians 3:1-4, saying, “to stay centered on Christ, be compelled to see God’s will, search God’s word and support God’s work. This is the heartbeat of Texas Baptists.” 11. Closing prayer was led by Helen Cingpi, messenger, Dallas Zomi Community Church, Dallas.
Monday Afternoon Business Session 1 12. BGCT President Danny Reeves declared the 132nd Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas come to order. 13. Prayer by Bobi Ann Allen, messenger, Lakeland Baptist Church, San Antonio. 14. President Reeves recognized Deadra Gage, chair, Committee on Credentials, for a report. Gage announced, “as of 12:55 p.m. today, 1,063 messengers have been enrolled and 510 visitors have been duly registered.” She moved that the messengers who have been enrolled as of this time be seated. Motion approved. 15. David Ritsema, chair, Committee on Annual Meeting, moved the Standing Rules of the Convention as printed on page 33 of the Bulletin be approved for this Annual Meeting. Motion approved. 16. Ritsema then moved that the Order of Business as printed on pages 9-15 of the Program be adopted for this convention with the following proviso: the times stated are general orders and are intended for guidance only. Order of business adopted. 17. President Reeves asked anyone planning to make a nomination for President, First Vice President and Second Vice President should come to the stage. All voting will be conducted by raising the ballot or as otherwise determined by the chair. 18. President Reeves reminded the messengers that anyone planning to make a motion please refer to page 34
of the Bulletin for information on that procedure. 19. President Reeves recognized students from San Marcos Academy for serving as pages at the microphones. 20. President Reeves reminded the messengers that anyone wishing to offer a resolution should remember that a resolution is defined as an expression of opinion as opposed to a motion calling for action. Additional information is in the Bulletin on page 32. Any resolution must be received by the Resolutions Committee no later than 5 p.m. Representatives of the Resolution Committee will be in Waco Room 101 following this business meeting. 21. President Reeves called on First Vice President Joe Fields to preside during the election of the President. 22. Fields announced the time for the election of the BGCT President for the 2017-2018 term of office. According to the rules, three minutes are allowed for each nomination. 23. Chair Fields recognizes Bobby Bell, messenger, First Baptist Church, Edna. Bell nominated Danny Reeves, pastor, First Baptist Church, Corsicana. “Danny truly has the heart of a servant,” said Bell. There were no other nominations for president. Reeves elected by acclamation. 24. President Reeves expressed gratitude for the ability to serve as president for a second year. 25. President Reeves recognized David Russell, chair, BGCT Executive Board for the Executive Board Report. Actions by the board in 2017 included a decision regarding First Baptist Church, Austin, Wilshire Baptist Church, Dallas, and Lakeshore Baptist Church, Waco, as operating outside of harmonious cooperation. The vote to remove from affiliation was 63 for and 6 against. The BGCT entered into an agreement with Baptist General Association of Virginia regarding chaplaincy endorsement. Changes were approved to the Dallas Baptist University Certificate of Formation. A loan of $1 million was approved to Baptist University of Américas with a gift of $250,000 and a matching gift of $250,000 was also approved.
Additionally, funds for Baptist Student Ministry interns and internal capital expenditures were approved. 26. Russell recognized Jill Larsen, BGCT Treasurer/CFO, to give the financial report. Larsen said, “We are compelled by the love of Christ to share the Gospel and disciple believers.” 27. Larsen presented the Treasurer’s Report. Cooperative Program revenue declined by $1.4 million to a total of $29.2 million. Giving to the Southern Baptist Convention was also down for the same period. Investment income increased due to quasi-endowments from the sale of the Baptist building. Giving to special offerings included a decline for Mary Hill Davis Offering at $3.2 million, down from $3.4 million. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was up at $10 million from $9.8 million. Convention expenses decreased $600,000 from the previous year to $36 million. 28. Larsen brought a report on the proposed 2018 Budget. Of the Worldwide portion of CP, $1.161 million in offering is anticipated for Texas Worldwide. The convention is expecting receipts to hold steady and investment income to increase. The total revenue of the proposed budget for 2018 is $37,135,129. 29. Russell moved on behalf of the Executive Board for the adoption of the proposed budget for 2018 of $37,135,129 and recommended that the percentages allotment of the adopted budget continue at 79% BGCT and 21% Worldwide with each church selecting the recipients. The recommendation appears on page 53 of the Bulletin. 30. President Reeves reiterated the adopted budget continue at 79% BGCT and 21% Worldwide. Reeves asked for any discussion. Motion passed. 31. Russell moved on behalf of the Executive Board that messengers adopt the 2018 Texas World Missions Initiatives and Partnerships Allocation of $1.161 million as detailed on page 54 of the Bulletin. 32. President Reeves asked for any discussion. Motion passed.
33. On behalf of the Executive Board, Russell moved for the adoption that the relationship between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Baptist Community Services of Amarillo be changed from an affiliated institution to an institution related by Special Agreement as shown on pages 55-69 of the Bulletin. 34. Bob Ellzey, messenger, Ash Creek Baptist Church, Azle, expressed his support for the recommendation, with a clarifying question about the election and church membership of trustees. Steve Dalrymple, president and CEO of Baptist Community Services, was called on to respond to the question. Motion passed. 35. President Reeves called for Miscellaneous Business and opened the floor for messengers to make motions germane to the Convention. Motions may be made at this time on any topic except those issues that are otherwise delegated by the Constitution and Bylaws. Motions to amend the Constitution and Bylaws may also be made at this time. Motions made today will not be acted upon until the business meeting tomorrow; they will be taken up in the order in which they were made and presented. No motions were made. 36. Mark Bumpus, chair, Committee on Committees, moved for the election of the persons nominated by this Committee found on page 41 of the Bulletin. The persons nominated were elected. 37. Virginia Kreimeyer, chair, Committee to Nominate Executive Board Directors, moved for the election of the persons nominated by the Committee to Nominate Executive Board Directors found on pages 41-42 of the Bulletin. The persons nominated were elected. 38. Al Childs, chair, Committee on Nominations for Boards of Affiliated Ministries, moved for the election of the persons nominated by the Committee on Nominations for Boards of Affiliated Ministries printed on pages 42-46 of the Bulletin. The persons nominated were elected. 39. Executive Director Hardage introduced new leaders of our Texas Baptist Institutions: President Linda Livingstone, Baylor University; President
Abe Jaquez, Baptist University of the Américas; and President James Hinton, Baylor Scott & White Health Care. Executive Director Hardage recognized President Eron Green and his wife, Shelly, to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of South Texas Children’s Home (STCH). 40. President Reeves called for nominations for candidates for First Vice President. 41. Craig Christina, pastor, Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church, Dallas, nominated Joe Fields, pastor, New Beginnings Baptist Church, Lewisville. There were no other nominations for first vice president. Fields elected by acclamation. 42. President Reeves called for nominations for candidates for Second Vice President. 43. Rene Maciel, messenger, First Baptist Church, Woodway, nominated Jim Heiligman, pastor, First Baptist Church, Bryan. There were no other nominations. Heiligman elected by acclamation. 44. Health Kirkwood, pastor, First Baptist Church, Lorena, offered the benediction.
Monday Evening Worship Session 2 45. Pre-session worship was provided by the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor ensemble, One Voice. 46. Executive Director Hardage welcomed Julie Deavers, a participant in the Special Friends’ Retreat and member of Memorial Baptist Church, Temple. Deaver led in prayer. 47. Scripture reading was led by Rolando Aguirre, pastor for Spanish Language Ministries and Discipleship Team Leader, Calvary Baptist Church, McAllen, from Matthew 22:36-40. 48. Congregational Worship was led by Charles and Bonnie Covin, First Baptist Church, Brenham, and the praise band. 49. Recognition of the 50th Anniversary of River Ministry was led by Josue Valerio, director, Texas Baptists Missions Team. Valerio and Daniel Rangel, director of Texas Baptists River Ministry, presented an award to Jerry Johnson recognizing his years of service in the Rio Grande Valley. 5
50. A River Ministry testimony video featuring Robert Rodriguez, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Harlingen, was shown. 51. Executive Director Hardage brought the Executive Director’s report. Hardage recognized Tamiko Jones, newlyelected executive director-treasurer, WMU of Texas; Mickey Lenamon, executive director, Texas Baptist Men, who shared about Hurricane Harvey Disaster Recovery efforts; Katie Sciba, governing board officer from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship presented a check for $50,000 to assist Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts; Ray Clark, CFO, North American Mission Board, presented $250,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts; and Ray and Lauralee Lindholm and Pastor Matt Zamudio, pastor, Windsor Park Baptist Church, DeSoto, were recognized, representing Ethiopian churches connected with Texas Baptists. Executive Director Hardage noted additional workshops were added on Tuesday: bridging the gap in ministering to the homeless youth and LGBT+ community and church safety following the tragedy of FBC Sutherland Springs. “For the humble honor I have of serving you, I am grateful,” Hardage said. 52. Congregational worship was led by First Baptist Church, Brenham, praise band. 53. Offertory prayer was led by Rangel. 54. UMHB One Voice brought the special music. 55. Keynote address was given by Will Mancini, author and church strategist. Mancini encouraged Texas Baptists to find their special assignment from God, drawing from Ephesians 2:10. “We know what we are saved from, but what are we saved for?,” he asked. 56. Benediction was led by Socrates de Oliveria, executive director, Brazilian Baptist Convention.
The Texas Baptists Bulletin is published daily during the Annual Meeting by the Communications Department of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The Bulletin includes announcements, committee reports and proceedings. David Hardage Executive Director
Steve Vernon Associate Executive Director
Jill Larsen Treasurer/CFO/Recording Secretary
Coleen Wall Director, Conference & Event Planning Joshua Minatrea Director, Communications Kalie Lowrie Editor
Jeremy Honea Art Director
2018 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting Arlington, TX | July 29 – 31 texasbaptists.org/familygathering
Texas Baptists officers
re-elected to second terms (From left to right) Jim Heiligman, second vice president; Danny Reeves, president; and Joseph Fields, first vice president
By Courtney Reeves WACO–Officer elections bookended the business session of the 132nd Texas Baptists Annual Meeting Monday afternoon in Waco. Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church of Corsicana, was re-elected president; Joseph Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Lewisville, was re-elected first vice president; and Jim Heiligman, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bryan, was re-elected second vice president. With First Vice President Fields presiding, Reeves was nominated for his second term as President of the convention by Bobby Bell, a messenger from First Baptist Church of Edna and district judge. Prior to his pastorate at FBC Corsicana, Reeves served as pastor in the First Baptist Church of Edna and McGregor. Reeves has also served on staff in Mart, Big Lake and Blanket. Reeves previously served as second vice president from 2015-2016. “Now more than ever we need a strong, God-fearing servant and leader like Danny Reeves to lead us into the future and to help us navigate these choppy waters ahead,” said Bell.
Fields was nominated by Craig Christina, pastor of Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, for a second term as First Vice President. Fields planted the New Beginnings Baptist Church in Lewisville in 2009, which was recognized as one of the top giving African American churches to the Cooperative Program for 2017. Fields also founded Camp Exalted, a week-long Texas Baptists youth camp.
“Now more than ever we need a strong, God-fearing servant and leader like Danny Reeves to lead us into the future and to help us navigate these choppy waters ahead.” – Bobby Bell Heiligman was nominated by Rene Maciel, a messenger from First Baptist Church of Castroville and former BGCT President. Heiligman is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Bryan and has previously served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Castroville, and on staff at churches in Moody, Jacksonville and Charlotte. 7
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2017 RESOLUTION I Appreciation of Hosts
WHEREAS, churches and members of Waco Regional Baptist Association have been gracious hosts for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Waco; and WHEREAS, Texas Baptists as a whole desire to affirm the work of Baptists in the Waco area;
Corsicana, president; Joseph Fields, New Beginnings Baptist Church in Lewisville, first vice president; and Jim Heiligman, First Baptist Church in Bryan, second vice president; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we express our appreciation to David Hardage, executive director, and to the men and women who work on the BGCT staff for their faithful labor on behalf of Texas Baptists; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we continue our prayerful and loving support to encourage these leaders in their work and leadership.
BE IT RESOLVED that the messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Waco express their appreciation to the churches and members of Waco Regional Baptist Association; and
2017 RESOLUTION III
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we express our gratitude to the members of the Committee on the Annual Meeting and their important contributions.
WHEREAS, there is no place in God’s kingdom or domain for racial prejudice or any type of bias based on race or religion; and
2017 RESOLUTION II Appreciation to Convention Officers and Staff
WHEREAS, those serving as officers of the Baptist General Convention of Texas have given their time and energy to lead Texas Baptists this past year; and WHEREAS they have diligently and faithfully served the offices to which they were elected; and WHEREAS the staff of the BGCT has faithfully served Texas Baptists during this past year; BE IT RESOLVED that the messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Waco express our appreciation to the officers of the convention who have served during the past year: Danny Reeves, First Baptist Church of
WHEREAS, the news of our day carries stories of a nation and a world divided by racial prejudice, unrest, and hatred; and WHEREAS the Bible is clear that all human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:1-2:4); and WHEREAS the Bible tells us repeatedly we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:9-18, Matthew· 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8); and Jesus said to love our enemies (Matthew 5:4348); and the parable of the Good Samaritan is an example of neighbor love that breaks the barrier of racial tension and prejudice among people of God (Luke 10:30-37); and WHEREAS, the Apostle Peter said, “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works
righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35, NKJV); and WHEREAS, Scripture reminds us that Christ, by his blood, redeems people “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, NKJV); and WHEREAS, Revelation 7:9 pictures “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (NKJV); BE IT RESOLVED that the messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Waco decry every form of racism as a contradiction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we denounce and repudiate every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to the church and our society; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage churches and individual Christians to build relationships, listen to others, provide education, and promote understanding in order to bridge the racial divides in the church and our culture; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we earnestly pray for the peace of Christ to fill the hearts of all believers; that we do not allow division in the midst of our God-given diversity; and that we celebrate the love of God for all his creation and all his children. BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we, as Texas Baptists, from all racial and ethnic groups, acknowledging that we are one in Christ (Galatians 3:26-28), stand together to uphold 9
and promote the unity that is in the gospel whenever racism and racial injustice occur.
2017 RESOLUTION IV International Religious Persecution
WHEREAS Scripture instructs us to, “Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured” (Hebrews 13:3, NRSV); and WHEREAS Baptist and other Christian communities in Nigeria, North Korea, Syria, Myanmar, Iraq, Russia, and more than 60 other countries are persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed; and WHEREAS Baptists, for 400 years, have worked for religious liberty for all people, no matter their faith tradition; and WHEREAS the Pew Research Center has reported a recent increase in “government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion;” and WHEREAS the BGCT staff partnered with the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative in promoting Speak Freedom Texas Nov. 4-5, 2017, as a statewide opportunity to focus attention on this global religious and humanitarian crisis; BE IT RESOLVED that the messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Waco affirm our commitment to religious liberty for all people of faith; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon Texas Baptists to pray for people worldwide who are persecuted for their faith; and 10
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage churches to set aside at least one Sunday each year to focus on global religious persecution; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we convey our support to the global Christian community, some of whom face severe hardship and persecution.
2017 RESOLUTION V Tragedy at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs
WHEREAS on Sunday, November 5, 2017, a gunman walked into the worship service of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and killed 26 people and wounded many; and WHEREAS the broader Christian family and all Texans grieve over this act of unimaginable violence and the loss of life; and WHEREAS we join with the Psalmist in pleading to God “Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers; protect me from those who are violent, who plan evil things in their minds and stir up wars continually” (Psalm 140:1-2, NRSV); and WHEREAS we all are sinners and stand in need of God’s deliverance from sin (Romans 3:23); and WHEREAS we celebrate the reality of God’s love and deliverance from a culture being consumed with sin and violence; BE IT RESOLVED that the messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Waco offer our prayerful sympathies and support to the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and to all of the families and friends impacted by this tragedy; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we will pray for our nation and the broader world because of the widespread prevalence of violence that is the outworking of the sin with which humankind is beset; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we will lift up Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), to the world as the only ultimate answer to the sin and violence of this world.
2017 RESOLUTION VI Civil Discourse WHEREAS, Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful for building others according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen;” and WHEREAS, 1 Peter 2:17 (NIV) says we are to “show proper respect to everyone;” and WHEREAS, civility in public discourse has declined in American society; and WHEREAS, we recognize the negative effects that such behavior by Christians has on our public witness; BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas proclaim our intent to foster a climate of Christian communication that brings honor to our Lord through encouragement and love; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we encourage and support a positive dialogue between Christians and with non-Christians that honors Christ.
2017 RESOLUTION VII Support of Families Who Adopt Children
WHEREAS, Scripture says God is the “father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5, CSB) who grants mercy to orphans (Deuteronomy 10:18; Hosea 14:3); and WHEREAS, Scripture teaches the importance of caring for orphaned children (James 1:27); and WHEREAS, adoption serves as an alternative to abortion, thus saving the lives of children; and WHEREAS, in order to protect vulnerable and orphaned children, government should create policies that assist and incentivize the adoption of orphaned children; and WHEREAS, the federal Adoption Tax Credit provides economic assistance to families seeking to adopt orphaned children; BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas affirm the federal government of the United States in its provision of the Adoption Tax Credit to help families that adopt children; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we affirm the work of our Texas Baptist institutions (Buckner International and Children at Heart) in their efforts to help families adopt children in need of homes.
2017 RESOLUTION VIII Sexual Harassment and Assault
WHEREAS, our nation has been rocked recently by numerous reports of sexual harassment and assault; and WHEREAS, the #MeToo social media effort has encouraged women to publicize their personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault and generated countless testimonies; and WHEREAS, the Apostle Paul wrote, “sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Obscene and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks” (Ephesians 5:3-4, CSB); and WHEREAS, many of the sexual harassment and assault allegations are centered on the behavior of men in the workplace; and WHEREAS, sexual harassment and assault often victimize children and teenagers; and
WHEREAS, all people in positions of power or authority have a special responsibility to foster a safe and supportive environment out of respect for all people; and WHEREAS, the BGCT encourages churches to take full advantage of MinistrySafe training to help prevent sexual harassment and assault, including the abuse of children; BE IT RESOLVED that the messengers to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Waco call on Texas Baptists to affirm and support persons victimized by sexual harassment and assault; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we stress the importance of preaching and teaching about proper behavior in order to help church members clearly understand appropriate and inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage churches to receive MinistrySafe training; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage churches to create a safe and supportive environment for all persons, especially women and minors.