Texas Baptists Life, Volume 7 Issue 4

Page 1


FIXING AN AILING SYSTEM Texas Baptists focus on foster care in Texas


Issue No. 4





For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious

He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your

inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being established in love, may have


, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long

and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be

to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more

than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him

glory in the church

and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 EAST TEXAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY | 903.923.2000 ONE TIGER DRIVE | MARSHALL, TEXAS 75670




Contents Addressing the foster care crisis in Texas An ailing foster care system has prompted Texas Baptists across the state to take action. See how our institutions and churches are working together to make a big impact on the foster care crisis, and find ways for your church to get involved.



Churches around the state are choosing to allocate new, bigger spaces to their service ministries.

Representantes de varias instituciones de Texas Baptists se unen y animan a las iglesias para participar con ministerios de familias de crianza temporal.

Publication team

Maritza Solano Production Artist

Joshua Seth Minatrea Director of Communications

Brittany Thomas Communications Assistant

Kalie Lowrie News Director

Meredith Rose Intern Writer

Jeremy Honea Art Director

Cassidy McClurken Cover Illustration

Bonnie Shaw News Writer

Neil Williams Multimedia Specialist

Expanding buildings to expand ministries

10 New neighborhoods provide new opportunities in Amarillo through church planting In Amarillo, the Newman family has learned that you don’t have to go far from home to plant a church in an unreached area.


One hundred years of Baptist Student Ministry As BSM celebrates its 100th anniversary, take a look at the history of BSM and how it they continues to transform college students across Texas.


Fixing an ailing system

Representatives from a variety of Texas Baptists institutions are joining together and encouraging churches to get involved with foster care and foster family ministry.


Making a macroimpact on the foster care crisis in Texas Learn more about David Ummel, the leader of the new Faith Fosters Texas initiative, and how he believes Texas Baptists can make a big impact on the foster care crisis.



Healthy families = Healthy churches

Eron Green explains the importance of promoting healthy foster and adoptive families within the church.


Fostering Love

Read about how First Baptist Church of Mineral Wells is rallying around foster families in their community and why they believe this ministry is so important.

You are receiving a free copy of Texas Baptists Life because of your generous support of the Cooperative Program. To subscribe or update your subscription preferences, call 214.828.5232 or email subscriptions@txb.org.




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In the Spring of 2017, I began reading and hearing a great deal about foster care issues in Texas and beyond. Like many of you, I have been aware of foster care needs for some time. Also, like you, I’ve known and respected many couples and families who were foster care parents. However, I came to the realization that foster care needs were more than just an issue that needed to be addressed— it was reaching a crisis level. There were numerous articles during that particular legislative session and many sad and even uncomfortable stories about the lack of available foster care families and the ongoing challenges of current foster care parents. So, in February of 2017, I suggested to our Executive Board that we, as a Texas Baptists family, take a serious look at both the problem and possible solutions. What began as a conversation has developed over these past couple of years into a new Texas Baptists Initiative: Faith Fosters Texas.

Ummel for your willingness to step up and lead the way for all of us. Thank you Children At Heart Ministries President Todd Roberson and STCH Ministries President Eron Green for your willingness to walk alongside, providing insight, experience and assistance. Together we will make a difference. There is something every church can do and we trust the Lord will show us what, where and how to help. At our Annual Meeting in November, we’ll officially set in motion this exciting opportunity. Please be in attendance on Monday night, November 18, and join us in praying for a great work ahead. Thank you for the encouragement and support you’ve already demonstrated. The faith community will be involved and Texas Baptists will lead the way. Amen!

¡Hola Bautistas de Texas!

As the conversation began to take place and as we began to engage our Texas Baptists Child Care agencies, we realized that this was certainly an area our BGCT family could and would address. We learned that a good number of our churches were, to varying degrees, already engaged in foster care.

En la primavera del 2017, comencé a leer y escuchar mucho acerca del tema del cuidado o crianza temporal (foster care) en Texas y más allá. Al igual que muchos de ustedes, he estado consciente acerca de las necesidades del cuidado temporal desde hace un tiempo. Además, al igual que usted, he conocido y respetado a muchas parejas y familias que han abierto sus hogares para acoger temporalmente a niños. Sin embargo, me he dado cuenta de que las necesidades relacionadas con la acogida temporal no eran algo a lo que prestar atención—la situación estaba llegando a un nivel de crisis. Hubo numerosos artículos durante esa sesión legislativa en particular y muchas historias tristes e incómodas acerca de la escasez de familias dispuestas a servir como hogares de crianza temporal, y los desafíos continuos que enfrentan los padres que ofrecen crianza o acogida temporal.

Today, I am proud to announce the launch of our Faith Fosters Texas initiative. Thank you to Buckner International President Dr. Albert Reyes for your partnership with us on this new venture. Thank you to Dr. David

Por eso, en febrero del 2017, sugerí a nuestra Junta Ejecutiva que, como familia Bautista de Texas, consideráramos el problema y las posibles soluciones. Lo que comenzó como una conversación se ha desarrollado


a través de los pasados años en una nueva Iniciativa Bautista de Texas: Hogares de Crianza de Fe de Texas (Faith Fosters Texas). Al comenzar el diálogo y la interacción con las agencias de Cuidado Infantil de los Bautistas de Texas, nos dimos cuenta de que ciertamente ésta era un área donde nuestra familia de BGCT prestaría atención. Aprendimos que muchas de nuestras iglesias ya estaban, en cierta medida, participando en el cuidado o la crianza temporal. Hoy, me siento orgulloso en anunciar el lanzamiento de la iniciativa de los Hogares de Crianza de Fe de Texas. Gracias al Dr. Albert Reyes, presidente de Buckner Internacional por su cooperación con nosotros en esta empresa. Gracias al Dr. David Ummel por su disposición a dirigir el camino para todos nosotros. Gracias a Todd Roberson, presidente de los Ministerios Niños de Corazón, y a Eron Green, presidente de los Ministerios del Hogar de Niños del Sur de Texas (STCH) por su disposición a caminar con nosotros proveyendo perspectiva, experiencia, y ayuda. Juntos haremos una diferencia. Hay algo que cada iglesia puede hacer y confiamos que el Seños nos enseñará el qué, dónde, y cómo ayudar. Durante nuestra reunión anual en noviembre iniciaremos oficialmente esta emocionante oportunidad. Por favor, asista el lunes, 18 de noviembre, en la noche y únase a nosotros para orar por la gran tarea que tenemos por delante. Gracias por el ánimo y el apoyo que ya ha demostrado. La comunidad de fe estará incluida y los Bautistas de Texas marcarán el camino. ¡Amén!



Hello Texas Baptists!






New Associate Executive Director

NEDERLAND—Texas Baptists churches joined together with Texas Baptist Men (TBM) to respond to flooding from Tropical Depression Imelda, which impacted Southeast Texas on Sept. 19. The TBM state feeding unit was set up at First Baptist Church of Nederland and provided up to 10,000 meals a day. “We appreciate the prayers and support from our

Texas Baptists family as we respond to needs in our community following this flooding,” said Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church of Nederland and second vice president of Texas Baptists. Several churches are also leading in clean-up efforts in their areas including North End Baptist Church, Calvary Baptist Church and Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, all in Beaumont.


PRAY Pray for TBM volunteers as they respond to disasters

around the world. Pray that those affected by the disasters would see Christ’s love through the volunteers.


GIVE TBM is well prepared because of the faithful support of people like you. You make it possible for TBM to deliver help, hope and healing in the wake of disasters.


GO Become a TBM volunteer and share God’s love through your service! To join, reach out to TBM at volunteer@tbmtx.org.

“It is with great confidence and excitement that we announce Dr. Craig Christina as the next Associate Executive Director of Texas Baptists. After a careful review of all candidates, it was the sense of the Committee that Dr. Christina would best be able to serve and lead us well into the future,” said Hardage. “Personally, I’m looking forward to serving with Dr. Christina. He is a great man, pastor, husband, father and Christ-follower.”

STAY INFORMED You can get all the latest Texas Baptists news at txb.org/news.



Craig Christina, former pastor of Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, has been elected to serve as the next Associate Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). The Executive Board approved Christina’s nomination by an electronic vote on Oct. 2 following the recommendation of the selection committee. The committee was led by Executive Director David Hardage and included Board Chair Dennis Young and Texas Baptists President Michael Evans.


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WACO—This summer, Texas Baptists and George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University celebrated the first graduate of the Advanced Certificate of Ministry in Children’s Ministry, a joint certification program offered by the two institutions. The program’s first graduate, Robin Mack, was honored at the Texas Baptist Childhood and Family Ministry Summit in August at Truett. Mack is a ministry assistant at First Baptist Church of Wills Point. The joint certification program was designed for people looking to invig-

orate all aspects of their children’s ministry. “The Certification Program will deepen ministry for children, parents, and teachers. Promoting the intentional purpose of all ministry events will help parents have a higher commitment level of participation with their children,” Lane said. “It will also renew in the teacher the importance of the spiritual foundation they are building for the child. Educating the entire church on the significance of Preschool and Children’s Ministry will then create an acceptance of the youngest participants in church.”

NORTHWEST AND MICHIGAN CHURCH LEADERS VISIT TEXAS TO SEE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARTNERSHIP MCALLEN—Representatives from the Northwest Baptist Convention and the Baptist State Convention of Michigan traveled to McAllen, TX, Sept. 5-7, to learn about potential partnerships with Texas Baptists River Ministry. During the three-day trip, the ministers and convention staff met with River Ministry missionaries, toured unincorporated colonias outside of Edinburg and visited the Migrant Respite Center in McAllen. Several individuals also traveled into Reynosa, Mexico to view the ministry to migrants and refugees

there. Thirteen of Texas Baptists’ River Ministry missionaries were present at the meeting and shared stories of their on-going ministries and ways churches could join in the work in Texas and Mexico. “It’s such a joy to have our partners from the Northwest and Michigan come here to work with us along the River,” said Tom Howe, associate director of Missions and director of Church Starting for Texas Baptists. “This is truly a reciprocal partnership where we can each share our strengths.”

Katie Frugé has joined the Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission (CLC) team as the Hunger and Care Ministries Specialist. “She will help our churches to better exemplify the love of neighbor that Jesus said is at the core of godly living,” said Ferrell Foster, director of ethics and justice for the CLC. In her new role, Frugé will oversee the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, a ministry seeking to break the cycle of poverty and hunger and promote holistic transformation in the name of Jesus. She will spread awareness about the Hunger Offering and encourage churches to give, while also working to ensure transparency so that donors know where their funds are directed.

Visit hungeroffering.org for more info.



Joins staff as Hunger and Care Ministries Specialist


Tradewind Community Church members hand out food during their movie night


outreach event.


New neighborhoods provide new opportunities for church planting in Amarillo

By Bonnie Shaw News Writer

Brad and Sarah Newman knew they felt called to plant a church. They were already active members and family pastors in their own church, South Georgia Baptist Church, in Amarillo, TX. Furthermore, the Newmans had been involved with a church plant in Denver, where they had learned how to set up a new church. They began looking at options all over the country, waiting for God to call them somewhere. “We kind of thought we’d go far away,” Brad Newman explained. “But at that same time, the church we served at got a heart for church planting.”

South Georgia Baptist wanted to start a new church, and they had their eyes on a neighborhood in Amarillo.The Tradewind community was a booming suburb in southeast Amarillo. Young families were flocking to the area, drawn by new affordable housing opportunities. Cut off by a small local airport, the community felt isolated from the rest of the city. “The idea of this Tradewind community kind of looked us in the face… here’s a place with tremendous growth and no church,” Newman said. So in May 2018, South Georgia Baptist Church began planning the new Tradewind Community Church, the first church in the area. Things quickly began falling into place.

“All of this outreach … we try to be intentional,” Newman said. “You’re here to have fun, but we want you to hear about Jesus.” often overlooked reason, was to make sure everything goes smoothly. Making sure that sound equipment works, Sunday schools have places to meet, and doors are unlocked and ready are all vital things that need to be worked out before a church can ever officially begin. “When you have a church building, it’s all built-in, but we have to think of all this stuff,” Newman said.

Approaches such as fun events and building personal relationships are essential to church planting. People are more likely to accept an invitation to church from someone they know and trust. Newman and Dindinger felt that it was important to relocate their families to the heart of the Tradewind neighborhood. They wanted to get to know the people they would be ministering to as friends and neighbors.

Though Tradewind Community Church was not officially established until September 8, 2019, they began hosting preview services throughout the spring and summer. Their first preview service took place on Easter Sunday, where they had about 40 families from their sending church, South Georgia, as well as around 30 people from the Tradewind community. Newman explained that the purpose for these previews was twofold. One reason was to garner attention and excitement for the church before it had even opened. A second important, but

“Every place in our city should have an The Easter festival was their first outpost of the Gospel.” community outreach event. Funds from the Mary Hill Davis Offering, an offering Church plants like Tradewind Community focused on Texas-based missions coordi- Church are made possible in part by the nated by WMU of Texas, were essential Mary Hill Davis (MHD) Offering, and to the success of this event. gifts to the Cooperative Program. The money went towards purchasing Easter eggs, games and food for the community. Hundreds of people attended, and it provided a great opportunity to minister to Tradewind Community Church’s new neighbors. “All of this outreach… we try to be intentional,” Newman said. “You’re here to have fun, but we want you to hear about Jesus.”


Texas Baptists church plants like “Jesus loved people. He met them where Tradewind Community Church do not they were, he knew their names… that’s have everything readily available like what we’re trying to do,” Newman said. Challenging beginnings a traditional church. Equipment for services must be unloaded and set up Tradewind Community Church is Their first challenge was finding each week, and they have to ensure that working hard to emulate the love of Jesus somewhere to meet. With no traditional everything is neatly cleaned up at the Christ. They are building relationships, church buildings available, they began end of the day so that school can resume whether it is through volunteering at the looking at non-traditional options. Monday morning. elementary crosswalk or handing out Through God’s providence, the new free popcorn at a movie night. Tradewind associate pastor, Jonathan Despite these technicalities, Newman is They know that each hand they shake, Dindinger, found himself seated next to excited about the church and its future. each smile they show, has the potential the principal of the Tradewind Elementa- “Church planting is the most exciting to draw someone into the church and ry School. She turned to him and began thing I’ve ever been a part of in my God’s grace. talking about her desire to partner the entire life.” school with a church who would provide Newman acknowledges that they are activities and outreach to the school. Loving thy neighbor hardly experts when it comes to church planting. But with God guiding them, he When Dindinger told her about their The biggest focus for Newman and the is confident they will succeed. vision for a church in Tradewind, the other leaders of Tradewind is simply getThe Tradewind area needs a church in principal offered the school auditorium ting to know the local community. The the heart of the community, as a meeting location. The kids would church has hosted a number of events to somewhere that its members can have Sunday school in the library spread the word and build relationships. grow and worship together. and nursery in the hall. The church They have hosted an Easter festival, a happily accepted. summer kickoff and even a movie night. “The reasoning is simple,” Newman said.


One Hundred Years of

Baptist Student Ministry


By Meredith Rose, Contributing Writer


In the late 1910s, increased college enrollment of Baptist youth in Texas created the need for a new type of student ministry, one that encouraged the expression of faith on campus while students were separated from their home churches. This new ministry was named the Baptist Student Union (BSU) and is known today as Baptist Student Ministry (BSM). BSU operations officially began in the fall of 1919 when the Baptist General Convention of Texas named Joseph P. Boone, a Baylor University graduate, as the first Baptist student secretary. Boone, known as the father of the BSU, had earlier declined a position as general secretary of the YMCA’s

to employ paid collegiate ministers, and several other campuses with new ministries were represented at this gathering. Over the next 80 years, the BSU saw periods of both growth and decline. At the height of the Great Depression, the organization was completely disbanded. Just a few decades later, it was revived and thriving, reporting 60 active unions across Texas schools. When BSU participation declined in the mid-90s, a strategic name change was approved to better communicate the organization’s inclusivity. Eventually, the newly-christened BSM emerged into the 21st century growing stronger than ever before.


In the summer of 1920, Boone held a meeting at the Palacios Encampment with 15 students and five faculty members from colleges across Texas. Here, the small group laid a foundation for the BSU by drafting its first mission statement – one based on evangelism, missions, stewardship, denominational loyalty and the call to service. A few months later, in the fall of 1920, the first state-wide convocation of BSU members was held at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX. The university’s central location allowed over 300 students from 20 schools to gather and discuss what BSU ministries and programs should look like on their campuses. Texas A&M University and The University of Texas-Austin, the first two campuses

Today, Texas Baptists recognizes those students who paved the road to the modern BSM, a model which has been adopted by several other states and remains strong throughout Texas. Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministries now reports 134 active BSMs on campuses across the state, reaching 124,165 students every year. “God continues to use BSM as an opportunity for students to build communities that engage the lost student population on campus,” said Joyce Ashcraft, associate director of Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry. “We believe if we reach the campus, we can reach the world.” Join Texas Baptists in remembering and celebrating the history of the BSM as well as the many lives it has touched over the past one hundred years.


Interdenominational Student Religious Organization in favor of developing a Baptist student ministry.


SNAPSHOTS OF BAPTIST STUDENT MINISTRY ETBU: Planting and Harvesting Seeds At East Texas Baptist University (ETBU), discipleship is an important part of BSM. This is one reason why junior Christan Phillips got involved his first semester on campus. A strong community of believers helped Christian grow in his faith and gave him boldness to share the Gospel with his roommate. Soon, the seeds that Christian planted in his roommate’s life blossomed into a profession of faith and a call to service. “This is our main focus,” said David Griffin, BSM director at ETBU, “to disciple leaders to reach others for Christ.”


A&M: Reaching the World for Christ


Texas A&M University senior Connor Clement felt a call to ministry after getting involved with her campus’ South Asian student association. As a BSM member, she was connected to Go Now Missions, Texas Baptists’ student mission-sending program, and made plans to minister in South Asia over the summer. While there, Connor had the opportunity to share the Gospel with the family of an international peer from A&M. “It just blows my mind,” Connor said. “We went there and they didn’t know about the Gospel at all. Now, multiple people in their village know these stories.”

DBU: Building Relationships with the Community Kids Club is an off-campus ministry sponsored by the BSM of Dallas Baptist University (DBU). Senior Marina Love has been serving with this ministry for two years, meeting with the children of a Grand Prairie apartment complex once a week for games, crafts and Bible study. “My favorite thing about serving with Kids Club is our consistency in

building relationships,” said Marina. “I believe we are put there to help guide these kids like older brothers and sisters.” Both on and off campus, BSM students from DBU build relationships with people in need of Christ’s love and the Gospel message.

UTD: Ministering to Peers Through Service Every Tuesday, BSM students from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) serve free lunches to more than 200 students on campus. Andrew VallalGershom, a graduate student from India, serves at this event weekly. “Free Tuesday lunches are my favorite

because they create opportunities to talk about faith,” said Andrew. “Some students come for the food, but others are open to discussing the Gospel with our volunteers and become involved with the BSM after attending this event.” Through providing for physical needs, BSM students at UTD are able to affect change in the spiritual lives of students on campus.





Engaging Students to Follow Christ and Transform the World.



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7,253 sibling groups are currently in foster care


Almost 35% of siblings are not placed together

1,000 62% of foster kids are removed from their homes due to neglect

7,000 There are more than 7,000 kids waiting to be adopted



More than 1,000 kids age out of the foster care system each year without finding an adoptive family





Contributions from Buckner International, Children At Heart, STCH Ministries


Like many Texans, Travis and Terri Burleson of Salado had heard about the desperate need for foster and adoptive parents. Travis, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, and Terri first heard of the crisis through STARRY, a faith-based Christian foster care and adoption agency based in Round Rock. While the couple had a biological daughter, they knew deep in their hearts their family had room for more children, and they felt called to act. STARRY, a member of the Children At Heart Ministries, which is affiliated with Texas Baptists, placed a young foster child – also named Travis – with the Burlesons, where he thrived. “When Travis came into our home, we instantly fell in love with him. He fit into our family so well,” said the Burlesons.


Travis and his brother Fabian were removed from their home because of severe trauma and neglect, said Nita Riggins, director of foster care services for STARRY.


“Sadly, when they were placed in the foster care system, Travis and Fabian were separated and each went to a different foster family,” she explained. “Travis was thriving in the Burlesons home. For the first time in his life, he had the love and structure he needed to grow and develop deep, trusting relationships, but he missed his brother daily.” Several months later, the Burlesons had a chance to meet Fabian, and they instantly knew that he belonged with them too. “Just seeing the boys back together was amazing,” said Travis and Teri. “It was like no time had passed at all. They picked right back up where they left off and were just so glad to see each other.”

“Faith Fosters Texas is the place where Texas Baptists can change the future of our most vulnerable children and provide homes for every abandoned, neglected or abused child in the child welfare system.” — David Hardage

Knowing the brothers belonged together, the Burlesons adopted both Travis and Fabian into their family, a move Riggins said meant “Travis and Fabian no longer had to worry about what tomorrow holds. Now they have the stability and love of a forever family.” Like the Burlesons, a coalition of Texas Baptist institutions is seeking to answer the foster care crisis, one that has nagged the state for years, but recently reached a crescendo. Coalition members represent the Baylor University Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Buckner International, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Children At Heart Ministries, STCH Ministries and Texas Baptists, working with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. That answer, said group members, can happen through a new initiative called “Faith Fosters Texas,” which seeks to engage every Texas Baptist church in solving the foster care crisis in Texas. “What we’re trying to do is, in effect, solve one of the biggest crises in the State of Texas,” said David Ummel, a coalition member and church engagement officer for Buckner International. “The foster care crisis is leaving thousands of the most vulnerable of our Texas children unparented and

uncared for. That is unacceptable and should be a burden on the radar of every church in the state.” David Hardage, Texas Baptists executive director, agreed. “Faith Fosters Texas is the place where Texas Baptists can change the future of our most vulnerable children and provide homes for every abandoned, neglected or abused child in the child welfare system.” Coalition member Kyle Luke, vice president of development and communications for STCH Ministries, said Faith Fosters Texas will engage churches through its website (faithfosterstexas.org) to “connect, coach and build the capacity of churches to effectively minister to vulnerable children and their families. “But we need churches willing to commit to a multi-year effort to educate and equip members to fulfill the biblical mandate of caring for vulnerable children and families by embracing and supporting children in foster care,” Luke added, “as well as leveraging church resources to make a positive impact on foster care.” Ummel said Texas Baptist churches and members do not have to commit to a large-scale effort, especially if a majority of churches answer the call.

“Every Texas Baptist Church needs to be involved in supporting foster families, kinship families and bio families -- churches that care for vulnerable children need to build a culture that is pro-foster care and adoption.” He pointed to the difference made by Buck and Stephanie Baskin of Mesquite, who adopted their children Niki and James after fostering through Buckner Foster Care and Adoption for four years. The couple continues to foster children. For the Baskins, members of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, foster care and adoption is a spiritual response to a societal issue.

out she was pregnant and decided to take a temporary break and focus on their family, and the new baby, Selah. Because of their calling to parent through foster care and adoption, “messy” is the new normal for Buck and Stephanie Baskin – full of tickle monsters,musical jam sessions, and marathon sessions of playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos. “We’re a mess,” Stephanie observed with a laugh. “We’re never on time, and I’ve learned that’s okay. And nothing’s ever clean, and that’s okay too.”

The Baskins have had 14 children placed in their home through foster care over varying amounts of time. “For us, this wasn’t optional,” said Buck. “This is a chance to heal brokenness. It’s something that’s contagious not just for your church but your community.” Visit faithfosterstexas.org.

Buck and Stephanie Baskin and their children.

“Scripture is very clear about it,” Stephanie said. “Everyone has to help somehow. The idea of kids not having a home didn’t settle well.

“When we first got in, we learned that 60 percent of the kids went back home to their parents, and we realized that the goal is actually to get the families back together. So we made that our goal,” Buck said. “But the big thing is being open to the process because we also realized that once that doesn’t happen, you’re kind of the last option in a way whether those kids may or may not be in the system for a while. So we realized we need to be open to the idea of adoption as well.” After the Baskins adopted Niki in November 2013 and James in May 2014, they thought they might continue to do foster care, but then Stephanie found

“This is a chance to heal brokenness. It’s something that’s contagious not just for your church but your community.” — Buck Baskin


Though slightly younger than James, Niki was placed in the Baskin home first in May 2013. James joined her two weeks later. While Buck and Stephanie previously only did foster care, with Niki and James, they were open to adoption.




By Kalie Lowrie, News Director


In an effort to unite Texas Baptists and the faith community to make a significant impact on the foster care crisis in Texas, David Ummel is leading the new Faith Fosters Texas initiative. Faith Fosters Texas is a collaboration of multiple Texas Baptists organizations committed to a multi-year effort to educate, equip and engage Texas Baptists families and churches about making a positive impact on foster care.


Faith Fosters Texas is a result of an initiative by Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage to address the foster care crisis in Texas. Last year, Texas Baptists hosted a Foster Care Summit with agency leaders and churches engaged in providing foster care resources and caring for foster families to collaborate for a bigger impact. Now, with a unified focus and dedicated staff member leading the charge, Faith Fosters Texas aims to leverage resources to make a positive macro-impact on foster care in Texas.

In 2008, he joined the staff at Buckner International and has served in various capacities including Executive Director in Houston and East Texas, as well as Senior Executive Director in the East Texas region of the state. In his new role, David is excited about mobilizing Texas Baptists churches to engage in caring for foster children

and families around Texas through Faith Fosters Texas. By coordinating Texas Baptists’ child and family agencies—Buckner, STCH Ministries and Children At Heart—alongside churches and ministry partners statewide, David looks forward to the significant impact believers can have in caring for some of the most vulnerable. “No child has ever asked to be in foster care, but they all have to endure the consequences of someone else’s actions,” David said. “Most of the significant adults in a foster child’s life have failed them. God has called some very amazing people to stand in the gap for those kids, and it’s not easy all the time. It’s heartbreaking sometimes. In the end, where else would God call us to be but to stand in the gap for the defenseless.” Faith Fosters Texas will recruit, equip and provide support to churches as they minister to vulnerable children and their families. The new initiative

will either provide direct services or collaborate with appropriate bridge ministries in order to maximize resources and impact. “What happens to children when they are suffering abuse and neglect grieves the heart of God,” David said. “As the Church, we need to respond to the biblical mandate to care for the fatherless and orphaned.” In addition to the biblical mandate, David encouraged church leaders to see foster care as part of their discipleship program. “It brings ministry opportunities right to your front door,” he said. “It gives you a chance to love kids that can be hard to love. It gives you a chance to grow and expand to live out your faith and wrap-around and support other believers. And it also brings diversity to our churches as we care for those who cannot care for themselves.”


David has been passionate about adoption since 1995, when he and his wife, Shannon, felt called to adopt their oldest child. A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and B.H. Carroll Seminary, he has served in various ministry positions since the early 1990s. David was a student pastor at churches in Argyle, Georgetown, Longview, Plano and in Oklahoma. Throughout his years in church ministry, he was often drawn to those in vulnerable situations and was passionate about caring for those in need of help.


Healthy Families = Healthy Churches

By Eron Green, President and CEO of STCH Ministries


The family unit is the building block of society, and the church is the hope of the world. We know that healthy people make healthy families, and healthy families make healthy churches. A primary goal of STCH Ministries is to help families become healthy and stay healthy. We do this through our nine ministry programs in various and unique ways, depending on the needs of each family.


As we all try to live out the biblical imperative from James 1:27, Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you, we know that it is the responsibility of the church and its members to meet the needs in caring for today’s widows and orphans. What are the needs foster families and adoptive families have and how can the church and other ministry organizations help in the process? We know from research that families who feel called by God to foster and adopt are much more successful in the effort.

First, we should pray for our brothers and sisters that are foster and adoptive parents. It is not an easy ministry, but with the correct types of support and understanding, it is an experience that is life-changing for both foster and adoptive parents, and the children they care for. As a church, we can help those families called into this ministry be prepared for the task at hand. Real examples of this might include assisting foster or adoptive parents prepare their homes for licensing inspection, or helping paint a bedroom and providing toys that are age-appropriate for the children entering the home. The church family can minister by walking through the process with those that are fostering or adopting children. Individuals can open up their home for respite home or become a babysitter, or churches can host church-led date nights for foster and adoptive families where childcare is provided. The church can also recognize and highlight the foster and adoptive

families in their congregation and appreciate their call to ministry. This calling is as real as someone serving in a distant country, and our domestic missionaries should also be honored. The needs of a foster or adoptive family are unique and complex. The church ministry can provide much-needed support by ensuring that foster and adoptive families have the resources they need to be successful. This can come in the form of being a “shoulder to cry on.� It can also be making sure the mental health needs of the family are being met. We need more believers fostering and adopting but we also need to keep the ones we have healthy so they can continue their ministry. The church has an important role to play in the complex needs surrounding foster care and adoption. STCH Ministries is willing and able to be a resource for these churches as they minister to foster and adoptive families.

Healing Hearts and Sharing Hope


Homes for Children Homes for Families Faith & Work Faith & Finances Pastor Care

Family Counseling International Family Support Ministry Consulting


Reaching hurting children and families with His love and truth.


Fostering Love By Bonnie Shaw, News Writer

Nathan Buchanan and his adopted son, Jackson in


September 2017.


Nathan Buchanan and his wife, Kayla, knew God was calling them to help children from broken homes. They began the adoption process, assembling a book about their family for birth mothers to look over when selecting a family with which to place their child. But after three or four years of waiting, they had not been chosen by any birth mothers.

Around that time, Buchanan met a representative of an adoption and foster care ministry. The representative told Buchanan that, though there were 100 children in their county’s foster care system, there were only three foster homes to place them in. As a result, children were being sent as far as Houston, 300 miles away from their birth parents and siblings, to be placed in homes. This opened the Buchanans’ eyes to the world of foster care. They saw a new way to fulfill God’s calling in their lives. So, they began going through the foster care training, and in 2015 they had their first foster child, a little boy, placed in their home.

As the Buchanans were learning more about the foster care system, so was their church, First Baptist Church of Mineral Wells. Buchanan, who is the pastor of FBC Mineral Wells, encouraged the church to expand their ministry to foster families as he learned more about the difficulties these families faced. A wrap-around team was created. As the name suggests, this team would “wrap-around” the foster families, encompassing them with love and support. The first step for the newly created team was to assess what these families needed. “Find out the need in your community,” Buchanan explained. “Find out how many homes you have and how many kids you have. Then make that need known.” For new foster families, the team provided home repairs to bring houses up to the safety codes required for housing foster children. These requirements included having locks on each door in the house, childproofing cabinets and ensuring that proper first aid was available. FBC Mineral Wells also has clothing available to foster families, who may be receiving children for whom they do not have proper attire. The church’s collection of children’s clothing allows families to ensure that each child will have suitable clothes waiting for them in their new home. One of the most important things FBC Mineral Wells offers is family nights, where the church provides free childcare so that the foster parents can enjoy a night out. Foster children can only be watched by certified individuals, and the church trains and certifies each person working the event to ensure the childrens’ safety.

They even offer a special Christmas night so that parents will have time to buy presents for the children. Buchanan suggested that churches interested in starting a similar ministry seek partnerships with other churches in the area. “If the church will find out what they’re good at, they can partner with other churches to meet all the needs,” he explained. For example, one could provide a childcare night, while another takes care of the clothing ministry. When each church does a little bit of work, a great deal of good can be done for the foster care community.

By offering a strong support network, FBC Mineral Wells gave families considering foster care the courage to pursue what God is calling them to do. Now, four years after the ministry was introduced, there are about 20 foster families in the local community, providing homes for a total of 60 children. Buchanan explained that this county-wide increase in foster families is largely due to the partnerships that churches in the area have formed to in order to better serve these families. Buchanan is excited to see how Mineral Wells churches will continue together to care for foster families in the community. By supporting these

Overcoming hardships in the name of love

Lord provides the strength that “weTheneed. We’re taking care of the kids that the Lord gives us.”

Even for experienced parents, fostering children can involve some unexpected hardships. Buchanan explained that families often have to create a whole new discipline system or family routine to accommodate foster care regulations. Furthermore, many of these children have come from difficult environments and may have underlying issues that need to be addressed.

“They’re great kids, and they want to be there, but they might not act like your other kids,” he said. For foster families, having a church body that supports them spiritually, physically and emotionally can make a big difference. Without that support, many of the families who feel called to foster can burn out or become discouraged and give up. “A lot of foster families are one-anddone families… If they don’t get the support they need around them, like a church family, they’re done, because it’s very hard,” Buchanan explained.

families, they are giving others the courage to foster children themselves. The more foster families available, the less children will have to be moved around the state to find homes. Since that first child was placed with them, the Buchanans have seen 13 foster children, some of them siblings, pass through their home. Sometimes children are with them for as little as a month, while others have stayed for almost a year. He admitted that it is not always easy, but he continues to trust in the Lord. “The Lord provides the strength that we need,” he said. “We’re taking care of the kids that the Lord gives us.”


Creating a supportive community


Texas Baptist churches across the state are getting creative when it comes to using their buildings to serve their communities. Pat Ekern, a Church Architecture specialist at Texas Baptists, has noticed a surge in churches requesting help either remodeling or creating buildings specifically designed to meet the community’s needs. Here are three churches that are thinking creatively to design spaces where the love of Christ can be shared by serving those in need.

For most people driving through Fort Worth, the former convenience store on Hemphill Drive was nothing but an eyesore. For Southside City Church, it was an opportunity. Southside, originally a Texas Baptists church plant, was started specifically to minister to the poor in Fort Worth. The old convenience store presented a unique chance for Southside to move to the heart of the Hemphill Drive neighborhood, where they had already started housing and feeding ministries. So, with the help of the Texas Baptists Church Architecture team, Southside created plans to transform the store into a church facility. “If we could have chosen a location to have a building 11 years ago, we would have chosen Hemphill… and now God is moving us there,” Darren Auvenshine, pastor of Southside, said excitedly. The Church Architecture Team worked closely with the church to design a building that would best suit their ministries. Each room was designed with multiple uses in mind, and the building will provide spaces for the community to gather throughout the week. Most importantly, Auvenshine wants Southside to be a home to those in need. He is confident that the new location will allow the church to most effectively minister both physically and spiritually to the people God is calling them to.

A new facility for food distribution and ministry At First Baptist Church of Lorena, the food pantry they started five years ago has outgrown the church building. So, the church has proposed a new 5,000 square foot building to house the food pantry, along with other ministries.

The food pantry, which distributes food twice a month, began its program five years ago, feeding 15 families. Now they feed close to 60 families, distributing roughly 15,000 pounds of food every other week. They also send weekend meals to the local schools to distribute to children in need. Ekern worked with members of FBC Lorena to identify what they would need to successfully house their ministry. They found that a new, larger building would allow the ministry to continue to grow. By placing an emphasis on installing larger refrigerators and freezers, the food pantry will also be able to provide healthier food options. “We’ll be able to provide more fresh produce, meat and refrigerated food with a designated space,” Susan Yow, a member of FBC Lorena and one of the founders of the food pantry, explained. In addition to housing the food pantry, the new building will also host some of FBC Lorena’s other ministries. A clothing closet will be available to the local community, and classrooms will host English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, financial planning seminars and health fairs. Yow is excited to see how the building will meet the needs of the community. Though it has not always been easy to plan, Yow knows it is all in God’s hands.

Creating a community center for ministry FBC Marble Falls has hosted a food pantry for almost 20 years, but when the church moved into a new building in a more affluent area, its new location was not ideal for a food pantry. Following Jesus’ example of meeting people where they are, the church decided to build a community center to house their ministries where the need was greatest, in a more urban area separate from the church’s campus.

Visit txb.org/churcharchitecture to learn more.

“This property has served this community for over 100 years and we want to continue the legacy,” Jason Coleman, project director of the new community center, said. As they began designing the building, it was important to FBC Marble Falls that the new community center would serve more than just their church’s ministries. The existing soup kitchen will be moving into the building full-time and a counseling center with paid, certified counselors available will be on-site. The building will also house Cornerstone Baptist Church, a small church that has sat on the property for 20 years. With all these different ministries, Ekern helped FBC Marble Falls create a space where each ministry could function separately, but within the same building and without disrupting each other. Already anticipating expansion, the church built walls tall enough for an eventual second story in the building, which Ekern also designed a conceptual floorplan for. Coleman explained that it was important to the church that the building would continue to grow with their outreach. FBC Marble Falls will be able to serve more people than ever before. The church architecture team has been hard at work, ensuring that all of these churches have the conceptual plans they need to expand their buildings. Ekern is excited to see this change in church planning and the new emphasis on meeting needs. “Suddenly, it seems like the Baptist churches of Texas are aware that it’s time to respond, and... this is an opportunity God has given us to reach people and to meet their physical needs,” she explained. “The most important thing these churches can do is pray, and then after that, it is up to them to do what God has asked of them.” The Church Architecture Team is here to ensure that happens.


Converting a convenience store to serve others



Some journeys are better with a guide.

You can try Connect 360 Bible Study Guides FREE. Churches and classes who have never used Connect 360 Bible Studies can get up to 25 free study Guides and 2 Teaching Guides of 1 study. Email baptistwaypress@txb.org to get your FREE guides.




Immersed for a month. Mentored for a year. Changed for a lifetime.

The goal of KALEO is to transform lives through an understanding of God’s call for Christian leadership in the lives of high school juniors and seniors. Nominate your student for this life-changing experience at


To learn more about Wayland, visit wbu.edu

The Texas Baptists Worldwide offering gives churches the opportunity to do missions and ministry from the heart of Texas to the ends of the earth. Worldwide gifts are above and beyond Cooperative Program giving, and allow churches the opportunity to work with a trusted partner to make a Kingdom impact across the world.

Find out more or give online at txb.org/worldwide

Giving BEYOND Texas.



Arreglar un Sistema en Apuros Texas Baptists enfocan al responder a niños en necesidad

A pesar de tener una hija biológica, sabían en sus corazones que en su familia había lugar para más niños, y se sintieron llamados a actuar. STARRY, miembro de los Ministerios Niños de Corazón, afiliado con los Bautistas de Texas, asignó a un niño pequeño para crianza temporal—también llamado Travis—con los Burleson, donde él progresó. “Cuando Travis llegó a nuestro hogar, enseguida nos enamoramos de él. Él se sintió muy bien en nuestra familia”, dijeron los Burleson. Travis y su hermano Fabián fueron removidos de su hogar debido a trauma y abandono severo, dijo Nita Riggins, directora de los servicios para la crianza temporal de STARRY. “Desgraciadamente, cuando fueron asignados al sistema de crianza temporal, Travis y Fabián fueron separados y cada uno fue a una familia de crianza temporal diferente”, explicó ella. “Travis estaba desarrollándose bien en el hogar de los Burleson. Por primera vez en su vida tenía el

amor y la estructura que necesitaba para crecer y desarrollar relaciones profundas y de confianza, pero echaba mucho de menos a su hermano”. Varios meses más tarde, los Burleson tuvieron la oportunidad de conocer a Fabián, e inmediatamente supieron que él también pertenecía con ellos. “Ver a los niños reunidos fue maravilloso”, dijeron Travis y Terri. “Fue como si el tiempo no hubiera pasado. Estaban felices de verse”. Sabiendo que los hermanos debían estar juntos, los Burleson adoptaron a Travis y a Fabián en su familia, una decisión que, dijo Riggins, significaba que “Travis y Fabián ya no tendrían que preocuparse acerca del mañana. Ahora tenían la estabilidad y el amor de una familia para siempre”. Al igual que los Burleson, una coalición de instituciones de los Bautistas de Texas está buscando responder a la crisis en la crianza temporal, una que ha inquietado al estado durante años, pero que ha llegado a su punto culminante recientemente. Los miembros de la coalición representan a la Escuela de Trabajo Social Diana Garland de la Universidad de Baylor, Buckner Internacional, el Seminario Teológico George W. Truett, los Ministerios Niños de Corazón, los ministerios del Hogar de Niños del Sur de Texas, y los Bautistas de Texas, trabajando con el Departamento Servicios para la Familia y de Protección de Texas.


Al igual que muchos tejanos, Travis y Terri Burleson, de Salado, habían escuchado acerca de la necesidad desesperada por padres adoptivos y de crianza temporal. Travis, pastor de la Primera Iglesia Bautista, y Terri escucharon por primera vez acerca de la crisis por medio de STARRY, una agencia cristiana para adopción y crianza temporal basada en Round Rock.

Contribuciones de Buckner International, Children At Heart, y STCH Ministries


Buck y Stephanie Baskin y sus hijos.

Aunque Buck y Stephanie solamente habían ofrecido crianza temporal, con Niki y James, se abrieron a la adopción.

Esa respuesta, dijeron los miembros del grupo, puede suceder por medio de una iniciativa nueva llamada “Hogares de Crianza de Fe de Texas”, la cual busca incluir a cada iglesia Bautista de Texas en resolver la crisis de la crianza temporal en Texas. “Lo que tratamos de hacer, de hecho, resuelve una de las mayores crisis en el estado de Texas”, dijo David Ummel, miembro de la coalición y oficial de participación de iglesias para Buckner Internacional. “La crisis en la crianza temporal está dejando a miles de los niños más vulnerables en Texas sin padres y sin cuidado. Esto no es aceptable y debe ser una carga en el radar de cada iglesia en el estado”.


David Hardage, director ejecutivo de los Bautistas de Texas, coincide. “Hogares de Crianza de Fe de Texas es el lugar donde los Bautistas de Texas pueden cambiar el futuro de nuestros niños más vulnerables y proveer hogares para cada niño abusado, abandonado, o descuidado en el sistema de beneficios sociales”.


Kyle Luke, miembro de la coalición y vicepresidente de desarrollo y comunicaciones para los Ministerios del Hogar de Niños del Sur de Texas, dijo que Hogares de Crianza de Fe de Texas interactuará con las iglesias por medio de su sitio web (faithfosterstexas.org) para “conectar, entrenar, y desarrollar la capacidad de las iglesias para ministrar efectivamente a niños vulnerables y sus familias”. “Sin embargo, necesitamos iglesias dispuestas a comprometerse a un esfuerzo de múltiples años para educar y equipar a sus miembros para cumplir

“Cuando comenzamos, aprendimos que el 60 por ciento de los niños regresan al hogar con sus padres, y nos dimos el mandato bíblico de cuidar de los cuenta de que la meta es en realidad niños y familias vulnerables al abrazar reunir a estas familias. Por eso, nos y sostener a niños en crianza temporal”, fijamos esa meta”, dijo Buck. “Lo añadió Luke, “así como utilizar los importante es estar abierto al proceso recursos de la iglesia para hacer un porque también nos dimos cuenta de impacto positivo en el sistema de que, una vez eso no sucede, uno es crianza temporal”. la última opción para que esos niños permanezcan o no en el sistema por Ummel dijo que las iglesias Bautistas un tiempo. Entonces nos dimos cuenta de Texas y sus miembros no tienen de que también teníamos que estar que hacer un compromiso a gran abiertos a la idea de adoptar”. escala, particularmente si una mayoría de las iglesias responde al llamado. Después de adoptar a Niki en “Cada iglesia Bautista de Texas necesita noviembre del 2013, y a James en participar en el sostén de familias mayo del 2014, ellos pensaron que de crianza temporal, familias de continuarían ofreciendo crianza parientes, y familias biológicas—las temporal, pero entonces Stephanie iglesias que cuidan de niños vulneraquedó embarazada y tuvo que bles necesitan desarrollar una cultura tomar un descanso para enfocar en que está a favor del cuidado de crianza su familia, y el nuevo bebé, Selah. temporal y la adopción”. Debido a su llamado a ser padres Él mencionó la diferencia que por medio de la crianza temporal y hicieron Buck y Stephanie Baskin de la adopción, la rutina normal para Mesquite, quienes adoptaron a sus Buck y Stephanie Baskin ahora es hijos Niki y James después de haber “desordenada”—llena de monstruos ofrecido crianza temporal por medio cosquillosos, música, y maratones de de la Crianza temporal y Adopción de jugar Hipopótamos Hambrientos. Buckner durante cuatro años. La pareja “Somos un revoltijo”, observó Stephanie continúa participando en la crianza riéndose. “Nunca llegamos a tiempo, temporal de niños. y he aprendido que eso está bien. Y, Para los Baskin, miembros de la nada nunca está limpio, y eso también iglesia Lake Point en Rockwall, la está bien”. crianza temporal y la adopción son una Los Baskin han tenido a 14 niños bajo respuesta espiritual a un problema de su cuidado de crianza temporal a la sociedad. través del tiempo. “La Biblia es muy clara al respecto”, “Para nosotros, esto no era opcional”, dijo Stephanie. “Todos tienen que dijo Buck. “Ésta es una oportunidad ayudar de alguna manera. La idea de que hay niños sin hogar es inquietante”. para sanar el quebrantamiento. Es algo que es contagioso, no solamente Aunque un poco menor que James, Niki para su iglesia sino también para su fue asignada al hogar de los Baskin comunidad”. primero en mayo del 2013. James se Visite faithfosterstexas.org unió a ella dos semanas más tarde.


Churches that want to answer the statewide foster care crisis through foster care and adoption can find resources at faithfosterstexas.org. Churches can register at the website, where they will find a church engagement toolkit that will walk them through the engagement process.


Go to faithfosterstexas.org and register your church.


Receive access to resources and a church guide.

CONTACT David C. Ummel Church and Network Relations Faith Fosters Texas Buckner International 903.495.2838 dummel@buckner.org


Pray, plan and develop a Ministry Action Plan on how your church will support foster care and foster families.

GOAL 540


churches involved in foster care initiatives across Texas









Texas Baptists is a fellowship of transformational churches sharing Christ and showing love. For more than 130 years, we have helped churches fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Learn more at txb.org

Los Bautistas de Texas son un compañerismo de iglesias transformadoras compartiendo a Cristo y demostrando amor. Durante más de 130 años, hemos ayudado a las iglesias a cumplir la Gran Comisión y el Gran Mandamiento. Conozca más en txb.org