Texas Baptists Life, Volume 9 Issue 1

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Issue No. 1

New vision, mission, and structure of Texas Baptists See how Texas Baptists is evolving to meet the changing needs of Texas. pg.12





Contents Our Mission Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture, and connecting the nations to Jesus. Read about our 5 new centers designed to fulfill that mission on pages 12 – 25.

Important Issues in the 87th Legislative Session



Texas Baptists celebrate and look ahead during first-ever online Annual Meeting


Un movimiento del pueblo de Dios para compartir a Cristo + demostrar amor

The 2020 Annual Meeting saw the election of new leadership and the launch of a new structure for convention staff.




The Texas Baptists Camp Relief Fund is supporting 27 encampments across the state as they continue their ministry in spite of setbacks due to COVID-19.

Read how the Baptist Student Ministry at The University of El Paso is equipping their students for lifelong evangelism.

Camp Relief Fund helps camps continue ministry


A movement of God’s people to Share Christ + Show Love: The new vision, mission and structure of Texas Baptists Learn about the new vision, mission and structure of the convention and see how Texas Baptists is evolving to meet the changing needs of Texas.

Public Policy Director Michael A. Evans, Jr. explains what the upcoming Texas Legislative Session will be about and how the Christian Life Commission seeks to uphold God’s Word on each issue.

BSM’s Evangelism Challenge prepares students for off-campus ministry

Aprenda acerca de la nueva visión, misión, y estructura de la Convención y cómo los Bautistas de Texas están avanzando para satisfacer las diferentes necesidades de Texas.

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.

Publication Team Joshua Seth Minatrea Director of Communications Kalie Lowrie Associate Director of Communications/News Director Jeremy Honea Creative Director Bonnie Shaw News Writer Maritza Solano Production Designer Caleb Arndt Graphic Designer Neil Williams Multimedia Specialist Brittany Thomas Digital Marketing Specialist/ Communications Assistant






Take 60 seconds to learn about and pray for the missionaries and ministries you support across Texas and around the world through the Cooperative Program. Ten new stories will be posted each quarter in 2021 for you to use in your church! Historias disponibles en EspaĂąol. Get free resources for your church to use in 2021 at txb.org/cpstories


MICAH 6:8 CONFERENCE ENCOURAGES LOVE AND UNITY IN DIVISIVE TIMES Fruge, director of the Texas Baptists Hunger Offering; Mark Grace, chief of Mission and Ministry at Baylor Scott

Oza Jones named new director of African American Ministries

The event, sponsored annually by the Christian Life Commission, is focused on bringing the Old Testament words of Micah 6:8 to life for a new generation. During the conference, David Sanchez, new director of Ethics and Justice for the CLC, was commissioned to his position. Speakers included Katie

& White Health; Kathryn Freeman, Jeremy Everett, executive director at the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty; and Gus Reyes, CLC director.

TEXAS BAPTISTS WELCOMES NEW STAFF Texas Baptists welcomed several new staff to serve churches and support the missions and ministries of the convention.

Ralph S. Emerson Associate Director for the Office of Cooperative Program Ministries

Carlos Francis Associate Evangelism Lead, African American Specialist

Jennifer Howington Preschool and Children’s Ministry Specialist

Kris Knippa Area 1 Representative (Panhandle)

Bill Noe Campus Strategist

Jonathan Smith Church Health Strategist

Lonnie Tucker Church Starting Strategist for the Dallas and Northeast Texas

David Vela Area 2 Representative (West Texas) In addition to these new staff members, Texas Baptists also welcome these staff members into new roles: Katie Fruge as the Associate Director of the Christian Life Commission and Mark Heavener as the Director of Intercultural Ministries. Visit txb.org/staff to reach out and connect with these new staff members!

Oza Jones, Jr. has been named the new Director of African American Ministries for Texas Baptists. Jones brings years of ministry experience to the position, including from his most recent role as African American Evangelism and Church Revitalization Specialist on the Great Commission Team. “We want to be a resource for churches looking to reach their communities and give them the tools and techniques they need to reach their people with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Jones said. “My dream for African American churches is that every church does everything they can for the community. I want them to be a pillar for their community. I want to see African American churches not just built up in numbers, but built up spiritually.”


On Oct. 26-27, attendees of the Micah 6:8 Conference gathered in-person at Howard Payne University and virtually to learn about engaging with hot-button issues, such as racial inequalities and gender gaps, from a Biblical perspective.



sulrossbsm September 16, 2020


BSM Director Kyle Crim responded to Mason’s message and invited him to stop by the student ministry building. Mason did, and as they chatted, Crim learned that Mason considered himself agnostic but was searching for God. Over the next few months, Crim asked Mason questions about who Jesus was and what His death and resurrection meant. Mason slowly came to understand and know Jesus, so Crim walked Mason through the Gospel. He asked Mason if following Christ was something he wanted to do. “Mason said ‘yes.’ We had a new brother in Christ on the Sul Ross campus!” said Crim. Mason’s life was changed through a simple response to a social media message. Do you ever wonder what your church, BSM or ministry could do to be more active and accessible on social media for people seeking community and the Gospel truth? Check out these five ideas:

Highlight people People are hungry for community, and they want to put faces to your ministry. Highlighting staff or members is a great way to personalize your ministry so that other people feel more comfortable getting involved.

sulrossbsm Learning how to engage our campus with the Three Circles Illustration!

Ask questions Asking people to share their opinions, insights and memories is a great way to foster that sense of community and ultimately enable ministry to happen. Regularly ask your social media audience questions. Also, make sure to engage back by replying to comments and questions. This lets the speaker know they are heard, valued and loved.

staff, members or students; influencers such as well-known pastors, public speakers or directors of partner organizations; and of course, Texas Baptists!

Don’t just promote, tell a story ‘Tell a story’ just means ‘create a variety of content.’ When people visit your ministry on social media, they should get an idea of what it’s like to be involved there. They should see clips from your pastor’s latest sermon, pictures from your most recent community outreach, videos of the choir worshiping, pictures of members greeting visitors in the hallway, event promotion and more.

Actively respond Actively respond to direct messages that your ministry receives on all social media platforms. Just like you would check your email daily, you should check direct messages on social media regularly too. Consider cleaning out your ministry’s direct message inboxes to start fresh and assign an administrator or volunteer the task of checking in once per day or week.

Amplify other voices Never forget the power of sharing, retweeting and reposting! Show your followers that you find their posts valuable enough to share and they’ll be more likely to do the same for you. Share from churches and organizations you partner with;

Try implementing a few of these techniques. You never know when they could lead to a life-changing story like Mason’s from Sul Ross BSM! Learn more about the Center for Collegiate Ministries at txb.org/college


At the beginning of the fall semester, the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at Sul Ross State University received a message on their Instagram account from a student named Mason.


By: Kalie Lowrie, Associate Director of Communications/News Director Texas Baptists gathered Nov. 16-17, 2020 for the first-ever online Annual Meeting. During the two-day gathering, Executive Director David Hardage outlined a new vision and structure for the BGCT staff, Texas Baptists en Español was launched, business was conducted and three rallies united Texas Baptists in a time of celebration for all God has done in 2020. Meeting content including workshops, rallies, reports and sessions both live and on-demand received more than 3,500 views online. During the Celebration session, Hardage acknowledged the challenges that unfolded early in the year as the pandemic impacted ministry operations but expressed appreciation to convention churches and staff for their remarkable response. After reflecting on God’s faithfulness in the midst of challenging times, Hardage detailed next steps for the convention, starting with Texas Baptists’ commitment to the New Testament pillars of the Great Commission and Great Commandment. “All we do is centered around the Great Commandment, Great Commission—a GC2 movement— focused on fulfilling the Great Commission and carrying out the Great Commandment,” Hardage said. Hardage then outlined a new structure for the convention staff, based around five ministry centers focused on serving churches and collaborative ministry efforts including the Center for Church Health, the Center for Ministerial Health, the Center for Cultural Engagement, the Center

for Missional Engagement, and the Center for Collegiate Ministry. President Michael A. Evans, Sr. spoke from John 15:9-17 during his sermon in the Celebration Session. He encouraged conference attendees to remember that God has called Christians to be unified in love and to surrender their lives to Christ. Even as the country is going through volatile times, Evans said, Christians are called to come together and seek the wellbeing of others. “In these times the Lord is calling us to be self-sacrificing...it’s when you abandon your desire to please yourself and seek the wellbeing of others instead, it’s when you willingly make yourself subject to the Lordship of Christ because just like Jesus we are called to lay our lives down,” Evans said. A new initiative, Texas Baptists en Español, was launched as a renewed effort for Texas Baptists to reach Hispanics. Rolando Rodriguez, director of Texas Baptists en Español, explained that this initiative is the continuation and expansion of Texas Baptists’ efforts to reach Hispanic churches and support them as they reach their communities for Christ. Emphasis will be placed on eight areas: discipleship, evangelism, church starting, reaching the next generation, leadership development, missions, education, and church health and revitalization. Rodriguez hopes that the Texas Baptists en Español will help Hispanic churches better utilize and connect with all aspects and resources available through Texas Baptists.

Officers elected, budget and other business approved During the Nov. 16 Business Session, 664 registered messengers approved the 2021 budget of $34.23 million, elected new officers and approved numerous appointments to councils and committees. Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland and current first vice president, was elected as President; Julio Guarneri, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, was elected as First Vice President; and Jordan Villanueva, pastor of Indian Hills Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, was elected as Second Vice President. Burden and Guarneri both ran unopposed and were elected unanimously. Villanueva ran against Nebiye Kelile, pastor of Pathway Church in Dallas, for the position of Second Vice President. Messengers voted 376 to 200 in favor of Villanueva. On Nov. 15, the African American Worship Rally, Texas Baptists en Español Launching Service and Devoted Young Adult Rally were held in advance of the Annual Meeting Business and Celebration Sessions. The rallies encouraged attendees in faith and unity and also encouraged them to be involved throughout the Annual Meeting. Eleven workshops were held via Zoom from September to November to provide practical tools for church leaders in ministry and missions endeavors. With the annual gathering moving online due to the pandemic, the decision was made to offer workshops to churches in advance of the meeting through Zoom webinars with live question and answer sessions each week. Workshops included subjects like children’s ministry, missions, race and the church, evangelism and border ministry. Join us for the 2021 Annual Meeting in Galveston from Nov. 14-16.


Texas Baptists celebrate and look ahead during first-ever online Annual Meeting




Camp Relief Fund helps camps continue ministry By Bonnie Shaw, News Writer

To support these camps during this time, the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) set up the Texas Baptists Camp Relief Fund. This fund aimed to provide much needed financial support to camps in the hopes that they will continue to minister to their campers for years to come. The Foundation received a generous matching gift from the Valley Baptist Missions Education Center to ensure that young lives continue to be transformed through Texas Baptist camps. $612,000 was raised to support 27 encampments across the state. “I’ve been thrilled to see the original matching gift grow as savvy donors give ‘no preference’ contributions, knowing that their generosity sparks increased gifts to the individual camps. Thanks to this donation matching, donors are able to make an even bigger impact for camps,” Jerry Carlisle, TBMF president, said. “It’s as if 2 Corinthians 9:12 is being lived out as Texas Baptists are ‘supplying the needs of God’s people... overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.’ This is why the Missions Foundation exists!” To Roberts, keeping the camp open in any capacity possible was an important way to continue making an impact on the lives of the people who stay there.

“So many people have accepted Christ at camp, or have been called to ministry, or meet their spouse. God uses camps. Big life events happen here,” Roberts said. “It’s really important for people to get away from their normal routine. When people get away they can get a new perspective and give God time to speak. People just hear God differently at camp.”

Brad Springer, director of Camp Copass, agreed and thanked everyone who donated to the Camp Relief Fund. “I want to thank you for giving to the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation and enabling our camp, and a lot of other camps, to keep their doors open. I want you to know that your donations have been very well received and very well used…Camp is one of the best investments you can make in Kingdom work, because our camps across the state of

Texas are a fertile ground for evangelism, it’s where people come to know Jesus Christ,” Springer said. “If you can get a kid to come to camp for a week, that young person is going to have an encounter with Jesus. What they do with that encounter is between them in God, but we must continue creating an atmosphere that is conducive to that.”


Across the state, Texas Baptists camps have seen big changes in their usual operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial effects of the pandemic have been tough, but camps have modified programs and implemented new safety measures to keep their campers as safe as possible.




Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture, and connecting the nations to Jesus.



from the


I am so very grateful to have served as your executive director for nearly a decade. In that time, I have visited churches all across Texas and beyond. While every church is truly unique, one common desire remains at the heart of all our work and ministry: Texas Baptists want to see people come to know Jesus.

working even more effectively together to strengthen churches and ministers, engage culture, and connect the nations to Jesus until His return. If this sounds good to you, then you may be a GC2 kind of person too. Let’s continue putting God’s Word to work!

Our latest vision, mission and staff structure, which you can read about in this brief guide, thoroughly express our unwavering commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, which we refer to as “GC2.” We are a movement of God’s people to Share Christ and Show Love, and generous support of affiliated churches makes it possible for us to pursue this vision together each day.

Estoy muy agradecido por haber servido como su director ejecutivo durante casi una década. En ese tiempo he visitado iglesias por todo Texas y más allá. Aunque cada iglesia es particular, un deseo común permanece en el centro de nuestra labor y ministerio: los Bautistas de Texas quieren que las personas lleguen a conocer a Jesús.

Whether you are new to convention life, or have been faithfully affiliated with the BGCT for decades, my sincere hope is that through this new alignment we will do what is right in the eyes of the LORD,

Nuestra más reciente visión, misión, y estructura de personal ministerial, acerca de lo cual leerá en esta breve guía, expresa completamente nuestro compromiso firme a la Great Commission (Gran Comisión) y

el Great Commandment (Gran Mandamiento), lo que conocemos como “GC2”. Somos un movimiento del pueblo de Dios para compartir a Cristo y demostrar amor, y el respaldo generoso de iglesias afiliadas hace posible nuestra dedicación a esta visión cada día. Sea que usted sea nuevo a la vida de convención, o haya estado afiliado fielmente a BGCT durante décadas, mi esperanza sincera es que a través de este nuevo alineamiento hagamos lo que es recto delante de los ojos del SEÑOR, colaborando más efectivamente para fortalecer a iglesias y ministros, interactuar con la cultura, y conectar a las naciones con Jesús hasta que Él venga. Si esto le parece bien, entonces usted también puede ser una persona de tipo GC2. ¡Continuemos poniendo la Palabra de Dios en acción!








Executive Director

Human Resources Director

Associate Executive Director

Executive Assistant

CFO/ Treasurer

Communications Director




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Texas Baptists exist primarily to serve the needs of our churches; to help the local church be healthy so that God’s people may succeed in His mission of connecting the world to Jesus.


Read online at txb.org/church


Victor Rodriguez trains Hispanic churches across Texas to engage in evangelism within their communities.

Victor Rodriguez, Hispanic Evangelism associate and Discipleship specialist, found his original plans for training Hispanic churches in evangelism and discipleship shaken when COVID-19 hit Texas. Now, he has readjusted, and he is focused on ensuring that the Texas Baptist Hispanic churches and their pastors are healthy. To Rodriguez, that looks like a church that is actively evangelizing, engaging their community and making disciples. Rodriguez is part of the Center for Church Health, which in addition to focusing on evangelism, also includes discipleship, music & worship, BaptistWay Press and church architecture. Though there are many ways to evangelize, Rodriguez wanted to keep the format simple. “There are so many systems of evangelism out there, but I want to be able to focus two basic ones: how-to share your testimony and how to approach someone. These are very personal applications that people can go back and duplicate at their churches,” he said. These simple, yet personal, evangelistic tools are the key to sharing the Gospel, Rodriguez explained. One teaches people how to connect with non-believers, the other tells them how to share the Gospel after they have made the connection. In addition to these basic tools, Rodriguez is also teaching the churches how to deliver the Gospel message to people of different and diverse backgrounds. “The product, the gospel of Christ, never changes, but sometimes we have to change how we deliver that message,” Rodriguez explained. “Factors like income level, education and family background change how people understand the Gospel.” Furthermore, Rodriguez is conducting assessments of every church he interacts with to better understand the successes and struggles of churches around the state. This will better help Rodriguez and the Center for Church Health to see what resources are needed to enable churches to make the biggest impact on their communities.

PHIL MILLER director (214) 828-5213 phil.miller@txb.org

“The Center for Church Health is where we focus on anything that can be helpful to the local church. Drawing from Acts 2:42-47, we will focus on equipping the local church to do what they are called to do through disciple-making, worship, evangelizing, studying God’s word and creating a space for others.” – Phil Miller

ministries Church Health Evangelism Discipleship Music & Worship Church Architecture BaptistWay Press




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The Church will only be as healthy as her ministers. We invest in Texas Baptist ministers to encourage them towards excellence so they can be their best to serve the Lord and His people.


Read online at txb.org/minister


The Ministers Financial Health Grant allowed Pastor Bert Sigala to devote more time to his church and less time to financial stress.

Pastor Bert Sigala has faithfully served Primera Baptist Church in Waxahachie for five years. Sigala also worked as a teacher, but after three years of balancing pastoring and teaching, Sigala felt that he did not have enough time to fully devote himself to his ministry, so he stepped away from teaching. The church, excited about Sigala’s passion, offered him a full-time salary later in the year. The Sigalas were able to pay their bills each month, but they were unable to pay off the debt they had incurred from losing his teaching income. “It was on my mind all the time. We were able to cover our bills, but we weren’t able to pay off the [debt],” Sigala said. Sigala found the Center for Financial Health (CFH), a ministry of the Center for Ministerial Health, on the Texas Baptists website. The CFH provides support for pastors through grant funds, low-interest loans and financial literacy resources. One of those grants is the Ministers Financial Health Grant, a matching grant designed to help Texas Baptists pastors struggling with debt and bills. Sigala and his wife, Janala, were relieved to discover that there was a resource that would guide them out of the mounting debt. He reached out to Director Tammy Tervooren, who guided him through the application process. As part of the process, Sigala was connected to a financial counselor. Thanks to the grant and the financial counseling they have received, the Sigalas finished paying off their credit card debts in the summer of 2020. Sigala found peace through the grant and financial counseling. Instead of wondering how his family will manage their debt, he is able to focus on Bible studies, sermons and ministry for his congregation.

DOWELL LOFTIS director (214) 828-5275 dowell.loftis@txb.org

“The Center for Ministerial Health exists to assist pastors in being as strong and healthy as possible. We take a holistic approach that includes Counseling, Financial Services, Area Representatives, and specialized ministry consultants for areas such as Bivocational Pastors and Western Heritage Ministry. There is no ‘one-sizefits-all’ approach to ministry so we do all we can to support and care for each pastor in their unique ministry context.” – Dowell Loftis

ministries Minister Connection Area Representatives Counseling Services Financial Health Western Heritage Bi-Vocational Pastors Interim Church Services Church Health Initiative of Greater San Antonio




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CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT As ministers of reconciliation, we seek to bring people to God and into community with God’s people by building bridges between people groups, healing brokenness, confronting systemic evils, and speaking truth to power that we might influence the secular towards the sacred.

Read online at txb.org/culture


Through the Texas Baptists Hunger Offering, Restore Hope Ethiopia is able to drill wells and bring the Gospel to rural communities in Ethiopia. The story of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:25-37, is a great picture of the ministry for the new Center for Cultural Engagement. In this story, we see a servant leader going out of his way to care for someone in need. Like the Good Samaritan, the Center for Cultural Engagement is meeting needs, showing Christ’s love and sharing the Good News of Jesus. The Texas Baptists Hunger Offering (TBHO) is one way the center meets needs and shares Christ’s love. One of the ministries they support, Restore Hope Ethiopia helps provide clean water and discipleship to those in need in Ethiopia. Approximately 80% of rural communities in Ethiopia lack access to clean water. They have hand-dug wells exposed to contaminants, or, most often, they get their water from the river. If they have access to clean water, it is usually through a state-installed water pump, sometimes miles from their home. Restore Hope Ethiopia drills wells in these communities and then does 4-6 months of building relationships by checking in on the well’s function and how the community is doing. An elder in the community said, “We were like the walking dead, and you have brought the light. Our children were always sick. How can you get better when you’re drinking dirty water?” Local Restore Hope Ethiopia staff has also conducted research in villages with extreme water needs where the people are also receptive to the Gospel. The team has spent time with young people in larger villages, where young people receive 11th and 12th-grade education or go to trade school. The staff disciples young people who carry the Gospel back to their rural communities.

GUS REYES director (512) 473-2288 gus.reyes@txb.org

“The story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37, is a great picture of the ministry for the new Center for Cultural Engagement. In this story, we see a servant leader going out of his way to care for someone in need. To carry out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment (GC2), we will serve as agents of transformation to replicate the servant leadership exemplified by Jesus and found in this story. Engaging the culture by meeting needs, showing Christ’s love, and sharing the Good News of Jesus becomes our primary focus.” – Gus Reyes

ministries Christian Life Commission Texas Baptists en Español African American Ministries Intercultural Ministries Faith Fosters Texas Chaplaincy Relations




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Texas Baptists seek to engage our churches in corporate missions through strategic opportunities in Texas and around the world without duplicating the role of traditional mission-sending agencies.


Read online at txb.org/missions


Rio Grande Bible Church is one of the hundreds of Texas Baptists church plants reaching a changing Texas for Christ, even amidst a pandemic.

For Rio Grande Bible Church, a Texas Baptists church plant in McAllen, the COVID-19 pandemic altered how they attracted people to their new church. A church plant is in the early stages of establishing a community of faith, Pastor Victor Castillo explained, so when the church was told not to have gatherings, they found themselves challenged to figure out ways to continue ministering and taking care of their sheep. The church got creative, using social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube live to provide Sunday online services, offering discipleship classes via Zoom Meetings, and sharing all Sunday and mid-week teaching recordings via their mobile app Rio Grande Bible Church, which is available via the App Stores for iOS or Android devices. They even went out to area hospitals, making rounds once a week to each and every hospital, to hold prayer meetings in their parking lots with the hospitals’ permission. The church also delivered groceries to church families and the community. Rio Grande Bible Church also started supporting 15 missionaries and pastors in Cuba for a one-year project. Castillo explained that being a church plant does not mean they cannot do missionary projects, and the church wanted to make sure Missions is in their DNA. Rio Grande Bible Church is one of over 330 church starts working with Texas Baptists, with new churches being added monthly. Through their partnership with Texas Baptists, these church starts, and their planters, are given access to training, mentorship, counseling resources, discipleship curriculum and more. Tom Howe, associate director of the Center for Missional Engagement at Texas Baptists, explained that these new churches are created to meet Texas’ rapidly growing population. “Our population is continuing to grow, and we need more churches for that new population,” he said. “This is not to replace churches, this is in addition to the churches that we have.”

JOSUÉ VALERIO director (214) 828-5212 josue.valerio@txb.org

“The Center for Missional Engagement connects churches with missional opportunities whether that is in their community, the city, the state, the US or internationally. From a practitioner perspective, this is not just praying, giving and going, but also the development of a different way of thinking— a missional lifestyle.” – Josué Valerio

ministries Church Starting & Replanting River Ministry & Mexico Missions Bounce & Disaster Recovery Missionary Adoption Program Minister of Missions Texas Baptist Missionaries House Churches & Philippi Churches Minister’s Development & Missional Networks Urban Partnerships National Conventions & Unions




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The Lord has brought the nations to Texas through our college campuses. Baptist Student Ministry reaches college students for Christ, strengthens Christian college students through discipleship and apologetics, and prepares future leaders for the Church.


Read online at txb.org/college



The Longhorn BSM created a space for students at The University of Texas at Austin to pray and reach out to God in the middle of the semester.

The Longhorn Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin has found many opportunities to reach students. Marcy Martinez, associate director of the BSM, explained that there was a lot of need for spiritual comfort and ministry. “There’s a ton of spiritual need. We just put out a sign that said ‘free Bibles and prayer’ and people come walking in,” she said. “The need is there.” The BSM’s 48-hour prayer tent was one such outreach that drew students closer to the Lord this semester. The event, which takes place annually, is usually held in the center of UT’s campus. However, due to the pandemic, the majority of the event took place in the BSM building in the fall semester of 2020, where students were able to socially distance themselves as they went through the different prayer stations. Among the event’s participants were two girls who had been reading the Bible with a BSM student. The girls, who were not Christians, were invited to pray, and after a few minutes of praying with BSM members, Martinez said the girls went off on their own and each prayed for a few hours. “It was the first time either of them, I think, intentionally prayed on their own. So that was a really cool experience,” she said. The event was mostly student-led, explained Jamie Richardson, an assistant at the BSM. Small groups, called “family groups” each prayerfully considered and planned the stations of the prayer tent. “Creating a space in the middle of the semester for students to intentionally seek God and petition God for their campus and their neighbors is really pivotal,” Martinez said of the event.

MARK JONES director (214) 828-5255 mark.jones@txb.org

“The Center for Collegiate Ministry engages 1.6 million Texas college students with the Gospel to follow Christ and transform the world. This is a model focused on engagement, discipleship and mobilization through partnership with local churches to develop future leaders.” – Mark Jones

ministries Baptist Student Ministry Go Now Missions



GC2 is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love.


Our driving passion is to follow the LORD’s call to fulfill the Great Commission “to share Christ” and the Great Commandments “to show love.” The Great Commission and the Great Commandments form the two “GCs,” or GC2. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded Christians across Texas and beyond through this exciting organic movement.




• Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church; • The virgin birth of Christ, the eternal Son of God, who died for our sins, was resurrected the third day, and is coming back; • The Bible is God’s Word and truth without mixture of error; • Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone;

• The priesthood of every believer and of all believers; • The urgent need to reach the lost with the Good News of Jesus; • The sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; • Biblical marriage as one man and one woman in a covenant relationship with the Lord and with one another; • The ordinances of the church are the Lord’s Supper and believer’s baptism; • The autonomy of the local church in governance and ordination.


• There is one God who is revealed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit;


UTEP BSM’s Evangelism Challenge prepares students for off-campus ministry FEBRUARY 2021 / TEX AS BAPTISTS LIFE

By Bonnie Shaw, News Writer


As the 2020 Fall semester started at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) staff met together to evaluate how their ministry would look different as the COVID-19 pandemic drastically modified life on campus.

UTEP BSM students prayer walk in a local park.

“It’s really caused us to evaluate the things that we were doing and to see if that was the best use of our time and the best way to equip our students for lifelong ministry,” Hunter Ballew, director of the UTEP BSM, explained. “So that’s led us to really elevate evangelism and discipleship.” Evangelism has always been an emphasis, Ballew said, but it was mainly focused on the university’s campus. Ballew and the BSM staff began thinking about how they could prepare the students to evangelize after college, in a non-campus environment. “Evangelism is something that we’ve always done. Campus has always been, up until this semester, the obvious mission field, which I think limited how we were preparing our students. And it caused us to ask, ‘are we preparing them for life after college?’” Ballew said. With campus mostly shut down, the BSM staff discovered it was the perfect time to introduce the students to sharing the Gospel in environments that they may encounter on a daily basis, whether as a student or a working adult. This became the “Evangelism Challenge,” a

list of everyday places and activities that were transformed into Gospel-sharing opportunities. The list included activities like going to a local park and sharing the Gospel with the first person they came across or going to their favorite coffee shop and striking up a Gospel conversation with the barista. Ballew hopes the Evangelism Challenge will give students a familiarity with having Gospel conversations in everyday situations so that they will feel comfortable doing it on their own in later situations.

campus is open though, they plan to continue encouraging students to evangelize throughout El Paso. “The Lord challenged us this semester to see if our ministry was preparing students for when they graduate and leave campus,” Ballew said. “We will continue to do ministry on campus when it reopens to us, but we will also continue to consider the rest of El Paso and send students out and mobilize them all over El Paso.”

Sharing the Gospel across the city The challenge has already seen fruit in the city and the lives of the students. One group of BSM students went to downtown El Paso, where they struck up a conversation with a group of men. After they shared the Gospel with the men, the students asked if the men would like to receive Jesus into their lives. “It was really reminiscent of early Acts… one of the men said, ‘how can I not receive this? What do I need to do?’” Ballew said. Another group went to a park, where they prayer-walked and began sharing the Gospel. One of the students began sharing with a group of high school students, who engaged and began asking questions. One of the high schoolers prayed to receive Christ. The BSM students were so overjoyed and encouraged by God’s work in the park that they began working on plans to start a ministry that meets weekly there. They are now meeting weekly with Ballew to develop a plan and pray over their new ministry. Ballew is hopeful that campus life at UTEP will open again soon. He is excited for on-campus ministry to resume so that the BSM can expand the Evangelism Challenge there as well. Even when

BSM students engage with families in San Antonio.


In light of the restrictions on events and gatherings, the BSM has adapted a motto of “getting back to the basics,” with an emphasis on evangelism. This new emphasis has already resulted in multiple salvations in the city of El Paso.


Important issues in the 87th Legislative Session


By Michael A. Evans, Jr., Director of Public Policy


The election is finally over, however, our political engagement as Christians should not cease. Our political engagement extends far beyond the voting booth, and now the real work is about to begin. What matters most is not who our elected officials are, but what they do in the office they temporarily hold. The 87th Legislature began on January 12, 2021. Here are a few of the important issues.

Stay connected with the Christian Life Commission. Sign up for the CLC Today newsletter for legislative updates. Text CLCTODAY to 22828 to be added to the email list. Visit txb.org/clc.

issue no. 1 Covid-19 Covid-19 is by far the most important issue that will be addressed because it has single-handedly reshaped life as we once knew it. Covid-19 has affected our health, safety and economic well-being in this year, and it does not seem to be leaving us anytime soon. Even though a vaccine may be available, that is not a total cure, nor will it erase the damage that Covid-19 has already done. In the future, there could be more potential shutdowns of businesses, face mask mandates and regulations on public education during Covid-19. All of these issues and many more will be the first order of business during this year’s legislative session.

While there are no explicit teachings in the Bible that forbid gambling, believers should be wary of the greed and addiction that often result from habitual engagement, often with dire consequences. Though it is not our place to legislate morality and impose our convictions on those who do not share our faith, it is our place to speak up for and defend those who are oppressed (Isa 58:6-8; cf. Micah 6:8; Ps 103:6). The practices of the gambling industry are often predatory towards those of lower-income. They present misleading ads about the chances of winning, encourage addictive habits with aggressive follow-up tactics and provide no safeguards for those who reach a point of crushing debt. Their very business model is to take more than they give and to keep taking till people have nothing left to give. This is why the CLC takes a firm stance against the legalization of gambling in Texas.

issue no. 3 Medicaid Expansion+ Healthcare From its inception, the Church was commissioned with the care for the poor and vulnerable. As we approach the 87th session, we know budgets will be a top priority on our legislators’ minds. We must ensure that, while budget cuts are a natural part of our governing process, those most vulnerable must be protected. We are concerned and watching closely the HHSC proposals to cut funding in Texas Medicaid programs, Early Childhood Education and women’s preventative care. The CLC will be advocating for the protection and support of all programs that focus on caring for vulnerable women, families and children in the upcoming session as a part of following our Micah 6:8 mandate.


issue no. 2 Gambling




Los Bautistas de Texas es un movimiento del pueblo de Dios para compartir a Cristo y demostrar amor al fortalecer iglesias y ministros, interactuar con la cultura, y conectar a las naciones a Jesús.



Director ejecutivo

RAY MALONE Director de recursos humanos



Director asociado ejecutivo

Director financiero/ Tesorero



Asistente ejecutiva

Director de comunicaciones



Nuestra más reciente misión, visión, y estructura expresan completamente nuestro compromiso firme a la Great Commission (Gran Comisión) y el Great Commandment (Gran Mandamiento), los cuales conocemos como “GC2”. Somos un movimiento del pueblo de Dios para compartir a Cristo y demostrar amor, y el respaldo generoso de iglesias afiliadas hace posible que nuestra dedicación a esta visión a diario. A continuación encontrará nuestro equipo de liderazgo ejecutivo, centros de ministerio, y declaraciones de visión y misión.


centros de

MINISTERIO CENTRO PARA LA SALUD DE LA IGLESIA Los Bautistas de Texas existen principalmente para servir las necesidades de nuestras iglesias; ayudar a la iglesia local a estar saludable para que el pueblo de Dios tenga éxito en SU misión de conectar al mundo con Jesús. Los ministerios incluyen Salud de la iglesia, Evangelismo, Discipulado, Música & Adoración, Arquitectura de la iglesia, y BaptistWay Press.

PHIL MILLER director (214) 828-5213 phil.miller@txb.org txb.org/church

CENTRO PARA LA SALUD MINISTERIAL La Iglesia solamente será tan saludable como sus ministros. Invertimos en los ministros Bautistas de Texas para exhortarlos hacia la excelencia para que puedan servir mejor al Señor y Su pueblo. Los ministerios incluyen Conexión ministerial, Representantes de área, Servicios de consejería, Salud financiera, Iglesias de vaqueros, Pastores bi-vocacionales, Servicios interinos a la iglesia, Programa de embajadores, y la Iniciativa para la salud de la iglesia en San Antonio.

CENTRO PARA LA INTERACCIÓN CULTURAL Como ministros de reconciliación, buscamos llevar personas a Dios y la comunidad con el pueblo de Dios al levantar puentes entre grupos étnicos, sanar a los quebrantados, confrontar la maldad sistémica, y enfrentar al poder con la verdad para poder influenciar lo secular hacia lo sagrado. Los ministerios incluyen la Comisión para la vida cristiana, Texas Baptists en Español, Ministerios afroamericanos, Ministerios interculturales, Faith Fosters Texas (Ministerios de hogares de crianza) y Relaciones de capellanía.




Los Bautistas de Texas promueven la participación de las iglesias en las misiones por medio de oportunidades estratégicas en Texas y alrededor del mundo sin duplicar el papel de las agencias misioneras tradicionales. Los ministerios incluyen Inicio y replantación de iglesias, Ministerio en el Río y misiones en México, Ministerios de recuperación de desastres BOUNCE, Programa de adopción misionera, Misioneros Bautistas de Texas, Iglesias en hogares e Iglesias filipenses, Desarrollo de ministros y redes misionales, Colaboración urbana y Convenciones y uniones nacionales.

CENTRO PARA EL MINISTERIO UNIVERSITARIO El Señor ha traído a las naciones a Texas por medio de nuestros recintos universitarios. El Ministerio de estudiantes universitarios de los Bautistas de Texas alcanza a estudiantes universitarios para Cristo, fortalece a estudiantes universitarios cristianos por medio del discipulado y la apologética, y prepara a futuros líderes para la iglesia. Incluye el Ministerio de Estudiantes Bautistas, y las Misiones Go Now (“Ir ahora”).

DOWELL LOFTIS director (214) 828-5275 dowell.loftis@txb.org txb.org/minister

GUS REYES director (512) 473-2288 gus.reyes@txb.org txb.org/culture

JOSUÉ VALERIO director (214) 828-5212 josue.valerio@txb.org txb.org/missions

MARK JONES director (214) 828-5255 mark.jones@txb.org txb.org/college


La pasión que nos impulsa es seguir el llamado del SEÑOR a cumplir con la Great Commission (Gran Comisión) de “compartir a Cristo” y el Great Commandment (Gran Mandamiento) a “demostrar amor”. La Great Commission (Gran Comisión) y el Great Commandment (Gran Mandamiento) forman las dos letras “GC” o GC2. Recibimos la oportunidad de colaborar con cristianos con la misma mentalidad por todo Texas y más allá a través de este movimiento orgánico emocionante.



GC2 es un movimiento del pueblo de Dios para compartir a Cristo y demostrar amor.


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GC2 is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love.


Our driving passion is to follow the LORD’s call to fulfill the Great Commission “to share Christ” and the Great Commandments “to show love.” The Great Commission and the Great Commandments form the two “GCs,” or GC2. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded Christians across Texas and beyond through this exciting organic movement.


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