Texas Baptists Life Volume 9, Issue 4

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Tending your church’s garden Learn how revitalization and replanting can help keep churches healthy and growing. p. 26

Issue No. 4


meals provided after Hurricane Ida

Together, Texas Baptists, we deliver help, hope and healing. tbmtx.org



Your Convention at work Texas Baptists is engaged in missions and ministry around the state thanks to the cooperative efforts of affiliated churches. Whether spreading the gospel on college campuses, providing resources for pastorless churches or planting new churches, every church in the Convention has a hand in the work that is being done. Learn about the ministries you are a part of, pray for the Lord’s hand to be over those involved, and celebrate all God is doing as you read through this magazine.


Annual Meeting Information

Joshua Seth Minatrea Director of Communications

Find information about the 2021 Annual Meeting, including schedules, workshops, speakers and more.


Casey Wright Associate Director of Communications

The GC2 Movement

Learn about the GC2 Movement - centered around the Great Commission and the Great Commandment - and see how you can get involved.



Filling the pulpit for the short and longterm


For churches looking for a pastor, the process can be daunting. See how two Texas Baptists ministries seek to alleviate some of that burden.

See how Arcadia First Baptist is growing and read how Pastor Joshua McDonald and Church Health Strategy Director Jonathan Smith have teamed up to bolster their ministry.


Texas Baptist Hunger Offering helps fight food insecurity in Fort Worth See how a recipient of the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering is helping those in need in West Fort Worth.


Publication Team


UTD Baptist Student Ministry welcomes the nations to campus with a ‘Big Howdy’ Read how the UTD BSM is engaging international students and sharing the gospel with the nations.


Tending to your church’s garden: A guide to revitalization and replanting Director of Church Health Strategy Jonathan Smith and Associate Director of Missions Tom Howe explain the differences between revitalizing and replanting a church and how they can lead to new life.

Keeping the momentum: Growing a growing church


Church planter responds to ‘fire in his bones’ A new church plant south of Houston is growing fast. Read Pastor Kyle Jackson’s story and learn more about church planting through Texas Baptists.

Bonnie Shaw News Manager Caleb Arndt Design Manager Maritza Solano Production Designer Neil Williams Multimedia Specialist Meredith Rose Social Media Specialist 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, visit txb.org/subscription


Manteniendo el momento: Creciendo una iglesia en crecimiento La Primera de Arcadia ya era una iglesia dinámica y en crecimiento. Jonathan Smith pudo caminar con ellos y asegurarse de que continúen creciendo al darles las herramientas necesarias para tener éxito en el futuro venidero.






from the


Hello, Texas Baptists! Commandment. Our “nickname” for this focus is called GC2. When you see those letters/numbers just know it’s our way of making sure, as a convention of churches, we are emphasizing the tasks to which Jesus has called us: loving God and others and making disciples. You’ll be able to read more about this in this edition as well.

In this magazine, you will get just a glimpse of the work we are doing together. For example, there are more than 5,000 churches in the BGCT, and at any one time, some 300 to 400 of them (maybe more) are looking for a pastor. Your Texas Baptists staff is here to help churches during these interim times, from initial pulpit supply to interim pastors to even supplying names of possible pastoral candidates.

Thanks, again, for allowing me the privilege of serving as your Executive Director. There are good days ahead.

I am also known for saying that when a church, association or church planter partners with Texas Baptists to start a new church, they are partnering with one of the most effective and efficient church planting enterprises in the world. Every year, the BGCT, through its traditional church planting model, will start about fifty new churches. If you know of a growing community in need of a church, partner with us! A new church, however, is not needed in every situation. There are many churches that simply need to dream a new dream and cast a new vision for what they could and should be – considering all that has and, perhaps, is changing around them. In order to help churches think, plan and pray through whatever may be next, your State Convention has added Dr. Jonathan Smith to its team as director of Church Health Strategy to help churches pursue a new and healthy future. He’s waiting for your call, so please be in touch with him. Finally, we continue to focus on the Great Commission and the Great

¡Hola Bautistas de Texas! Con frecuencia he dicho que, si cada Bautista de Texas supiera acerca de todos los ministerios y la obra misionera realizada por, con, y a través de la Convención Bautista General de Texas, no hubiera preocupaciones acerca de tener el respaldo del Programa Cooperativo o la Ofrenda Mary Hill Davis para Misiones Estatales. Definitivamente sé que esto es cierto. En esta revista, dará un vistazo a la obra que hacemos juntos. Por ejemplo, hay más de cinco mil iglesias en BGCT, y en cualquier momento de tres a cuatrocientas iglesias (tal vez más) están buscando pastor. El personal de los Bautistas de Texas está aquí para ayudar a las iglesias durante estos tiempos interinos, desde proveer para la predicación semanal hasta pastores interinos que ayudan a proveer nombres de posibles candidatos para pastor. También me han escuchado decir que cuando una iglesia, asociación, o plantadores de iglesias colaboran con los Bautistas de Texas para iniciar una iglesia nueva, colaboran con una de las empresas de plantación de iglesias más efectivas y eficientes en el mundo. Cada año, BGCT, por medio de su modelo tradicional de plantación de iglesias,

iniciará alrededor de cincuenta iglesias nuevas. ¡Si conoce una comunidad en crecimiento y en necesidad de una iglesia, colabore con nosotros! Sin embargo, no se necesita una iglesia nueva en cada situación. Hay muchas iglesias que simplemente necesitan un sueño nuevo y visión para lo que pudieran y debieran ser considerando todo lo que ha y está cambiando a su alrededor. Para ayudar a las iglesias a pensar, planificar, y orar respecto a los pasos que deben tomar, la Convención del estado ha añadido al Dr. Jonathan Smith a nuestro equipo como director de Estrategia para la salud de la iglesia para ayudar a las iglesias a perseguir un futuro nuevo y saludable. Él espera su llamada, por lo que, por favor, comuníquese con él. Por último, continuamos enfocando en el Gran Mandamiento y la Gran Comisión. Nuestro “apodo” para este enfoque se conoce como GC2. Cuando vea esas letras/número sepa que es nuestra manera de asegurarnos de que, como convención de iglesias, estamos enfatizando en las tareas a las cuales Jesús nos ha llamado, amar a Dios y a los demás, y hacer discípulos. Usted también leerá acerca de esto en esta edición. Gracias por permitirme el privilegio de servirle como director ejecutivo. ¡Vienen buenos días por delante!

Blessings & Bendeciones



I have often said that if every Texas Baptist knew about all the ministries and all the missions work done by, with and through the Baptist General Convention of Texas, there would be no concerns about having their support of the Cooperative Program or the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions®. I really do believe this to be true.



Homes for Children • Homes for Families • Family Counseling International • Faith & Work • Faith & Finances Pastor Care • Family Support • Ministry Consulting



On September 26, 2021, the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) hosted the Founder’s Banquet at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. This event celebrated the leadership of Bill Arnold, who began the work that became TBMF in 1984 and served as president of the Missions Foundation until his retirement in 2020. Rita Griffith, who served as Administrative Assistant for TBMF from 2000 through 2020, was also honored for her innumerable contributions to the Foundation. The banquet was a time of fellowship and reflection on all that God has done through Arnold, Griffith and so many others working with TBMF.

TBMF also announced the launch of the Legacy Society, a group for donors who have included TBMF Texas Baptists ministries in their estate plans. “The Legacy Society is for everyone who is led by God to name the work of Texas Baptists as part of their estate plan and to include the work of the foundation and of Texas Baptists in a will or trust, charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust,” Carlisle explained. “We can help you … in a way that will honor God’s work until His Kingdom comes.”

2021 B.E.S.T AWARD RECIPIENTS CHOSEN Texas Baptists is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Baptist Educators Serving Texans (B.E.S.T.) Award. The award celebrates Christian educators

who are living out their faith daily among their students and the Texas Baptists institutions that taught them. Nine award recipients were selected, one from each Texas Baptist university.

The recipients are Hector Martinez, a graduate of the Baptist University of the Américas; Ashley Minton, a graduate of Baylor University; Cynthia Spencer, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University; Jennifer Carlile, a graduate of East Texas Baptist University; Daisy Sanchez, a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University; Jonathan Powell, a graduate of Houston Baptist University; Bobbette Bell, a graduate of Howard Payne University; Dolores Kemp, a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; and Rodney Wallace, a graduate of Wayland Baptist University.

Dr. Katie McCoy has joined the Center for Church Health as the new director of the Women’s Ministry Team. In her new role, McCoy will connect with and encourage women’s ministries across Texas. She will also provide training and workshops designed to help churches start, revive or bolster their women’s ministries. She will be joined by Dr. Bennye Bryant and Dr. Irene Gallegos on the Women’s Ministry Team, who will serve as the African American Women’s Ministry specialist and Hispanic Women’s Ministry specialist, respectively. Bryant and Gallegos will serve alongside McCoy in reaching out to churches and providing resources for women’s ministries around Texas.



Texas Baptists welcomes Katie McCoy as Director of Women’s Ministry


BOUNCE offers student ministry leaders the opportunity to MOBILIZE their middle school, high school and college students to be engaged in CHALLENGING MISSION SERVICE and INSPIRING TIMES OF WORSHIP. Plus, it’s all PRE-PACKAGED. BOUNCE takes care of all the details so you can focus on your students and serving others.

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Bounce Student Disaster Recovery/Community Rehab Students restore HOPE, rebuild COMMUNITIES and reflect CHRIST in areas impacted by disasters or where homes are in need of rehabilitation through hands-on construction missions.

Spring Break and Summer mission options available. Find the right mission for your group at txb.org/bounce.

Bounce Student Church Planting By immersing students in church planting, BOUNCE seeks to give church plants and church planters a “bounce” forward in ministry momentum. Student groups serve with church plants for significant ministry that not only assists church plants and planters, but also cultivates an appreciation and love for church planting in the lives of participants.


MINISTERS FINANCIAL HEALTH CELEBRATES DISTRIBUTION OF $1 MILLION IN FUNDS TO TEXAS BAPTISTS PASTORS AND MINISTERS Texas Baptists Ministers Financial Health recently celebrated the distribution of $1 million in funds provided by an initial three-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Over the past three and a half years, these

funds have provided matching grants, low-interest loans and financial literacy training to over 175 Texas Baptists pastors and ministers to increase their financial health and wellness.

“There is a lot to be thankful for as we celebrate this milestone,” said Tammy Tervooren, director of Ministers Financial Health. “It’s great to know that Ministers Financial Health, and the volunteers and partners that have joined with it, are helping resolve pastors’ financial concerns. Ultimately, our hope is that this means more pastors being financially healthy and staying in ministry.”

On August 29, Hurricane Ida made landfall in south Louisiana as a category 4 hurricane. The storm caused widespread flooding, power outages and property damage. Texas Baptist Men (TBM) deployed to the area to deliver help, hope and healing in the aftermath of the storm. The first wave of TBM volunteers includes a shower and laundry unit, an electrical support unit, the materials to provide temporary roofs and a mobile feeding kitchen. This mass feeding kitchen is capable of providing up to 30,000 meals a day.

Following the assessments done by the first wave, a second wave of volunteers deployed with chainsaw and mud-out units to help with the clean-up of homes affected by the storm.





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 español. Get free resources for your church to use in 2021 at txb.org/cpstories

TBM Two things happened yesterday: 1) We learned what a social media influencer is. 2) People across the country helped individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Ida thanks to a drive-thru donation drive made possible by @daniaustin.

msubsm Thanks, everyone for swinging by our picture booth! Hope you all have a great first day!

@EHM_Apologetics Great to see Lee Strobel again! Love what this brother does. @LeeStrobel

txbmissionalengagement Learning from Brenda Sanders today about how @txbsm & @gonowtexas partners around the world and how we can learn from these partnerships & join these efforts. We can do more together! Join us! #txbme #txbsm21 #gonow21 #GC2

umhbbsm Our Director, Daniel McAfee, had the privilege of presenting a check today on behalf of @texasbaptists toward building needs at @newsunset_ community_church in Killeen, TX. Thankful for the work of Texas Baptists in churches and on college campuses. #txbsm21

jose_aguilar_jr Let’s welcome Pastor Jose A Lopez to the RGV. He is pastoring a new church, Iglesia Cristiana En Su Presencia, in Brownsville. #TXBMH #TexasBaptists #GC2

Tag Texas Baptists on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use #gc2 for a chance to be featured in our next magazine.





We are so excited to be back in person and on the beach this fall! Whether you join us for the premium, in-person experience on Seawall Blvd., or online via Zoom, get ready to refresh and refill as we celebrate the Great Commission/Great Commandment ministry of the churches, partners and staff of this Convention!

Learn more: txb.org/am




s c h e du l e



nov. 14


nov. 15

4:00 pm–6:00 pm Exhibits Open 4:00 pm–6:00 pm Registration Open 6:00 pm Rally Events & Dinners

7:30 am–5:00 pm Registration Open 7:30 am Free Coffee & Pastries 8:00 am Worship Celebration #1 9:00 am–5:00 pm Exhibits Open 9:15 am Workshop #1 10:30 am Business Session #1 11:45 am Lunch Break 1:15 pm Workshop #2

2:15 pm Pre-service music 2:30 pm Worship Celebration #2 3:45 pm Workshop #3 5:00 pm Dinner Break 7:00 pm Worship Celebration #3

TUESDAY nov. 16

8:00 am–10:00 am Registration Open 8:00 am–10:00 am Exhibits Open 8:00 am Free Coffee & Pastries 8:30 am Workshop #4 9:45 am Business Session #2




Church Answers and the Center for Church Health led by Thom and Sam Rainer, Phil Miller and Jonathan Smith

Racism and Racial Reform led by Oza Jones and Blake Wilson

How to Spell Worship with Your Family

Rising Threats in a PostChristian Day led by Jim Denison

november 14-16, 2021


Compelled to Christ led by Bennye Bryant, Kathleen Hardage, Angie Rodriguez and Ambra Jackson


led by John Bolin and Tom Tillman




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 Commandment “to show love.” The Great Commission and the Great Commandment 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.

#gc2movement | gc2movement.com


from the


In my almost two years working for Texas Baptists, I’ve been amazed at the number of Christians outside the state who have reached out to us for collaboration. I’ve learned how Texas Baptists have been working with like-minded, mainstream, balanced evangelicals from around the world to do church planting, indigenous missions (like our Missionary Adoption Program, or “MAP”), disaster relief, River Ministry, Baptist Chaplaincy and Baptist Student Ministry. So we’ve decided to name this organic movement “GC2” and welcome others from around the U.S. and the world who wish to join. To be clear, GC2 is a movement of God’s people, not a new denomination. We’re not competing with the Southern Baptist Convention or any other national or state convention of churches. In fact, we work together with the SBC and other conventions to plant churches and send missionaries. But we do feel led by the Spirit to celebrate the many opportunities God has presented for collaboration, and give a name to this organic movement.

The GC2 Movement brings Texas Baptists resources to churches and ministries around the world. For example: •

Church plants outside of Texas can be sponsored by Texas Baptists churches and work with our church planting team

Giving partners can join to fund and aid border ministry through River Ministry and Mexico Missions

Chaplains around the world can align with us in a global movement that reflects where they live and serve

In 2 Kings 22, Josiah becomes king of Judah and leads the people to rediscover the Torah. Scripture describes Josiah’s reign by saying, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” Texas Baptists have intentionally remained a mainstream, grassroots movement of God’s people by staying centered and balanced in their desire to follow the Lord and interpret Scripture by “not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

Our goal is not to drift to the right or left, away from the fundamentals of the Christian faith or the Baptist doctrines we hold dear. Instead, we feel compelled to follow the Lord’s leading and unite God’s people to build relationships with like-minded Christians as we explore and expand mission opportunities. I invite you to pray about how you may be a part of the movement today!


Dr. Craig Christina, Associate Executive Director


• There is one God who is revealed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; • 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; • Gender is a gift from God who creates humankind male and female in the Divine image and likeness (Gen. 1:27);

• 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.





Filling the pulpit for short and long-term ministry

By Bonnie Shaw, News Manager

“It can feel like the church is broken when there’s no settled pastor, and a good interim can keep that from happening.”

For many churches, the process to find a new pastor can be difficult, especially if the pastor was with the church for a long time. Dowell Loftis, director of the Center for Ministerial Health, explained that a good relationship between a pastor and the church they serve should be strong and filled with trust. When that relationship ends, for whatever reasons, the next steps can be difficult for a church.

A network of interim pastors As churches go through this time, some start by planning to host a different guest preacher every Sunday for the entire interim period. This can be hard for a church to sustain and leads to “congregation fatigue,” Karl Fickling, coordinator of Interim Church Services, explained. Instead, Fickling encouraged churches to make use of the Texas Baptists Interim Church Services, which has a network of called and well-equipped interim pastors ready to serve at churches across Texas. Fickling explained that the network is made up of retired pastors, Texas Baptists employees, parachurch ministry staff and people who work secular jobs to support their passion for interim ministry. Each of them feels called to support interim ministry efforts and goes through training sessions before being added to the network. So, what is the benefit of having an interim pastor? Firstly, it gives the pastor search committee time to thoroughly look through and search for viable candidates to take the

full-time pastorate position, instead of putting them under pressure to find someone quickly. Secondly, it gives the church the presence of a pastor who can, temporarily, take on the duties of pastoral care, administrative tasks and other pastoral duties. “It can feel like the church is broken when there’s no settled pastor, and a good interim can keep that from happening,” Fickling explained. “Just having someone fill in the pulpit consistently can bring a sense of security, and the interim pastor can also ensure that the existing church staff or volunteers don’t have pastoral duties put on them or have them pile up on a desk.” First Baptist Church Caldwell recently experienced these benefits firsthand. When their pastor retired after 30 years of ministry just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the church was suddenly overwhelmed with managing those changes in addition to seeking a new pastor. The church contacted Fickling, and he sent them the resumes of all the interim pastors available in the area and a guide to picking an interim pastor. They chose Charles “Rusty” Walton, who helped the church do a health check and also assisted them with the pastor search committee. A year later, the church was ready to hire a full-time pastor, and Walton transitioned out.

Finding connections for churches and ministers For churches ready to look for a new pastor, Texas Baptists Minister Connection is a great resource. Texas Baptists churches have complete autonomy, and they can choose any pastor they feel God has called them to choose, but in order to help them do that, Texas Baptists has created a secure website for churches to post ministry openings and for potential candidates to create a profile and share their resume.

“We want to be helpful to the men and women who are called to minister to our churches. Sometimes it’s hard for them to get their names in front of the churches. And sometimes it is hard for our churches to find qualified candidates to fill their ministerial openings,” Loftis said. Churches can post their open positions on Minister Connection and ministers can use Minister Connection to find out about open ministerial positions around the state. Ministers who wish to post their resumes on the website are subjected to a background check, and while there is no official vetting process, senior pastor resumes are reviewed by Loftis to ensure that there are no red flags and that they adhere to core Baptist beliefs. The website is password-protected for the privacy of the applicants and the churches. Interested parties can apply on the service’s website and will be granted access when they have been approved. Loftis explained that, at their core, both the Interim Church Services and Minister Connection ministries were created to make the process of transitioning between pastors easier on Texas Baptists churches. “As a convention, we do what the churches need and ask us to do,” Loftis said. “Our churches have complete autonomy and can call whomever they feel led to call, but we provide these services to better equip them with those decisions.” To learn more about Interim Church Services, Minister Connection and the many other resources available to pastors and churches through the Center for Ministerial Health, go to txb.org/minister.


Pastors are, for many churches, an anchor. When pastors move or retire, the hole that they leave can be hard for a church to grapple with. At any time, there are over 300 Texas Baptists churches that are pastorless and working to figure out their next step as they look for a new church leader.


Texas Baptist Hunger Offering helps fight food insecurity in Fort Worth


By Bonnie Shaw, News Manager


“If it wasn’t for WestAid, we probably wouldn’t have access to any food or resources. My main concern is for [my daughter]... She wakes up in the morning and sometimes we don’t have any food in the house, so coming to WestAid, I know they’ll provide. They really go out of the way to be kind and to be helpful and to make you feel like part of the family and community. They just sincerely want to help you,” said Norma, a Fort Worth resident. Norma and her daughter are one of more than 250 families that receive food from WestAid, a food distribution

program in West Fort Worth. For more than 35 years, WestAid has been a source of food security for struggling families in the area. It is also a recipient of the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. “The mission of the Hunger Offering is to unite the body of Christ and to promote holistic transformation in the name of Jesus Christ. For over 30 years, WestAid has represented the heart and mission of the Hunger Offering as they serve the people of Tarrant County,” Katie Fruge, associate director of the Christian Life Commission, explained. “We are thankful for WestAid’s

“If it wasn’t for WestAid, we probably wouldn’t have access to any food or resources.”

Norma and her daughter first began coming to WestAid because it was the nearest food distribution center in their area. “I don’t always have money for gas, and this is the closest place,” Norma said. “And they were very helpful. They’re very kind and they helped me get clothes for my little one, even though this is a food pantry, they helped me get clothes and shoes for her.” WestAid Executive Director William Pherigo explained that their slogan is “more than just food,” because even though their main function is food distribution, the staff and volunteers assist the people they serve in any way they can, whether it is through taking up a collection at their local church or directing people to other resources and services.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused WestAid to make adjustments, the purpose of the ministry still remains the same. “We know that we need to continue to serve people. We know that a few months from now when things continue to become a ‘new normal,’ there will still be people that do not have extra resources, they will still be having a hard time putting food on the table and paying bills,” Pherigo said. The funds that the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering provides allows WestAid to focus on specialty foods for families, adjusting what they serve to the needs of the community. Ground beef, for example, is a great food because it goes with nearly every meal, but it can be expensive and hard to find in low-income areas, Pherigo explained. The Offering also helps fund operational expenses. “We are so happy to be a part of the Hunger Offering,” Pherigo said. “It is not only something that helps us financially, but it is also helpful to be a part of that group and have that credibility and that commonality of being part of a group that is helping with food security not only around Texas, but globally.” The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering disperses funds through partners to over 100 hunger relief and development ministries across Texas and around the world. Though its reach is widespread, the heart of the Offering is about the stories of individuals, like Norma, who feel its effects personally through the ministries it supports. “If it wasn’t for WestAid, we’d probably not have any food or any resources,” she said. “They just genuinely want to help.”

For more information about the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering and the ministries it supports, visit hungeroffering.com.


commitment to being the hands and feet of Jesus in their community and proud to call them co-workers as we strive to fulfill the Great Commission and Great Commandment in neighborhoods across Texas and the world.”




UTD Baptist Student Ministry welcomes the nations to campus with a ‘Big Howdy’ By Meredith Rose, Social Media Specialist

“UTD is an incredibly diverse campus. Almost 25% of the students at UTD are international,” said Mark Warrington, director of the BSM. “Big Howdy provides an incredible opportunity to display all the ways we seek to serve international students so that we can form meaningful, gospel-declaring relationships. It is a rare occasion where the nations literally come to us, in our own backyard, thirsty for relationships.” Big Howdy is organized by the BSM and four other campus organizations. It began in 2016 and was founded by Jourdan Pollock, associate director of the BSM, in partnership with UTD’s International Christian Fellowship. The program consists of airport pick-ups as well as a welcome party. This year, in the weeks leading up to the fall semester, 115 volunteers from the BSM and its 20 partner churches provided airport pick-ups for over 820 students arriving from 36 different countries. “This year, we had a volunteer who went to pick up a student whose housing fell through,” said Pollock. “The volunteer was more than willing to open up her home so the student had a place to stay in the meantime. Lots of volunteers make that extra effort with things like helping students get situated in their housing or helping them open a bank

account. They show the love of Christ to these students through their actions.” On the Saturday before the start of classes, following weeks of airport pick-ups, the Big Howdy welcome party was held at UTD. Students from all over the globe gathered on the campus’ multipurpose fields to make connections and enjoy food, music and field games. Spread out across the field, students learned how to lasso, played games like corn hole and ladder ball, connected with churches and campus organizations through information booths, participated in a raffle and more. “In the midst of this global pandemic, the desire among international students for personal interaction and forming new relationships is palpable! God used Big Howdy to help meet this need,” said Warrington. “We had countless relationships form from our Big Howdy efforts. Hundreds of students signed up for our various ministries, such as home groups, conversation partners, ESL classes, et cetera. This is in addition to the over 800 students who exchanged contact info with their volunteer drivers from the airport.” The BSM’s hope and prayer is that God would continue using this outreach program to reach international students for years to come. As the school year continues, they ask that Texas Baptists pray for the students they made contact with. To learn more about Texas Baptist Student Ministry and all they are doing to share the gospel with Texas’ 1.6 million college students, visit txbsm.org.


In August, the University of Texas at Dallas Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) welcomed over 1,500 international students to campus through Big Howdy, a program to celebrate and serve students coming to the UTD campus from across the world.



“In the midst of this global pandemic, the desire among international students for personal interaction and forming new relationships is palpable! God used Big Howdy to help meet this need.”




International stidents welcomed by UTD BSM through Big Howdy


Tending to your church’s garden: A guide to revitalization and replanting


By Bonnie Shaw, News Manager


Much like a garden, a church requires constant work to remain healthy, with careful tending and care to keep things vibrant and growing.

Sometimes, when a garden is overgrown but still producing fruit, some hard work is all it takes to get the garden back on track. But sometimes, when a garden is so full of brambles that things can no longer grow there, the garden needs to be replanted to see fruit there once again. Whether a church is a little overgrown or covered in brambles, Texas Baptists has ministries ready to help. Read below as Jonathan Smith, director of Church Health Strategy, and Tom Howe, associate director of the Center for Missional Engagement, talk through the differences between church

revitalization and church replanting and how both can enable churches to fulfill God’s purpose for them.

Revitalizing a fruit-bearing church When people hear that a church is being “revitalized,” the first reaction can often be to assume that the church is in decline. Jonathan Smith, director of Church Health Strategy, says that’s not always the case. In fact, he believes that revitalization can be for churches of all sizes and seasons of life.

In his role, Smith comes alongside churches to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and to help churches make a plan to strengthen one or more areas. Recently, he helped a small church in Temple that was already growing under new leadership improve their guest retention rate by helping church leadership map out the guest experience from the parking lot all the way to membership classes. The plan will make it easier for the church to invest in and disciple people who are new to the church or new to faith.

Digging up and replanting Replanting is for churches with so many brambles and problems that it is no longer bearing meaningful fruit. This process is much harder than revitalization and comes with sacrifices as a church is reborn. “There are moments of nostalgia, reflection and closure. But then there’s a new birth and new work, and there’s excitement and optimism for what God is going to do,” Tom Howe, associate director of the Center for Missional Engagement, explained. “I remind

people that this church was built by people who were hopeful about what God was going to do in this community in this church. We have the opportunity to do that again. We can celebrate what’s been done in the past, and we can prepare ourselves for what God will do in the future.” Howe walks churches through the replanting process, helping them make the necessary changes to be successful. He explained that one of the most critical things church replants do is look at their changing communities and identify a new plan to reach the people around them more effectively. For example, if a church primarily offers ministries for married couples, but their surrounding neighborhood has changed to be mostly young singles, the church will need to create new ministries and opportunities to better serve those in their area. “There’s a growing, changing community around the church, and they need to adjust to meet that,” Howe said. “There are things we’re not going to ever change, like our theological principles or anything like that. But there also needs to be a surrender in order for change and growth.” Howe shared the story of one church in Fort Worth whose doors were about to close in 2019. They had less than 12

members, and the facilities had fallen into disrepair as they could no longer afford the upkeep. Howe was able to connect the church with some grants to repair the building, and the church changed its name and made changes to better engage with the young community around them. Now, in 2021, that church is thriving, with about 130 people attending on an average Sunday. Both revitalizing and replanting a church are hard work. Smith and Howe hope that by helping churches along in the process, they can help them remain focused on the most important mission of all: sharing Christ with the world. For more information on church revitalization, contact Jonathan Smith at Jonathan.Smith@txb.org. For more information on church replanting, contact Tom Howe at Tom.Howe@txb.org.


“In revitalization, you get the chance to see the problems and the possibilities. You need to look around and see your community and see all the people that could be saved,” Smith said. “You have to look at the problems and face them, but you also have to dream about the possibilities to go forward.”


Keeping the momentum: NOVEMBER 2021 / TEX AS BAPTISTS LIFE

Growing a growing church


By Bonnie Shaw, News Manager

Arcadia First Baptist had been through many stages in the life of a church. From its humble beginnings in the 1940s as a small church start meeting in a member’s barbershop to a budding one-room church, all the way up to the multiple-room building that houses the congregation today, Arcadia First Baptist knew what it was like to grow, change and adapt to better meet their community’s needs.

Centered on evangelism “This was a generally healthy church, but when I came here, there were several events that happened to cause the church to decline,” Joshua McDonald, who became the new pastor of Arcadia First Baptist in 2018, explained. “God sustained the church through it all, but there were, naturally, hardships and decline.” When McDonald first arrived at the church, he organized his process of connecting with the church into an acronym, “PHASE.” This five-prong approach stands for People, History, Aspirations, Sermons and Everyone needs the gospel. With these ideas in mind, McDonald set out to work, getting to know the congregation and the church’s history, sharing his aspirations for the church and hearing others’ aspirations, and preaching sermons that were deliberately centered around sharing the gospel.

“Every single chance I get, I share the gospel and I talk about its importance. I share it every Sunday from the pulpit with extreme clarity, whether it’s from Scripture or through an illustration. Not only do non-believers need the gospel, not only do our guests in our church need the gospel, but it’s for every member, including the pastors, including myself. It’s for everyone. And since we’ve become gospel-focused, it has opened up this crazy stream of everyone wanting to share the gospel,” McDonald said. This passion for the gospel has led to more members bringing guests and more people visiting the church. Since 2018, the church has grown from 250 weekly attendees to 350, though McDonald explained that the pandemic has made those numbers differ drastically on a week-by-week basis.

Church Health Strategy In the midst of this growth, McDonald reached out to Jonathan Smith, director of Church Health Strategy. The two had become friends during Smith’s time as a pastor in the area, and now McDonald hoped that Smith could help Arcadia First Baptist continue to grow. Smith came to Arcadia Baptist Church and observed the church’s process on a regular Sunday, then met with McDonald and other church staff and walked them through some ideas to better improve their guest process. Smith was able to give that ‘guest’ perspective, and he helped Arcadia First

“There are two things that keep people at a church – when people find a meaningful community and when people find a place to serve in their community. And the assimilation process really addresses both of those to help new church members get to know the church well, understand the basics of the church, get plugged into a community and find a place to serve in that community, where they are contributing,” Smith explained. Arcadia First Baptist was already a growing, vibrant church. Smith was able to come alongside them and make sure that they continued growing and give them the tools they need to succeed for years to come. “Oftentimes I’m not working with an unhealthy church; it’s a healthy church that needs to think about just one aspect of improvement,” Smith said. “I’m here to help a church think all the way from their website to what happens to a guest on a given Sunday.” For more information about Church Health Strategy and to learn how your church can benefit from their resources, go to txb.org/healthychurch or contact Jonathan Smith at Jonathan.Smith@txb.org.


Yet, like so many other churches, Arcadia First Baptist had a hard year, and that year brought changes the church could not have anticipated. First, the area was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, then in May 2018, there was a school shooting at the local high school. Not only were several of the church’s teenagers injured in the shooting, but the shooter’s family also attended the church. These things, coupled with the retirement of the previous pastor, led the church into a season of challenge.

Baptist work through an assimilation plan to get guests connected to a small group and also multiplied the number of small groups. He suggested small groups choose one or two people to be trained as new small group leaders. Then, when a new member class happens, those people act as table hosts at the event. They can walk the people at their table through the process and invite them to join their newly launched small group so that the new members are drawn into a community and feel that they have a place to belong.


A husband and wife were baptized as a result of the ministry at 3rd Coat Church.

Church planter responds to ‘fire in his bones’


By Analiz Schremmer, contributing writer


Kyle Jackson would have started a church plant wherever God led him. As it turns out, God was leading him to Lago Mar — a beautiful, planned community surrounding crystal-clear lakes, not unlike a vacation destination. Lago Mar is located in the Southside of Houston, and Jackson currently preaches from a rented space in the Lago Mar Lagoon Clubhouse. The pulpit, he says, is a mere stone’s throw from the water. The setting is idyllic, almost dreamlike, but the journey has had its challenges. The church, which officially launched

To make things even more dramatic, its first service was on Easter Sunday, but neither Jackson nor the worship leader were able to attend, because Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and exposed the worship leader to it before he became aware. The sermon had to be shown via video and they found somebody else to lead worship. Still, 100 people attended and it quickly became clear to Jackson that God was at work and he was just “hanging on” and “hoping to not mess up what He was doing.” The journey started when Kyle was on sabbatical from his job as a student and missions pastor at Heritage Park Baptist Church. He looked to God for guidance and felt a clear draw to start a church plant. The call was so clear, and his passion was so fierce, that he could only describe it as a “fire in his bones.” As soon as he came home, he stopped by to see Trent Henderson, his senior pastor, to share his new passion. And he wasn’t shy about it, either. “I'm not sure where yet, but I want to enter into residency with the Houston Church Planting Network and I want you to come alongside me in this process,” he told him. Henderson laughed, perhaps amused by his boldness, and said he had a meeting next week with the director of Church Starting for Texas Baptists, and he wanted Jackson to come along. One thing led to another, and Jackson embarked on a journey with Texas Baptists that helped prepare him for church planting. He continued his current job responsibilities at Heritage Park Baptist, but he also received monthly church-planting training. Meanwhile, Jackson and his wife, Kacee were praying and trying to identify where they should go.

“We knew we wanted to stay in the Southside of Houston. It’s an area from Beltway 8, of Houston, to the Beach of Galveston,” Jackson explained. More than 55% of its residents consider themselves without a religious affiliation.” It’s also a rapidly growing area. Four thousand and five hundred homes will be built in the Lago Mar alone, with many other communities growing in the surrounding area.

the smaller house thinking this may be someone retiring or downsizing.” And one day, Jackson decided to visit the neighborhood Facebook page and introduced himself as a pastor who wanted to pray for the community. The prayer requests flowed in. And as Jackson prayed on his jogs, he would pause in front of the homeowner’s property and send in a selfie to show them that they were being prayed for. That was the beginning of the new community.

Jackson explained that, statistically, the average non-Christian is not willing to drive more than 2.5 miles to go to church, “We had a core team of three families from our sending church that used to and it was that information which meet in my living room, and in Sept. helped them choose Lago Mar, where no 2020, we did a Facebook Live interest churches existed within that radius. meeting where we introduced ourselves And so, the Jackson family built their and told the community what we new house and moved in at the end of planned on doing — small groups.” February 2020 — just before the start of Thirty people were interested, so three the COVID-19 pandemic. small groups began meeting weekly for meals, prayer and Bible study. Today, 70 adults are involved in small groups and new people are attending Sunday “He looked to God for services every week.

guidance and felt a clear draw to start a church plant. The call was so clear, and his passion was so fierce, that he could only describe it as a 'fire in his bones.'”

Building a new church during a pandemic Churches are a community of believers, and Jackson was going to have to build a new one in a time that restricted gatherings. He started where any pastor should — prayer. He went on jogs, praying up and down every street, praying for the families that would live in the new homes and the families that had already moved in. “As we met people I’d pray for them by name,” Jackson said. “I’d pray for the minivan with the three kid stickers or

“We have about 100 that come on Sundays and about 150 that we call ‘ours,’” Jackson said. “People who have never read the Bible are getting to read the Bible. We were recently able to baptize a husband and wife in the lagoon.” “The husband said he knew about Jesus, but didn’t know you could have a relationship with him. Then he turned around and baptized his wife, who was nine months pregnant and gave birth the next week!” Clearly, the fire in Jackson’s bones is only burning brighter. “We have seen people who have walked away from the church come back,” he said. “We have seen people who have never been to a church call this place home.” To learn more about Texas Baptists Church Starting, go to txb.org/churchstarting.


this April, has already had to change its name from Lago Mar Church to 3rd Coat Church for trademark reasons. And, of course, it was birthed in the middle of the pandemic.


Manteniendo el momento: NOVEMBER 2021 / TEX AS BAPTISTS LIFE

Creciendo una iglesia en crecimiento


Por Bonnie Shaw

La Primera Iglesia Bautista de Arcadia ha pasado por muchas etapas en la vida de una iglesia. Desde sus humildes comienzos en 1940 como una pequeña iglesia reuniéndose en la barbería de un miembro de la iglesia hasta una iglesia de una sola habitación, hasta un edificio de salones múltiples que abriga a la congregación hoy día, la Primera de Arcadia sabe lo que es crecer, cambiar, y adaptarse para satisfacer mejor las necesidades de su comunidad.

Centrados en el evangelismo

“Cada vez que puedo comparto el evangelio y hablo de su importancia. Lo comparto cada domingo desde el púlpito con extrema claridad, sea de las Escrituras o a través de una ilustración. No solamente los perdidos necesitan el evangelio, no solamente los que nos visitan necesitan el evangelio, el evangelio es para todos los miembros, incluyendo a los pastores, incluyéndome a mí mismo. Es para todo el mundo. Y, debido a que nos hemos enfocado en el evangelio, se ha abierto un tremendo flujo de personas deseando compartir el evangelio”, dijo McDonald.

“Mayormente, era una iglesia saludable, pero cuando llegué sucedieron varios eventos que causaron que la iglesia decayera”, explicó Joshua McDonald, quien llegó para ser el nuevo pastor de la iglesia en 2018. “Dios sostuvo a la iglesia a través de todo, pero hubo, como es natural, dificultades y decaimiento”.

Esta pasión por el evangelio ha llevado a muchos miembros a traer visitantes a la iglesia y más personas nos están visitando. Desde 2018, la iglesia ha crecido de una asistencia semanal de 250 a 350, aunque McDonald explicó que la pandemia ha afectado esos números drásticamente semana tras semana.

Cuando McDonald llegó a la iglesia, organizó su proceso de conectar a la iglesia con un enfoque de cinco puntosPersonas, Historia, Aspiraciones, Sermones, y El mundo necesita el evangelio (PHASE). Con estas ideas en mente, McDonald inició su labor, llegando a conocer a la congregación y la historia de la iglesia, compartiendo sus aspiraciones para la iglesia y escuchando las aspiraciones de otros, y predicando sermones que deliberadamente enfocaban alrededor de compartir el evangelio.

Estrategia para la salud de la iglesia En medio de este crecimiento, McDonald se comunicó con Jonathan Smith, el director de Estrategia para la salud de la iglesia. Los dos se hicieron amigos durante el tiempo cuando Smith era pastor en el área, y ahora McDonald esperaba que Smith pudiera ayudar a la Primera de Arcadia a continuar creciendo. Smith visitó la Primera de Arcadia y observó el proceso de la iglesia el domingo. Entonces se reunió con McDonald y el personal ministerial de la iglesia y les presentó varias ideas para ayudar a mejorar el proceso de recibir a los que visitan.

“Hay dos cosas que mantienen a las personas en la iglesia—cuando encuentran una comunidad significativa y cuando encuentran un lugar donde servir en su comunidad. Y, el proceso de asimilación verdaderamente provee estas dos cosas para ayudar a los nuevos miembros a conocer bien a la iglesia, a conectarse en una comunidad, y encontrar un lugar donde servir en esa comunidad donde contribuyen”, explicó Smith. La Primera de Arcadia ya era una iglesia dinámica y en crecimiento. Smith pudo caminar con ellos y asegurarse de que continúen creciendo al darles las herramientas necesarias para tener éxito en el futuro venidero. “Con frecuencia no trabajo con una iglesia que no está saludable, es una iglesia saludable que necesita pensar en un aspecto en el cual mejorar”, dijo Smith. “Estoy aquí para ayudar a la iglesia a pensar en todo, desde su página web hasta lo que sucede con una persona que visita un domingo en particular”. Para información adicional acerca de la Estrategia para la salud de la iglesia y saber cómo su iglesia puede beneficiarse de estos recursos, visite txb.org/healthychurch o comuníquese con Jonathan Smith por correo electrónico- Jonathan.Smith@txb.org.


Sin embargo, al igual que muchas otras iglesias, la Primera de Arcadia tuvo un año difícil, y ese año trajo cambios que la iglesia no anticipaba. Primero, el área fue devastada por el huracán Harvey en 2017, entonces en mayo 2018 hubo un tiroteo en la escuela superior local. No solamente algunos de los adolescentes de la iglesia resultaron lastimados, también la familia del agresor asistía a la iglesia. Estas cosas, junto con el retiro del pastor anterior, llevó a la iglesia a un tiempo de desafío.

Smith pudo presentarles una perspectiva desde el punto de vista de un “visitante”, y ayudó a la iglesia a desarrollar un plan de asimilación para conectar a los visitantes a un grupo pequeño y también multiplicar el número de grupos pequeños. Él sugirió que cada grupo pequeño escogiera a una o dos personas para ser entrenadas como nuevos líderes de grupos pequeños. Entonces, cuando hay una orientación para nuevos miembros, esas personas actúan como líderes de mesa durante el evento. Ellos ayudan a las personas en su mesa a entender el proceso y los invitan a unirse a un grupo pequeño que acaba de iniciarse para que los nuevos miembros tengan un sentido de comunidad y un lugar donde pertenecer.


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