Month: August 2003

SBTC summer youth ministries help 236 students

IRVING, Texas — With 236 professions of faith at youth ministry events of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention during the summer of 2003, Student Evangelism Associate Tom Cottar can finally take a deep breath. After organizing two youth events targeting lost students and one student leadership camp, all of which occurred in the first two months of the summer, the SBTC staffer has now set his sights on an October event to train youth pastors.

“We are lookingto start a revolution,” said Cottar, explaining that modern youth are “extremely savvy,” but have bought into a non-Christian worldview.

Although youth are often “anti-church,” Cottar said students are still interested in spiritual things. “They are finding out that life, real life, is only found in the truth ofGod’sWord. Not in Allah, Justin Timberlake or even themselves. We can criticize Britney Spears all day long; she may be the sum of all our fears. But get ready, Britney has built an army.”

Cottar said the vision of the SBTC for reaching youth is to “expose students to the power of the truth of God, to let them experience real life (through worship, missions, teaching, etc.), and then togive them the tools to live a Christ-centered life, making a difference for the kingdom in their home, school and church.”

About 260 students seeking to make a difference in their communities attended the first annual Outbreak Leadership Camp, June 2-6. Outbreak, designed to equip and teach youth leaders, also aspires to give students hands-on ministry skills through classroom teaching, student involvement modules and intense Bible study.

“The purpose of Outbreak is to teach the youth apologetics, leadership skills and a ‘Jesus-style’ of living that attracts unbelievers and strengthens the local church body,” said Cottar.

At the end of the day, students gathered for corporate worship to hear main speaker Aubrey Spears and praise by the John Sherrill Band. Texas Baptists offered interaction with the youth in small group sessions on the Christian worldview including: Bil Cornelius, pastor of Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi; Chandra Peele of Godly and Beautiful Ministries; and Randy Haney, pastor of Faith Harbor in Baytown.

June 9-13, the SBTC hosted its annual youth camp in Columbus, Texas with Dare 2 Run Ministries. About 1,100 students from 150 churches attended the camp, purposed to bring the gospel to lost youth, while encouraging and strengthening the walk of existing Christians. From youth camp, Cottar reported 150 professions of faith, 77 calls to full-time Christian service and 18 recommitments to living in Christ-likeness.

Main events and speakers included Jeff Mangum and The Smith Band leading in worship.

Approximately 2,000 students from 115 different churches attended the Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC), July 11-12 at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas. This year’s conference was centered on the theme of the web site, which encourages youth to first connect with God in a personal and intimate relationship, connect with a friend who does not know Christ and, finally, connect that friend with Christ.

“If those students will catch a vision of what they can do, not just in their school campus, but in their church, they can go back and actually be the light that sparks something in their church, in their youth group, in their family,” Cottar said.

Conference speaker Dave Edwards told students that no matter how many “religious motions” they go through, it won’t matter until they “really, genuinely connect with the life of Christ.”

Edwards, citing Ezekiel 36:25-27, outlined three things that only God can do: make believers complete, change them and make them clean.

“If we’re going to connect with God, we’re going to have to allow him to do something in us that we could never do on our own,” he said.

Youth were encouraged throughout the weekend not only to seek to draw nearer to Christ themselves, but to encourage others as well. Computers were set up to allow students to log on to the site establishing screen names and email accounts.

“[Students] can meet each other online, encourage each other and ultimately reach out to their lost friends, lost students and peers,” Cottar said.

One 18-year-old student already connecting with God, others and his community volunteered to act as a deejay, performing between guest speakers and musicians during YEC. Noel Montemayor of Rowlett said he has always been a big music fan, but in recent years God has shown him that music can be one of the central ways he can connect with other students in order to share the love of Christ.

“How awesome is it just to deejay and… [bring] people to know Christ,” he said, looking out over his peers at the conference. “How awesome is that? When you’re deejaying, you can change a life. One deejay can affect over a thousand people.”

Cottar said he watched in amazement as Montemayor sought to focus the attention of his peers on Christ through his energetic performances.

“After each session, there were 20 to 30 kids standing around him asking questions.  He probably shared his faith with 100 kids that weekend, because they were so interested,” Cottar recounted.  “His whole message was ‘If you’ll give every area of your life over to God, there’s no limit to what he will do with it.  Look at me.  I’m just a high-school kid from Rowlett; I’m just up here spinning records and loving God with my life.'”

Other YEC speakers and event leaders during the weekend included Chandra Peele; the John Sherrill Band and Big Daddy Weave; drama ministry Skitzo; and speaker Bill Gravell.  Broken Ground, a choir of 7th-12th grade students from First Baptist Church Euless also performed.

The purpose of cramming three major youth ministry events into the first six weeks of the summer was not a moment of insanity, Cottar assured, but to demonstrate that all students have a place of service in the kingdom of God.

“I want to send a message that says, ‘regardless of what part you play in the body of Christ, we need you,” Cottar said.  “Students have to realize that they are not the church of tomorrow, but the church of ‘right now’.”


State news briefs

State news briefs

• Edhube Baptist Church in Bonham, Texas, was the 1,000th church to uniquely affiliate with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Edhube

Baptist Church, pastored by James O. Henry, affiliated on July 7, 2003. Currently, over 76 percent of the 1,330 churches affiliated with the SBTC are uniquely affiliated.

• Houston G. Prewitt has been called as Youth Minister at Northside Baptist Church in Highlands, Texas.

Taiwan partnership offers ministry opportunities

Rev. Nehemiah Tsai, general secretary of the Taiwan Baptist Convention has invited up to 50 U.S. churches to come to Taiwan July 14 ? 27, 2004 for a partnership campaign in all of the Baptist churches in Taiwan. I cannot remember ever receiving such a request for every church in a convention.

When we think of the tension between Taiwan and Mainland China and the fact that it might be possible for the freedom in Taiwan churches to be quickly taken away, it causes us to pray and determine that we will not lose this great opportunity. If Taiwan holds to this invitation, it will be one of the most difficult enlistment tasks we have ever been given. If they hold to the invitation and we can have a miraculous enlistment that would give us all 50 U.S. teams, we will without a doubt, have opened one of the greatest and most productive partnerships ever!

Will you pray and ask the Lord if he wants you to go? If he leads you to be apart of this challenge, you can be a part of one of the most meaningful evangelistic efforts ever experienced in Taiwan. You could be a part of making sure that every person in Taiwan has the plan of salvation given to them in 2004.

Partnership cannot be done without people like you! Keep in mind that he can use any Christian with a warm heart and a real desire to share, regardless of experience. Do you want to be a part and would you pray and ask the Lord to let you be a part? May God bless and guide you as you pray. Let us know how he has led you as soon as you can. Contact evangelism@t1:PersonName> for more information

Texas graduate from SBC seminaries

Justin Micah Joiner from Austin, Texas, received the master of divinity degree in Christian education on May 17 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Joiner is the son of Jerry and Kathleen Joiner of Austin, Texas. His home church is Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. Joiner holds the bachelor of business administration degree in management from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

John D. Pemberton from Kingwood, Texas, received the master of divinity degree in Christian thought on May 17 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Pemberton, the son of James and Barbara Pemberton of Ouachita, Ark, is married to the former Amanda Wright of Kingwood, Texas. Pemberton’s home church is First Baptist Church in Kingwood, Texas. He holds the bachelor of arts degree in religion from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Paige Cristin Schultz from Corpus Christi, Texas, received the master of arts in marriage and family counseling degree on May 17 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Schultz is the daughter of Charles and Beverly Schultz of Corpus Christi, Texas. Schultz’s home church is First Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. She holds the bachelor of arts degree in religion from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

The following graduates from Texas were conferred degrees by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary or Southeastern College at Wake Forest, Wake Forest, N.C., on May 24, 2003: John A. Voholetz of Houston received an associates of divinity degree. Brian Alan Tadlock Wells of Dallas received a bachelor of arts in biblical studies degree.

Mark Anthony Bolt of Port Arthur received a bachelor or arts in biblical studies with a minor in history of ideas.

Kelly Ann Davis of Lufkin and Camille Renee Townsend of Beaumont received master of arts in intercultural studies degrees and Ralph Wilfred Green, III of McAllen received a master of divinity with North American church planting degree.

Thumbs for Aug. 4

Thumbs Up

• Thumbs up to American troops in Iraq for continuing the mission in the face of a difficult situation and declining awareness back home. They can’t just leave and peace is not easy. First person accounts say that most Iraqis cheer our people but most press coverage is of the difficulties they face in their peace mission. Keep praying, friends. Keep up the good work, guys.

Thumbs DOWN

• Thumbs down to the Dallas Morning News and its parent company, Belo Broadcasting. This once-conservative daily has again taken the wrong side in the culture war. They announced July 6 that they would include homosexual unions on the same page with wedding announcements. This issue of the News included two “commitment” photos of female couples. This “me-too” political correctness was justified by noting that the New York Times does it, several other large dailies do it, and, indirectly, because the Lawrence decision by the Supreme Court signals a new attitude toward homosexual behavior in the culture.

• Thumbs down to Wal-Mart for elevating homosexual behavior to the same level with race and gender in their corporate anti-discrimination policy. According to a news report, of the top ten Fortune 500 companies, only Irving-based Exxon considers a simple anti-discrimination policy adequate affirmation of homosexual behavior. I don’t think Sam Walton would be proud.


“When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice.”

? From Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision. Justices, Souter, Ginsburg, Stevens, and Breyer joined the opinion.

“Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.”

? From the Lawrence majority opinion in reference to a diverse list of constitutionally-protected rights. The list includes decisions relating to marriage, procreation, and family relations, among others.

“It is clear from this that the Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as a neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.”

? From Justice Scalia’s dissent on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision. Justices Renquist and Thomas joined the dissent.

“The sour puritanism of Justice Scalia’s latest tirade has gotten most of the ink, but it is the flagrant politicization of his response that is most worthy of censure. A states’ rights guy, he should know that if he wants to give a stump speech for ultra conservative values, he should run for the Senate.”

? Radical columnist Anna Quindlen, in Newsweek, responding to Justice Scalia’s dissent in the Lawrence v. Texas decision.

Excerpt from

As I climbed over the mountains, losing valuable air speed and almost losing directional control, I called the tower at Lae and informed them that I was coming in for an emergency landing?

After clearing the power lines, I decided to push the nose down and force the plane onto the muddy field with my brakes locked. I figured that would cause my nose gear to collapse, and help me stop before going into the ocean. When I hit the ground, the plane slid sideways at a high speed, then leaped back into the air. I pushed it back on the wet ground again, with the brakes still locked, dirt and mud flying everywhere.

My priority shifted quickly from trying to save the plane to surviving without going into the ocean! Having been raised in west Texas, where water was always scarce, I didn’t know how to swim and was determined to stop the plane before it hit the water.

The plane began to skid and swerve toward the tower as I tried to hold it straight, and when I reached the end of the runway with mud and dirt still flying, I released one brake and let the plane spin around until it stopped just short of the ocean. The Australians in the tower later told me that when the plane veered toward them they were about ready to bail out of the tower and run for safety.

When the propeller on the dead engine stopped turning, I realized what had happened ? the tank with the inoperative fuel gauge had run out of gas! Flying with one dead engine and a prop that had not been feathered had forced me to fly at a high rate of speed in order to keep control.

That day, flying over the jungles of New Guinea, I broke every rule of self-preservation in landing the plan with one engine out. But God had preserved me anyway!

I sat in the cockpit, as the dust settled, and thanked the Lord for his care. I was still sitting there when the Australians drove up in their Jeep. I climbed down out of the plane and immediately realized just how much care God had given. Under the wings were the bombs I had forgotten to jettison! Had I been successful in collapsing the gear, the plane would have been blown to bits! That was an amazing and miraculous rescue from disaster. God was there.

NAMB missionaries have ties to Texas

ALPHARETTA, Ga. ? Three missionary couples with ties to Texas have been appointed by the North American Mission Board.

J. Eric and Wendy Boykin serve in Frederick, Md., where Eric Boykin is a church planter intern and pastor.

Boykin, a Texas native, is a graduate of Wesley College in Florence, Miss., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously was pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas, and has earlier experience as a church planter and pastor in Magee, Mendenhall, Milledgeville, and Pinola, Miss.

Wendy Boykin, a Georgia native, holds an associate degree from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. She previously has worked as a kennel owner, childcare worker and typesetter. She also has served churches in Texas and Mississippi as worship leader.

The Boykins have three children: Zachary, 10; Stephen, 10; and Emili, 7.

Robert M. and Jennifer L. Griner serve in New York City, where both work on the staff of the New Hope New York Strategic Focus Cities outreach effort. Robert is communications director, while Jennifer Griner is a staff associate.

Griner, who grew up in Washington, Ga., is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously has served as a collegiate and 20s minister for North Richland Hills Baptist church in Fort Worth, and has eight years previous experience in public relations.

Jennifer Griner, who grew up in Mesquite, Texas, is a graduate of Brownwood (t1:State>Texas) University and Dallas Baptist University, where she received a master’s degree in counseling.

Dustin and Julie Wagley serve in Breckenridge, Colo., where Dustin Wagley is a resort missionary ministering through the planting of house churches and other outreach efforts. They were appointed under the US/C-2 program, in which young adults complete two years of missions service in the United States or Canada.

Wagley, a Texas native, is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark

Ruben Hernandez steps down

IRVING, Texas ? Ruben Hernandez announced his resignation July 15 as director of missions and evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to seek “the Lord’s direction” for other ministry opportunities.

During the convention’s first four years, SBTC has supported nearly 200 new church starts, begun a youth evangelism conference that has grown to over 2,000 in attendance, conducted yearly statewide evangelism conferences with over 1,200 participants, expanded the conference into regional meetings with youth and children’s rallies, and opened U.S. and international partnerships with the SBC mission boards.

“Ruben provided invaluable ministry in the early days of the SBTC and was no doubt God’s man for the hour,” stated SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards. When Hernandez began his ministry with SBTC in the fall of 1999, he was the second full-time ministry staff member of the new convention. Hernandez previously served as a vocational evangelist for 25 years and pastored for five years.

“He is a faithful family man and a constant soul-winner,” Richards added. “It has been my privilege more than once to listen to him witness to a person on an airplane or in a restaurant and see the person pray to receive Christ. He does not just talk evangelism, he does it,” Richards continued. “Only eternity will reveal the contribution Ruben has made to the Kingdom.”

He added that the recent renaming of the annual evangelism conference as the Empower Conference provides an opportunity to expand SBTC’s evangelism ministry.

“The Empower Conference is not just another meeting denominational people ask you to support. It is an inspirational, equipping tool that will set the tone for everything we will be doing in evangelism.”

During the interim period, Richards has asked former staff member Ronnie Yarber of Athens to assist SBTC in the area of evangelism. Yarber received SBTC’s W.A. Criswell Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastoral Evangelism in 2002. “Ronnie’s heart for evangelism has been proven over a long and fruitful ministry,” Richards said.

“People and circumstances change all the time, but Jesus never changes,” Richards concluded, citing Hebrews 13:8. “Keep talking about Jesus.”

Texan chronicles miracles of God in new book

SAN ANTONIO — “Whatever it Takes: The Amazing Adventures of God’s Work Around the World,” published by Broadman & Holman in 2003, is the chronicle of a life-time worth of miracles for one man of faith while laboring to see the gospel of Jesus Christ span the globe. The book is the story of a man marked by God for great things for the kingdom’s sake.

The journey begins in WWII where author and SBTC consultant for partnership missions W.H. “Dub” Jackson served with the Forty-ninth Fighter Group flying P-38 fighter planes. It was during Jackson’s years in military service that his eyes would be opened to the physical, emotional and spiritual post-war needs of the Japanese. The book opens with the exciting tale of an emergency crash landing in a P-38 deep in the heart of New Guinea in which Jackson recounts the miracle of God’s protection.

“I never cease to give thanks to God for his constant care. Clearly on this flight and every flight in World War II, I firmly believe that he preserved my life for the missionary service he later called us to,” Jackson wrote in the opening chapter. “I could not have imagined all of the spiritual joys, battles and victories he was going to give to us in our missionary service and witness to the Japanese who were so aggressively seeking to destroy us.”

Beyond God’s protection during flight maneuvers on the front lines of battle, Jackson recounts God’s saving grace in his life as time in Japan prepared him for missionary service with his wife, Doris. It is within the setting of WWII bomb raids and the U.S. occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1946 that God would instill in this Texas-born fighter pilot a dream of partnership evangelism for which he is now well-known.

In the aftermath of the war, Jackson quickly discovered the need for missionaries to enter the county to present the Japanese with new hope. When few missionaries were to be found, Jackson enlisted the help of non-missionary personnel and a seed was planted for partnership missions.

“…Japan was in ruins, but Japanese hearts were open to the gospel and hungry for a message of hope. When the emperor surrendered, the Japanese had to acknowledge that he was not divine. The morale of the country was zero. They had lost not only the war but also their hope for the future.”

On off-hours, Jackson organized evangelistic meetings and campaigns to help missionaries serving in Japan. He entered Japanese schools and shared his testimony and played his trumpet for students. He also gathered food, clothing and blankets to starving Japanese communities – all at the age of 21.

“Thank the Lord, today we can be introduced to world needs through Partnership Evangelism instead of through war!”

Miracles of God’s protection and provision are woven into the fabric of the story of the Jacksons’ attempts to further the gospel around the world. In beginning new churches, to providing help and financial resources to bring people to Christ, God’s hand is unmistakably attributed to the success of the couple. In chapter three, Jackson recounts a time in 1950, while pastoring in Mineral Wells and attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, when a need presented itself to return to Japan for short-term mission work. Feeling burdened to respond to such a need, Jackson resigned from the pastorate and bought a one-way ticket to Japan trusting in God to provide the money while overseas to purchase a ticket back home.

The miracles of God continued in the ministry of the Jacksons as the couple experienced a call to full-time mission work and planted Asahigawa Baptist Church in Hokkaido, Japan. A fund for a city-wide evangelistic crusade found an investor in retired missionary to China resulting in 350 decisions for Christ. Those who made professions of faith were baptized in a river during heavy snow falls and cold rain. Jackson recounts: “Baptismal candidates, for lack of changing facilities, were forced to wear their wet clothing for over an hour after the service before we could get them to a place to change.”

The need for a place to worship and baptize was later provided by the Jackson’s themselves as nearly a hundred church members met in the couple’s living room and then were baptized in a wooden barrel in their one-car garage. It was during the times of cold and cramped worship meetings, that the Jacksons employed the phrase “Whatever it Takes,” a motto that would follow them 50 years into their ministry of reaching the lost.

The book also recounts the origination, preparation and miracles of the 1963 New Life Movement, a “massive evangelistic campaign,” beginning in Tokyo that eventually reached all of Asia with the name of Jesus. The NLM began as a dream of Jackson and was the largest step toward partnership evangelism. In the time span of six weeks, over 45,000 people made professions of faith.  Baptist leaders such as T.A. Patterson, Ramsey Pollard, Owen White, Herschel Hobbs, and Baker James Cauthen, Billy Graham, and Wade Freeman preached and supported the event.

After the success of NLM, Jackson began to enlist the support of state-side churches in adopting international congregations and sending church members on short-term mission trips.  The Jacksons’ pioneering work continued as they returned to Texas from the mission field and presented their idea of partnership missions to top SBC officials and former International Mission Board President Keith Parks.  The quest for promotional and financial support for partnership missions was a long road riddled with many obstacles including rejection from the IMB.  However, the Jackson’s continued enlisting the support of SBC churches until “20 years after its inception.  Partnership Evangelism was adopted” by the IMB in 1981.

The victories of partnership evangelism find their origin in the Jackson’s abandonment to “God’s plan to win the world now.”  The story of this Texas Baptist begins as a layperson who witnesses the need for Christ in wr-torn countries.  The ending of the story reveals determined missionaries, renewed by God’s protection, begging others to see the lost through the eyes of Christ.

“Whatever it Takes:  The Amazing Adventures of God’s Work Around the World,” can be purchased at any local LifeWay Christian Bookstore.