Month: September 2004

LifeWay housewarming gift to SBTC cites inerrancy quote

A marble plaque inscribed with words penned by early Sunday School Board President J.M. Frost adorns a wall at the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention offices, a housewarming gift from LifeWay Christian Resources.

James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay, presented the plaque to the SBTC during a brief ceremony Aug. 20 at the SBTC offices in Grapevine.

Draper, a former Texas pastor, said it was appropriate to present to the SBTC the plaque with an inscription speaking of the inerrancy of Scripture?a core unifier in the confessional state convention, which includes more than 1,500 churches.

The inscription, from “Baptist Why and Why Not,” penned by Frost and published in 1900 by the Sunday School Board, reads: “? We accept the Scriptures as an all-sufficient and infallible rule of faith and practice, and insist upon the absolute inerrancy and sole authority of the Word of God.

“We recognize at this point no room for division, either of practice or belief, or even sentiment. More and more we must come to feel as the deepest and mightiest power of our conviction that a ‘thus saith the Lord’ is the end of all controversy ?”

Draper said he had the Frost quote inscribed on a plaque and placed in the LifeWay offices in Nashville when he went there as president in 1991.

The SBTC plaque is a replica of the one in Nashville, he said.

Draper said the task ahead is to approach a new generation of Southern Baptist leaders with the stewardship of preserving scriptural integrity and the work of world missions.

“We can’t give it away,” Draper said of gains made during the conservative theological resurgence in the SBC in the 1980s and ’90s. “We have to pass it along to a new generation.”

He said though some Baptist moderates were once fond of saying the term inerrancy was foreign to Baptist heritage, “The Southern Baptist Convention has always stood for the authenticity, authority and inerrancy of Scripture,” Draper contended.

SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards and Jim Wolfe, director of SBTC Church Ministry Support, accepted the award on behalf of the convention. The SBTC is the LifeWay partner convention in Texas.

Richards said LifeWay is a valued partner with the SBTC through shared convictions about the “inerrant, infallible Word of God.”

Wolfe said LifeWay and the SBTC are “on the same page” in seeking to help churches build vibrant, doctrinally sound ministries. LifeWay is the only publisher of church resources that SBTC churches can hold accountable and which is uniquely committed to Baptist doctrine, Wolfe added. He charged LifeWay and the SBTC to “remain faithful to the Word.”

The SBTC, begun in 1998, is a confessional fellowship of churches joined by a commitment to Scriptural inerrancy, missions, and the Cooperative Program missions funding method.

SBTC youth associate moves to Pflugerville

Tom Cottar, youth evangelism associate with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention since 2000, has left the convention staff to become the student pastor at First Baptist Church of Pflugerville in north Austin.

Cottar came to the SBTC staff from First Baptist Church in Groesbeck. At the SBTC, he coordinated the annual Youth Evangelism Conference and various other student events, including “Outbreak,” the student leadership camp.

Cottar said he is eager to continuing the student work in the Austin area, adding that the “pace of student life is always in fast forward.”

“But it’s good. One of the things I’m looking forward to is building the relationships with the students?being on the level to witness firsthand the way God moves among them, to be involved with that.”

Cottar said Austin’s reputation as an alternative lifestyle haven makes for creative ministry opportunities.

“This is a very eclectic area. Any type of nationality or profession?any kind of person you have ever known?they live right here (in Austin).”

Cottar and his wife, Heather, have two boys, Darien, 4, and Dylan, 1.

Submitting resolutions for the SBTC annual meeting

The Committee on Order of Business has set the deadline for resolutions to be considered by the 2004 annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25. This corresponds to the beginning of the annual meeting’s first session Monday evening.

Prior to Oct. 22, resolutions may be sent to the SBTC offices. Please mail the resolutions on disk and provide a printed copy of the material. It is preferable that resolutions be e-mailed to Material sent by post must arrive at the SBTC offices, attention: Gary Ledbetter, by Oct. 22. Thereafter, resolutions may be submitted?with disk and printed copy?at the SBTC booth during the Pastors’ Conference, Oct. 24-25, at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

Those submitting resolutions should include name, address, phone number, church name, and a phone number at which they may be reached during the Resolution Committee’s deliberations Oct. 25-26.

2004 presidential appointments announced

The following are 2004-05 appointments of Southern Baptists of Texas Convention President Chris Osborne. Osborne is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Bryan.

Resolution Committee

Chair: Barry Creamer, Woodland West Baptist Church, Arlington; Gene Edwards, North Park, North Richland Hills; Jim Sherwin, Everett, Hooks; Tom Roberson, Oakland Heights, Longview; Ralph Pulley, FBC, Dallas; Dale Jackson, Bethel, Nacogdoches; Lollie Cogswell, FBC, Sherman; Yolanda McPherson, Mt. Sinai Missionary BC, Ft. Worth.

Tellers Committee

Chair: Ernest McCoulskey, FBC, Terrell; Tim Skaggs, Central Baptist Church, Bryan; Jack Broadwater, FBC, Burton; George Nelson, Grace Fellowship, Brenham; James Sparks, Malta, DeKalb; Stan Ortner, FBC, Bremond; Sammy Lopez, UPTOWN Fellowship, Houston; Berkley Boyd, Call Junction, Kirbyville; Stephen Joiner, FBC, Buffalo Gap; Young Gi Han, Disciple, Carrollton; Jerry Zucha, Firewheel, Garland; Mike Curry, Christ’s Way, College Station.

Committee on Committees

Chair: Robert Welch, Park Hills, San Antonio; Mike Fortenberry, East Paris, Paris; Nathan Lino, Northeast Houston Baptist Church, Houston; Jo McGuire, Cornerstone, Haskell.

Registration Committee

Chair: Susan Furr, Lakeland, Lewisville; Russell Rodgers, Trinity Life, Garland; Ray Bandy, Trinity Southern, Lewisville; Terry Blankenship, Bethany, Dallas; Tony Matthews, North Garland Baptist Fellowship, Garland.


Barry McCarty, professional parliamentarian.

SBTC Pastor’s Conference: ‘Celebrating God’s Family’

The 2004 Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Pastors’ Conference Oct. 24-25 at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano will include breakout sessions for varied interests in addition to the usual fare of preaching and music.

The lineup includes the host pastor, Jack Graham, Dallas pastor and author Tony Evans and eight other ministers from across Texas. Musicians from Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Mansfield and Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington are also scheduled.

The conference precedes the SBTC annual meeting, which begins Monday evening, Oct. 25 and continues through Oct. 26 at Prestonwood.

Session I begins at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and includes messages from Randy Weeaks, Bryan Carter and Jack Graham and a testimony from Rosanne Leafblad.

Weeaks is the pastor of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Mansfield, where since 1992 the church has grown from 30 people to more than 2,300 members under his shepherding.

Carter is senior pastor of Concord Baptist Church in Dallas. Carter, a pastor’s son, succeeded the founding pastor, E.K. Bailey, after Bailey’s death in 2002. The church has a network of more than 40 home Bible studies.

Graham is pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the nation’s largest congregations, and just completed two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is seen and heard nationally through the broadcast ministry “Power Point.”

Session II begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 25. After music and prayer, participants will choose from a series of “leadership sessions” which include “The Pastor and His Finances,” led by John Morgan, pastor of Sagemont Baptist Church in Houston; “There’s More Than One Color in the Pew,” led by Tony Mathews, pastor of North Garland Baptist Church, Garland; “Praise and Worship in the Local Congregation,” led by Kim Noblitt, worship/music minister at First Baptist Church, Euless; “The Pastor and His Health,” led by Hennon Cooper, pastor of Rock of Faith Baptist Church, Cedar Hill; and “Transitioning and Revitalizing Your Church,” led by Gary Smith, pastor of Fielder Road Baptist Church, Arlington.

Session III begins at 2 p.m. Oct. 25 and includes messages from Gil Lain, Tony Mathews and Tony Evans, plus a testimony from Egon Settle.

Lain is pastor of Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo. The church has five families serving the International Mission Board abroad and carries on a vibrant deaf ministry. According to its website, the church aims to encourage people to magnify God and pursue maturity, membership, ministry and mission.

Mathews is senior pastor of North Garland Baptist Church in Garland and president of Jacob’s Well Ministries. He has taught multi-ethnic ministry at The Criswell College and holds a doctorate from Southwestern Seminary.

Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, is president of The Urban Alternative and is an internationally known Bible teaching and author.

For more information on the conference, call the SBTC Minister/Church Relations team at 817-552-2500.

President’s Luncheon featuring Dallas pastor Tony Evans

Tony Evans, pastor of 6,000-member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and president/founder of The Urban Alternative, will speak during the President’s Luncheon of the SBTC Annual Meeting Oct. 26 at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

Evans is an internationally known preacher, Bible teacher and author known for his engaging style and prophetic preaching. Evans has served as chaplain of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. The Urban Alternative is a national organization seeking to bring about spiritual renewal in urban America through the church.

The Urban Alternative radio broadcast, “The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans” can be heard on more than 500 stations daily throughout the U.S. and in over 40 countries worldwide.

Evans is the author of more than 18 books including: “God’s Glorious Church,” “God is Up to Something Great,” “Totally Saved,” “Free At Last,” “Who is this King of Glory?” “The Perfect Christian” and “The Battle Is The Lord’s.”

He will also preach during the Oct. 25 afternoon session of the Pastors’ Conference. Cost is $8 per person.

For more information, call Gloria Corbitt in the SBTC office at 817-552-2500 or e-mail Gloria Corbitt.

Women’s Luncheon guest speaker, author, musician

Jennifer Rothschild, a speaker, author and musician who is blind, will be the featured guest during the Women’s Luncheon at the SBTC Annual Meeting on Oct. 25 at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

Rothschild, of Springfield, Mo., has been blind since a degenerative eye disease began diminishing her sight at age 15. Her dreams of becoming an artist and cartoonist were dashed but a ministry was birthed, according to her biography.

She has recorded four albums and is co-founder and publisher of the online magazine WomensMinistry.NET.

Tickets are $10 and may be reserved by calling Judy Van Hooser in the SBTC office, 817-552-2500 or by e-mail: Judy Van Hooser.

Making CP Missions personal

We saw Dan* in the line of newly commissioned missionaries. When I’d seen him last he was pastoring in a small Midwestern town. We talked later and he explained that he’d raised his kids and now he was ready to pursue the call to overseas missions. He serves in a country where Christians are persecuted. I think of Dan when I support the Cooperative Program — Southern Baptists’ missions funding method.

I also think of Kevin* and Julie.* They went overseas with preschool children and one on the way. While the rest of us thought of the difficulty of raising little ones in the Third World, they couldn’t wait to get there and start. Their commitment makes my faithfulness seem like so little.

Tim and Stephanie live on a seminary campus where Tim works on the housing crew as a painter.Additionally, he pastors a small rural church while pursuing a master of divinity degree. They are generous with friends, energetic in ministry, and committed to their studies. Our sons used to baby-sit their houseful of boys occasionally. They are two of the most worthy beneficiaries of CP support provided to our six Southern Baptist seminaries that I can think of.

There are tens of thousands of such stories. They include people with faces and ministries and kids and a belief that God has called them to serve the body of Christ vocationally. These folks come from our churches and are doing, on our behalf, the things that we are not called to do. We have a commitment to them no less real than the one they have made.

It helps to know people who are in another part of the Great Commission channel that runs from our household through our church, through our state convention, through state convention or national SBC budgets, through the agencies to people in ministry. It helps that I supported this proven channel before I knew these friends or scores like them. I supported our worldwide mission because I believed it was the right thing to do before I had any emotional tie to any work beyond my own church. During the nearly 80 years of CP missions, almost everyone who has supported it has done so by faith rather than sight.

Have the times changed too much to expect people to support what they can’t see for themselves? Commonly I’ll see church bulletin boards with the photos of independent missionaries and a reminder to send financial support. These folks are likely doing stellar work in a tough place with the added pressure of convincing enough churches to help them afford to stay on the field. Some churches prefer this approach because they can meet and feel some ownership of these missionaries. While understandable, this response may come from an imagined dilemma?that we must either support missionaries we can’t know or “own,” or we fund someone who is with an independent missionary society.

The fact that many churches band together to fund many missionaries should not make their work more distant to us. We’ve just found a way to put thousands of workers who don’t have to worry about funding on the field. You can still know them; actually you can go and see many of them for yourself. If we worked half as hard to make Southern Baptist missions personal as we might to promote independent personnel, we could know them pretty well.

Those who are involved in our North American or state work are pretty easy to know. They’re all around us. Most people attend a church that someone else helped start?maybe someone who’d never been to your town. We benefit from the work of the missionaries in our midst. We have a debt incurred at some point in the life of our church to pass along that same missionary largesse to others.

The same is true of our seminaries. I don’t understand Southern Baptist seminary graduates who scoff at their obligation to the thousands of churches that banded together to pay for two-thirds of their education. True, our giving is to the kingdom of God and not to a denomination. On the other hand, only one denomination has found a way to provide so much while maintaining local church autonomy. No other denomination all but gave me my ministry training. The obligation is not absolute so that we support institutions uncritically, but there is indebtedness that follows this great gift provided by our churches.

State conventions are an integral part of the traditional Cooperative Program. Their funding comes from the portion allocated for in-state ministries. State fellowships also have an obligation to handle the national portion of CP with integrity?honoring the wishes of the churches. The troubling trend is for state conventions to increase the amount kept in the state in response to ministry needs and increasing personnel costs. The result is that national ministries (further down the funding stream) face the same opportunities and cost increases with decreasing funds. It is hard work on every level to keep a global focus in our priorities. State conventions should try harder.