Month: April 2005

SBTC med team returns from tsunami-ravaged Indonesia

A Southern Baptists of Texas Convention medical team returned April 2 after 10 days of restoring contaminated water wells and treating the illnesses and injuries of Indonesian survivors of the Dec. 26 tsunami.

More than three months after the giant tidal wave, a stench remains amid broken palm trees, stagnant rice paddies and leveled buildings, said SBTC men’s ministry consultant Bill Davenport, who led the eight-person team abroad. A half-million people there were homeless after the tsunami and the government is building multi-family, barracks-like structures to house the masses.

The team?two physicians, three nurses, one emergency medical technician and a security person?worked alongside Southern Baptist relief workers in the Aceh province of Sumatra, an Indonesian island hard hit by the tsunami. Of tsunami-related deaths, the toll in the Aceh province is thought to be above 200,000, the New York Times reported April 6.

Nearly everyone the team met lost family members in the tragedy, Davenport said.

“Aside from the medical work, we touched three wells out of a thousand that need to be made usable again. What impacted them, I think, is the realization that there are Christians who are good people. ?”

“Their concept of Americans, based on a lot of the B-movies they have seen, is women dressed as floozies, what movies and magazines project. And this is a very devout Muslim area. They think that all Americans are Christians. We tried to show by example that Christians are not that way.”

Out of respect for Muslim custom, the women on the team wore head coverings in the humid, 95-degree heat and the male team members showed sensitivity to cultural norms, such as Davenport walking hand-in-hand across the village with a man who was attempting to show Davenport that he considered him a friend.

Though calls to Muslim prayer were audible as the team worked alongside villagers in repairing the wells, pouring concrete and providing medical care, Davenport noted that the villagers’ participation seemed low.

A popular concept among villagers, Davenport said, is that God sent the tsunami to punish them for sins.

In coordination with other Southern Baptist relief workers, the team built relationships with several families, helping them purify three water wells that were contaminated by the tsunami, operating a medical clinic for villagers and fitting residents for eyeglasses?a hot item.

“They took to eyeglasses like kids take to candy,” said Davenport, who spent an hour before he left Texas with a Wal-Mart optician, learning to test eyesight using an optical letter card. The eyeglasses the team took with them were labeled with vision specifications.

Davenport said the villagers’ humble nature and perseverance inspired him. A young man in his early ’20s affectionately nicknamed “Six Fingers” for the extra digit on one hand and six toes on each foot, told of running from the tsunami carrying his infant nephew, his brother’s son, under his arm. The rushing waters swept the baby away; Six Fingers climbed atop a train car and escaped otherwise certain death.

His father, mother, grandfather and brother were among the family members who died.

“Losing his nephew, that troubles him more than anything else,” said Davenport, who worked alongside the man almost daily.

The SBTC team was also popular among the villagers for the ink pens with the words “Oh Tuhan tolonglah Kami”?meaning “Oh, Lord, help us”?printed on the casing.

They gave out about 500 of them, though they could not explicitly talk about Jesus as the Son of God.

Repeatedly, they would ask, “Why are you here?”

“We’d tell them, ‘Because God loves you and we love you.’ It would overwhelm them,” Davenport said.

Most church conflict is unnecessary

By now all our readers have had a chance to comment on our church governance report. A few of you wrote. As might be expected, some thought we were too easy on views they found weak or too hard on the view they preferred. We didn’t settle anything, not even within our own staff. We still have advocates for contrasting models in the office?and all within the bounds of a high view of Scripture. I’m pleased that we opened the dialogue a bit and made available the wisdom of experienced and successful leaders.

For my part, I’m convinced that church conflict often has less to do with leadership style than it does with selfishness. Deron Biles is right in saying that a pastoral termination is the result of sin; in the pastor’s life, in the congregation, or (and most often) in both. That’s what I mean. Look at the common reasons for conflict.

According to LifeWay’s study on the subject pastoral leadership and related issues are the top reasons for pastoral termination. Their information came from a survey of DOMs who had observed the churches in their associations. There is another layer under that, I think. Maybe it’s stubbornness, a desire to win.

I have been a close observer of several pastoral terminations sparked by the pastor’s inability to distinguish between a preference and a mandate. That difference is important. As a pew sitter I see the logic of an end-of-service offertory, for example. Many churches do that because it allows guests to fill out a registration card during the service and it allows those who have responded to the altar call to be sorted. I remember when the idea was radical and divisive. Now, as then, I prefer the offering to be taken at the end of the worship hour. It is not a mandate or a crusade though, so I wouldn’t fight you for it. Some would. They’re confused. When they get crosswise with other church members is it because of the order of worship, their leadership style, or is it because they can’t tell the difference between the significant and the trivial?

Let’s say Pastor Bill is quietly (it’s only quiet to those outside) forced to leave over this difference. He finds another ministry but he is scarred. A terrifying thing has happened to him and he’d just as soon not repeat it. But he hasn’t changed his mind about what’s important either. Maybe he can avoid a conflict with his deacons or committee leaders in the next ministry by changing governance styles. Can he find reasonable biblical interpretations that allow this? Yes, he can. Is it a biblical mandate? No, it’s not. In fact, his motivation nearly guarantees he will move rapidly on this change and will thus have another version of the same conflict with his new church. Maybe he’ll survive it or even win but it’s not about governance any more than the first church forced him out over the order of service.

Governance is not necessarily a minor matter and a change in style is not always prompted by fear. Often it’s not as important or God-initiated as we say, though.

By now some of you are shouting at me, “What about the congregation’s part in this?” Yep, I’m coming to that. I’ve seen conflict from both sides and I’ve never supported a pastoral termination; but it still has happened in my church. If the pastor is wrong (in your view) about something trivial you’ll never know if he is also stubborn unless the trivial matter is also too important to you. Trivial things are only flash points when both sides dig in there.

But what is trivial? Most things, I think. Music style and worship order, nearly always. Many styles, done well, can glorify God. Probably the role of committees is a trivial matter. Used properly, they can be a great way to enhance church ministries. Maybe the number of business meetings and the deacons’ role in those is also more molehill than mountain. Short of some gross immorality, this paragraph has just accounted for the surface reasons of most pastoral terminations. If these things are even maybe not worth fighting over, it is peace for our time.

And maybe not. It’s like saying that the Battle of Gettysburg was about shoes?the real reason the Confederate army stopped in Gettysburg. The Confederates may have been looking for shoes, but the Union army was looking for the invaders. A combined 200,000 men went at it because they were at war. The place was chosen by neither side. A crusading pastor and a peevish congregation will meet at some small intersection; and they will fight if they are determined to dominate one another.

Absent selfishness, churches will not fight over trivialities. Certainly I should not fight over my right to have things according to my tradition or habit or need of personal affirmation. Healthy Christians don’t devour one another.

Paul’s admonition in Philippians 2:3-11 applies to all of us. Jesus is our model for humility and self sacrifice but he showed us this while being prophet, teacher, and savior. Our different roles, even roles of leadership, do not absolve us of the call to humility.

Pastors are not lords of the church any more than deacons and committees are tasked to make sure they toe the line. Pastors must lead and sometimes must lead where it does not occur to other church mem

WOMEN’S MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH: Bible study provides starting point and backbone for women’s ministry

SPECIAL REPORT: Just girls – Women’s ministry in the church
Bible study provides starting point and backbone for women’s ministry

Discipleship moves women beyond study to serve

Intergenerational relationships broaden women’s perspectives, leaders contend

Older women should impact next generation, ministry leaders say

“Teaching biblical womanhood.”

“Spiritual mothering.”

“Mature women pouring themselves into the lives of young women.”

“Women teaching women.”

These are some of the terms Southern Baptist leaders in Texas use to describe the function of women’s ministry in the local church. Call it what you will, but the starting point and backbone for ministry to women, they all agree, is Bible study.

Bible lessons for women are the most popular studies sold in LifeWay stores and serve the purpose of getting women into the Bible. But members of the SBTC’s Women’s Leadership Team contend those same materials should move women to study as they seek to know God more personally and strive to live the life he desires.

Where once there was a void in gender-specific and topical Bible studies, there is now ample material from which to choose.

The most popular authors among LifeWay customers are Beth Moore, Kay Arthur and Elizabeth George. Some of the books marketed to women have clever titles like “The Frazzled Female: Finding Peace in the Midst of Daily Life” by Cindi Wood or “Bad Girls of the Bible” by Liz Curtis Higgs. A sequel titled “Really Bad Girls of the Bible” offers “more lessons from less-than-perfect women.”

Leaders of women’s ministry in local churches face the task of deciding which studies to offer. What’s the difference in a Bible-based study and studying the Bible?

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary women’s studies professor Dorothy Patterson told the TEXAN, “The basic curriculum is teaching women how to live.” She claims Titus 2:3-5 as the source for that directive:

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

“That is the biblical view of what women’s ministry is all about–how to live the Christian life in their own homes,” Patterson said. “A believing woman needs to know how to live the life God has challenged her to live.” Patterson said the greatest need of women today is “to hear a word from God?to know who she is and how she relates to him.”

One of Patterson’s passions is for women to hear that word from God. “When I go to churches, I’m amazed at the number of women who say, ‘Where can I go to study the Bible like that?’”

Patterson believes that the number of women’s bible studies available is evidence that women are hungry and ready for serious Bible study.

“They are beautifully packaged materials done by women who love the Lord,” but Patterson said those resources must also challenge women to a deeper, more serious walk.

She told of a question someone asked her regarding a Bible commentary she had written for women: “’Don’t you think this teaching is too much?’”

“We don’t think of women being able to do this depth of study. So we don’t take it verse by verse. We’re jumping all over Scripture,” she said.

Rhonda Kelley, professor of women’s ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary also believes that a healthy women’s ministry will be based on Bible study. “It was Bible study groups that initially provided the catalyst for women’s ministry in the local church. And the word of God should remain our focus,” she stated.

“Women want fellowship,” acknowledged Barbara McKinney, women’s ministry director at MacArthur Boulevard Baptist church in Irving. “They’re sitting there soaking it up,” she said, concerned that the studies “ought to turn out a woman who goes out and makes disciples. It ought to produce change. The whole purpose of this study is to get you off your duff.”

Brenda Greer agreed. “If women’s lives are not being changed, why are we doing it?” Greer directs women’s ministries at Southside Baptist Church of Abilene. The impetus for the growing and maturing women’s ministry at her church is the study of the Bible—without commentaries, she added.

“Women’s studies should be about more than punching a button that says ‘play,’” she stated. She’s quick to credit women who have set the bar high in terms of what is expected in a study of God’s word. But women need to be in the word on their own, without videos, without commentaries, without someone other than the Holy Spirit revealing the meaning of what they have read, she added.

“Women need to understand that nobody can speak to them like God,” stated Shirley Moses, SBTC women’s ministry consultant. “Nothing takes the place of getting in the word for yourself and letting God speak to you from Scripture. It will stay longer with you than what any Bible study can.”

And yet it was a video-driven Bible study where Shirley Moses learned that lesson. “I saw what Beth Moore, Kay Arthur and Anne Graham Lotz were doing—the process they used to study the word and it got me interested in doing it for myself.”

At age 69, McKinney remembers when Bible studies amounted to a group of women using only the bible, a concept she thinks foreign to many of the women in churches today. “A lot of it is personality. Women are following a personality,” she said, adding, “I have a real hard time with that.”

The most popular by far is Beth Moore of Houston who began teaching in that city’s First Baptist Church. The studies she created through Living Proof Ministries and published by LifeWay resulted in phenomenal sales and led to tens of thousands of women attending conferences that quickly outgrew local church settings. (See and

LifeWay Women’s Enrichment Ministry specialist Chris Adams, a former Texan with 12 years of experience in a local church setting, said the Living Proof Live events were originally held in church auditoriums. “We were forced in large venues,” she said, referring to crowds like the 20,000 who traveled to Indianapolis this year. “That was not our original plan, but it is what goad has done.”

Whe the addition of live satellite broadcasts, Moore is able to speak to thousands more, reaching women from a variety of denominations. A Colorado Springs conference las summer drew 8,000 participants locally with another 35, 000 viewing in 165 satellite locations. An online study begun in 2002 has attracted 48,686 students.

While Moore is as amazed as anyone at the success of selling millions of workbooks, she knows those studies do not replace an intimate walk with God. She made that clear last June at a Southern Baptist gathering of ministers’ wives in Indianapolis. “Can I get in your business?” she asked the capacity crowd. “Are you having your quiet time with God? Nobody has the right to take our individual, personalized time with God,” she insisted.

Similar admonition comes from Precepts Inductive Bible Study founder Kay Arthur, whose studies are being taught in over 119 countries worldwide in more than 67 languages. (See She told a Houston gathering of church leaders, “It is only through becoming intimate with scripture that churches can effectively confront the culture. The word of God is the foundation for all that we are,” she said. “But the problem is that in the churches of the United States collectively and even on the mission fields … we don’t have people in the word of God so that they know truth for themselves.”

Adams works to get women attending one of Beth Moore’s conferences connected to small group Bible studies in the area where events are held. “We need to leave something in these women’s hands that will keep them in the word and keep them growing.” The LifeWay team also returns to the host city six weeks later with women’s ministry leadership training, she said, teaching anywhere from 75 to 350 women how to build an effective and growing ministry.

“If a church’s women’s ministry is just event driven—whether it’s four events a year or taking women away to a big event—you’ve got nothing holding those women together between events,” Adams warned. “What goes on in between? When we’re doing leadership training that subject is a big question. There’s nothing to keep them growing and serving in between. They’re just waiting for the same high from the next event.”

McKinney share the concern expressed by others who were interviewed. “We’ve created a generation of women who don’t study for themselves. Women need to know how to get a word from God not via someone else.”

Longtime Bible teacher Susie Hawkins of Dallas believes the exclusive use of videos in teaching is a mistake. “They are an enormous blessing, especially in some churches that don’t have a teacher. But they can develop a cult following,” she warned. ‘How are you going to find your women teachers?” she asked. “We lose opportunities to connect with our women to find who is really gifted if we use video series teaching.”

Women’s ministry leader Brenda Salge of River Hills Baptist Church in Corpus Christi believes newer Christians often gain affirmation through popular studies geared to their needs. She suggested they use this type of study for no more than three years. After that they need to dig deeper, Saige added.

Other women’s ministry leaders shared a concern that some studies are so introspective and self-affirming that they do not spur women to ministry beyond the church walls.

SBTC consultant Shirley Moses responded, “One particular Bible study curriculum is not for every woman in your church. There are generational differences as well as differences in the way women learn.” She noted a trend away from 12-233k studies to a six-week format in order to draw more women into Bible study who think they are too busy to make a longer commitment.

Moses is especially excited by the approach of a new LifeWay release called, “Enjoy: A Thirst-Quenching Look at Philippians” by Bible teacher Tianne Moon. Based on an inductive approach, Moon encourages participants to study selected Scripture, utilizing principles of interpretation to draw logical conclusions about how those verses apply to life. Moses believes this type of approach with give women the tools they need to learn to do their own study of any passage of Scripture. She invited Moon to speak at regional women’s conferences hosted by SBTC in 2006.

“Everything we learn in the Bible is an avenue to take us to what we’re called by God to do. It’s not how much more head knowledge we can gain that’s important. We need to put it into action, meeting the needs of God’s people and the lost who are going to Hell because we’re not sharing the gospel.”

Greer said it wasn’t until she and her ministry team overhauled the women’s programs at Southside Baptist and put away the video-driven studies for an exposition of Proverbs and Titus that a fundamental change began to take place.

“God just spoke to us through his word. Imagine that,”

WOMEN’S MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH: Intergenerational relationships broaden women’s perspectives, leaders contend

SPECIAL REPORT: Just girls – Women’s ministry in the church

Bible study provides starting point and backbone for women’s ministry

Discipleship moves women beyond study to serve

Intergenerational relationships broaden women’s perspectives, leaders contend

Older women should impact next generation, ministry leaders say

A college co-ed ventures out into the world. An elderly widow grieves. A single mother struggles to raise children while a busy wife juggles a hectic family schedule. A teenage girl imagines all that life offers.

These are the just a few of the faces of American women today. Each journeys through a different stage or “season” of life with its own unique challenges and struggles, yet having common spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

This paradox presents a special challenge as women’s ministry directors, conferences leaders, and churches work to meet the wide-ranging needs across the generations of women.

“I believe that learning about the generational distinctives is a good way to begin to bridge the generations,” said Anita Wood, a leadership team member for the SBTC’s women’s ministry. “There are excellent books about the generations, and it is astonishing to realize that today there are five living generations for the first time in recorded history. This is a challenge personally and corporately for our churches. Churches can meet needs across generations by facilitating and promoting intergenerational relationships.”

Churches bridging the generation gap are doing so intentionally, said Laurie Cole, founder of Priority Ministries. In her Bible study and teaching ministry, Cole has seen the need for cross-generational ministries and methods that work.

“I go to a lot of different churches, and the people we are not reaching are typically our younger women,” Cole said. “Churches that are successful are those that have determined that they are going to reach these women. Women’s ministry leaders in each church need to include younger women in events planning and in the program. This gives them input.”

Cheryl Barger, women’s ministry director at The Church at Quail Creek (formerly San Jacinto Baptist Church) in Amarillo, agrees. “I have a women’s ministry team. I try to have two women from every age group on my team at all times.” In addition to planning and organizing events, Barger seeks to have activities in which all age groups can participate, such as cooking a banquet or luncheon together, decorating for events, praying together, and using ladies from all generations to give testimonies or speak at events.

“I know these seem like very simple ideas, but I have found that if I can bring them together on a social level that they bond there, and it is carried over to their Bible studies,” Barger said. “My experience in the difference in the needs and preferences of the women is that they do not relate to each other because their worlds are different socially. Married vs. widowed, mothers vs. grandmothers, newspapers for information vs. television and computers, scratch cooking vs. microwaves.

“Finding a way to have them teach each other the benefits of using these aspects of their lives is the key. Once they have bonded on this level, they enjoy each other more and glean from each other, both physically and spiritually.”

In addition to bridging the gap in event planning and execution, churches are also using intergenerational Bible studies and Su

WOMEN’S MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH: Older women should impact next generation, ministry leaders say

TRONG>SPECIAL REPORT: Just girls – Women’s ministry in the church

Bible study provides starting point and backbone for women’s ministry

Discipleship moves women beyond study to serve

Intergenerational relationships broaden women’s perspectives, leaders contend

Older women should impact next generation, ministry leaders say

“Things are desperately wrong in our world and if we don’t take action, who will?” SBTC Women’s Ministry consultant Shirley Moses asked as she challenged leaders in local churches to take responsibility to disciple the next generation of girls. “We’ve got to reach behind us for the next generation and bring them forward, helping them understand what the church is really supposed to be doing.”

Former feminist Vicky Courtney of Austin agrees. “The women’s movement has failed young girls. Our culture has failed them. They long for rest in their souls,” she said in an interview with LifeWay Christian Resources. “We have the answer. We know the way.”

The mother of three children and director of Virtuous Reality Ministries described her book, “Your Girl,” as a survival manual advocating Bible-based living as the key to effectively engaging the culture.

Courtney points to God’s word for answers to gossip, jealousy and peer pressure. “Great is the investment in teaching our daughters that the Bible is a revelation of God. The most important factor when it comes to raising daughters who love God’s word will be modeling that we, ourselves, love God’s word.”

Chapters in “Your Girl” include motherhood, modesty, countering the culture, teen views on sex and three detailed primers on using the Bible, prayer and faith to “arm our daughters for battle,” Courtney said.

Two other Texas women have developed resources for discipling teenage girls, including Merritt Johnson at LakePointe Church in Rockwall and Barbara McKinney at MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving.

McKinney coordinates the efforts of 20 women who mentor teenage girls.

“Using Scripture as the standard for how to live our lives, the program is designed to teach young girls how to properly dress and act,” she said.

With only a third of the girls coming from strong Christian homes, McKinney said many don’t know the concept of family. She takes one of the girls home with her every few weeks to share dinner with she and her husband. Another mentoring woman takes the girl she is guiding to see a movie each week. Another pair bake bread together.

“You want them to see how you live day-to-day life,” McKinney said. The goal is to teach young girls to get their self-esteem from who they are in Christ as opposed to who they are in the eyes of the world or more specifically, boys. The program teaches them the importance of prayer, Bible study and Scripture memorization and holds the girls and the women accountable to one another.

Moses has asked McKinney to write about her mentoring ideas for use at future SBTC women’s ministry events.

LifeWay Christian Resources also offers a four-week girls Bible study in its Vital Skills series, titled “How to Be a Godly Woman.”

“We’ve got to help the next generation understand about purity, loyalty, compassion and mercy,” Moses insisted. She said she can’t think of anyone better equipped to do this than spiritually mature wo</

WOMEN’S MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH: Discipleship moves women beyond study to serve

SPECIAL REPORT: Just girls – Women’s ministry in the church

Bible study provides starting point and backbone for women’s ministry

Discipleship moves women beyond study to serve

Intergenerational relationships broaden women’s perspectives, leaders contend

Older women should impact next generation, ministry leaders say

When the women of Southside Baptist Church in Abilene began studying the second chapter of Titus they had nothing more than the biblical text to guide them. It wasn’t long before the women began discovering their spiritual gifts and learning how to apply them in their local church and the community.

“We have to move past where we are in our churches and really begin to live out God’s words, holding each other accountable,” explained Brenda Greer, who coordinates the Abilene group.

SBTC Women’s Ministry consultant Shirley Moses believes Christian women will be pressed to fulfill the life they’ve been called to live when they start asking hard questions of each other and move forward in the discipleship process. “Right now I fear it’s all about studying the word and not living out the word,” she said. “We can’t just sit around and study the word. We have to do what the word tells us to do.”

“Women’s ministry leadership needs to create an atmosphere in which women are encouraged to move beyond the study and put their knowledge and faith into practice,” added Brenda Salge of River Hills Baptist Church in Corpus Christi. Women won’t get together simply to fellowship, but if they were to meet to accomplish a task they are more likely to become involved, she advised.

“There are some jobs in church that you just have to do,” added Chris Adams, LifeWay’s women’s enrichment ministry specialist. “Too often in the past we did the work in the church that nobody else would do because we felt guilty and said yes to it. Women today are going to work where God has assigned them to work,” she stated. “I believe if women are really growing in their walk with the Lord and finding places where God has specifically called them, we won’t lack for leaders. “

Borrowing a concept author Thom Rainer described in “Breakout Churches,” Adams said churches should determine who are the people God has brought to the women’s ministry and what he is calling them to do. Instead of plugging people into programs, Adams said churches should structure the ministry according to the people with a passion for particular ministries.

“What is God calling you to do? What are you specifically gifted to do?” she asked.

“Dream a little. God could use you to be a catalyst to start a new ministry.”

With so many women in the workplace, they have less time to volunteer, Adams added. “They are very picky about where they spend their time because they have so little to give. The burden is on leaders to make sure what they offer has meaning and purpose.”

Moses said the women’s leadership team in a local church must help women understand that every woman in the church is a women’s minister?not just the team that organizes and coordinates things. “There are two things that women really need?fellowship and Bible study. Other than that you find out what’s going on in your church and community and find a person called to coordinate that ministry.”

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Not unlike lawmakers in midland states like Oklahoma, which last year passed an “education lottery,” or Kansas, which is considering expanded gaming to help its education budget, some Texas legislators are proposing gambling expansion to fill state coffers.

Legislators from both sides of the aisle have offered more than a dozen versions of gambling expansion bills this session?with backing from lobbyists, including one former staffer of Gov. Rick Perry, funded by Nevada gaming interests.

Gambling opponent Rob Kohler of Austin is betting gambling loses this session. But he’s not wagering on where the opposing votes will come from.

“I think it will be a real decisive issue,” Kohler told the TEXAN. “And that’s a byproduct of how when gambling raises its head in the legislature, it’s decisive. And there’s a lot of money on the other side and there’s a lot of money for some folks who stand to profit from it if this moves forward. I think it will really be, for lack of a better word, a gut check for the state.”

Kohler formerly served on the Texas Lottery Commission (TLC) and now runs the non-profit think tank Common Sense for Sound Public Policy, as well as a consulting firm. His arsenal of data includes numbers gathered from comparing Census Bureau information with lottery receipt tracking, that shows disproportionate lottery play by less educated and poor people.

Kohler told the TEXAN that, according to TLC numbers reported to the legislature this year, that lottery players with less than a high school diploma spent an average $173.17 per month on lottery tickets; players with a college degree spent $48.61 per month. The average black lottery player spent $108.96 per month, compared with $102.20 per month and $55.02 per month for Hispanic and white lottery players, respectively, Kohler reported.

Data from House districts in the Dallas and Houston areas show lower incomes and lower education levels correlated to more per capita spending on the lottery than in more affluent, more educated voting districts (See graphs, Page 7).

While some have touted increased gambling as a revenue source for child welfare funding, Kohler said such proposals are self-defeating because he believes data shows increased social costs?and more poverty?would follow.

Kohler said data gathered from eight independent studies show the average pathological gambler costs society $13,586 annually for problems related to his gambling addiction.

Kohler admits that few gamblers will become addicts, but the cumulative social costs?about $5 billion annually in the United States?are significant, he said.

Proponents, including the lobbying group Let the People Decide, claim a $3 billion to $5 billion budget shortfall will force legislators to consider increased gambling. The group is projecting an additional $1.2 billion a year in funding from proposed video lottery terminals and more than $2.1 billion if voters approve 12 casinos and related businesses, according to the Austin American-Statesman, which editorialized against increased gambling.

The projections are high, countered Kohler, who noted that it has taken 12 years for Texas to realize $36.2 billion from the lottery.

“For the state to realize that kind of revenue, $36.9 billion would have to be wagered in one year, Kohler added.

Kohler said he knows of no state government that has solved budget problems with gambling. Education, often the proposed beneficiary of gambling, is rarely served well either, he said.

“And it’s not long-term economic development. And it’s certainly not in the best interest of our state to have the folks who can least afford it pick up the difference in the budget deficit.”

Gambling proponents Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. and Big City Capital, represented by Perry’s former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, are among those pushing for expanded gaming, the American-Statesman reported March 21. Kohler said his opponents have spent about $4.5 million to date.

Draper to young leaders: Take SBC, don’t re-invent something

GRAPEVINE?”We’re going to be gone and somebody’s going to have it,” Lifeway Christian Resources President James T. Draper told a group of young leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention March 10. “It would be easier for you to take it and make it what you want it to be in years ahead rather than re-invent it. We want to show some of the great value and opportunity in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Draper explained his concern for the future of the Southern Baptist Convention at one of the Younger Leaders Dialogue meetings held at Fellowship Church in Grapevine. Eager to see greater involvement from leaders in their 20s and 30s, Draper said, “If you were to decide how to carry out the Great Commission you would need resources, training and networking. You can’t do it by yourself,” he insisted.

It’s a message he’s taken to similar gatherings in other states where younger ministers offered feedback later posted to a website at

Near the end of the five-hour dialogue, Kerry D. Baxley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Splendora, told Draper, “We not only need to ask you to do some things for us, but we need to feed back to you those things that are positive and support those as well.” The participants at Baxley’s table compared the appeals for change coming from younger leaders within the SBC to Christians calling on Hollywood to produce movies they could support. “When they did that the Christian community forgot to show up,” he stated, stressing the need for young leaders to support the convention when leaders respond.

“It is a two-way street,” Draper responded. “You all are helping us learn and we need to keep doing that.” An additional dialogue session was held in Atlanta on March 17 and planned for St. Louis on April 25 and Northborough, Mass. on May 6. A Younger Leader Celebration convenes in Nashville on June 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. prior to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Representatives from the host church, three nearby Baptist associations, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and several SBC entities were among those present. Draper praised the efforts of seminaries and state Baptist conventions as they connect with younger ministers.


Recalling the SBC’s reorganization as an example of moving toward greater efficiency, SBC Executive Committee President Morris Chapman asked, “Would I say there’s not more room to streamline? There’s always more room, whether it’s in the local church or the Southern Baptist Convention, there’s always more room to tighten your belt,” he said, noting that trustees elected by Southern Baptist messengers have that ability.

Chapman said coming generations must ask whether the Cooperative Program will continue to work. Grateful for a dozen years of increased giving that fund Southern Baptist work around the world, he warned of a trend of churches contributing a lower proportion of receipts through CP missions.

“Twenty years ago the average church was giving 10.6 percent through CP,” he shared. “That percentage coming out of the local church has slipped to 6.99 percent. If that trend continues, obviously our missions enterprise around the world is going to be in a desperate condition.”

Boyd Pelley of The Church on Rush Creek in Arlington questioned whether the reduction in the typical portion given to the CP by local churches was negative. “A lot more is getting done in missions now than ever before because of the fact that churches are engaged in missions around the world more directly,” he insisted.

Pelley said the way churches approach missions has changed dramatically since he served as an International Mission Board missionary 20 years ago. “Probably the church’s overall giving to missions and the influence in reaching the world for Christ is greater than it’s ever been, not less.” We’re getting the best of both,” he added, referring to continued overall growth in CP dollars given and direct mission involvement. “The small groups in my church are engaging in real ministry, not sightseeing tours.”

SBTC Missions Mobilization Associate Tiffany Smith praised the IMB for addressing churches’ desires to minister overseas, referring to IMB field personnel assigned to link churches with particular regions of the world and removing many hurdles for local Baptist churches to partner with people groups.

Don Myers, pastor of First Baptist of Wills Point, appealed

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