Month: July 2005

SBTC gearing up for Vancouver partnership

VANCOUVER, British Columbia?A Texas delegation spent a week in Vancouver, British Columbia this summer helping lead revival services and a block-party outreach with area Baptists.

The trip to the Canadian province precedes an SBTC-sponsored vision trip to Vancouver Sept. 28-30 for pastors, church missions directors, associational leaders or missions-minded laymen.

Vancouver is one of Southern Baptists’ Strategic Focus Cities for 2006 and the SBTC has planned a missions partnership with Baptists in the Vancouver area.

Tiffany Smith, SBTC missions mobilization associate, and seven members of Farmersville Bible Fellowship, an SBTC congregation north of Plano, ventured there in June to help local Baptists minister to their community and to begin preparing for the 2006 effort, Smith said.

Thomas Faltysek, pastor of the Farmersville church, preached evening services at Gateway Baptist Church just outside Vancouver.

“While in Canada we saw God move in a mighty way in many lives of both the lost and believers there,” Faltysek said. “One of the things that surprised me about Surrey was the large Indo-Canadian population there and the widespread drug use through needle exchanges. There were so many powerful movements of God during our 10-day stay revealing that the Vancouver-Surrey area is ripe for the harvest and ready to hear Christ’s message of his kingdom, the message of hope, peace, joy, and even judgment to Canada.”

The Farmersville delegation included Faltysek and his wife, Jennifer, plus the band “Sevenfaith”?Josh Peugh, Mark Oswalt, Adam McAbee, Seth Payne and Clint Stevens?all members of Farmersville Bible Fellowship. The band led in worship during the revival services.

One convert, Smith said, was a teenage girl who had been involved in some destructive lifestyle choices. Her conversion had a ripple effect on the congregation, Smith noted.

“That young girl had been wrestling with the Lord for a long time. When she came to make her decision and to come out of the lifestyle she had been living, it encouraged her family and led others to come forward and make decisions as well. She became somewhat of a leader in that revival in the following days.”

Several afternoons the Texas team gathered at a sky train and bus depot, playing music and inviting people to the revivals services and block party. The band participated in street evangelism.

“The only thing that we should fear is a fear for the lost,” said Adam McAbee of Sevenfaith. “Those without Christ need to hear the good news and the hope that we find as Christians. Jesus has given us a commission to step out of our comfort zones and do what Jesus did?meet the lost where they are.”

Vancouver is growing by 1,000 people a month. Vancouver pastor Rick Chase of Gateway Baptist said, “I believe that God has brought our church and the SBTC churches together because he wants to show Canada that his word accurately, faithfully preached has the power and authority to change our nation one heart at a time.”

Airfare for the SBTC Vancouver vision trip will range from $350-$800, depending on the departing city.

The SBTC will provide partial scholarships to pastors who travel on the vision trip and then return to Vancouver within a year with a mission team, Smith said.

“We want to be able to connect pastors to ministry opportunities and churches in the Vancouver area,” Smith said.

For more information, call Smith at the SBTC missions office, 817-552-2500 or toll free 877-953-SBTC.

Upon turning 150, church near Terrell remains fixed on Great Commission

In the small community of Poetry outside of Terrell, Texas, in Kaufman County, God is using the county’s oldest Baptist church to illustrate the claims of Isaiah 40:31: “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

The history of Poetry Baptist Church, which celebrated its 150th birthday on July 10, provides a living example of God’s renewing strength.

Founded in 1855, it survived the Civil War, a name change and cultural change?but just barely. Peak membership hit 135 in 1868. By the late 1960s, only seven members remained.

From that remnant, however, new growth occurred. Faithful to the Great Commission and God’s word, the congregation rebounded. Growth led to a need for more space and a new education building in the 1980s. In 1997 the church built a family life center and gymnasium.

Today, under pastor Robert A. Wheat, the church is fixed on its stated mission: “Enter to Seek God, Depart to Serve Him.”

With heritage rich and roots deep in Texan lifestyle, Poetry prides itself in Southern hospitality and commitment to family values, Wheat wrote in a letter to the TEXAN.

Originally named Salem Baptist Church, it did not become Poetry Baptist until 1868, when the meeting day was every fourth Sunday. Enduring a devastating tornado in 1890 that destroyed the church building along with other homes and businesses in the area, Poetry remained a family. When a fire devastated the Poetry business district in 1924, the resilience of the members and the blessing that the church did not catch fire held the community together.

The church is averaging around 100 in attendance each Sunday, Wheat said. Its stated commitment to the Great Commission is evident; the church sent a missions team to Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2004, meeting with political leaders and even speaking in some public schools there. A team is traveling to Africa this summer. Others have dispatched to Mexico and Mongolia, Wheat said.

“We may not possess a large congregation, as years of change and business endeavors shifted, but we do exist as a family of members who are committed to the Great Commission from God’s word for others,” Wheat said.

SWU & SLT sends 172 students back to help local church ministries

KERRVILLE?A combined student leadership and worship camp sponsored by the SBTC June 20-24 in Kerrville drew 172 students who learned some of the intricacies of local church ministry.

The aim of Summer Worship University, in its third year, and Student Leadership Training, in its first year, was to prepare students for leadership roles in their local churches and youth groups, said Ken Lasater, SBTC church ministry support associate.

Held simultaneously at Schreiner University, the camps’ participants shared worship services, recreation and meals. Barry Creamer, Criswell College professor, was camp pastor.

Students studied such things as public speaking, guitar, children’s worship leadership, song writing and publishing, spiritual disciplines, media and technology, calendars and budgets and Bible knowledge.

“The purpose of this camp is so the students will go back prepared to serve their local church in every area of the church’s ministry,” Lasater said. “They’ll go back prepared to lead mission trips, prepared to carry out youth ministry, prepared to be involved in the preaching ministry. And also, another thing we do at the camp is we emphasize that what their local church is doing is right. We don’t send them back to change the church. We send them back to support what their ministry staff is doing.”

Lasater said the camp has more than tripled in size since its debut in 2003 with 52 students.

YEC 2005: Search and Rescue

Clayton King speaks to students Friday night at the SBTC Youth Evangelism Conference at Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth. On Friday and Saturday, 146 students made professions of faith, many of them following King’s sermon. Also pictured are students speaking with counselors outside the auditorium Friday night.

TRONG>The Jeff Berry Band led musical worship during the SBTC’s Youth Evangelism Conference 2005: “Search and Rescue.”

Search and Rescue. More than 2,000 students and sponsors packed the Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth July 15-16 for the event, said Brad Bunting, SBTC youth evangelism associate. Organizers recorded decisions of 146 students who prayed to receive Christ as Savior, many of them during a Friday night altar call. The unusual invitation included no music and a sitting crowd. Clayton King, who preached the Friday evening sermon, asked students who wished to accept Christ to stand. After seconds of silence, one student stood, followed by a handful, and then dozens more almost simultaneously. Other speakers also included former downed Air Force pilotScott O’Grady, Wade Morris of Birmingham, Ala.,and Haslet evangelist Ronnie Hill, who taught his “Shoot the Bull” witnessing course Saturday morning. Musicians included the Jeff Berry Band, Shane & Shane, Broken Ground and Among Thorns. READ FULL STORY IN THE AUG. 8 TEXAN.

Photos by Kyle Felts

Summer: student ministry, mission trips

We are halfway through the summer. If you are like the Richards, you have had a very busy summer. It is still fun to have a youth at home. Nathan went to Glorieta with Galloway Avenue Baptist Church in Mesquite to a youth discipleship camp. It was a great experience. The SBTC sponsored a pre-teen camp, “Go Tell” camp for junior high and high school students and a Youth Evangelism Conference. Brad Bunting, SBTC youth evangelism associate, is doing a fabulous job in leading your state convention youth ministry. Because you invested through the Cooperative Program, thousands of lives are touched and hundreds are changed.

Summer Worship University coordinated by Ken Lasater, church ministry associate, was an opportunity for youth to be trained as leaders. Youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow. They are leaders of today. The SBTC collegiate ministry is expanding. Summer missionaries are everywhere. An associate for collegiate students and singles is being proposed to the Executive Board in August. I am excited about the future.

Recently I had the tremendous privilege to look into the face of the future. I attended a church called “707” in Cleveland, Ohio. This church is technically a mission. They only meet on Sunday nights. The original time of their worship was 7:07 p.m. Due to the extraordinary response, they had to offer three evening worship times. 707 Church is averaging around 1,200 people each week. The majority of the crowd ranged from 18-29 years old. I felt like an old fogey. However, the music was delightful and the preaching was without compromise.

The format was very different from what I am accustomed to, but they were not trying to reach 50-year-olds from the South with seminary degrees. The church was designed to reach a certain socio-age group. Obviously, having a big crowd is not the sign of God’s blessings. If this were true, Joel Osteen and the Pope have us beat. What is a sign of God’s blessings is for the preaching, singing and practicing of God’s people to be biblically true. When churches are faithful to the Word of God, new followers of Jesus Christ are the result.

Summer is a time for people to go on vacation. Summer is also a time for reaching students and doing mission trips. Now is the time to plan to participate in 2006. Visit our website,, or call toll free 1-877-953-7282 and get the scoop on the ways you can be involved in exciting ministries through the SBTC.

A teacher’s legacy


I don’t like math much. Maybe it’s better to say that we have a disagreement about what makes sense. It might be my fault but, except for a brief foray into geometry (seemed logical), math was a source of stress and confusion during my school years. It’s strange then that, short of college, Mr. Hankins was my most happily memorable teacher.


Burl Hankins, a Baptist layman, taught seventh grade math at Woodland Junior High School. He was pretty old (somewhere past 40) to us and a little scary. He would wheel up and down the aisles of our classroom in his desk chair and look over our shoulders, offering advice and quirky comments as we worked out our ciphers. I remember his chair dragged a chain behind it, “to keep me from being struck by lightning,” he would say. We looked forward to his class because he obviously looked forward to it also. We paid closer attention because he was vigorous and unpredictable. His students understood that the little funny things he did were in service to his goal of teaching us math.


He expected a lot from us and seemed to think that math was a pretty useful thing. Amazingly, he showed us why. He showed us, for example, that multiplying or dividing any larger number could be simplified by breaking the multiplier or divisor into more manageable pieces. Multiplying by 15 is not as easy as multiplying by 10 and then by five and adding it all together. We can at least give a fair estimate of larger numbers by applying this method. I can do a lot of everyday math in my head because of Mr. Hankins. I seem to remember being convinced that he was telling us secret shortcuts that other adults wouldn’t want us to know. It helped.


It may not sound like much, but few teachers left something so distinct in my mushy skull. Our class really liked Mr. Hankins and he liked teaching us math. To me, that simple phrase sums up the gift of a good teacher.


As a seventh-grader, it didn’t occur to me that my teachers were anything but teachers. I didn’t think of Mr. Hankins as going to church or having a family. Still, I assumed that he was a Christian. His demeanor and relationship with his students was in contrast with some of his colleagues. Although it is not necessary to be a Christian to be a skilled and caring teacher, some characteristics should always be found in Christians who teach.


A good teacher knows and loves his subject. Mr. Hankins liked teaching but he also liked math. Many have noted the trend in preparing teachers whereby they learn about the educational process and about the phases of student development but far less about the subject they may teach. I wonder why you have to be an education major to teach teachers but you don’t have to be a science major to teach junior high scientists.


I wouldn’t hire (if hiring was my business) an education major to teach history to my children unless he could also pass the same grilling I’d give a history major applying for the job. By the same token, those who graduate with Christian education degrees from our seminaries are sometimes unqualified to teach Bible in our churches because they learned too little of it in seminary. If they can’t demonstrate competence in biblical and theological studies they are not ready to oversee the discipleship of a youth or children’s group. Mr. Hankins was a great math teacher because he knew enough math to make me understand some of it.


A revolution is called for in education schools, Christian or non-religious. Either reform them or close them. Their focus on process rather than knowledge is toxic?replacing nourishment with inert packaging.


A good teacher also cares for his students. It seems obvious that this should be so but it isn’t always. The stress of dealing with other people’s kids is not for everyone. I had a few of those teachers also. I remember them as harried, crabby, and obviously unhappy. These teachers’ discomfort was obvious and soon we students were uneasy too. Caring for students is more than just liking kids or being a buddy. A good teacher cares enough to think we should know the important things he’s learned. He cares enough to exert himself so that we understand the “what” and the “why” of his message.


One who teaches, in any context, is giving something to students. Well done, it is unselfish and gratifies both parties. That could be why many Christians are drawn to a teaching vocation. Christians can be better teachers because they can understand the joy of servanthood better than non-Christians.


A good teacher keeps the connection between his students and his subject clear. Some people are just happy to be around children. They like the energy of young people and the affection younger children offer so freely. These are nice things but are not the goals of education. Others think they want to be teachers because they like being students. They love the world of ideas, the respect that comes to those who know something useful. The problem is that they don’t much enjoy students. I had a few of those teachers in my first year of college. Again, it was obvious to the students where we stood in the teacher’s world?we were something he had to put up with so he could have an academic job. A teaching relationship is one with a purpose. You’ve got to love the relationship and the purpose. Otherwise you should be a babysitter or researcher.



Southwestern Seminary group reports from London; Islamic studies professor responds

FORT WORTH, Texas — More than 50 students and professors from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, were in England for the seminary’s annual Oxford Summer Study Program when four terrorist bombings rocked London Thursday.

Malcolm Yarnell III, assistant dean for theological studies and the leader of the group, said that all students and faculty members participating in the program were accounted for and safe. He said the group held a prayer session for the people of London focused on Psalm 146:5-10.

“A number of people here at Oxford and at Regent’s Park College have relatives who live and work in London. We have been counseling and encouraging them and praying for their loved ones,” Yarnell said.

Yarnell said the Oxford 2005 program’s plans would continue as normal for now, “except that we will likely call off our planned visit to London this Saturday.”

“We would appreciate Southern Baptists and other American Christians lifting up the British people in prayer during their time of tragedy,” he said. Seminary President Paige Patterson, also in Europe, encouraged the seminary family to pray for the people of London as they assess the loss of life and deal with the tragedy.

Meanwhile, Samuel Shahid, professor of Islamic studies at Southwestern, said the attacks on the London transportation system illustrate the desire of radical Islamists to rule to the world.

“The goal of these people, especially if it is Al Qaeda, is to fight and kill indiscriminately. It does not matter to them whether or not they kill civilians. They are fighting against those who are not supporting Islam, all of the people in what is called the ‘dar al harb,’ or the abode of war,” Shahid said.

Shahid said the terrorists want to bring the world into ‘dar al Islam,’ or a global Islamic state. “I am not talking about all Muslims, but the radical extremists,” he said.

“The attacks in London were, without a doubt, a statement made upon the opening of the G8 Summit. They want to prove that they are still strong enough to do something, to show that they can do something despite the security plans that are meant