Month: November 2010

A nation that despises its children?

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The report from the Pew Research Center is titled “The
Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families,” but the bit that most people
noted was that 40 percent of respondents think marriage is becoming obsolete.
That’s a catchy headline. The full report is over 120 pages, including
appendixes, and contains interesting clues regarding the psyche of our society.
Questions addressed within the survey include broad subjects related to
marriage, family, and children. Even more than the changing attitudes toward
marriage, our cultural ambivalence toward children, indicated in this survey
report, should trouble and mobilize pro-family people in America.

Perhaps we don’t know what we think, only what we feel.
About two-thirds of those surveyed believed that the growth in the variety of
family types (same-sex, single parent, cohabiting heterosexuals, etc.) was
positive or at least harmless. Most, 60 percent, also said that premarital sex
is not wrong. But, and it’s fair to see this as a related issue, 69 percent
disapprove of the rising trend of single motherhood. Single women often become
mothers because of premarital sex, and they are an example of expanding variety
in family types.

Nothing new here; we often answer “yes” when asked if a
thing is right or wrong. All through the survey, respondents were more likely
to be relativistic when addressing subjects personal to themselves. Divorced
parents were less likely to see divorce as a handicap to their own children,
for example.

Here are some responses that seem important to me. In
keeping with our nation’s increasing lack of discernment, respondents affirmed
the increasing number of same-sex couples raising kids, increasing numbers of
unmarried couples raising kids, and even a rise in the number of unmarried
single parents. These trends were judged neutral or good by a little more than
half of our representative spokesmen. At the same time, a larger number (61
percent) said that it is best for children to grow up in a home led by both a
mother and a father. So the message must be, other types of families are OK but
a traditional family structure is best for the kids. That’s not really a

Here’s a contradiction, unless we really are ambivalent
about kids; respondents broadly agreed that the very things they affirmed were
harmful to kids. A whopping 78 percent said the children of same-sex couples
would face more difficulty, more than half believed that these kids would face
“a lot more” difficulty. A larger percentage still say that the children of
divorce face more difficulty. The same 78 percent also say that children raised
in single-parent homes will face more difficulty. This is not a Baptist
preacher moralizing against the opinions of his neighbors. This is those very
neighbors saying, “Yes, I believe that these trends are fine, even good; and
yes, I believe that they make lives of children harder.” They would likely be
offended if I cut the corner and asked them if they considered making the lives
of children more difficult a positive thing.

So what are we to think when people beat their breasts about
the need to raise money for schools or social programs aimed at improving the
lives of children? What do we make of initiatives to ban fast-food deemed
unhealthful? The most ardent of these pro-child advocates are often the most
tolerant Americans when it comes to the definition of “family” or of the bad
choices people find self-nurturing. Is our work on behalf of children
insincere? I don’t think we are insincere but we do work at cross purposes with
ourselves. Our society is sometimes a forlorn collection of people who spend
half our time throwing grounded starfishes back into the water one by one, and
the other half pushing hundreds up onto the dry sand with bulldozers. We lose a
lot of starfishes and employ thousands of people to study why.

Our progressive culture shuns traditional mores with little
regard for the strengths that made some practices and opinions “traditional.”
Granted, we sometimes also embrace tradition without considering why, but a
mistake in this direction is not as likely to be immediately as harmful as a
mistake in the other direction. Because we love novel ideas, our thoughtless
response is to say that the proliferation of new definitions of “family” are
good although the consequences of such proliferation are bad. Intuitively, we
have warm feelings regarding anything with “new” attached to it. Rationally, we
recognize the downside of impulsive decisions. Between our embrace of
politicians and ideas that promise us something new and our realization that
the change is not without a price, helpless people become victims of our little

Our desire to be sympathetic toward the circumstances of a
person’s life often affirms the elements behind those negative circumstances.
Thus, we embrace sex without marriage while regretting its predictable
consequences. We see a pregnant teenager and we’re sorry for the newly
difficult life she is living, but we’d never suggest that she should mend her
ways. A committed same-sex couple really wants to provide a home for a child
languishing in a bad situation, so we affirm this new kind of “family” because
we wish them happier than they’ll ever actually be.

Then there’s divorce. This is the most socially affirmed
evil we bring upon children. At this point, our nation has an industry with
thousands of employees that depends on the continuation of no-fault divorce. We
approve of it many times each day by actually divorcing and facilitating easy
divorce. And 80 percent of us think it harms our children. Our friend or
neighbor or brother tearfully says he’s miserable in his marriage and we just
don’t have the character to tell him to stay with his wife even if he

Criswell College unleashed

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I’m an alumnus from the early days of Criswell College. We
met in Sunday School classrooms at First Baptist, Dallas. Most of us bought
hard-sided briefcases so we’d have something to set in our laps to provide a
smooth surface for note taking. We used First Baptist’s library and our book
store was a moderately sized walk-in closet. It was pretty basic and mighty
good. First Baptist’s pastor, for whom the school is named, envisioned a
“preacher school” and worked to make that happen. We students were
beneficiaries of the church’s generosity in so many ways. I’m grateful for that
vision and generosity.

Things change. The school now has its own place and plans
beyond what even W.A. Criswell ever expressed. First Baptist also has new
vision and new ministry directions. We alums watched anxiously as the two
nearly independent bodies negotiated a legal separation. And I believe that the
agreement reached between First Baptist and Criswell College will benefit both
ministries. I’m grateful to God for the outcome of those talks.

President Jerry Johnson is God’s man to lead the college in
this new day. His comments during our recent alumni dinner showed that he has
plans to hit the ground running. Dr. Johnson is a hard-working guy, a good
leader, a proven scholar, and an effective fund raiser. I believe he’ll
accomplish a great deal during the first quarter of 2011.

The Southern Baptist Convention needs Criswell College and
has been richly blessed by Dr. Criswell’s school over the past 40 years. In
those days, the little college functioned as a sort of West Point for the
leadership of our denomination’s reformation. In a day when so many colleges
called “Baptist” are overly concerned about the opinion of the more atheist
academy, Criswell remains focused on God’s message, as expressed in his written
Word. This is not the only school so focused but it is one of only a few
accredited schools that have not wavered in message or purpose.

I’m convinced God will bless that focus as he has up to now.
I’ve never been happier to call myself a Criswell man.

La Iniciativa Hispana al Día

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Misiones Internacionales

Como Bautistas del Sur y como convención estatal SBTC
tenemos el gran privilegio de participar en misiones internacionales. Cada año
recogemos la ofrenda de navidad llamada: Lottie Moon. El único propósito de
esta ofrenda es de apoyar a las misiones internacionales.

La Junta de Misiones
Internacionales (IMB) es una agencia de la Convención Bautista del Sur, la
denominación evangélica más grande en los Estados Unidos, con más de 40,000
iglesias y unos 16 millones de miembros. A través de la IMB, su iglesia
sostiene a más de 5,000 obreros transculturales e impacta a 1,200 etnias. Recuerden que la IMB dedica cada
centavo de la ofrenda para apoyar y sostener a nuestros misioneros que están
sirviendo en todo el mundo.

¿Cuál es el lema de esta ofrenda para el 2010?

El lema es: ¿Hemos Llegado Ya? La respuesta obviamente es, no
hemos llegado. Tenemos mucho trabajo por delante. Hay muchas almas para ganar.
Aún vivimos en un mundo de tinieblas pero la luz de Cristo sigue brillando. El
lema que hemos adoptado nos llama a la atención del progreso que hemos hecho en
la tarea de alcanzar a las etnias. Cada año avanzamos, iniciando obras nuevas
entre estos grupos. De las 6,426 etnias que restan, por primera vez en la
historia podemos identificarlas. ¡Podemos llegar a ellas en nuestra generación,
gloria al Señor!

Los Hispanos Bautistas jugamos un papel muy importante en
las misiones internacionales. Primero hay que dar sacrificialmente. Propóngase
una meta y pásela, el Señor le va a bendicir mucho dando a esta ofrenda Lottie
Moon. También podemos ir; puede ser que el Señor le está llamando para ir como
uno de nuestros misioneros. De momento contamos con más de 100 misioneros
bautistas hispanos en todas las regiones del mundo.

Podemos llegar a la meta trabando y orando juntos.

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BMAT approves agreement with SBTC

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LUFKIN?The Baptist Missionary Association of Texas (BMAT)
overwhelmingly approved in its annual session on Nov. 10 a “working ministry
relationship” between BMAT and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Calling the relationship “historic and monumental,” Vernon
Lee, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, made the motion for the
vote after summarizing the agreement drafted by a BMAT task force along with
representatives from the SBTC.

Noting shared conservative theology and a gracious dialogue
over five years, Lee said in a statement to the TEXAN: “I am very pleased with
the overwhelming support we have received from the churches of the BMAT, and
especially with the tremendous vote of the messengers at our recent annual
state meeting approving the agreement.”

“This relationship will enable us to expand our efforts to
work together here in Texas, to further our commitment to evangelizing our
state and serving our Lord through our cooperative ministries. It is my hope
that this official relationship is just the beginning of greater things to
come?. I am excitedly optimistic and confident that the manifold benefits will
be eternally beneficial.”

Tom Campbell, SBTC director of facilitating ministries, told
those at the BMAT annual session: “I appreciate all the time that I’ve been
able to spend with the task force?. I love the fellowship that you have. I look
forward to many years together in a relationship and I just thank God for this
historic moment.”

Over the summer, the BMAT task force and SBTC
representatives developed the proposed agreement, spelling out that it is “one
of cooperation with neither party having control over the other’s ministry
activities. This does not create a partnership as that term is used in the
Texas Business Organizations Code. Nor is either party the legal agent of the

The related ministry agreement proposal is patterned after
one the SBTC holds with the Korean Baptist Fellowship. Both groups will remain
independent bodies but will cooperate on several levels of mission.

At last year’s BMAT annual session, a task force was named
to continue dialogue with the SBTC on shared ministry. Two BMAT institutions,
the two-year Jacksonville College and the Texas Baptist Home, based in
Waxahachie, are ministry affiliates of the SBTC and receive budgeted funding.

“The purpose of this agreement is to establish guidelines
and parameters for a working ministry relationship between the BMAT and SBTC,”
the agreement states.

In it, both parties endeavor to:

?”continued affirmation of a high view of Scripture and
basic Baptist distinctives”;

?joint ministry opportunities;

?freely share information about each respective group with
interested churches;

?cooperation between the two groups’ flagship publications,
the Baptist Progress and the Southern Baptist TEXAN;

?Reciprocal linking of the SBTC and BMAT websites;

?Reciprocal exhibits at each group’s annual meetings;

Additionally, BMAT will provide the SBTC Facilitating
Ministries Committee an annual report of BMAT ministry activities, and in turn
the SBTC will provide the BMAT Administrative Committee with its annual Book of

The agreement specifies that a “high view of Scripture
includes but is not limited to the position that the Bible is factual in
character and historicity in such matters as: 1) the supernatural character of
the biblical miracles which occurred as factual events in time and space, 2)
the historical accuracy of biblical narratives which occurred precisely as the
text of Scripture indicates, and 3) the actual authorship of biblical writings
as attributed by Scripture itself.”

The agreement is for the 2011 calendar year.

In addition to the Korean Baptist Fellowship, the SBTC has related
ministry agreements with Houston Baptist University and Baptist Credit Union.

SBC president calls for ‘return to first love,’ Great Commission and ethnic diversity

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Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright
challenged “Southern Baptist Christians and churches to return to their first
love of Jesus” and to “become much more passionate about the Great Commission.”

He also called for a historic Lottie Moon Christmas
Offering, more ethnic diversity among SBC leadership and a “radical
reprioritization of our denominational mission funds beginning with the
Cooperative Program.”

Wright?pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta,
Ga.?delivered his remarks after a dinner hosted for pastors and laymen at the
SBTC’s offices in Grapevine on Nov. 2.

Such challenges are needed, Wright said, because “culture
has influenced the church more than we have been a transforming agent for

One such influence is materialism, which “is the number one
idol in the church,” Wright said. “The majority of our church members rob God
every single week. It’s a testimony that we love money more than we love

“Hedonism, workaholism, technology obsession?all these kinds
of things can take the place of that relationship with Jesus. So wherever I go,
I want to challenge Southern Baptist Christians to return to their first love
of Jesus. Nothing is more important than that,” he said, adding that love for
Jesus engenders “a greater love for the lost.”

Regarding non-believers, Wright said they’re created in
God’s image and “have gone astray just like all of us have gone astray. But we
want to be in the business of pointing them to Jesus. If we have that spirit of
Jesus, we’re going to have a passionate desire to see lost people reached.”

“I hope Southern Baptists become much more passionate about
the Great Commission than we have ever been in all of our history,” he added.
“We are at our best when the Great Commission is front and center of what God
wants us to do.”

Saying the SBC has “gotten sidetracked” regarding the Great
Commission, Wright believes that part of getting back on track includes “a
radical reprioritization of our denominational mission funds beginning with the
Cooperative Program.”

Wright lauded the SBTC for sending more CP funds out of
state than are kept. The current CP split for the SBTC is 55 percent for
national and international SBC ministries and 45 percent for in-state ministry.

“That’s an incredible model. I’d love to see it happening in
every state,” Wright said.

Members at Johnson Ferry changed their CP giving plan,
Wright said, when they discovered that only 16 cents of every dollar the church
gave through its state convention CP plan made it to the international mission

Wright said church members “wanted the majority of our
Southern Baptist mission dollars winding up on the international mission field.
That’s just a passion we have.”

The church gives 5 percent directly through the
International Mission Board’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and 5 percent
through the CP “because we still want to support state missions and the
seminaries and home missions. But we wanted most of our funds to go to
international missions.”

“We’d much rather give the full 10 percent through CP?much
rather. But there needs to be a radical change in priorities in how we do our
missions giving,” Wright said. “And [the SBTC] is certainly a great model in
that regard.”

Asking pastors to challenge their churches “to have the
largest Lottie Moon offering in the history of the church,” Wright implored his
listeners to “do something that is God-sized.”

Noting that members of Johnson Ferry have completed numerous
mission trips, Wright said, “It’s really on my heart that every church go on at
least one mission trip each year…. There’s no way I could overestimate the
spiritual impact mission trips have had on the life of Johnson Ferry.”

During a question-and-answer session, Wright responded to a
question regarding how to reprioritize CP giving, saying that many state
leaders have asked, “‘What do you want us to cut?’ And the answer to that is
very simple: ‘That is n

Crossover yields 696 salvation decisions

CORPUS CHRISTI?The SBTC’s Crossover evangelistic effort in Corpus Christi resulted in 696 salvation decisions recorded following a strength and power exhibition and gospel presentation by Team Impact, a Coppell-based ministry.

More than 5,000 people filled the American Bank Center exhibition hall on Nov. 13 preceding the SBTC Bible Conference and Annual Meeting for the annual Crossover event. In the week prior, Team Impact combined its power and strength feats with character talks in dozens of Corpus Christi area schools, inviting students and their families to the Team Impact event.

Jack Harris, SBTC associate for personal and event evangelism, said Southern Baptist churches in the Corpus Christi area would be following up on those who made decisions.

Initially, 493 salvation decisions were reported, but additional decision cards were turned in later. Harris estimated that about 1,500 people stood to signify they had prayed a prayer of salvation, but 696 decision cards were registered.

“God knows who made decisions and who didn’t,” Harris said, “but the gospel was shared very clearly with the 5,082 who were here.”

SBTC approves $25.4 budget, hosts missionary commissioning

CORPUS CHRISTI—Messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention annual meeting re-elected as president Odessa pastor Byron McWilliams, approved a $25.4 million budget and passed five resolutions on issues ranging from sex trafficking to racial reconciliation.

But for messengers and guests at the closing session, the commissioning of 36 North American Mission Board missionaries headed for ministry in places such as Vancouver, British Columbia and Madison, Wis., was a contrast to committee reports, floor motions and ballot raising.

The meeting, at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi Nov. 15-16, drew 820 messengers and 403 registered guests to witness business sessions, preaching, a prayer focus tied to this year’s theme, and the commissioning service, which featured a charge to missionaries from new NAMB President Kevin Ezell.

Following Ezell’s sermon?an exhortation from Mark 2 to get people to Jesus with the same determination shown by the four men who overcame the crowd to get a paralytic to Jesus?those in the auditorium gathered in groups and prayed audibly over the missionaries. The commissioning was the second of Ezell’s tenure, which began in September.

In closing the commissioning service, Richard Harris, NAMB vice president for missions advancement, prayed that the missionaries would “change the population of heaven,” adding, “Father, they can’t do everything in reaching the 258 million lost people in North America, but they can do something.”

The convention officers were elected unopposed. McWilliams, pastor of First Baptist Church of Odessa, will serve a customary second term as president.

Messengers elected to a first term as vice president Loui Canchola, pastor of Cornerstone Church in McAllen, a seven-year-old congregation planted in part by the SBTC. Messengers also re-elected recording secretary Pat Anderson, a retired schoolteacher and member of Keeler Baptist Church in Borger.

The 2011 budget of $25,469,987 is a 2.55 percent increase over 2010. “God is our supply; we simply walk by faith,” SBTC Executive Board Chairman John Meador, pastor of First Baptist Church of Euless, told messengers in presenting the budget for a vote.

A motion from Aaron Meraz, pastor of Bridgeway Baptist Church in McKinney, to use $1 million in surplus funds to supplement the $1.4 million budgeted for church planting was voted down after Missions Director Terry Coy told messengers the added funds would be more useful “when the [church planter] pipeline increases?. Right now we are in great shape.”

Coy told messengers the church planting process has been retooled over several years. “We believe we have the highest quality process in Southern Baptist life,” Coy said.

Of the 45 percent of undesignated receipts retained for in-state ministry, about 36 percent is earmarked for missions and evangelism. The SBTC forwards 55 percent of Cooperative Program funds to the Southern Baptists Convention’s CP allocation budget for national and international missions, seminary education and related ministries.

Messengers approved without dissent or discussion five resolutions on:

  • Racial Reconciliation,
  • Life-Affirming Stem Cell Research,
  • Gambling,
  • Sex Trafficking,
  • Adoption and Orphan Care.

The racial reconciliation resolution acknowledged the “nearly 400 ethno-linguistic groups” in Texas and commended “continuing efforts to make the representative diversity of our convention” reflected in leadership.

Also of note was the stem-cell research resolution, which referred to the research of “Dr. Shinya Yamanaka [who] while at Kyoto University in 2007 discovered a method of transforming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells?thus making embryo-destructive research unnecessary?”

The sex-trafficking resolution decried the 293,000 minors exploited annually in the United States and encouraged churches to “support victim rescue and restoration ministries.” The resolution comes on the heels of the Texas attorney general’s office announcing its intention to aid law enforcement agencies in combating sex trafficking during Super Bowl week next February, when the game comes to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Retired judge H. Paul Pressler of Houston presented the award named for him to David Galvan, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Garland. The recipient is voted on annually by the SBTC board. Pressler praised Galvan, a former SBTC first vice president, Southwestern Seminary trustee chairman and current Criswell College trustee, for exemplifying leadership in every organization he serves.

“He did not start out a Southern Baptist. His father was a Methodist pastor,” Pressler said. “But by conviction he became a Southern Baptist.”

Richard Land, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president, presented the ERLC Distinguished Service Award for 2010 to Jim Richards, SBTC executive director.

Land said ERLC trustees voted to honor Richards “for his exemplary service to the kingdom of God as a prophetic reformer at a critical time to call the Southern Baptist Convention away from the decay of liberalism and to help lead its conservative theological resurgence.”

Richards served the Christian Life Commission, which became the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, from 1988-95, including as chairman in 1993-94.

“It honors our award to have given it to Dr. Jim Richards.”

The 2011 meeting is scheduled Nov. 14-15 at the Irving Convention Center in Irving.

SBTC president: ‘We’re not there yet’

CORPUS CHRISTI?”We’re not there yet. We’ve seen God do incredible things, but we are not there yet,” Odessa pastor Byron McWilliams said Nov. 15 in his address to messengers at the SBTC Annual Meeting in Corpus Christi.

Like Paul, writing in Philippians 3, the churches of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention must forget what is behind and press forward “what God has in the future,” McWilliams said.

The SBTC has been blessed with “amazing and explosive growth since 1998” and unlike many state convention is “not playing catch up with the CP.” Holding true to what has already been attained, “we must always remember that we have not arrived, Southern Baptists of Texas.”

Paul in Philippians 3:12-13 is looking toward a future resurrection, which makes any present suffering or affliction bearable, McWilliams noted.
With God’s blessing, “you better be aware that Satan is out there seeing it also” and “wants to bring division into this convention,” McWilliams warned.

To stay on course, he said, the SBTC must remember that “we have not arrived,” to “put our whole heart in the race” and run it with “single-minded focus,” and “honor our namesake in all we do.”

“We must never cease to put our whole heart in the race,” said McWilliams, adding that Paul took a stand against “autopilot Christianity” and “cruise control Christianity.”

“I am praying that in my lifetime we can see a great awakening occur such that occurred during the time of those magnificent preachers of years ago,” McWilliams said. “And they lifted up Jesus Christ. They didn’t come in and model hipster Christianity. And they didn’t come in and try to be cool, because cool was not important to them. What they did was they came in and opened up the Word of God and preached a message about Jesus Christ because Jesus and Jesus Christ alone is the one who does the saving.”

Saying he came under conviction about this in his own life, McWilliams stated, “When you lift Jesus up people come to know him.”

Striving toward the goal of God’s upward calling, Paul modeled a “sanctified ambition for God” and “to be all God wants and nothing less.”

“I pray to God that he would raise a host of young men and young women with a sanctified ambition?. We need those with a sanctified ambition to go out and serve God.”

Finally, “Paul’s big goal was to live up to his namesake” and Southern Baptists in Texas must do the same, McWilliams said.

Noting that God’s blessing on the SBTC is evidenced by its growth from about 120 founding churches and a $900,000 budget in 1998 to more than 2,280 churches and a $25.4 million budget today, “we’re not there yet.”

“Our goal is to honor our namesake, the Lord Jesus Christ, in everything we do.”

A heart for the world

The Muslim looked at his Christian friend and asked, “If this salvation gift is so important, why did you wait six years to tell me about it?”

Chad Vandiver, SBTC’s missions strategies associate, related that anecdote in explaining the People Group Champions Project (PGCP) he directs.

“The PGCP represents our efforts to help churches embrace and reach for Christ the ethno-linguistic people groups in their city who may be Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists,” Vandiver said. “The project provides training and coaching so church members can serve as missionaries to these people groups.

“During the training, we lead students by taking them to the people group’s places of worship, and to their restaurants and grocery stores so we can model what’s being taught,” he said. “We never want to teach theory only. We find opportunities for the church to get engaged.”

The project is designed for participation at differing levels of involvement, Vandiver explained: “the praying church, the adopting church and the transforming church.” The ultimate goal is for each church to progress into “a modeling church.”

The modeling church is one that has successfully completed and is implementing all phases of the PGCP, and is also training other churches via the PGCP curriculum. Training includes recognizing and/or fostering a church planting movement among the people group.

“We teach students to recognize the global networks of the people group and how to utilize them so immigrants returning to their homeland may take the gospel with them,” Vandiver said. “We ask the question: ‘How can the local network tap into the global network for the sake of the gospel.'”

Each phase of the training “is critical because it teaches the best ways to intelligently engage people groups,” Vandiver said.

The “praying church” option raises a congregation’s awareness to people groups in their area, teaching their basic culture and ultimately leading the church to prayer-walk where the prospects live and work.

“This classification is for churches not yet ready to personally engage people groups, but willing to pray for them and for opportunities to reach them,” Vandiver said.

The “adopting church” training option introduces students to the worldview of certain people groups. It also prepares students for long-term relationships with the prospects in their communities, and to look for ministry and evangelistic opportunities among them.

“It gives students biblical methods of implementing contextualized evangelism among the people group,” Vandiver said. “Though it’s limited to the pastor, certain staff members, and select spiritual leaders in the church, once a passion for the people group takes over, the church is ready to move to the next stage of training?becoming a transforming church.”

The transforming church training option is available to all church members. It instructs students how to develop meaningful, cross-cultural relationships, and teaches biblical passages for use in leading members of the people group to faith in Jesus Christ. The training prepares the student for all aspects of relationship evangelism.

“We provide students with the people group’s history and other significant cultural information so they can become the ‘Jesus expert’ among the people group,” Vandiver said.

“There’s a missions movement happening in the U.S. with multiple people groups coming and living among us,” he added. “We either decide to join in or we don’t.”

A Transformed Church
First Baptist Church of Euless?now a “transforming church”?has joined the PGCP and trained many of its members for the purpose of reaching the thousands of Muslims in the area.

“The PGCP is a great resource for encouraging believers to begin seeing Muslims through the lens of the cross and empowers the local church to make an eternal impact,” said Greg Love, evangelism pastor at FBC Euless. “Simply put, the program moves believers from awareness to action.”

However, “Cultivating this response is a challenge due to the negative emotions of most American church members toward Muslims,” Love said. “This is why the PGCP is so helpful. It serves as a catalyst for transforming fear into awareness and action.”

An additional motivation, Love said, is that the birthrate among Muslim families is four times greater than most other ethnic groups. “This is why First Euless seeks to offer the PGCP training throughout the church. Our desire is to be positioned for kingdom impact,” Love noted.

FBC Euless members have prayer-walked Muslim neighborhoods, visited local mosques and shared fellowship meals, frequented Muslim-owned businesses, and established “first-name” relationships with many local Muslims for the purpose of sharing Christ. Future efforts include offering English classes within mosques.

“Our desire is to impact our community with the gospel,” Love said.

The PGCP training has motivated a broad spectrum of First Euless members, Love said. Retirees are visiting mosques to meet people and prayer-walk. One member built a relationship with a Muslim woman, visited her home and was able to converse about salvation through Christ. Later, this same Muslim woman visited worship services while her children visited Kidopolis, the children’s ministry of First Euless.

“She’s not a believer yet,” Love said. “But, she’s heard the truth about Christ.”

Another FBC member is considering moving into an apartment complex concentrated with Muslims to establish relationships and share the gospel. This single woman “became so incredibly burdened for Muslim women trapped in darkness that she began equipping others in her sphere of influence to reach Muslim women for Christ,” Love said.

For Love, the PGCP is far more than just a method to reach local Muslims: “This resource helps church members develop a heart for all the nations.”

“The people groups are here,” Vandiver added. “And I believe God has called us to be missionaries to them. He has given us the Great Commission, and it’s a command, not a suggestion. We need to be reaching these people groups in our communities and overseas. We cannot neglect either field.”

For more information on how your church can become a PGCP church, contact Chad Vandiver toll-free at 877-953-7282 (SBTC) or e-mail him at

Together, Reaching Texas, Touching the World

This issue of the TEXAN is being handed out at the Corpus Christi annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. If you are reading this in Corpus, “welcome.” I am glad you made it. We are in for an exciting experience. God is ready to move in our lives. Get ready by “Praying and Listening,” which is our theme this year.

If you are not able to be with us, you can pray. Please pray that God will protect those who travel. Pray for His Spirit to move on hearts. Pray for the messengers and guests to leave Corpus different from how they arrived. Pray for the SBTC staff to carry out the will of the churches under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Your prayers are important.

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is your convention. Your church and 2,260 other churches make up this convention. We need each other. Working together we can Reach Texas and Touch the World.

Thank you for being a part of the SBTC. It is my joy to serve you.