Month: May 2013

What can the righteous do?

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” —Psalm 11:3

After 34 years of pastoral ministry, building three places of worship and watching thousands of people accept Christ as personal Savior, the present state of our nation has led me to ask, “What can the righteous do (those who follow God’s law)? This question has become personal as I ask myself what can I do to help a sinful nation, my community, church and people return toward godly moral values. It appears living sinful has become the acceptable way of life for the majority of our nation. What can the righteous do when immorality has become a civil rights issue, when a nation whose foundations were built on the principles of the Holy Bible rejects its authority and refuses to be guided by the laws of nature and Scripture? If the foundations of society are overthrown, what can the righteous do? These foundations, in Psalm 11, refer to the Law and the order of society based on the Lord’s rule.

The Psalmist David is bewildered by the moral state of the people. He sees the movement of the ungodly and their effect on a society that he has been annointed to eventually rule over as king. “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” states: “The wicked were out to destroy the righteous, including David. The wicked bend their bows to fasten the strings on them, and then place their arrows on the strings to shoot in secrecy at the upright. It may be that a literal attack is in view, but more likely the bows and arrows denote slanderous words that destroy, as is often true in the Psalms.” Those who desire to live righteous lives face this exact intimidation today. The righteous should be encouraged to know the Christian is the enemy of intimidation, and we can say like David, “In the Lord I put my trust.”

In our postmodern era, when the righteous speak against the sinful ways of society they are called homophobic, hateful, bigots, etc. The power of words to change the tide of public opinion has never been more evident as it is in this era of American history. Anyone who maintains biblical principles is said to be on the wrong side of history by the proponents of our changing society. However, the question must be asked, “How can the Bible and a righteous God be on the wrong side of history?”

As preachers and laypersons of the gospel living in days when preaching against sin is unpopular, should we throw in the towel and say we can do nothing because the world is changing for the worse? Should an individual conclude: “I am only one voice when so many others are silent?”

Don’t allow the immorality of others keep you from worshiping and serving the Lord. “How can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain?’”

What can the righteous do? The righteous must remember to celebrate God for the foundations he has developed. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are times when the righteous can celebrate God’s original order for marriage, motherhood and fatherhood. The righteous can celebrate the sanctity of life by saying thanks to their parents for allowing them to be born and not aborted. Celebrate the traditional marriages of your parents and all marriages that procreate through becoming one flesh. Finally, celebrate the motherhood and fatherhood of parents who loved the institution of parenting enough to adopt children. Honor God for the foundations of life in spite of the ways of the ungodly.

Remember, just as David did, that God is in his temple—he lives in the heart of the Christian in the person of the Holy Spirit. God sees and knows all the works of mankind, and has the last word in respect to our eternal destination. The wicked will suffer for their works and the righteous will be blessed for their works. Please be encouraged to stay the course as you read and meditate on Psalm 11:

1 In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”? 2 For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? 4 The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. 5 The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. 6 Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.

In conclusion, allow me to share the parable of the wise and foolish builders as told by our Lord, the foundation of the Christian faith. Jesus ends his Sermon on the Plain with a story about two builders. One takes care to build a house with its foundation securely on a rock. The other builds without a foundation at all. When the flood comes, the house without a foundation collapses. Jesus says those who build their lives on His teaching will withstand the storms of life. “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:48-49)

Lord Jesus, please forgive us of our sins. Touch the minds of our national leaders that they will honor the foundations that have made America a great society. Lord, write your word on their hearts and let them return to live by Scripture and serve you. Let lost sinners come to know you, that they may be reconciled to you, and converted. Give us boldness to face the issues of our day with you by our side. May we be witnesses to a lost world. Amen.

A godly legacy

May and June were always a time to do an age-graded emphasis when I served as a pastor. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, school graduations, senior adult day all fit well. I usually added a children’s musical or something that would highlight the youngest attenders. There is no greater need in our culture than to put the spotlight on the biblical nuclear family.

Just because the culture has rejected or redefined the family, it doesn’t mean that the biblical model is no longer valid. As a matter of fact, the Bible is the only measure for the family. Marriage is uniquely constituted by one man for one woman. A family can have biological or adopted children. Divorce or death might create a single-parent home. God can sustain those who seek him for guidance regardless of the circumstances that arise in a home.

I was blessed to have a mom and dad who loved me very much. My cousins and others would say there is abundant evidence I am spoiled, having been an only child. I grew up in a Christian home. We had prayer, Bible reading, regular church worship attendance and sensitivity that the Lord was present in our home. My dad loved me unconditionally. I didn’t fully realize what I had until he was gone. Mother was the perfect example of a strong-willed woman who spiritually submitted to my dad. Time does not permit me to cite the numerous examples of how she poured herself into me.

My wife, June, is a wonderful wife and mother. I suppose since I have my mother’s strong will, I needed a soft-spoken encourager. My sweetheart is incredibly precious as she ministers to me. She has made my life wonderful. June and my mother are opposites in a lot of ways but they possess the same values that model Jesus for their children.

Third John 4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” This is true in my family. When I look at our daughters and how they are raising their children, I have great joy.

Rebekah and Rachel pray with their children and teach them to pray. Hannah, Julia and Harrison memorize Scripture. While one mother is better at singing than the other, they both instill music about Jesus into the hearts of their children. Hannah has trusted Jesus as her personal Savior. She has been baptized. Hannah is growing in grace. Both of our girls married men who love Jesus. When I watch our daughters with their families I see June’s godly influence extended through our daughters.

June poured her life into our children. Our son, Nathan, professed faith in Christ when he was a young boy. He worships regularly, reads his Bible daily and has a prayer life. He lives a life free of drugs and alcohol. As Nate finishes college this December, we are praying for him to be in the will of God in every area of his life.

We are blessed with a wonderful family. I am so thankful for my mother and my wife being the hearts of our homes. You may not have had life experiences like me. Regardless, you can encourage someone who has ministered to you. By word or example you can share God’s standard for the family. The only hope for our churches to experience a true move of God is for our homes to return to the biblical model.

Join me this month in expressing appreciation to those who have touched our lives for Jesus. Although my mother and dad are in heaven, I can still honor them by living for Jesus. I can say to my wife, “I love you. Thank you for being a godly mom.” I can tell our daughters and son how thankful I am for their love for Jesus. I pray you will be blessed during this special time of the year.

SENT Conference aims at reaching people groups

Euless—For some Christians, reaching Muslim believers with the gospel is a ministry only for those specifically called to the mission field in the Middle East or other predominately Muslim countries.

But this religion, which is the fastest growing in the world and already has over 2 billion followers, is rapidly gaining followers in the United States as well.

In a similar way, some may believe that Hindu and Buddhist believers can only be found in Asian countries, but between refugees and Americans converting to these religions their numbers continue to grow in the U.S.

At the 2013 SENT Conference at First Baptist Church, Euless on April 26, missionaries gave church leaders and members tips on how to share the gospel with members of these religions.

One missionary, who cannot be named for security reasons, said that Hindu people are just like any other people, just without the blessing of knowing Jesus Christ.

Another missionary, known as A.D., said he does not like referring to people of these religions as lost but as future believers.

Brent Sorrels—who is involved in a ministry that reaches out to the Buddhists around Port Arthur, many of whom are Vietnamese—said Christians need to keep in mind that Buddhists are not any more lost than anyone else who has not accepted the gospel.

Sorrels, A.D. and SENT’s Muslim session leader, B.C., each said one of the main things to remember when trying to share the gospel with anyone from these religions is to befriend them and also be willing to ask questions and listen to their answers.

“If you go as a learner, that opens a door,” A.D. said.

With about 2 million Muslims, Texas is home to more than any other state.

Muslims especially center their lives on their religion and B.C. said they are almost always willing to talk about what they believe. In fact, B.C. said it is usually easier to speak with Muslims about their religion than with the average American.

But B.C. said that many Muslims he has met in Texas do not have any Christian friends because they are afraid of them. He said often the reverse is true as well—that Christians fear Muslims or even dislike them.

B.C. said if Christians hope to make friends with Muslims in order to reach them, they may have to give up some things—from what they eat to what they wear. No compromises should be made, but Christians should try to make Muslims feel at ease, B.C. said.

“We have to meet our Muslim friends where they are at,” B.C. said.

Each leader of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim workshops at the conference said that Christians learn about the other religions so they have knowledge of how to interact with them.

Forney pastor to be nominated for SBTC president

An Odessa pastor has announced plans to nominate Jimmy Pritchard, pastor of First Baptist Church of Forney, for president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention during the state convention’s annual meeting this October.

Bryon McWilliams, pastor of First Baptist Church of Odessa and a former SBTC president, said of Pritchard: “Bro. Jimmy has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Forney, Texas for 19 years. He is a strong proponent of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and the Cooperative Program with FBC Forney giving 10% of all undesignated receipts annually.

“Serving as a fellow trustee of the International Mission Board, I have been privileged to witness Bro. Jimmy’s effective leadership firsthand. He served as chairman of the board during a most strenuous time, leading the board and search process to find the current president, Dr. Tom Elliff. He was God’s man for the hour then and I believe he will be equally so at this time in the life of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.”

SBTC President Terry Turner, pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church, is in his second term and will pass the gavel to a new president at the close of the annual meeting Oct. 28-29 in Amarillo.

Bucket Project continues effort

The Bucket Project, an effort to supply hospice kits to sub-Saharan African peoples suffering the ravages of HIV/AIDS and other terminal illnesses, will soon ship a container of more than 700 buckets to Africa. The outreach is sponsored by Baptist Global Relief (BGR), which re-launched the ministry in 2012 with a special emphasis on Texas participation in anticipation of a nationwide campaign.

Texas coordinators of the project are retired IMB missionaries to Zambia Franklin and Paula Kilpatrick, who work with churches to promote the buckets. SBTC churches are responding.

“One of the really good things about the project is that it allows small churches to have a hands-on international experience,” said Paula Kilpatrick, who noted that a church in the FIRM Baptist area with 15 members has committed to supplying eight buckets.

The buckets of The Bucket Project are five-gallon containers with snap-on lids and wire handles available at Wal-Mart and Lowe’s. These are filled with vitamins, sheets, pillowcases, washcloths, towels, toothpaste, lip balm, lotion, fingernail clippers and disposable gloves, among other items. A complete shopping list, including product numbers and specific instructions for purchases, is available on the BGR website (

Visitors to the BGR website may also download a step-by-step guide for bucket assembly, explanations of the purpose of each item included in the hospice kit, and a seven-day prayer guide educating readers about AIDS, hospice needs and sub-Saharan Africa.

The online cost for a completely assembled bucket is $79.40 plus shipping. Unassembled bucket kits are $72.40. Items for the buckets and empty buckets may be ordered individually. For more information visit

Lubbock church sponsors House in Order workshop

By Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent

LUBBOCK—Years ago a faithful member of Lubbock’s Southcrest Baptist Church left $250,000 of her estate to the church. That generous, unexpected bequest became the seed money the church used to buy its current property. Thanks to assistance provided by the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation, Southcrest members now have a greater opportunity to leave similar legacies.

“For years we talked about setting up a church foundation or estate ministry, but it wasn’t till we learned about the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation that we decided to move forward and create a ministry in our church to encourage such gifts,” said Ken Carter, Southcrest executive pastor of education and administration.

The decision took time.

“The church created a legacy giving committee and studied [the matter] for months,” Carter recalled. “The committee decided the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation had the best plan and resources for our church.”

Southcrest utilized the resources provided by the foundation’s legacy giving ministry. Foundation Executive Director Johnathan Gray presented a House in Order seminar to members of the Southcrest congregation in January. The normal Wednesday night service time was extended by 15 minutes to allow time for the 60-minute presentation.

Preparations for the seminar occurred in the weeks preceding the event.

“Johnathan Gray came and provided us with model policies that were so well done, we used them as the basis for our own. Our church’s legal advisors looked over everything, suggested a few changes, and we developed our policies before the workshop,” Carter said.   

“We got everything in place and then the foundation hosted the workshop. There was no charge whatsoever. They provided clip art, bulletin inserts and even a PowerPoint presentation to help us promote the workshop in a way that would inform and interest people,” Carter said.

The Sunday before the workshop, Gray even visited Southcrest and preached on the importance of a Christian legacy in the church’s four morning services.   

“This was of God. Johnathan was supposed to do this,” said David Wilson, Southcrest pastor, of Gray’s messages.

“The only thing our church had to do was help coordinate the logistics of the House in Order workshop and promote it to our people,” Carter said.

Participants in the workshop received workbooks containing the detailed information shared that evening. All materials were furnished by the foundation.

Following the seminar, the foundation set up meetings with Southcrest members desiring assistance with their estate plans. “Several made appointments to visit about their estates and receive direction,” Carter said.

The Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation also assists people in writing their wills, but requires that donors include the foundation in their wills.

Gray noted that will preparation is available through the foundation for those who plan to give at least 10 percent of their estates to Baptist causes consistent with the foundation’s purpose statement. A portion of the estate tithe must include a gift to an SBTC-affiliated church and to the SBTC.

The foundation offers a reimbursement plan to offset up to 75 percent of the legal fees associated with estate planning and will preparation and filing.

“Our goal for the House in Order seminar is to help believers create an estate plan that honors the Lord by providing for their families and advancing his kingdom,” Gray said.

As follow-up to the House in Order seminar, Southcrest invited members of the congregation involved in estate planning—lawyers, CPAs, financial advisors—to a breakfast at the Texas Tech Club last month.

“We want to inform all the people in our congregation who work in estate planning about what we are doing in the church,” Carter said of the breakfast event.

“Only the Lord knows what benefit our church will receive out of this ministry. It makes us feel good to know that we are helping our people avoid the headache and sometimes heartbreak that comes to a family when proper planning has not been done,” Carter said.

“So far, working with the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation has been a great experience and we highly recommend it to anyone,” Carter added.

For more information on the foundation’s services, call them toll-free at 877-953-7282 (SBTC) or email

Auxiliary meetings at SBC annual gathering offer training, inspiration and fellowship for everyone

HOUSTON—When you attend the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Houston, make sure to check out some of the more than 40 auxiliary events. There’s something for everyone. Most meetings are held at the George R. Brown Convention Center (GBCC) or at a convenient nearby hotel or church. Attendance at the annual meeting is not required in order to enjoy these separate events.

Crossover Houston Block Parties
June 8 across the Houston area.
Visit to sign up.

Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists
June 7-8, Annual Retreat at Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Drive
June 9, Worship Service at 9:00 a.m.,
Hilton Americas Hotel Americas Ballroom A/B—Level 2
June 9, Business Meeting at 2:30 p.m.,
Hilton Americas Hotel Americas Ballroom A/B—Level 2
Summary: The retreat, which will take a new format, will include fellowship and teaching.

Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions
June 8-10, Second Baptist Church,
6400 Woodway Drive
Summary: Speakers will include Fred Luter, Tom Elliff, and Kevin Ezell.

National African American Fellowship
June 9, Worship Service at 6:30 p.m., Fallbrook Church, 12512 Walters Road
Summary: Worship service will feature preaching by SBTC president Terry Turner.
Contact: 281-444-2733

Woman’s Missionary Union
Celebration and Annual Gathering
June 9-10, Hilton Americas Hotel,
Lanier Grand Ballroom—Level 4
Summary: Attendees will celebrate WMU’s 125th birthday with speakers from NAMB and IMB.

Pastors’ Conference
June 9-10, GBCC
Summary: The Pastors’ Conference aims
to inspire and inform pastors through
sermons, worship and panel discussions.
Contact: David Self, or

Pastors’ Wives Session
of the Pastors’ Conference
June 10 at 9:00 a.m.,
George Bush Grand Ballroom, GBCC
Summary: Keynote speakers Barb Rosberg and Jennie Allen will discuss maintaining a healthy marriage amid family and ministry responsibilities, with panel discussion led by Susie Hawkins.
Contact: Donna Gaines,

Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Reception
June 10, 8:30–10:00 p.m.,
GBCC, Level 3, Room 351A–F
Summary: Attendees will enjoy fellowship with SBTC friends and staff.
Contact: Ashlee Garcia,

SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon
June 11, 12:00 p.m., George Bush Grand
Ballroom, GBCC
Summary: Speaker Donna Gaines will focus on the theme “For the Sake of the Gospel.”
Contact:– event–sbc–ministers–wives–luncheon

SBC Pastors’ Luncheon
June 11, 12:00 p.m., Hilton Americas Hotel, Americas Ballroom E/F-Level 2
Summary: Speakers include IMB president Tom Elliff and John Morgan, pastor of
Sagemont Church in Houston.


Midwestern Seminary
Alumni Association Luncheon
June 11, 12:00–1:30 p.m.,
GBCC, Level 3, Room 361A–F
Contact: Ann Judd,

Golden Gate Seminary
Alumni & Friends Luncheon
June 12, 12:00–1:30 p.m.,
GBCC, Level 3, Room 320A/B/D/E

New Orleans Seminary
Alumni & Friends Luncheon
June 12, 12:00–2:00 p.m.,
GBCC, Level 3, Room 360A–F

Southeastern Seminary
Alumni & Friends Luncheon
June 12, 12:00–2:00 p.m.,
GBCC, Level 3, Grand Ballroom A
Contact: event/4999367242

Southern Seminary Luncheon
June 12, 12:00–2:30 p.m.,
GBCC, Level 3, Grand Ballroom B
Contact: Retta Draper,

Southwestern Seminary
Alumni & Friends Luncheon
June 12, 12:00–1:30 p.m. , GBCC , Level 3, Grand Ballroom C
Contact: Sara Driscoll,


Union University Alumni
& Friends Ice Cream Social
June 10, 8:00–10:00 p.m.

Luther Rice University
Alumni & Friends Luncheon
June 11, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Mid–America Baptist Theological
Seminary Alumni & Friends
June 11, 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Contact: Betty Bailey,

Cedarville University
Houston Chapter Event
June 11, 5:00–6:00 p.m.
Contact: Alumni Relations, 1-800-837-2566

Mississippi College
Alumni & Friends Social
June 11, 5:00–7:00 p.m. Contact: Lisa Williams,

William Carey University
Alumni Ice Cream Social
June 11, 8:00–9:00 p.m. Contact: Cindy Cofield,
Clear Creek Alumni & Friends
Dessert Reception
June 12, 1:00–3:00 p.m. Contact: Richard Witherite,


Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship
June 7- June 8; Contact:

NAMB Regional Fellowships
June 9, 4:00–6:00 p.m. , GBCC
Contact: Angie Fox,
Midwest Region: Level 3, Room 332B
Northeast/Canadian Region: Level 3,
Room 322A/B
South Region: Level 3, Room 332D
West Region: Level 3, Room 332A

Hispanic Advance Conference
June 9, 5:00 p.m.
Contact: Brad Womble,

Children’s Conference International
June 9–10
GBCC, Level 3, Hall A3

Pastors’ Wives Expo
June 10–11
GBCC, Level 3, Grand Ballroom Pre–function
Contact: Diane Nix,

Fellowship of Baptist
World Ministries Breakfast
June 10, 7:00–8:30 a.m.
Hilton Americas, Level 3, Room 346A/B
Contact: Eric Ramsey,

NAMB Send North America Luncheon
June 10, 11:30 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
GBCC, Level 3, Room Hall B3

IMB Chinese Missional Churches
June 10, 1:00–5:00 p.m.
GBCC, Level 3, Room 362A/B
Contact: Brad Womble, bwomble@imb

IMB Korean Missional Churches
Monday, June 10, 1:00–5:00 p.m.
GBCC, Level 3, Room 362C/F
Contact: Brad Womble,

NAMB Missionary/Chaplain Reception
Monday, June 10, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
GBCC, Level 3, Room 322A/B
Contact: Angie Fox,

Association of State Baptist Papers
June 10, 5:00–8:00 p.m.
Contact: Vicki Burton,

9Marks @ 9
Monday, June 10, 9–11:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 11, 9–11:30 p.m.
Contact: Karen Race,

Founders Fellowship Breakfast
June 11, 6:30–9:00 a.m.
Contact: Barbara Reisinger,

Answers in Genesis
June 11, 7:30–9:00 a.m.
Contact: Jason Nave,
Baptist21 Luncheon
June 11, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Contact: Ronnie Parrott,
Life Action Ministries Annual
Revival Forum & Luncheon
June 11, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Contact: Mike Crescenzi,

IMB: The Last Full Measure of Devotion
June 11, 12:00–1:30 p.m.

National African American Fellowship
Annual Meeting
June 11, 4:00–6:00 p.m.

National African
American Fellowship Banquet
June 11, 6:30–9:30 p.m.

Oklahoma at the SBC
June 11, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Contact: Haley Cox,

IMB: Embrace the Ends of the Earth
June 12, 6:45–8:15 a.m.
Contact: Brad Womble,

NAMB Adoption/Foster Care Breakfast
June 12, 7:00–9:00 a.m.
Contact: Darlene McDaniel,

Bivocational Pastors Luncheon
June 12, 11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Contact: Ray Gilder,

DARE Marriage Mentor Training
June 12, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
Contact: Matt Loehr,

Filipino Southern Baptist
Fellowship of North America
June 11, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.,
First Philippine Baptist Church
15002 Hillcroft Street,
Missouri City, Texas 77489


Experiencing God Documentary
June 11, 12:00–1:00 p.m.
June 12, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

Grace Unplugged Movie Screening
June 11, 9:00–11:00 p.m.

Pastors” Conf. officers provide diverse lineup addressing leadership and family

HOUSTON—There is nothing typical about the speakers headlining the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention’s annual Pastors’ Conference, including the conference president, Gregg Matte. He believes the diversity on the program will  undergird the singularity of the message presented.

Since 1935 Southern Baptist Convention pastors have gathered to encourage and edify one another in the days prior to the denomination’s annual meeting. This year’s conference—“Launch: Taking our hearts, homes, and ministries to a higher place”—will feature pastors from the East and West coasts, international churches and laymen who can add “texture” to the program, Matte said.

Understanding that the local church is the heart of the SBC and the epicenter for outreach to a community, the conference will equip pastors in developing a crucial balance between their leadership roles at church and home while reminding them of the interconnected nature of the denomination.

Matte admitted that his own path to leadership at Houston’s First Baptist Church was not typical. With a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas A&M and a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Matte founded Breakaway Ministries at his alma mater. The weekly Bible study quickly grew from 12 to 4,000 students—the largest of its kind in the nation. From there he was called to lead the Houston mega-church following the retirement of long-time pastor John Bisagno.

“There’s 50 reasons why I am not the right guy and 49 why I am,” he said of his role as pastor since 2004.

It is through the varying pathways to leadership and the myriad backgrounds that Matte wants to showcase the unity of the Pastors’ Conference theme—the requisite skills of sound preaching, church leadership and family priorities.

Matte said, “If we lead well, preach the Word well, we’re going to have a great ministry.”

But, he added, if a pastor forsakes his family while building up his church, “then we’ve lost it.”

Technology allows people to stay plugged in to work and home simultaneously. But there must be a clear demarcation between the two. Matte, who coaches his son’s baseball team, said the church is for work and the home is for family. The 24-hour tension between the two demands established boundaries and priorities.

Scheduled to speak on that issue are Bryant and Anne Wright. He is pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga., and founder of Right from the Heart Ministries.

Recognizing that the local church impacts people from cradle to grave, Matte said he is committed to equipping the local church because it is the God-ordained fountainhead from which other ministries flow. And, he added, the Southern Baptists’ strong stance on the Word of God and the great theological foundation steels his commitment to the denomination.

God “wired” him to be a teacher and leader and equipping pastors in those roles is the essence of the Pastors’ Conference. Speaking on the nuts and bolts of effective preaching and leadership are pastors who have navigated the rough seas of change and have solid ministries to show for it. Rodney Woo, pastor of International Baptist Church, Singapore, led a dying suburban church back to life. The predominantly Anglo church sat in a neighborhood that no longer looked like its members. Matte said God has brought the world to America and pastors struggle in reaching people of different ethnicities. But Woo’s leadership brought new life to Wilcrest Baptist Church near Houston. Today the thriving congregation is home to a mix of Hispanic, African, African American, Caribbean and Anglo members.

Shepherding a church through change—successfully—is the mark of a good leader, Matte said.

He sought to bring leaders from different ethnicities, ages and stages of life who will speak on the themes of leadership, solid and effective preaching and the balance between the pastorate and family. Matte said the addition of non-pastors like Gary Rosberg, co-founder of America’s Family Coach, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will add texture and creativity to the program, addressing the issues from a different frame of reference.

Eric Geiger, vice president of the Church Resources Division at LifeWay Christian Resources will speak on what churches are doing “in a macro sense.” The author of “Simple Church” and other speakers will connect pastors and their families with resources uniquely available through affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention.

“That’s what’s important to young [pastors],” Matte said.

If pastors can see the hallmarks of the denomination are theology and ministry, then they see the significance of denominational affiliation, Matte said. But, if it’s just tradition and “tipping your cap to an organization,” that’s not going to do it. The denomination was created to be a blessing to the local church but young pastors misunderstand that, he said. They switch it around in their mind—that the local church is just feeding the SBC.

Matte is convinced pastors who have not yet felt compelled to take part in the SBC Pastors’ Conference—especially young pastors—will find they’ve been missing out. The conference will help connect them to a pathway they can utilize throughout their lives and through all of their ministries.

“It gives us a connection with a pathway,” Matte said.

“Crossover Houston”: Block parties, door-to-door offer platforms for gospel witness

“It’s always effective when Southern Baptists at every level cooperate to reach people for Christ,” said Darrell Robinson, a former pastor and longtime evangelist from The Woodlands.

Continuing the tradition of cooperation in reaching out to the SBC host city, Crossover Houston is offering opportunities for intentionally sharing the gospel, featuring block parties and door-to-door evangelism.

“The SBTC is working with NAMB to provide a more traditional Crossover experience,” said Nathan Lorick, SBTC evangelism director. “This includes working with seminary students Monday-Friday, June 3-7, going door-to-door to witness. On Saturday, June 8, churches will be hosting block parties across Houston.”

NAMB is also working with Union Baptist Association in Houston to help kick off “Loving Houston,” a three-year program featuring projects such as home renovation, clean-up, demolition, outreach and prayer walking.

“The SBTC and NAMB wanted to provide opportunities for people across the SBC to do intentional and direct evangelism. We felt that door-to-door evangelism and block parties were a great way to be active in sharing the gospel.”

Crossover events have been a staple of SBC evangelism efforts in host cities since their inauguration at the 1989 Las Vegas convention. The effort began in the heart of Robinson when he was pastor at Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., and a member of the SBC Executive Committee. “I suggested that for many years I had the conviction that when we do SBC in a major city, we should also plan to try to do a major evangelistic effort in the city,” Robinson said. “I suggested that we work with local churches in the area and messengers should come in early to do evangelistic projects, including door-to-door witnessing representing the local church in the area, block parties, evangelistic harvest meetings led by evangelists, etc.”

The Las Vegas event, originally called “Saturation Evangelism Project,” had a great impact, according to Robinson. “It got the attention of all of Las Vegas. The people were responsive. It was a huge success! My recall is that around 1,800 professed faith in Christ. Churches were impacted. Ultimately new churches were started.”

The success of the Las Vegas outreach led the SBC to decide to sponsor evangelism events every year during the SBC in the convention city. “Morris Chapman at the Executive Committee suggested the name Crossover, which we all liked. ‘SBC messengers would cross over to lift up the cross over the convention city,’” Robinson said.

Lifting up the cross continues to be the goal of Crossover Houston. “Our desire for Crossover is to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ,”  Lorick said.

First Baptist Church of Pearland is one of the churches excited about doing a block party as part of Crossover Houston. “We have concluded that one large block party could effectively reach several thousand over a three-hour time,” said Sonny Foraker, pastor. The block party is set to include bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, water slides for older kids, interactive games, a petting zoo and pony rides, as well as hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. In addition, the church band will perform from a bandstand.

“The Crossover event will allow many people to participate in a fun day when their normal busy schedules would not otherwise allow them to hear, or see, that the gospel can impact their lives,” Foraker said.

Lorick believes that intentional evangelism at all the Crossover Houston events will benefit the churches sponsoring the events, as well as those who hear the gospel and share the gospel. “Our desire is to see people to be excited about sharing their faith daily in their communities,” he said. “By doing door-to-door evangelism as well as block parties, we are giving people the training, experience and opportunities to develop a burden and passion to see people come to faith in Jesus.”

Bethel Baptist Church is another church planning a Crossover Houston block party and hoping to impact its community for Christ. “Our church is located in the inner city of Houston with a predominately Hispanic community. Gangs, drugs, poverty and teen pregnancy are big issues,” Pastor Jamie Garcia said. “This block party will give our church the opportunity to display our ‘Love God, Love People’ motto.”

Northeast Houston Baptist Church is offering a five-day Backyard Bible Club in  June at more than 25 host sites in subdivisions surrounding the church. “We are  hosting four CrossOver block parties in the general vicinity of these backyard  bible club locations in order to promote the upcoming clubs, let potential attendees and their parents meet us, and of course to share the gospel,” Pastor Nathan Lino explained. “We are very excited not only for the immediate impact of the block parties, but also for the potential of giving us greater access to unchurched families two weeks later.”

Whether door-to-door, at a block party, or one-on-one, sharing the love of God is the reason to be involved in this evangelism outreach. “Crossover Houston is going to be a great time in which people from all over the SBC join together to knock on doors and host block parties,” Lorick said. We pray that God blesses these efforts and many people will come to faith in Jesus June 8 through Crossover Houston.”

There are multiple opportunities for those attending the SBC to be a part of Crossover Houston. To see a list of churches hosting block parties, visit or or email Information is also available by calling the SBTC Evangelism Office at 817-552-2500.