Month: February 2022

EMPOWER ’22: Prayer, practical ministry helps mark Apoderados Spanish session

ARLINGTON—The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention hosted Apoderados, the Spanish session of the Empower Conference, at Fielder Church Feb. 25-26.

The gathering brought together Hispanic pastors and leaders from all over Texas. There were professions of faith, powerful prayer times, and tremendous times of praise and worship led by Los Hermanos González, a praise team composed of the three brothers originally from Mexico now living in Kansas City, Kan.

Dr. Jorge Enrique Diaz, former director of Editorial Mundo Hispano (also known as Casa Bautista), professor, author, and mentor to many Texas pastors and leaders was given an award in honor of the late, great evangelist Rudy Hernández. The award was given in recognition of his evangelistic service in the Hispanic community. Miryam Picott received the award for her father, who was unable to attend due to health issues.

Picott is following in her father’s footsteps, evangelizing and encouraging women to walk with God. She is an author and women’s conference speaker, and also taught a workshop during the conference.

Dr. César Vidal was the keynote speaker on Friday night. Vidal, originally from Spain, is a world-renowned lawyer, historian, and author of more than 200 books. His radio program, La Voz, has millions of daily listeners on both sides of the Atlantic. He encouraged more than 50 pastors and their wives to understand that being a pastor is a worthwhile investment of their lives.

“Being a pastor derives directly from God through the blood of Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit,” Vidal said. “Being a pastor is a gift bestowed by God, is a noble, sublime profession. It comes with the privilege of administrating the house of God with godly pride and dignity, and it also has its rewards in heaven.”

The children at the conference received a gospel challenge from “Chagy the Messenger,” a clown played by evangelist and pastor Eugenio Adorno Espinell. He has been sharing the gospel with people all over the world as Chagy for the last 30 years.

Various evangelistic workshops were also offered at Apoderados, led by SBTC Hispanic leaders and pastors. Those included Christian counselor and pastor Eric Puentes, who taught participants how to disciple and evangelize children; Chuy Avila, SBTC church planting and En Español lead associate, who spoke on ministry lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic; Over Ochoa, who encouraged all to live a life free in Christ and share the gospel; and Miguel Faúndez, who trained attendees on virtual discipleship. Rafael Rondón, a native of Puerto Rico and Hispanic pastor for two of the three Fielder campuses, hosted the event along with Fielder staff and 11 volunteers. Rondón and his wife, Marilyn, have three children of their own and are very active in adoption/foster parenting ministry. At the moment, they are foster-parenting two toddlers.

Additionally, Dr. Bruno Molina—SBTC language and interfaith evangelism associate who helped coordinate the conference—led a stimulating panel discussion about evangelism in the Hispanic context that included Dr. Vidal and the workshop leaders.

Fielder Church will also host next year’s Apoderados conference, scheduled for February 2023.



A proactive parenting approach to addressing pornography with teenagers

We’ve encountered a ton of parents who are reactive to a problem rather than proactive. The typical parental approach to the topic of sexuality is to avoid the subject as much as possible, drop one big “talk” sometime in their kids’ tween years, and then avoid it again for as long as possible.

One problem with this approach is that it’s too slow. Parents will be caught off guard if they wait. From an early age, kids encounter sexual content — by stumbling into illicit material online, by participating in sex education at school, through conversing with friends, and by watching suggestive or explicit content in music videos, television, and movies. The world will disciple your kids in the way of sex if and when you don’t. Do you want that? We certainly don’t for our kids.

What does a proactive approach look like?

Start from an early age

A proactive approach starts from an early age. Sexual discipleship entails teaching a biblical theology of sexuality as early as is developmentally appropriate. Your kids need to know what God thinks before the world gets to them. Disciple them often and early, so that these conversations will be natural and normal by the time they hit the tween years.

Use every opportunity afforded to you in daily life to teach your children the ways of the Lord. Consider Moses’s words in Deuteronomy 6:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your chil- dren, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (vv. 4–9)

Good parenting thrives in the ordinary, everyday teaching moments of conversation. Scripture emphasizes not only the content (“love the Lord your God with all your heart”) covered by these conversations but also the context (“when you lie down, and when you rise”) where these conversations happen.

Establish that no topic — even sex — is off-limits

Establish in your home that no topic, including sex, is off-limits. It’s an awkward topic but a necessary one. Conversations about sexuality are a vital part of discipling your kids — to teach them the ways of the Lord in all things. Have honest conversations with your kids so they don’t figure these things out on their own.

One family told us, “From experience we have noticed that sometimes our children feel guilty and don’t know how to tell us they are struggling. Simply asking them, point blank, ‘How are you doing with what you are looking at on your phone and computer?’ opens up a safe place for them to talk. Even if they don’t say anything at that moment, it causes them to think about where they are in regard to purity. And sometimes hours later they will come to us and share their struggle.”

Celebrate biblical sexuality

Teach your kids about the riches of God’s gift of sexuality. Juli Slattery writes, “Biblical sexual discipleship paints a complete picture of sexuality as not simply something to avoid but a great gift to be treasured, celebrated, and reclaimed.” Parents should model and uphold a biblical view of sex, not a prudish stereotype in which sex is treated as dirty and disordered.

Be careful not to spend all your time just preaching at your kids about the dangers of sexual immorality. Teach them that sex outside marriage is wrong, but don’t stop there. Author and pastor Sam Allberry observes that we can turn God into a cosmic killjoy by implying that he randomly restricts and cuts off ways for humans to be happy. Children grow up thinking that he practices a sort of divine arbitrariness in which he pronounces some things good and some things not good. Sam Allberry writes,

Every time God gives us a prohibition, he’s protecting something good. So we need to teach the positives behind the negatives, and show that God’s Word isn’t in fact arbitrary but instead points toward what is best and most life-giving for us. Whenever God says no to something, he is saying a much bigger yes to something else. Unless we thrill people with the biblical vision for marriage and human sexuality—especially how they point beyond themselves to God’s love shown to us in Christ—we won’t be providing the full spiritual resources needed to fight deep and besetting sinful desires.

We must teach our kids about a holy and sovereign God who loves us through Christ. Sex is a part of God’s kindness to us. We shouldn’t reduce sexuality to a list of don’ts but instead hold it out as a beautiful part of what God intends for those who love him.

Editor’s Note: Selected excerpts taken from Rescue Plan: Charting a Course to Restore Prisoners of Pornography, ISBN 9781629953830, by Jonathan Holmes and Deepak Reju, pages 195-198.

Used with permission from P & R publishing Co., P O Box 817, Phillipsburg, N.J. 08865

The post A proactive parenting approach to addressing pornography with teenagers appeared first on ERLC.

EMPOWER ’22: SWBTS evangelism prof says, ‘Nobody knows your story better than you’

Others need to hear how Jesus has changed your life, SWBTS professor says

Matt Queen is associate dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, a professor of evangelism and the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism (also known as the “Chair of Fire”) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He recently talked with Texan editor Jayson Larson about ways everyone can be more intentional about sharing their faith.

Jayson Larson: Let’s start here: what is evangelism?

Matt Queen: I’m glad that you asked! Evangelism is that Spirit-
empowered activity whereby all disciples of Jesus Christ give an intentional, complete, and verbal witness to his life, death, burial, and resurrection, exhorting unbelievers to become baptized, obedient disciples by repenting of their sins and placing their faith in Christ alone for salvation. Evangelism must be Spirit-empowered. If we do evangelism in our own power, we get our own results. A lot of us are trying to find the words to start evangelism when, if we asked the Holy Spirit, he would give them to us. We’re trying to find the courage, but if we would just trust the Spirit for a boldness, he would give it. We’re all to do it. We’re to give full gospel presentations about Jesus. And the end result is not a decision, not a prayer prayed, but we’re really looking for baptized, obedient disciples in the end that come to belief. 

JL: You’ve often said and written, “If you know enough of the gospel to be saved by it, you know enough of the gospel to share it with others.” Can you flesh that out a little bit for those who really want to be more effective in telling others about Jesus?

MQ: I’m very grateful for all the evangelism training I’ve had. It has made me who I am today. But an unfortunate consequence of the way Southern Baptists have done evangelism is that we have made evangelism equal to memorization or formal training. But as you look in the book of Acts, there was no formal evangelism training, yet everybody was evangelizing. So I began to wonder, “How did they know what to say even though they hadn’t gone through any training or had a memorization outline or anything like that?” As I read God’s word something struck me. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Paul gives the gospel and says, “For I delivered to you as a first importance that which I also received: Christ died for our sins according to scriptures, he was buried, and he was raised on the third day according to scriptures.” Paul believed what someone had told him, and then he could tell others so that they would believe. When we hear the gospel and believe it, that is our evangelism training. Listen—I’m not against evangelism training. The SBTC does evangelism events and I’m going to be helping train some of those. I train professionally, so I’m not against evangelism training. But no one can say, “I’ve never had any training in evangelism” who is a believer, because if they’ve heard the gospel and believed it, that’s what somebody else needs to hear.

I’m not against evangelism training. But no one can say, ‘I’ve never had any training in evangelism’ who is a believer, because if they’ve heard the gospel and believed it, that’s what somebody else needs to hear.

JL: How do you personally start gospel conversations with people you don’t know?

MQ: We don’t ever have a problem starting conversations about things we want to talk about. It’s easy for us to talk about things we want to talk about. So I think starting gospel conversations may be not so much a matter of “how to” as much as it is “want to.” What I do, sometimes, is one or two different things. My favorite kind of go-to is to say, “Hey, has anybody taken the time today to tell you that God loves you?” And unfortunately, most people say “no.” That gives me an opportunity to say to them something like, “I want to be the first person tell you that Jesus loves you. I know you don’t know me and I know I don’t know you, but here’s how I know God loves you.” And then I go into the gospel. That’s one way. Yesterday I asked somebody, “Have you heard any good news today?” Most people will tell you “no,” and that can give you an opening to say, “Well, you know what? I’ve got some good news for you” and just go into the gospel that way.

JL: We often think about personal evangelism as something that happens in a single moment and, when that moment is over, our responsibility with that person is over. There are certainly moments when the gospel is verbally shared, but can you talk about how we can develop relationships with the motive of sharing the gospel with others? 

MQ: I think there’s two extremes in evangelism. One is what you mentioned, a one-and-done evangelism. The other one is what some call “friendship evangelism,” but all it is is friendship. What we want to do is find the sweet spot between those two extremes. I’ve always found personally that when I’m doing friendship kind of evangelism, life-on-life evangelism, it’s always easier for me when I first start that relationship to begin with the gospel. I’ve done it whenever I have maybe met people in the neighborhood or something like that, where I intentionally insert the gospel in conversations from the beginning. Because what I’ve found is, as we keep going in a relationship and don’t share the gospel, we start to feel like the relationship may be at risk if we do share the gospel. When you first meet your neighbor, a co-worker, something like that, give just a brief testimony about Jesus. Then later in the relationship, you’re able to come back and say, “Hey, do you remember when we first met and I told you about that decision I made for Jesus? Have you come any closer to making one of those?” 

A helpful way for somebody to think through sharing with others is to share three things: your life before Christ, how you came to believe in Christ, and then your life since Christ became your Lord.

JL: What advice can you offer to people who might need help developing their own testimonies so they can share what God has done in their lives?

MQ: Nobody knows your story better than you. A helpful way for somebody to think through sharing with others is to share three things: your life before Christ, how you came to believe in Christ, and then your life since Christ became your Lord. When people share like this, they tend to share a lot about their life before Christ and how bad they may have been. Do talk about your life before Christ, but the real focus of a testimony that’s evangelistic is that middle part—how you came to Christ. What was it that someone else told you that you believed? The functions of the gospel, the sin, the Christ event, dying, being buried and raised and then the call to repent and believe. That’s really where the gospel is. And by the way, that is the testimony. We’re testifying to what Jesus has done in us. Then talk about your life afterwards. None of us are perfect. Our spouses, our children can attest to that. But talk about the ways that Christ has not only changed things in your life from what you use to do, but also what he is doing to give you greater intimacy and a Spirit-filled life right now.

JL: Teaching believers to share their faith is something that should happen in the ongoing process of discipleship from the very beginning. How can church leaders do that? 

MQ: We are never more ready to share the gospel and willing to share the gospel than when we first receive the gospel. I remember when I first got saved, I ran out of the church and was telling everybody, “I’m saved! I’m saved!” and I wanted a microphone to tell everybody how they can be saved, too. I think a pastor or even a lay person that leads somebody to the Lord, right from the very get-go, right next to baptism, needs to talk to them about who is someone that they know who needs to hear this message because they need Jesus, too. Encourage them to go tell at least one person they know about what has happened to them. I also think that pastor or lay leader needs to begin to take that new believer with them to actually do evangelism. I’ve been a pastor, I’ve been an associate pastor, been a youth pastor, I’m now a professor, and I will just tell you the tried and true method that I’ve seen is not just evangelism taught in a classroom experience. It’s when someone else takes someone along and they observe evangelism and talk about it, then that other person lets them start doing a little bit of the introduction when they’re sharing the gospel with someone and then talk about it, and then the one who took them now begins to observe them doing the evangelism. I’ve done that with countless people, and they’re still doing evangelism today. One other thing I would say is we need to be encouraging people to start praying for the lost, because that’s when we get a burden for lost people.

‘Miracle from God’ needed, Ukrainian Baptist leader, Southwestern alum, says

LVIV, Ukraine (BP)—“We need a miracle from God,” Yaroslav Pyzh, president of the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary in Lviv, Ukraine, said from his western Ukraine home in a Zoom interview with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s news staff on the evening of Feb. 26. As he prays for the miracle, Pyzh is marshaling the people and resources of his school to help refugees of the war.

Pyzh, a 2012 Doctor of Philosophy graduate of Southwestern Seminary, has served as president of the Ukrainian seminary since 2013. Lviv is 600 miles west of the capital city of Kyiv, where Russian forces have been trying to capture the nation’s capital since invading the country in the early morning hours of Feb. 24. Many Ukrainians have been fleeing the country through the western Ukrainian city, which is approximately 40-miles from the shared border with Poland.

Initially, Pyzh thought he and his wife of 25 years, Nadia, would be safe in Lviv. However, actions of the last three days have shown otherwise, though the city has not been hit directly yet, Pyzh said.

“We thought that Lviv is a safe place,” Pyzh said. “But it turned out to be that Lviv was not that safe. We have air raid sirens off and on. We’ve been hit by ballistic missiles, about 20 kilometers away from Lviv and we kind of lost that safety. So that was an awakening kind of feeling.”

Pyzh recognizes as “partners” from the West begin to supply Ukraine with aid through Poland, the convoys must travel through Lviv, “and my concern is that Russia will start targeting Lviv.”

This has led Pyzh to ask believers to pray “for a miracle” because “in Ukraine the only thing that will help us is God’s miracle.”

“We just need a miracle and that’s exactly what will save us–God’s miracle,” Pyzh said. “So, I ask people to pray for a miracle without specifying what miracle.”

Pyzh correlated the current situation in Ukraine with the story of Gideon from Scripture.

The story “kind of stands out” with Gideon’s small “army of 300 going against thousands of people,” Pyzh observed. “In our case, we have a disadvantage in everything.”

But, Pyzh said Ukrainians are “strong in their spirit” with a “great willingness to fight.”

Following Russia’s invasion of the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law across the country, and shortly thereafter reports began to emerge that the Ukraine State Border Guard Service forbade all men between the ages of 18-60 years old from leaving the country, which Pyzh said means only women and children are leaving. The larger cities, he explained, have also been put under a mandatory curfew at nighttime.

The curfew “is a good thing” because “it keeps people inside,” Pyzh explained. “Whoever is outside should not be outside. It means that they don’t belong here because we have a lot of people that are sent by Russia” to set GPS-enabled devices to allow ballistic missiles to target specific locations.

He said the curfew is also for “protection” as many people have left their apartments as they have fled the country and the curfew is a deterrent from break-ins.

The country has been placed under a “war state,” which means there are checkpoints entering and exiting the cities, which is for security reasons, Pyzh said.

As Ukrainians are leaving the country for Poland, their trek through Lviv has opened doors of ministry for the seminary.

During the first three days of the war, the seminary served almost 250 people through humanitarian aid, offering a place to sleep, food, and counseling services. The seminary staff converted three of their buildings into makeshift dormitories with mattresses and pillows, and are prepared to convert classrooms and office space as sleeping quarters if necessary.

Two waves of refugees have come through the seminary seeking aid. Pyzh said the first wave of people, who came through the first day of the war, were in “fairly reasonable emotional condition” while the second wave, who came almost a day later, were “in very bad condition.”

“I don’t even want to know what they went through,” Pyzh said, adding “they are scared.”

On the first day of the attack, the seminary was focused on its students and alumni. Classes were in session and the on-site students from the eastern part of Ukraine could not return home. Pyzh and his team realized there were more people to help. In response, Pyzh divided the seminary staff and professors into four teams: administration and support, receiving and placing, the chaplaincy team, and the communications team. He empowered each team to use their “best judgment” in making decisions.

Pyzh said seminary leadership has used their network of 2,000 students and graduates in Ukraine and Poland to mobilize and offer aid to the displaced Ukrainians who are traveling through Lviv and need places to stay.

Using the same structure of the database that is used to keep track of students and alumni, seminary leadership has transferred the template into an online form that allows them to capture names, contact information, and other pertinent information of refugees who come through the seminary for help. Pyzh explained the information can be used later in the event people are “lost or missing.” The seminary can then provide information about their last known contact.

A second database was established for students and alumni to volunteer to open their homes to help house refugees. The faculty and staff of the Ukrainian seminary currently have displaced families living with them, including Pyzh and his wife who have two families in their home. The students and alumni who volunteer their homes are matched with displaced people who come to the seminary for aid as they travel through Lviv.

The third database is for those who want to volunteer to help, which ranges from providing counseling to refugees who need it, making homemade meals, providing toys for the children, or donating clothes. Many of the volunteers are the seminary’s students.

Pyzh said the seminary is not charging people for help, but explained those who have been helped are grateful, including one woman who left behind a small box of chocolates and 1000 Ukrainian hryvnia, the equivalent of approximately $35 U.S., with a note asking that the money be put toward helping someone else.

Because the country has been placed in a “war state,” large gatherings are not allowed. However, Pyzh said, churches across the nation are responding with prayer and collecting items as they have “become a center for the community where people can donate food, clothes, everything.”

“All that is happening mostly in western Ukraine, because we are not occupied and we are not having any kind of pressure,” Pyzh said. “Kyiv, Kharkiv, even Odessa, I guess, and other cities, eastern Ukraine, they cannot do that because they are under constant threat of those military actions there. But here, people are definitely open to do whatever needs to be done.”

Pyzh said during the last three days people have “gotten a lot more older” than they were previously, describing each day as a year.

“I think what our people experienced in the last three days, I’m sure changed them completely,” Pyzh said. “All the pain, all the fear, all that kind of stuff that we experiencing as making us into a different type of people. I really hope that we will become stronger. We will understand that everything we have is not really ours. We are kind of lucky to have what we have and so you better value what we have. And I really hope that as a result of that people will give glory to God.”

How to help the seminary assist fellow Ukrainians

Pyzh said believers can support the seminary through prayer and financial assistance.

Concerning prayer, Pyzh is specifically requesting fellow Christians across the world to petition God in the following ways:

seeking a miracle from God to rescue Ukraine;provision of resources to serve people;for the war to end quickly; andfor people to realize a miracle from God means glory goes to God.

The seminary is also seeking financial assistance through its American-based charitable organization, the Ukrainian Partnership Foundation (UPF). The money received through UPF will purchase food for relocated Ukrainians, clothes and hygiene products, medicines, bedding, and cleaning supplies, which will be used for refugees and students. Donations will also fund diesel gasoline and cover guest costs of families who must now live with their students, Pyzh said.

Donors may visit the foundation’s website here and select UBTS Emergency Fund in the dropdown menu.

Assistance to Ukraine can also be given via Send Relief.

This article originally appeared on Baptist Press.

5 Thoughts to Spark Your Personal Evangelism

I’m a professor of evangelism and missions in a seminary whose motto is, “Every classroom a Great Commission classroom”—but that doesn’t mean evangelism always comes easy to me. I’m highly introverted, and I have to work at the task. Here are some approaches that help me:


Recognize the battle of evangelism—and know you cannot evangelize in your own power
The apostle Paul often described non-believers in terms of spiritual conflict: they follow the prince of the air (Eph 2:2), live in darkness (Col 1:13), are blinded by the god of this age (2 Cor 4:3-4), are caught in the devil’s trap (2 Tim 2:26), and live under the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). Nothing we do in our own power can free non-believers from their darkness.  


Enlist some believers to pray Ephesians 6:18-20 and Colossians 4:2-4 daily for you
Paul, the missionary extraordinaire, asked believers to pray he would share the gospel boldly and clearly and God would open doors for his evangelizing. If Paul needed that kind of prayer support, I suspect you and I do, too! Knowing others are praying this way should encourage us to hold ourselves accountable to them and watch for opportunities to share.   


Always have the names of five non-believers on your prayer list
I generally have at least five names, but the number is not the primary issue; having a burden for several people by name is. A generic, nameless burden is hardly a burden at all. From my five names, I am usually most burdened about 2-3 people. Today, for example, I ask you to join me in praying for my sister, Sherry, and for Jorge, a young man who is like a son to me.  


Always be developing at least one relationship with a non-believer
I try to have at least two such relationships at a time, but all of us must start with one. My goal is to get to know someone, spend time with him (usually doing a hobby like hiking), gain his respect, and seek opportunities to share the gospel with him. I do believe cold-call evangelism still works, but I also want to build relationships with intentionality. 


Don’t be afraid to ask for an opportunity to share
I’ve now come to the place where I’ll simply ask, “You know I’m a follower of Christ. One of the things Christians do is tell others what Jesus means to them. May I take a few minutes and tell you what Jesus has done for me—and for you?” If my friend says “no,” I thank him and prayerfully wait for another time. If he says “yes,” I know the door is open to evangelize. 

Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. For more from Lawless, visit

Fort Worth church sees sports as key to reaching community

Damon Halliday, pastor of The Key Church in Fort Worth, knows one key to reaching a community for Christ is with a court or a ball field. The pastor and his church are ministering to local high school football teams, bringing a Florida sports ministry model to Texas.

Halliday, a lifelong athlete, knew sports ministry makes effective outreach even before planting The Key nine years ago. 

Among the first things he did at his former church in the Stop Six neighborhood of southeast Fort Worth was to erect basketball goals on the parking lot. 

“I never had to look for kids,” Halliday said. “There would be 40-50 on the parking lot playing ball before you knew it.” The 15-person inner-city congregation grew to over 200. 

“Sports is how we did it,” Halliday said, explaining that he coached kids and the church sponsored teams and sports-oriented block parties.

After Halliday discussed sports ministry from the pulpit one Sunday at The Key, member Eric Vance told him about Huddle Touch, a Florida ministry founded by Pastor Jeffrey Singletary that had grown out of Singletary’s three decades of doing chaplain services for high school, college, and professional teams.

Vance, who went to L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, played college football at Vanderbilt and was a player and coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had volunteered with Huddle Touch in the Tampa area. Pre-COVID, Huddle Touch was in about 80 Florida schools, Halliday said.

Halliday accompanied Vance to Florida in 2017 found Huddle Touch to be all he had hoped for and more.


“Our goal is to have a football field here. Sports will draw families in and we will introduce them to Jesus.”

“When I saw it, I was in evangelism heaven,” Halliday said. He became a speaker at HT’s annual summer MOV conference, which besides speakers, features concerts and basketball and football tournaments. The Key Church began sending 15-20 local athletes to the conference.

Halliday also brought the HT ministry to The Key. “We pretty much copied their model,” he said.

Five years ago, like Huddle Touch in Florida, The Key started providing pre-game meals to varsity football teams at area schools, serving players at Byron Nelson High School till COVID hit. They added Chisholm Trail High and, in 2021, picked up L.D. Bell.

Church volunteers prepare and transport the food to the schools. Halliday or another speaker gives a short gospel-centered presentation while players and coaches eat. The church also sponsors a special Sunday for the schools, inviting players, parents, and coaches to attend the service.

While post-COVID attendance at The Key of about 750 in-person and online, Halliday admitted that it would be a stretch for the congregation to take on more teams just now, but said he hopes to see Huddle Touch grow in the DFW Metroplex and beyond. He urges pastors or leaders interested in the program to contact him for more information.

As for his congregation, sports will continue to be key.

Champions Elevation Outreach

In 2022, The Key, through its 501c3 nonprofit Champions Elevation Outreach, will sponsor the  inaugural Champions Conference and Tournament on June 10-11, with an award ceremony on June 12. A 7-on-7 flag football tournament involving 12-16 teams will be held at area high schools. Like the HT conferences in Florida, Champions will feature speakers and entertainment.

Halliday welcomes sponsors to help with the tournament.

“We are stepping out in faith to put it on,” he said.

As for the future of sports at The Key, the church built a new facility completed in September 2020 on its 12-acre campus. Plans are to eventually create an athletic complex. The current sanctuary will one day become a gym, its design and 30-foot-high ceilings allowing for the transition.

“Our goal is to have a football field here,” Halliday said. “Sports will draw families in and we will introduce them to Jesus.”

HT has made a difference in the lives of athletes of all races. Halliday described visiting a local car dealership and hearing his name called.

“A young Caucasian kid came running around the building and jumped into my arms,” the pastor said. The player said that the program’s coming to his school had transformed his life. Formerly struggling with drugs, poor grades and a fractured home life, the young man had gotten saved, graduated, and now hoped to move up in the company.

“You have to give people what they want so you can ultimately provide people with what they need: a relationship with God through Jesus,” Halliday said. Sports can provide an opening for gospel goals.


To find out more about Huddle Touch, the Champions Conference and Tournament, or to enquire about sponsorships, contact Halliday at 214-403-4408 or visit

Ministry aims to lead people to Jesus by taking them outside

COLLEYVILLE—Pastor Danny Souder recalled sitting in a Hill Country deer blind with his dad when he was eight. The elder Souder, who died in 2017, shot his last deer at age 88 on a hunt guided by his grandson Scott, Souder’s son.

“One thing [besides faith] that bound us all together was our passion for hunting,” the pastor told the Texan of his family’s love of the outdoors.

That generational bond is something Souder has facilitated for hundreds through Christian Outdoor Ministry, which he founded in 2017.

COM’s purpose is to connect parents and kids to hunting, fishing and Jesus.

“Jesus sought leaders who were outdoorsmen,” Souder said. “In Matthew 4:19, he says he will make the disciples ‘fishers of men.’” Fishermen are “patient, persistent, don’t give up, work hard and go where the fish are,” he added. “They trusted the Lord to provide fish.”

Much the same can be said of hunters and game.

Growth during COVID

For Souder, a veteran pastor and missionary, retired Dallas police department chaplain and former trustee and chair of the North American Mission Board, COM is a fulltime occupation that has grown exponentially. Some 50 kids, parents, ranchers, volunteer guides and cooks participated during its inaugural year; through 2021, more than 600 had joined in.

“COVID hit; our fundraising decreased but participation doubled,” Souder said, referring to COM’s annual wild game dinner, raffle, and auction which had provided 98 percent of the group’s operating capital and was scaled back during the pandemic. Scholarships and grants from local hunting clubs and donors have augmented the lost income.

The pandemic also proved a powerful lure for people “tired of being quarantined” and longing to “get out and hunt,” Souder said. “You can social distance in the outdoors.”

How it works

The ministry works like this. COM offers 25-30 weekend hunting or fishing experiences for parents and kids each year. The 2022 schedule features opportunities to hunt ducks, hogs, deer, turkey, exotics, rams or fish for bass or striper on Texas ranches and lakes. Outdoor experiences are generally limited to 4-6 youth hunters, ages 9-17, plus parents, volunteer guides and cooks. All volunteers complete Ministry Safe training and undergo background checks.

Texas ranchers volunteer their property for the hunting and fishing experiences. Currently COM networks with about 35 ranchers, Souder noted, adding that he is hoping to increase that number as the ministry eventually expands from locations 2-3 hours from Dallas down to the Hill Country and South Texas.

If accommodations are not available on a host ranch, the group camps or stays in a nearby hotel, Souder said, stressing that participants take care of the property they visit. “We leave things better than we found it,” he said. They also write thank-you notes to the ranchers. COM is consistently invited back to the ranches where groups have been.

With ranchers providing the locations, costs for each weekend stay low and scholarships are available.

As for participants, Souder said he prays every day and that it’s “definitely a God thing how he sends people our way.”

Word of mouth brings participants. The ministry is often recommended by teachers to students enrolled in outdoor adventure classes at school. Souder sends information to wilderness coaches who help advertise.

During the weekend events, which typically begin on Friday afternoon and last through Sunday, Souder urges cell phones and devices be set aside.

Guides arrive early to become familiar with the location and greet and orient the hunters. Each youth must be accompanied by a mom, dad or, occasionally, another relative, Souder said. Half the participants are girls and mothers. About half of the parents and youth are novice hunters.

Half of all participants in COM hunts are novice hunters and each youth is accompanied by a parent. 

The heart of the hunts COM emphasizes:

1. Gun safety

2. Basic hunting and/or fishing skills

3. Parent-child time

4. Support of the second amendment

5. The gospel

“There’s no hard sell, but we present the plan of salvation every weekend,” Souder said, adding that COM provides discipleship materials for participants. More than 30 parents and youth have made professions of faith in Christ and COM connects these new believers with area churches and pastors for follow up.

“Being with other believers … not only let me unlock a passion for hunting but it also let me see another side of God,” said Will Saunders, a high school student who appears on COM’s promotional video.

“I keep coming back for the guides and some of the kids we meet. I like spending time with Danny and my dad, a lot of time with my dad,” added repeat participant Jack Caamano.

The parent-child time is among the program’s unique features, Souder emphasized, calling the memories of shared hunts with his father and son far more significant than any trophy mounted on his wall. He wants others to have that opportunity for togetherness in the outdoors and for eternity.

Besides, “God is a hunter,” Souder offered with a grin. Adam and Eve were naked in the garden and he clothed them with animal skins, didn’t he?”

“We welcome youth and parents, volunteer guides and cooks, ranchers, pastors and sponsors to get involved,” he said.

For more information, visit or contact Souder at or 214.394.5250. COM’s annual fundraising dinner and auction will be held Sept. 22, 2022, in Richardson, Texas.

Lessons around the fire on a snowy day

I had just graduated from college with a heart on fire for the Lord and decided that I wanted to go and plant a church in a suburb of Nashville. My wife and I packed up everything in a U-Haul and headed to Tennessee. I didn’t realize there was a new church in every school of this growing city. All I knew was I had a heart to see people saved and wanted to see a great church planted. 

Fast forward a few months. Things seemed to be going really well. We had a good group of people meeting with us each week and we were moving ahead with enthusiasm and momentum. All that changed in the course of a phone call. I was informed that my wife, who was pregnant with our first child, had been in a car accident. By God’s grace, she and the baby were fine, but the doctor put her on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. She was unable to finish out the school year as a teacher. 

I immediately sought out another job in order to get insurance for my family. I was introduced to a country music artist who also owned a construction business. He was kind and offered me a job with minimum pay but one that provided insurance. I will never forget his words to me as he offered me the job: “Nathan, I am happy to give you a job. However, you need to know it is not glamorous and will not be fun. I will hire you to go around the construction sites picking up the trash that contractors leave.” In the moment I was simply grateful that God had provided. 

One morning as I arrived at the site, it was cold and snowing. I lit a fire in a 50-gallon trash barrel and began filling it with scraps of wood and paper that were scattered across the site. Standing around the fire I started asking God what he was doing. I didn’t understand how I could be so on fire for him, leave a great church and ministry, and yet find myself alone picking up trash every day.

As I laid my heart bare before the Lord, he met with me around that trash barrel. God taught me two major lessons that I needed to hear and still live by today. First, he showed me that he didn’t call me to plant a church; he simply brought me there to plant something in me. I fell in love with the concept of planting, but was not called to it. I did, however, need to be brought to a place in life where I could be introduced to humility.

I had to learn how to love God and serve him in obscurity before he would ever bless me with any measure of influence.

The second lesson I learned that day is one that absolutely changed my life and how I lead. He taught me that if I was not willing to pick up trash for him when no one was looking, then I certainly was not ready to lead anything for him with anyone looking. I had to learn how to love God and serve him in obscurity before he would ever bless me with any measure of influence.

In the next few weeks, my wife and I felt God was shifting us into a new season of life and ministry. We closed down the planting process and moved back to Texas. Some may claim that I failed at planting a church, but I know what God planted in me helped sustain me in life and ministry. As painful as the process was, I wouldn’t trade it for anything today!

What lesson is God teaching you today? What is your fire-barrel-on-a-snowy-day story? Just remember, whatever you are called to in this season, even if it is trash duty or serving in what seems like obscurity, God sees you and is working in you in order to work through you.

I love you, I believe in you, and I am in your corner!

10 pilares del fundamento de un matrimonio lleno de amor y que honra a Dios

Nota de la editora: Considerando el Día de San Valentín, un día en el que Estados Unidos celebra el “amor”, se les pidió al Dr. Bruno y Clara Molina que compartieran aspectos de un matrimonio amoroso y piadoso. Han estado casados durante 36 años y continúan aprendiendo y creciendo en su relación.

El pilar principal de los 10 pilares para el fundamento de toda relación matrimonial Cristo-céntrica es la entrega individual de la pareja al señorío de Jesucristo. El segundo pilar se basa en el Salmo 34:3, “Engrandeced a Jehová conmigo, y exaltemos a una su nombre” (RV1960). Al poner a Dios primero, le dará al matrimonio el enfoque adecuado y la capacidad de comenzar con una visión saludable y piadosa en mente. Este es el versículo bíblico que Bruno Molina le dio a su esposa Clara como tema de su boda, y ha sido el objetivo de su matrimonio a lo largo de su colaboración en el ministerio durante los últimos 36 años.

Han experimentado buenos y malos fases en su matrimonio cuando solo su relación con Dios los mantuvo unidos. A través de los años, descubrieron que hay 8 pilares adicionales que son cruciales para un matrimonio saludable. En la siguiente entrevista me enteré de los otros pilares que ellos consideran esenciales para profundizar el amor a Dios, a su pareja, a su familia y a sus amigos:

Bruno, después de una relación reconciliada con Dios, ¿cuál es el pilar más importante en un matrimonio?

Yo diría transparencia vulnerable. Cuando regresamos de nuestra luna de miel, recuerdo haberle dicho a Clara que quería que viviéramos casados y no solamente que viviéramos juntos. Con esto quería decir que quería que nos amáramos unos a otros, con verrugas y todo, y que tuviéramos una relación auténticamente íntima en la que fuéramos honestos y transparentes el uno con el otro. Había visto a demasiadas parejas “hacer algo por inercia” o simplemente  “desempeñar el papel”. Doy gracias a Dios, y a Clara, que aun cuando nos ha dolido ser honestos y transparentes, la experiencia nos ha hecho crecer en nuestra intimidad y disfrutar de nuestro matrimonio.

Clara, ¿cuál consideras que es el cuarto pilar más importante en un matrimonio?

Creo que el cuarto pilar más importante de una relación matrimonial no es el amor sino el compromiso. Dios se comprometió a amarnos, y envió a Jesús para salvarnos y redimirnos (Juan 14:6). Cuando su cónyuge inevitablemente le falla, su compromiso cede el lugar al deseo de intimidad, pero la intimidad es una expresión de amor que debe ser precedida por el compromiso. La falta de compromiso con Dios y con los demás resulta en pecado sexual, divorcio, irresponsabilidad e hijos que nacen fuera del matrimonio.

Bruno, ¿qué ha salvado tu matrimonio a lo largo de estos años?

Yo diría que nuestra dependencia en la gracia de Dios. Me di cuenta de que si no fuera por la gracia y la misericordia de Dios, no sería el tipo de persona con la que nadie, incluso a Clara, le gustaría vivir. Si no fuera por la asombrosa gracia de Dios que salvó a un miserable como yo, ¡incluso yo mismo no quisiera estar conmigo! Han habido momentos en que, debido a nuestra obediencia a Dios, Clara y yo hemos estado casi en la ruina económicamente. Durante esos momentos, recuerdo dirigiendo a nuestra familia en oración con gozosa anticipación de la provisión de Dios. Dios siempre se ha manifestado a nosotros en formas milagrosas que expresan su favor inmerecido; incluyendo impulsarnos a través de Su espíritu a extender gracia los unos a los otros y a los demás.

Clara, ¿qué te ha pedido Dios que hagas por tu esposo?

En Efesios 5:33 el Señor me instruyó a respetar a mi esposo como a él se le instruyó a amar a su esposa como Jesús amó a la iglesia (Efesios 5:25, 33). El respeto mutuo es un aspecto importante de tener una relación sana. El respetarlo a él no es una opción para ejercer solo cuando es conveniente. Tengo un letrero en mi oficina de Yoda que dice: “Hazlo o no lo hagas, no hay intento” que me recuerda de esto. El respeto se da libremente y honra a Dios. Es importante reconocer que el respeto no consiente el abuso por parte de ninguno de los cónyuges. Hay abuso físico, sexual, verbal, emocional/psicológico, espiritual y financiero, así como abandono y negligencia que son causados ​​por una falta pecaminosa de respeto hacia Dios y los demás.

Bruno, ¿en qué ha sido difícil para ustedes dos trabajar durante su matrimonio?

 Comunicación. ¡Cómo deseamos ambos que nunca haya mala comunicación o malentendidos! Ambos hemos aprendido que nos comunicamos de manera diferente debido a nuestro género, crianza, educación, experiencias de la vida, y hasta nuestro estado de ánimo. Hemos aprendido a hablar el idioma del otro, tal cual, para comunicarnos más claramente. Cuando nos ofendemos el uno al otro, lo que el 99,9% de las veces no es intencionado, optamos por disculparnos por nuestras ofensas y pedir perdón si es necesario. La comunicación clara y precisa es crucial porque, aunque podemos discernir o inferir lo que la otra persona quiere y necesita, Dios no nos hizo adivinos.

Clara, ¿qué necesitas tener para mejorar la relación de tu matrimonio?

Constantemente me recuerdo a mí mismo que necesito tener un corazón perdonador como el que Dios tiene para mí. Perdonar puede ser difícil, pero siempre es posible. Es importante saber que cuando perdonas no significa que olvidarás de inmediato, pero perdonar es el primer paso en el camino para restaurar una relación matrimonial. Es importante recordar que Jesús dijo que debemos perdonar a una persona setenta veces siete (Mateo 18:22). También he aprendido a no ir a pescar en el mar del olvido a los pecados perdonados y sacarlos a la superficie de nuevo porque esto me impide a olvidar la ofensa e impide que mi esposo se sienta perdonado. También recuerdo las palabras del rey David cuando dijo, “Tan lejos como está el oriente del occidente así hizo alejar de nosotros nuestras rebeliones” (Salmo 103:12-RVA), y nosotros deberíamos de hacer lo mismo.

Bruno, ¿qué es lo que más valoras en tu matrimonio?

Creo que es pasar tiempo juntos. No solo estar en la misma casa o habitación, sino involucrarnos en conversación: explorar por qué pensamos como lo pensamos, por qué diferimos en nuestras opiniones o convicciones, o qué nos está mostrando Dios. Cuando somos intencionales para sacar tiempo el uno para el otro, disfrutamos cosas como los chistes que provienen de un marco de referencia común, una buena película, o escuchar música que nos conmueve (no puedo confirmar ni negar si esto puede implicar bailar juntos).

Clara, ¿cuál ha sido la mayor bendición que Dios les ha dado a ustedes dos en su matrimonio?

Dios ha profundizado nuestra comprensión del significado del amor incondicional a través de nuestra relación y al darnos hijos y nietos. Creo que nadie puede entender completamente el amor incondicional de Dios, pero lo entendemos mucho más cuando tenemos hijos. Amar a alguien incondicionalmente significa hacerlo sin importar lo que haga, al igual que Dios nos ama. Un gran ejemplo del amor incondicional de Dios es el hecho de que Él rescató a la humanidad de la esclavitud del pecado al dar a Su único Hijo. “Pero Dios demuestra su amor para con nosotros en que, siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros” (Romanos 5:8-RVA).

IMB celebrates the work of Black missionaries

Editor’s Note: During Black History Month, the IMB celebrates the contributions of African American missionaries in building the kingdom. For a downloadable prayer guide and other resources, visit

Asa and Vanessa Watson serve as IMB missionaries in Germany with their three young children. On the mission field, Asa tells others his story about how God lead him through playing professional football (with the New England Patriots in 2014), to working with a pit crew in NASCAR, then working in campus ministry, and now serving as a missionary.

Pray for the Watsons

Pray for the Watson family to still have opportunities to reach out to friends and neighbors, even though activity usually slows in the winter and rising COVID-19 rates may slow down activity again. 

Pray for their three kids in school as they interact with other kids, sharing the light and love of Jesus. 

Pray that God will continue to remain at the forefront of all that the Watsons do, and that they will look to Him for all things, big and small! 

Karen and Richard Lee serve as IMB missionaries in Tanzania. Since before they married and began a family and careers, they both felt called to missions. In 2001, they became missionaries with the IMB and moved to East Africa with their children, Christian and Rebecca, who are now young adults.

Their message to African American Southern Baptists is, “You can be a part of reaching the world. God called us. He can use you and your church in mighty ways.”

Pray for the Lees

Pray for the Lee family as they reach Tanzanians with the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Pray that Tanzanian believers will be equipped and empowered to serve God, gather into healthy churches and take part in the Great Commission. 

Eric and Ramona Reese serve as IMB missionaries in Brazil. They love Brazilians, and the Brazilians know it and love them back. Early in their ministry, they experienced the dangers of working in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Eric recently released a book about that time called “Willing To Risk It All: For His Name’s Sake.”

“I share my stories because I want to tell people about my struggles with being courageous,” Eric said. “When God calls us to obey Him, it’s not contingent on whether the circumstances are favorable.”

Pray for the Reeses

Pray for Eric and Ramona’s daughters, Gloria, 24, and Alicia, 20, as they continue to study.

Ask God to give insight and wisdom to each member of the Reese family.

Ask God to bless their relationships, keeping Jesus at the center of family, friend and professional relationships.

Pray for evangelism efforts in São Paulo, Brazil and a new church plant in the area.

Pray for the Reese family as they disciple local missionaries.

Download a prayer guide highlighting these missionaries.

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