Month: September 2022

Corpus church accomplishing mission through community groups emphasis

Finding a new front door

Third Coast Church operates on the principle that “there are a lot more front doors to the church than the front door to the church,” said planter and pastor Joe McArthur. Each member’s home is a front door, an “extension of the church in the neighborhood.” 

This philosophy has led to steady growth for Third Coast, even during COVID.

The Corpus church started seven years ago with community groups rather than a typical Sunday launch. By the time Third Coast met for its first official Sunday worship in 2016, 100 people had already been engaged in groups for a year.

Today, community groups remain at the heart of Third Coast. Facilitated by trained leaders, groups meet weekly and include Bible study, relationship building, and outreach. Studies are approved by the church, with RightNow Media providing much of the material.

“We value and love Sunday worship,” McArthur said, but “it’s not the ultimate with us,” adding that there are more people engaged in community groups than attend on the weekends.  

“We are commanded to be together, but it’s not the only thing we are called to do … to get together on Sunday. We are called to do life together,” McArthur said. In Scripture, Jesus visits the home of Zacchaeus, he explained. “[People] don’t have to get introduced to God at a weekend service.”

Joe and Melissa McArthur, here shown with children Molly and Jonah, returned to the Gulf Coast to plant Third Coast in 2015.

"“We are commanded to be together, but it’s not the only thing we are called to do … to get together on Sunday. We are called to do life together. [People] don’t have to get introduced to God at a weekend service.”

The atypical model proved a blessing during COVID, when the church grew by 20 percent.

“COVID was the great equalizer,” McArthur said. “Our system worked,” he added. The emphasis on community encouraged continuity, growth, and evangelism as groups met needs among neighbors facing pandemic losses and struggles.

A preacher’s kid whose father pastored small Baptist churches, McArthur toured with bands as a drummer during his 20s. Now 45, he brought two decades of experience in pastoral ministry to the Third Coast Church plant, serving in various roles at Bay Area Fellowship, now named Church Unlimited. He was also senior pastor of Keller Harvest (now Journey) Church. 

Today, Third Coast meets in space leased from a Corpus school. Attendance runs 200 with small group involvement 120 percent of that.

Whether growing up in a church of 75 or helping lead a church of 8,000, McArthur has observed that “the gospel sticks best when it’s done through relationships.”

Dilbeck says shepherding, stewardship key in new role as GuideStone president

NASHVILLE (BP)—In his new role as President and CEO of GuideStone Financial Resources, Hance Dilbeck’s goal is to match the lessons he learned as a local church pastor with the values of the organization.

Dilbeck became president of the entity in March 2022 after the retirement of O.S. Hawkins, who led GuideStone for 25 years. Dilbeck is the guest of this week’s episode of “Baptist Press This Week.”

A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dilbeck most recently served as executive director-treasurer of Oklahoma Baptists before joining GuideStone’s staff in 2021.

Yet in his new role as president and CEO, Dilbeck hopes to apply lessons he learned from the very beginning of his ministry as a local church pastor in Oklahoma.

“I think it’s very important that we have people who have developed a shepherd’s heart come into these administrative leadership roles,” Dilbeck said in a video interview with Baptist Press.

“There’s nothing that quite shapes a man like pastoring a church and shepherding the flock of God. I’m grateful that God used that role to shape my perspective and my approach to leadership.”

These lessons build on the organization’s legacy, he said.

“I’ve discovered that really my calling to GuideStone had to do with a burden that was the very same burden that the founder of GuideStone William Lunsford had,” Dilbeck said.

“He wanted to see pastors finish well and had a burden for pastors who were reaching retirement years without the financial means to retire and felt like Southern Baptists could do something about that. As the GuideStone opportunity presented itself, I realized that’s what God was calling and preparing me for.”

Even more than leading financial endeavors, the presidential role also comes with a platform to help pastors learn how to take care of themselves and finish well.

“Along with that stewardship also comes a platform,” Dilbeck said. “This is an opportunity for me to speak to pastors and to churches about the importance of financial security and resiliency for ministry over the long haul.

“We want to help our pastors advocate for their own financial benefits, but we also want to advocate on their behalf toward our churches and come alongside our state convention partners in helping our churches understand how they need to be taking care of their pastors and their families financially.”

Dilbeck went on to explain a few things the average Southern Baptist may not understand about GuideStone. Three things in particular – GuideStone is financially independent from the Cooperative Program; It is the largest Christian mutual funds system in the world; and it has more than 400 well-trained employees.

Dilbeck also highlighted Mission:Dignity, a program that provides financial assistance to retired Southern Baptist ministers and their widows.

GuideStone will help more than 2,600 Southern Baptists through the program this year, and it is a crucial part of what the entity does, Dilbeck said.

“We were founded as the Relief and Annuity board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and so along with helping pastors and churches and institutions plan and prepare for the retirement of those who are serving them, we’re also here to get relief to those who find themselves in the retirement years without adequate financial resources,” he said.

“Not only does it help them bounce back from adversity, but it also reminds them that their service is significant and the people of God care about them. I think it’s something that not only honors those recipients, but I think it honors Christ when we take care of those people that way. That’s what Mission:Dignity is all about.”

At Sending Celebration, IMB appointees reminded to abide in Christ

After a mission trip to Honduras, Shelton Johnson sensed God calling him overseas. “The Lord just opened my eyes to the need to go,” he said.

But, he had a wife and two kids. He wanted to be sure his family was sensing the call as well. Listening to the Lord’s leading in his family’s life, he waited for Him to call each member of his family, individually.

It started with his 11-year-old daughter, Addyson. She came downstairs one morning after reading Genesis. She said, “Daddy, the Lord told Abraham to go. His response was ‘Here I am.’ What are we waiting on?”

A couple weeks later, his 13-year-old son, Silas, had been doing a book study with some friends. He came to his dad one evening and said, “We’re all called as believers to go. What are we waiting on?”

Next, his wife, Brandy, was reading in Hebrews 11. She called him weeping one day. She’d followed him where his career led him around the nation. “I have supported you for the last 15 or 16 years moving around,” Brandy said, “but by faith, by faith I am called also!”

Fast forward a few years, and Shelton has been leveraging his logistics experience on the mission field, equipping the International Mission Board teams that serve in the Americas in logistics and support. The family is involved in a local church plant there.

Shelton shared a story in 2019 of how a local engineer came to faith. God worked through Shelton’s space among overseas business professionals to radically change Eugenio’s eternity.

Now, as they’re being officially appointed by the IMB to continue their service, both Shelton and Brandy are passionate about sharing with others that their skills and career can be leveraged to help reach the nations, no matter their background. They are being sent by Bellevue Baptist Church in Tennessee.

“It doesn’t matter what your profession is. You don’t have to be a pastor or a seminary student. God’s just looking for a posture of obedience,” Shelton shared. “The Lord will do the equipping. It’s a beautiful thing to just have a posture of, ‘Lord, I don’t know what to do, but I will fix my eyes on You.’”

The Johnsons were two of the 24 missionaries participating in a Sending Celebration on Sept. 28, 2022, at Beaverdam Baptist Church in Beaverdam, Virginia. The IMB’s board of trustees approved the appointment of 22 new fully funded missionaries in their meeting, also held on Wednesday. One couple was approved by trustees in May but were not able to attend June’s Sending Celebration.

These missionaries represent those who have made their way through the IMB’s pipeline, first as candidates, and then as approved missionaries. As the IMB celebrates these and the over 1,100 more in the pipeline, they also understand that the need is great, and in order to reach the nations, together, more are still needed to go.

Our primary calling ­– intimacy, not activity

Jeremy Morton, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia, expressed how honored he was to be in the presence of these missionaries who are taking the gospel to the nations.

He spoke to attendees on the topic of “One thing matters most,” from Luke 10:38-42.

Sharing the story of Mary and Martha, he pointed out that Martha was “distracted by many tasks.” Basically, she was overwhelmed. Mary, on the other hand, was sitting close by Jesus and attentive to His words.

Mary was prioritizing the right thing, Morton shared. “When we prioritize the correct thing – intimacy with Jesus – Jesus gives us the clarity we need to navigate the complexity of the world.”

“There’s only one thing that’s necessary for all of us in every season, every day,” Morton continued. “Every single day, we must intentionally sit in the Lord Jesus’ presence and be filled by His Spirit and His Word.

Work is important and valuable, Morton said, “but work that distracts us from intimacy with Jesus is not good, even if it’s ministry work.”

Morton reminded the newly appointed missionaries and all in attendance, “The primary calling on our lives is not activity but intimacy.”

He encouraged missionaries to position themselves in the seat they should be in – we all should be in – in the Lord’s presence, worshiping Him.

Why we come together

“Why are we here tonight? Why have we come together?” IMB President Paul Chitwood asked attendees after bringing thanks to Beaverdam Baptist Church for their hospitality and partnership in the gospel.

“We’ve come together because the world has a problem,” Chitwood said.

After noting that the world does, in fact, have many problems, he continued, “There’s one problem that rises above every problem.” That problem is lostness. “We’ve come together because we know there’s a solution that problem. That solution is the gospel.”

Steadfast missionary presence among the nations is the means to solving the world’s greatest problem. Chitwood expressed gratitude to the missionaries being sent out during the Sending Celebration.

He then posed a question to those attending the Sending Celebration and listening online: “What gifts, what skills of yours might God be calling you to use among the nations?”

He encouraged those who feel the call of God to follow up with the IMB.

Chuck Pourciau, trustee chairman and lead pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, echoed Chitwood’s words before he led a prayer time over the new missionaries.

“We want you to know that IMB is open for business,” Pourciau said.

Struck by their kindness, broken by their lostness

Bryan and Whitney Jackson felt the call to missions as a couple while doing student ministry in Kentucky.

They’d been involved in short-term trips their whole adult lives. Whitney served for a time as a missionary with the IMB while she was single. She fell in love with the people of East Asia.

When a local church asked Bryan and Whitney to share about missions during VBS, they were more than willing to do so. As they were teaching kids about missionaries, “the Lord really impressed upon my heart that this is what we should be doing together overseas,” Bryan shared.

“I feel like this is what we should be doing together,” Bryan shared with Whitney on their drive home. “Instead of talking about it, we should be carrying this out together to the nations.”

The couple immediately said “yes” to God. Through a series of opened and shut doors, the Lord led them to Japan.

Bryan’s calling to the Japanese was further confirmed one day when he joined Whitney who was teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to a Japanese family in a Starbucks.

He recounts: “I walked into Starbucks to meet the family, and the mother greeted me. She was so polite and so kind to me. I’d never been treated with that much hospitality and respect before. When I went back to the car, I was moved. This woman who was so sweet and so kind doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. No matter how nice she is, that’s not enough. She needs the gospel; her people need the gospel.”

The Jacksons have served a four-year term with the IMB and will be returning as career missionaries to Japan to share the gospel. They are being sent by Post Oak Baptist Church in Kentucky.

The next IMB Sending Celebration will be Nov. 13, 2022, in conjunction with the Georgia Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Augusta, Georgia.

The post At Sending Celebration, IMB appointees reminded to abide in Christ appeared first on IMB.

How do I know they’re ready?

In the last two days, I’ve had three different parents tell me they had kids asking about baptism. Then the pressing question came: “How do I know they’re ready?”

After all, baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. This is why we immerse ourselves in water: to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ in His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is how we respond to believing in the Lord Jesus and profess to both the church and the world, “I am His and He is mine forever!”

As a parent, there is nothing more I look forward to than my kids professing faith in Jesus—and when they do, I cannot wait for them to be baptized. And as a parent (the spiritual leader of my kids), it is my biblical responsibility to instruct them in the ways of the Lord, as I trust Him to give them faith.

Because baptism is the way believers profess their faith in Jesus, we want to be sure that we are baptizing true believers. So on one hand, we want to be diligent to ensure we are not baptizing anyone before their regeneration. But on the other hand, we do not want to delay entry into the covenant family of God and enjoyment of the covenant privileges (membership, the Lord’s Supper, etc.).

So if you are wondering, “How do I know they’re ready?” here are three helpful questions to consider when weighing your child’s readiness to profess their faith through water baptism:

Do they articulate their salvation in Jesus?

This will look different depending on your child’s age. For instance, when I was baptized as a 6-year-old, I couldn’t even spell “substitutionary atonement.” But I was able to articulate that I was a sinner, that through Jesus’ living, dying, and rising I can be forgiven of my sins, and that by the power of the Holy Spirit I could be made like Him. I knew what Jesus did and I responded in repentance and faith.

Do they apply their salvation in Jesus?

How does your kid respond when he or she sins? Do they try to hide their sin, or is their heart broken? Do they seek to find fault with someone else or do they seek to find forgiveness from God and the person they sinned against? When they confess and repent of their sins, do they thank God for the cross of Jesus that pronounces them forgiven and free from all condemnation? And then do they see the gospel (not guilt) as a motivator to become more like Jesus? The goal here isn’t merely changing behaviors but rather transforming the heart by the power of God’s Spirit through the application of Jesus’ finished work.

Do they adore their salvation in Jesus?

This gets at the heart. Are they grateful for what they have in Christ? Do they love Jesus? Does it burden them when they know of others who don’t believe in Jesus? Is the gospel so deeply anchored in their hearts that it drives their affections?

If you are a parent, I implore you to pray that God will work in your kids’ hearts so that you can answer, “YES!” to these three questions. In the meantime, continue to labor diligently in pointing them to the good news of Jesus any and every opportunity you get. But remember that only God can give your child the ability to articulate the gospel, a life that applies the gospel, and a heart that adores the gospel. And when He does, praise Him for His gracious salvation—and encourage your kids to proclaim it in baptism.

Native Texan comes home to plant in one of the fastest-growing cities in the state

Building a Legacy

As planters peruse demographics studies to research where churches are needed most, Celina’s statistics scream out from the page.

It’s easily one of the fastest-growing cities in the Texas. Five years ago, Celina had roughly 10,000 residents. Today, the population has more than tripled to slightly fewer than 40,000 people. That kind of growth is expected to continue for years to come, with some estimating the population in this once-tiny town to touch 160,000 by the end of the decade.

Those statistics tugged heavily at the heart of Robert Welch, a native Texan who returned home earlier this year to plant in Celina after serving three-and-a-half years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte (N.C.).

Welch noted Celina has only two established Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches—three once Legacy Hills launches. So the need for churches is already great.

Celina is one of the fastest growing cities in Texas with the population tripling in the last five years.

"In a community like this, you’ve got to have churches to serve and reach all those people."

“In a community like this, you’ve got to have churches to serve and reach all those people,” he said. “Celina deserves churches that will come and say, ‘This is our Jerusalem and we’re going to reach this city.’ What you’re seeing here isn’t just [people moving away from the Metroplex]. They’re coming here from all over. There’s an Asian population here, an Indian population here. There’s a California migration happening here.”

Welch said Legacy Hills is scheduled to hold its first “monthly preview service” this month, which will include worship, a sermon, and activities for families. Those monthly services will continue each month until February, when the church plans to begin meeting weekly at an elementary school.

Until then, he and his family—which includes two teenagers and a grade-schooler—will continue to sink deep roots into the North Texas soil. Legacy Hills has already made inroads in the community by giving gift cards to every teacher in the school district and buying ice cream for unsuspecting patrons at a local shop.

“Not to take away from the established churches I’ve previously led, but this is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done,” Welch said. “But what God has called us to here, and going on this journey as a family … it’s just been humbling and incredibly rewarding and fun.”

SBTC DR crews prepare to assist Florida as Hurricane Ian expected to make landfall

GRAPEVINE—As Hurricane Ian, with winds up to 155 miles per hour, heads for anticipated landfall at Sanibel Island in Florida on Wednesday, Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief teams are preparing to deploy.

SBTC DR feeding teams have been asked to provide support for Texas Salvation Army crews, as well as the American Red Cross. SBTC DR mass feeding teams are expected to produce 7,500 meals per day beginning Tuesday, Oct. 4. Quick response (QRU) food trucks are also on alert for deployment to other Florida locations as canteens.

The actual location of the feeding deployments will depend upon the trajectory of Hurricane Ian, SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice said. Then, plans for housing crews and the sending of shower and laundry support will be finalized, he added.

“We’re ready to help,” Stice said.

CityView is well on its way to goal of planting 100 churches in 25 years

Sending is in their DNA

CityView Church launched in February 2014 with a mission to multiply. 

Since its inception, the church has sent out 12 planters to start churches throughout Houston and the surrounding communities including Alvin, Friendswood, Pearland, Tomball, plus Brazoria and Montgomery counties.

“For us, the goal is to make disciples of Jesus and to plant 100 churches in 25 years in the Houston area. That’s our vision statement,” said pastor and planter Jason Crandall, who also serves as church planting consultant for Send Network SBTC.

“We saw the growth of Houston … neighborhoods springing up everywhere,” Crandall said, noting that the name CityView suggests the church’s goal of planting neighborhood churches within the view of the city.

Currently, the church has its 13th resident planter in training. As many as three planters at a time have undergone CityView’s assessment and preparation process, Crandall said.

Some of the original CityView crew "who stuck through it all" are shown here.

"“When we don’t have one for a period of time, our church just kind of lags a little bit. It’s part of our DNA that we’re always going to have someone with us getting ready to be sent out by us as a church plant.”

“When we don’t have one for a period of time, our church just kind of lags a little bit,” Crandall said. “It’s part of our DNA that we’re always going to have someone with us getting ready to be sent out by us as a church plant.”

Some of CityView’s plants have remained small, with COVID limiting growth at times. But West Oaks Church in West Columbia-Brazoria County runs some 200 weekly, despite being less than three years old.

Its emphasis on planting has given CityView a unique growth curve, Crandall said. Currently, the church runs about 140-150. When numbers reach that level, it’s time to plant another congregation.

“We grow for a while. Then we send a planter with some people. Then we grow for a while,” he said. The cycle repeats as attendance again approaches 200.

CityView recently moved into its own building, a welcome relief from “eight-and-a-half years of set up and tear down,” Crandall added.

The church has devoted five percent of its tithes and offerings from the beginning directly for Houston-area church planting, funds separate from Cooperative Program and associational giving, the pastor said, adding, “We decided we were going to live on less and see the gospel go.”

John 4 mindset propels The West Church into difficult neighborhood

Boldly going where others won’t

The southwest Houston neighborhood of Alief ranks among the highest nationwide for prostitution, and crime is high. The community lacks resources—both money and mentors—yet it’s the very place God has called The West Church to minister, propelled by Jesus’ encounter in Samaria recorded in John 4.

“A lot of people drive around the neighborhood in order to get to other places, but we sensed the Lord was calling us to not go around it but go toward it,” Ayo Omopariola, pastor of The West Church, said. 

Omopariola was born in Nigeria and has lived in the U.S. since he was five. He and his wife, Amaechi, were part of a church plant years ago and remember it as a formative, “wonderful” time, he said. While he was serving as a church planting resident at City Church in Houston, God stirred his heart about Alief. 

“The Lord started a work within our hearts to want to see that part of the city be transformed by the gospel,” Omopariola said.

The West Church started meeting on Zoom for monthly prayer calls during the pandemic. Each person on the call would share a verse, and the group would pray. After about eight months, they started interacting in the community, mainly asking people questions. The core group wanted to learn how people in Alief viewed church. 

“God has been at work in this community for a very, very long time,” Omopariola said, “so we weren’t starting a new work. We wanted to find out what the Lord had already been doing.”

Despite the difficulty of the neighborhood, some groups had been working faithfully to reach it for years. They allowed The West Church to use their facilities, and they met Omopariola for coffee to answer questions.

The church hosted a vision meeting at a stadium in Alief in July 2021, and then they launched a Bible study that slowly picked up attenders. In January of this year, they launched at Best Elementary School in Houston with about 25 people. Now they have about 115.

“Outreach is such an integral part of what we do,” Omopariola said. “We’ve been able to build a lot of relationships with people in the community.”

The West Church has in a way adopted Best Elementary, the pastor said, ministering to the faculty, staff, and students. Church members have been mentoring students, building bridges which lead to reaching families. 

Ayo Omopariola and his wife, Amaechi, along with their three children, are leading The West Church to share the hope of the gospel in Alief, a difficult neighborhood in Houston. Photos submitted

“Our church is slowly starting to resemble the diversity that is around us. It’s going to be a long process, but we want to see the reality of John 4 in our church.”

After about five months of ministering at the school, The West Church received an award of appreciation from Best Elementary, Omopariola said. 

The church also partners with The Landing, an anti-trafficking organization in the neighborhood. “They’ve been one of our biggest advocates in the community, and a lot of our missional outreach is in large part due to the relationship we have with them,” he said. 

West Groups, the small group ministry at The West Church, has been “a source of life and community,” the pastor said. “We’ve been so impacted not only by what the Lord has been doing in the church but also outside of it.” 

So why has John 4 become the missional thrust of the church? Omopariola says it is because Jesus viewed it as a divine necessity to enter a place so many avoided. Samaria, like Alief, was a place with so many difficulties, yet Jesus engaged in a theological conversation with a woman there in order to show His care for all people. 

“She isn’t ashamed or even talked down to, but she’s encouraged to want to live a different life, and as a result of that, she becomes one of the greatest evangelists in the New Testament because after her interaction with Jesus she goes back to her community and tells them, ‘Come see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done,’” Omopariola said.

Alief is a community that has been neglected by most, but The West Church is striving to “bring the love and light of Christ into the community and be able to point people toward hope,” the pastor said. 

“Our church is slowly starting to resemble the diversity that is around us,” Omopariola said. “It’s going to be a long process, but we want to see the reality of John 4 in our church.” 

So far the response from people in the community has been positive toward the church, the pastor said, particularly because they sense church members are authentic about what they believe and how they practice those beliefs. “Surprisingly, they want more of it.”

For churches that want to reach out to hard communities, Omopariola advises developing a strong prayer strategy first.  

“The needs are so great, and you feel overwhelmed all the time,” he said, “like there’s no way one single individual or one church or organization is going to be able to solve all the problems.”

Una cosecha divina en el retiro Florece—2022

El tema Diseño Divino fue el lema de la conferencia anual para las mujeres hispanas de la Convención Bautista del Sur de Texas (SBTC), basado en Efesios 2:10 que dice, “Porque somos hechura suya, creados en Cristo Jesús para buenas obras, las cuales Dios preparó de antemano para que anduviésemos en ellas” (RV).

Más de 570 mujeres hispanas, de más de 20 países hispanoparlantes, se reunieron en el campamento Riverbend en Glen Rose, Texas, para orar, adorar a Dios, y ser animadas por oradoras hispanas. Al escuchar el evangelio, más de 25 mujeres aceptaron a Cristo como su Señor y Salvador, y muchas otras mujeres cristianas reafirmaron sus ministerios, reconocieron sus faltas, ¡y aceptaron que Dios las ama y siempre lo hará!

La oradora Ana Meléndez, nativa de Tegucigalpa, Honduras, compartió de Lucas 7:35-49 y guio a las participantes a reconocer que una pecadora entendía la misión de Jesús mientras otros no. Meléndez les dijo, “El creador del universo estaba sentado en su mesa con Simón, pero Simón no entendía quién era Jesús; pero ella sí. ¿Cuántas veces estamos nosotras como ese fariseo?”

“Si usted ama a Dios, nadie le tiene que acordar a leer su Biblia. Si usted esta apasionada por el Señor y tiene compasión por un mundo perdido, necesita compartir el evangelio,” añadió Meléndez. Ella animó a las participantes diciéndoles, “Los cristianos estamos enlistados en una carrera maratón y necesitamos correrla con paciencia y resistencia. No se detenga por las adversidades porque lo espiritual toma tiempo”.

La Dra. Zoricelis Dávila, nacida en Puerto Rico, profesora en la universidad Liberty, autora, y consejera profesional, enseñó sobre las diferentes maneras como la mujer, al ser una creatura nueva, puede proteger su identidad en Cristo como creyente. Dávila les dijo, “cree lo que Dios dice de tu identidad, acepta tu identidad, protege tu identidad, nutre tu identidad, y vive tu identidad en Cristo.”

La Dra. Dávila también ministró a las jóvenes que asistieron a la conferencia.

La oradora Carla Arriola, nativa de México, que fue misionera con la Junta de Misiones Norteamericana, dirigió a las participantes a descubrir bíblicamente como es que la mujer cristiana esta creada con propósito. “¡Si Dios te tiene aquí, Él tiene un propósito para ti! Dios nunca te va a decir, ‘Ya no me sirves’ porque Dios no ha terminado contigo”, dijo Arriola. “Para hacer buenas obras, necesitas la preparación espiritual, emocional y mental”, añadió Arriola. Ella terminó animando a las participantes a reconocer y aceptar el amor de Dios que sobrepasa a todo entendimiento y fortalece a la persona interior basándose en Efesios 3:14-21.

La Dra. Clara Molina, nacida en la Republica Dominicana, autora y profesora adjunta del Seminario Bautista Southwestern (SWBTS), compartió sobre las diferentes mentiras que usa el maligno para hacernos creer que no somos obra maestra. “Somos creadas por Dios con Su amor, con excelencia, con propósito, y según el Salmo 139:13-14, somos obras maestras admirables”. Molina, basándose en Genesis 1:27, agregó que “fuimos creadas con valor porque somos creadas a la imagen de Dios”.

Molina también dirigió un concierto de oración para las esposas de los pastores y mujeres líderes de ministerios con la ayuda de Jesse Contreras, Asociado de Ministerio en la SBTC y Arlene Sanabria. Sanabria la directora del misterio Germinarás, conferencista y miembro del equipo de mujeres de la SBTC en español, corresponsal para Baptist Press en español, también dirigió un hermoso tiempo de adoración en una fogata el viernes en la noche.

El servicio de adoración y oración durante la fogata estaba basado en Zacarias 4:6 que dice, “Entonces respondió y me habló diciendo: Esta es palabra de Jehová a Zorobabel, que dice: No con ejército, ni con fuerza, sino con mi Espíritu, ha dicho Jehová de los ejércitos”. Según Sanabria, los temas durante la fogata eran “retomar o reconstruir la oración, el arrepentimiento, el dar acción de gracias, los matrimonios, el uso de dones y el evangelismo personal.” Durante la fogata, las mujeres de la iglesia Bautista Agua de Vida presentaron una dramatización basada en mujeres bíblicas.

El tiempo de alabanza fue dirigido por el equipo de adoración de la iglesia Fielder Road, en Arlington, Texas, bajo la dirección de Gimena Monterrubio.

El próximo retiro Florece, dirigido por Juanita Shelton de la SBTC, se llevará a cabo del 15 al 16 de septiembre del 2023.

A challenge to celebrate, consider, and commit

Can you believe how fast 2022 is flying by? It seems like just yesterday we were embracing the new year with anticipation. 

This year has been great so far. We have witnessed God move in incredible ways across Texas. As I reflect on all that God has done, is doing, and we believe will continue to do, allow me to give three brief encouragements to you:


God is doing something among you! He is always at work. I encourage you to find those things and celebrate them in your life and in your church. At the SBTC, we are celebrating God doing great things through a couple of pastors’ trips over the summer. In July, the SBTC led 128 pastors and wives to Israel. This was an awesome time of seeing the Bible come alive. We had great opportunities to worship, fellowship, network, and learn together.

In August, 50 pastors went to New York together to study and learn about developing a culture of prayer. We spent time with and learned from prayer leader and pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. This church is known around the world for its prayer ministry. Again, it was an incredible time of worship, prayer, networking, and equipping.


If you are an SBTC pastor, I would like you to consider a very special invitation. On July 17-26, 2023, I will be leading a pastors trip to Greece to “Walk in the Footsteps of Paul.” This will be an unbelievable opportunity to see much of the New Testament come to life. You will not only learn and go deeper in the study of the Scriptures, but you will connect with other pastors and build meaningful relationships along the way. 

We have been able to work with our tour company to get the trip costs down significantly. The trip for a pastor is only $3,199, and spouses are $3,499. However, thanks to a generous grant provided by the SBTC Executive Board, pastors who have never been on a trip in the footsteps of Paul will be able to go for $1,999, and an even greater discount is available if your spouse travels with you. Space for this trip will be limited and grants will be given on a first-come, first-served basis until all the scholarship funds are allocated. The trip is restricted to two pastors per church and one grant per church. You can e-mail Randi Kent at for more information. I hope you will consider experiencing this opportunity with us!


Our 2022 SBTC Annual Meeting is just around the corner, November 14-15 in Corpus Christi. We are anticipating a great meeting as churches from across Texas join together in worship, prayer, preaching, and celebrating all God is doing (and yes, we will do a little business, as well). The first session on Monday evening will culminate with a prayer service. We are anticipating a powerful night together. Over the two days, you will hear stories of how God is moving across Texas. You will also hear some future vision and goals for seeing a prayer movement across the churches of the SBTC. It is going to be a great time together. I pray you will clear your calendar and commit to being a part of our Annual Meeting. More details can be found at

One of my favorite things is to tell the story of how God is using SBTC churches to “Reach Texas and Impact the World.” I love hearing from you and celebrating alongside you. I consider it a real joy and honor to serve you and to serve alongside our team at the SBTC. Please know that I love you and believe in you! I look forward to seeing you in Corpus Christi.