SAN ANTONIO—A new director of Pastor/Church Relations begins serving the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention this month after the Executive Board approved the action April 25 in San Antonio. Tony Wolfe comes to the new assignment from Antioch Baptist Church in Lovelady, where he pastored for the past five years.
“We commit them to you for a new vision, a new empowerment for the duties incumbent on their responsibilities as they look to encourage the pastors,” prayed SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards after the unanimous vote was taken.
Previously, Wolfe led music ministries at Calvary Baptist Church in Rosenberg, First Baptist Church in Littlefield, Ridgewood Baptist Church in Port Arthur, and Northside Baptist Church in Denham Springs, La.
He received his D.Ed.Min. in educational leadership from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, writing his dissertation on developing a curriculum to assist believers in evaluating spiritual growth. Wolfe also received a M.A. in religion with a specialization in pastoral counseling from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.M. from Lamar University in Beaumont. He has authored books on spiritual maturity and effective small group leadership, and has been active in associational leadership, served on the board of Pineywoods Baptist Encampment and SBTC Executive Board.
Wolfe and his wife, Vanessa have been married 16 years and have two sons. He is the youngest son of former SBTC Church Ministries Director Jim Wolfe, who now pastors in Louisiana.
In letters recommending Wolfe, several Texas pastors commended his devotion to prayer, evangelism and biblical conviction. Joshua Crutchfield of Madisonville described Wolfe as “a man of doctrinal fidelity that motivates an evangelistic mission so that God would be praised and glorified.”
Neches River Baptist Association Director Bill Jones spoke of Wolfe’s use of his gift of encouragement “to come alongside those who are willing to be trained and deepen their love for God and his Word,” while Russ Ponder of Farwell observed the candidate’s demonstrated commitment to pray for pastors faithfully.
With the departure of Heath Peloquin, who resigned to direct the North Texas Baptist Association, SBTC Associate Ted Elmore shared the Pastor/Church Relations report, explaining the significance of the department’s interaction with affiliated churches.
Noting that 80 percent of SBTC churches have fewer than 75 people in worship and 172 churches are currently pastorless, Elmore underscored the importance of the SBTC field ministry strategists serving in 18 field ministry zones across Texas. Those men develop relationships with pastors, church staff, and directors of missions, he said, encouraging them to take advantage of SBTC ministry resources.
Credentials Committee chairman Juan Sanchez of Austin received approval for affiliation requests from 38 churches spread across Texas. The Board also removed 18 churches from affiliation, 10 having disbanded, five having merged with another congregation, and three that no longer wish to be involved. The current number of affiliated churches stands at 2,630.
CFO Joe Davis reported a net operating income of $856,535 in 2016 with a net worth of $16.8 million. At the end of March of the current year, Cooperative Program receipts are slightly ahead of budget, though less than 2016 receipts for the same first quarter period.
Giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions by SBTC churches is $52,503 higher at $909,119 for the first six months of the reporting year when compared to the previous year. However, giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions lags $1.9 million behind at $8,260,578 for the comparable 10-month time frame of the previous year. Gifts to the Reach Texas Offering for State Missions are slightly down this year with seven months reported.
In other business, the board received a clean audit report for both the SBTC and the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation, reviewed compensation and benefits for staff, and agreed to a grant to fund the 2018 Breathe Deep Conference to provide “a time of fellowship, rejuvenation, encouragement and worship for associate ministers and their spouses.”
SBTC staff was asked to gather information regarding the potential process and requirements necessary in order to provide venue locations for the SBTC annual meeting. The action came in response to a motion at the 2016 annual meeting requesting the study as a means of expanding “full participation from remote locations around the state including motions, resolutions, voting and every other aspect.”