Lubbock church sponsors House in Order workshop

By Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent

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

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

The decision took time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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