Last year, hurricanes Katrina and Rita required the best of Texas Southern Baptists’ time, talents and money to help sustain thousands of displaced evacuees from Louisiana and Southeast Texas.
So it isn’t a surprise to Robby Partain that the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s state missions offering, Reach Texas, fell short of its $1 million goal.
Partain, SBTC missions director, said that through July, Texas churches had given about $810,000?about 9 percent less than 2004-05.
“We are impacted most in our church planting efforts,” Partain said.
The SBTC has helped fund?with other churches, associations and church planting networks?about 370 church starts, of which about “70 to 80 percent are still going,” Partain said.
“Reach Texas is the way we fund most of the growth in church planting. It’s the booster that takes us to the next level.”
Of the Reach Texas receipts, roughly 50 percent go directly into church planting, 25 percent support evangelism and 25 percent fund missions, Partain explained.
“We’re having to delay some church planting until later” because funds are already committed through the end of the year, he said.
In a given month, the SBTC is helping 120-130 new churches in financial partnerships that last 24-36 months.
“We certainly have a great need right now in planting churches among Hispanics. Asian ethnic groups are growing as well. The cowboy church planting movement is growing rapidly also.”
Also, Partain said funding is needed for a new category: missionary church planters. These missionaries attempt to reach unreached people groups within the United States by living near them as an international missionary would.
“We have an international mission field here in Texas,” Partain said, “especially in the urban areas.”
Reach Texas also helps fund events such as the SBTC Evangelism Conference and the Student Evangelism Conference, and helps provide evangelism training materials and resources to churches.
In missions, Reach Texas aids disaster relief ministry and mobilization for missions partnerships in such places as Ohio, New York, Beirut, Lebanon, and Reno, Nev.
For more information on the Reach Texas Offering, view or download the PowerPoint presentation on Reach Texas at sbtexas.com/reachtexas.