Two years ago hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused the statewide missions offering known as Reach Texas to fall from its previous level. It bounced back in a big way this year, with receipts exceeding a record $956,000 through mid-August?just shy of the $1 million goal through its final giving month.
The offering’s nearness to its goal is the impetus of an even more ambitious goal for 2007-08: $1.1 million. The offering runs annually September through August.
SBTC Missions Director Robby Partain said the Reach Texas Offering provides the extra push beyond the Cooperative Program budget to fund church planting, missions and evangelism.
“The efficiency of the Reach Texas Offering is evident in that 100 percent of funds?every dollar?is directly used for missions work because the Cooperative Program (Southern Baptists’ missions funding mechanism) provides the basis and infrastructure so that administration is already covered,” Partain said.
Of the Reach Texas receipts, roughly 50 percent go directly into church planting.
“Without the Reach Texas Offering,” Partain said, “we would have to cut back our church planting efforts by 25 percent each year.”
This year the SBTC will help fund about 40 new congregations, Partain said.
In addition to church planting, 25 percent of offering receipts supports evangelism and 25 percent funds missions training and mobilization, Partain explained.
Reach Texas helps fund events such as the Student Evangelism Conference and provides evangelism resource materials.
The offering also aids Disaster Relief ministry and mobilization for mission partnerships in such places as Thailand, Mexico, West Africa, China, and throughout Canada and the United States, as church groups enlist short-term teams to do gospel work.
Partain said the SBTC office mailed about 70,000 Reach Texas Offering promotional packets requested by churches last year. Also, the website has downloadable art and resources for churches.
The designated Week of Prayer and emphasis on promoting the Reach Texas Offering is planned Sept. 23-30, though some churches will promote it at a different time, Partain said.
Increasingly, churches are promoting one annual missions offering to fund Reach Texas, the SBC’s Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions, Partain said. In doing so, Partain asked that churches remember the task of reaching an increasingly diverse population in Texas by designating funds for the Reach Texas Offering.
For more information on the Reach Texas Offering, to find e-resources or to order promotional materials, visit sbtexas.com/reachtexas.