AUSTIN—A three-day emphasis on the Holy Spirit concluded with a worship service that included a citywide prayer rally, music led by Christian recording artist Jeremy Camp and the final sermon of a six-part series through Romans 8 during the 2016 Bible Conference & Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Nov. 13-15. The meeting, with the theme of “The Holy Spirit,” was hosted by Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin.
An inter-denominational group of pastors from local churches in Austin led convention messengers and guests in focused times of prayer during the service. Prayers focused on repentance, pleas for revival and spiritual awakening, government leaders and healthy churches.
Throughout the course of the annual meeting, six different speakers preached expositional sermons sequentially through Romans 8, emphasizing the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. In the final session, Houston’s First Baptist Church pastor Gregg Matte served as the anchor leg as he preached from verses 31-39 to describe how victory over death gives way to intimacy with God. [Read full story of the sermon series through Romans 8 here.]
In addition to the sermons, convention messengers approved resolutions, offered motions, re-elected officers and approved the 2017 convention budget.
Messengers passed seven resolutions during the meeting. Resolutions addressed racial reconciliation, prayer for government leaders and civil discourse, religious liberty, orphan care, meeting needs of those with disabilities, emphasis on prayer and evangelism, and appreciation to Great Hills Baptist Church for hosting the meeting.
[Read the expanded story on resolutions and full text of the resolutions here.]
James Jordan, a messenger from Northeast Houston Baptist Church, presented a motion, asking the convention to “explore the process and changes which would need to occur in our structures and bylaws in order to permit the use of video venue locations for our annual meeting to include full participation from remote locations around the state, including motions, resolutions, voting and every other aspect of the SBTC annual meeting.” The Committee on Order of Business’ referred the motion to the convention’s executive board.
Election of Officers
All three officers were up for re-election and ran unopposed. Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Baptist Church in Humble was elected convention president. Dante Wright, pastor of Sweet Home Baptist Church in Round Rock, was elected vice president. Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, was elected recording secretary.
Messengers approved a 2017 budget of $28,159,810, which represents a 1.5 percent increase from 2016. This budget is funded by $27,807,810 in Cooperative Program gifts and $352,000 from partnerships with the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources.
The convention continues to send 55 percent of its budget for SBC Cooperative Program ministries—the highest percentage of any Baptist state convention—while designating 45 percent for Cooperative Program ministries in Texas.
Final attendance numbers included 823 registered messengers and 386 registered guests for a total of 1,209 registered in attendance.
The 2017 SBTC Annual Meeting will be held Nov. 12-14 at Criswell College in Dallas. Messengers at this year’s meeting approved Steven Smith, vice president and preaching professor at Southwestern Seminary, to deliver the convention sermon, with JR Vassar, pastor of Church at the Cross in Grapevine, as the alternate.