SBTC Executive Board honors Richards,

CORPUS CHRISTI?The Southern Baptists of Texas Executive Board celebrated the five-year mark of the convention in its regularly scheduled meeting the morning after the SBTC’s sixth annual meeting, electing new officers, approving job responsibility shifts for three ministry staff members and welcoming a new ministry associate.

Steve Cochran, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Longview, was unanimously elected board president. The board elected Joe Stewart, pastor of First Baptist Church, Littlefield, as vice chairman, and Sally Tillman of Exciting Immanuel Baptist Church in El Paso, as board secretary, both unanimously.

The board also recognized Jim Richards, SBTC executive director, for five years of leading the convention by presenting him with a book of letters and photos.

“Not very often do words fail me, but this is one of those times,” Richards remarked. “I am absolutely humbled by your graciousness and the expression of love that you have shown, not only this morning but also during the last five years.

“It’s been a tremendous journey, it’s been an incredible journey. And it would not have been possible had it not been for the pastor of the little church out in the country, the layman who was willing to take of his resources, the lady who was willing to pray, and all of those faithful Bible-believing, Christ-honoring Southern Baptists of Texas who said we need to have a ministry in this state. It’s because of them.”

Richards said he was given the opportunity to “raise the banner” and is thankful for those who have prayed for him and for the SBTC, adding he hopes others will continue to pray. He also thanked the SBTC ministry and support staff for its faithfulness, as well as the Executive Board for its support and vision for ministry.

“May the next five years be even greater than what we’ve experienced in these first five years,” Richards said.

The board approved the following staff reassignments: Robby Partain, from missions and evangelism senior associate to director of missions, beginning Jan. 1; Casey Perry, from director of minister/church relations to area ministry coordinator, effective Jan. 1; and Deron Biles, from minister/church relations associate to director of minister/church relations, effective Jan. 1.

Also, the board unanimously called, upon recommendation, Troy Brooks as minister/church relations associate, effective Jan. 1. Brooks is pastor of First Baptist Church, Groesbeck, where he has served since March 1986.

Upon accepting the call, Brooks commented, “Paula and I are deeply saddened at the thought of leaving First Baptist Church of Groesbeck, Texas. They have been our family for the past 18 years, We are, however, greatly excited about working with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and her more than 1,380 churches as we partner to reach Texas together.”

Brooks earned his bachelor’s degree at Dallas Baptist University, a master of divinity at Southwestern Seminary and a doctor of ministry from Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary.

Joe Davis, SBTC chief financial officer, reported to the board that the convention has garnered $1.4 million of net operating revenue through Sept. 30 and estimated that figure to be $1.86 million at year’s end. When reduced by a $492,000 building fund allocation, the figure will be an estimated net operating income of $1.37 million, Davis noted.

“We’ve had a good year, receipts wise,” and “Cooperative Program receipts continue to be strong,” Davis said.

Receipts for Reach Texas, the state missions offering, are $700,299, compared with $672,091 last year, and the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions yielded $3,509,412, compared with $3,091,775 last year, Davis reported.

The board also approved up to $300,000 in surplus funds to be used for SBTC ministry projects among the convention and its ministry partners. Specifically, the breakdown would be up to $100,000 for the SBTC Hispanic Initiative, up to $25,000 for the 20/20 Connection Project, and up to $75,000 for ministry in partnership with Houston Baptist University. Up to $100,000 was approved for special projects, which likely will involve the establishment of an SBTC foundation to support new ministry projects.

Richards reported that “we are very close” to calling someone to lead the Hispanic Initiative, a stepped-up effort to meet the rapidly expanding Hispanic culture in Texas. “Our desire is to reach the people that God is sending our way,” he noted.

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