SBTC, TBM formalize disaster relief agreement

AQUILLA?The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Texas Baptist Men (TBM) signed a statement of cooperation Feb. 27 that spells out how the two groups will work together during disaster relief operations.

Texas Baptist Men entered into a fraternal relationship with the SBTC last spring to facilitate cooperation in responding to disasters and other related endeavors. TBM receives budgeted funds from the Baptist General Convention of Texas as a BGCT affiliate ministry but is independently governed.

The SBTC-TBM agreement includes no budgeted SBTC funding. A majority of TBM members are in SBTC-affiliated churches, which makes it prudent for the SBTC and TBM to work together, said E. Gibbie McMillan, SBTC mission services associate.

“This is a very important first step in the process of cooperation and in fulfilling the fraternal partnership we have with Texas Baptist Men,” McMillan said.

During a disaster situation, Baptist men’s groups nationwide typically operate under an incident commander appointed by the North American Mission Board and in cooperation with the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

McMillan said about two-thirds of the TBM roster represent SBTC church members.

The agreement, signed by McMillan and Leo Smith, newly elected TBM executive director, was formalized during TBM’s annual meeting at Latham Springs Baptist Encampment in central Texas.

McMillan said the meeting drew more than 100 men and is an annual retreat for TBM business, training and leadership development.

The SBTC’s mission services department oversees the recently formed Texas Baptist Builders ministry, one cooking unit and three chainsaw crews with three or four more planned, McMillan said.

“What we’re trying to do is complement what TBM does and not duplicate what they do,” McMillan noted.

The agreement states each entity has full authority to decide what disaster relief work it will engage in and each will keep the other informed of disaster relief activities, including training, promotions, and availability and deployment of units. Additionally, each will work within uniform disaster relief guidelines outlined in SBC and NAMB materials.

McMillan said the SBTC has planned a disaster relief “basic orientation” course March 29 at Crossroads Baptist Church in Azle. For more information, call McMillan at the SBTC office, 972-953-0878.

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