I am grateful for my family. Yes, of course I am grateful for my wife and kids and extended family. However, the family I am referring to is my SBTC family.
I still remember hearing about the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention back in 2001 when I went on staff at First Baptist Church of Waskom. Though somewhat still a new convention, the SBTC was well on its way to becoming the incredible family of churches it is today. Eventually as I became a pastor at Martin’s Mill Baptist Church, I knew I wanted my first church to be fully engaged in the life of the SBTC. After we uniquely affiliated, I immediately began seeking out opportunities to be involved as a pastor. What I would come to learn and to love about the SBTC was not what I thought when I first began engaging in the convention.
I did not take the traditional seminary route. Therefore, I did not get the opportunity to live on campus and begin developing ministry friendships and relationships. I knew I needed to find a network in which I could build those relationships. What I found at the SBTC would forever change my life and ministry. While I knew the convention would provide assistance in ministry, funding, strategy, care, encouragement and all kinds of other things I needed as a pastor, the one thing I didn’t expect was to find a family.
For me, the SBTC has gone far above and beyond the usual expectations of a convention. This body of churches has been such a blessing to me.
On one occasion about 15 years ago, I remember walking into a room full of pastors. Those in the room ranged from bi-vocational pastors to pastors you see on TV. There were rural pastors and urban church planters. There were small and mega-church pastors, all in the same room. I felt somewhat honored yet unworthy to be there. As I scanned the landscape of that room, although I didn’t know many people there, it felt like home.
It wasn’t home because of where the meeting was being hosted. It wasn’t home because of those on the program or even the theme. It was home because I knew I was in a room full of like-minded believers with a common purpose to serve Christ and his Church. The thing about families is that we stick together. We are better together. Through the good and bad times, we are family.
Fast forward 15 years and I am in awe that God allows me to serve our family of churches in this new capacity. I want you to know that I will give it all I have and will pour out my life to serve you and your church, to the glory of God. It’s my desire that you will also find family in the SBTC, if you haven’t already. I encourage you to reach out to fellow pastors, engage in our ministries and attend our events. The SBTC desires to come alongside you in ministry.
I want to thank you, my SBTC family, for this opportunity. I consider it the greatest ministry privilege of my life. I love my family!