Reach Texas, your state missions offering

SBTC’s state mission and ministry offering has a new name. More to the point, for the past few years Texas has had a new state missions offering. The offering addresses a diverse set of needs that our churches would agree are important for our work in Texas. It’s time to get behind it with the same enthusiasm we’ve had for other offerings in former days.

Every missionary enterprise bases its budget partially on a special offering. Sometimes that is riskier than predicting the growth of Cooperative Program funding. The International Mission Board discovered this as the Lottie Moon offering repeatedly fell behind its goal. Projected, needed receipts have not come in the amounts hoped for. Notice what I said.

The IMB’s problem is not that Lottie Moon declined but that it grew by only 1.2 percent, an amount nearly ten million dollars below the offering goal. A disappointment, sure, but moderates who compare the decline of other missionary institutions with IMB’s situation are confusing the issue. Southern Baptists’ international missionary enterprise has faced growth in their prospective missionary force that outstrips the growth of their budget. Other groups face a true decline. I expect Southern Baptists will rise to this challenge, by the way.

Back to Texas, though. The Reach Texas Offering is a good example of how an offering should work. All administrative and promotional costs are budgeted so that 100 percent of the offering money goes to the causes specified. Not all state offerings work that way. Reach Texas also supports a variety of needs that represents the range of SBTC ministries. Evangelism, collegiate ministry, disaster relief, family care, associational ministries, pastoral assistance, minister training as well as church planting are all funded by gifts through Reach Texas. The offering is an efficient and thorough channel for supporting ministries on the cutting edge of the work of our convention.

Of course other ministries and their offerings may also be worthy causes but Reach Texas should be a personal matter to SBTC churches. Most who read this know that two state conventions reside in Texas. These two conventions each have a state missions offering. The offerings support the unique and distinct ministries of one or the other convention. Reach Texas is the only offering used by SBTC ministries to strengthen the ministries done among SBTC churches. Other offerings support other work. Churches committed to our work should also be committed to the offering that supports the ministries of our convention. It’s only been a few years since we began but now is a good time to transfer the passion, loyalty and commitment formerly devoted to other work to your current state convention. That means you should support Reach Texas.

Take a look at the stories in this year’s material. They are real stories of lives changed by God using ministries funding by SBTC churches. They are brief and compelling and worthy of our support. They are only typical, not exhaustive. Support of The Criswell College allows God-called men and women from around the world to share the gospel with people around the world. Pastoral assistance funds help pastors to weather the tough times that often face underpaid church workers. Church planting and evangelism account for 65 percent of the allocations. Here we face a situation similar to that faced by the IMB. The needs and opportunities of our work can always surpass the available funds. This priority is at the fore of all we do. I could go on but these examples demonstrate the need and the priority of the work funded through Reach Texas. Look at the material if you have received it. Go to to see the full information on the offering. You can also call our offices to receive material for your church.

All of us can and should be Great Commission people. We should do all we can to share the gospel in our own communities, across our state, nation, and world. As Southern Baptists, we have the mechanism to send and go to each of these ministry sites. As surely as our mission field extends beyond our horizon, it also includes all within that horizon. In fact that field is most personally ours because God has placed us here for this day.

Never hear me say, “State Texas first, Texas only” or even, “State Texas first.” I don’t believe that and you know the SBTC has demonstrated a deep commitment to international and home missions. Maybe I’m saying “State Texas also.”

There is a drop off in church missions giving indicating the lower priority given to more local missions. Many churches promote worldwide and even national mission projects and do not even acknowledge a state missions emphasis. Even among those who support state missions the amount contributed through that offering is lower than that given to other offerings. A lower amount may be appropriate but the lower number of churches participating is not appropriate. Let’s stop picking and choosing within the Great Commission. Include our vast state in your prayerful, enthusiastic support of missions. It’s a godly priority and a worthy cause. Help us as we see</SPA

Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan
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