Summer: student ministry, mission trips

We are halfway through the summer. If you are like the Richards, you have had a very busy summer. It is still fun to have a youth at home. Nathan went to Glorieta with Galloway Avenue Baptist Church in Mesquite to a youth discipleship camp. It was a great experience. The SBTC sponsored a pre-teen camp, “Go Tell” camp for junior high and high school students and a Youth Evangelism Conference. Brad Bunting, SBTC youth evangelism associate, is doing a fabulous job in leading your state convention youth ministry. Because you invested through the Cooperative Program, thousands of lives are touched and hundreds are changed.

Summer Worship University coordinated by Ken Lasater, church ministry associate, was an opportunity for youth to be trained as leaders. Youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow. They are leaders of today. The SBTC collegiate ministry is expanding. Summer missionaries are everywhere. An associate for collegiate students and singles is being proposed to the Executive Board in August. I am excited about the future.

Recently I had the tremendous privilege to look into the face of the future. I attended a church called “707” in Cleveland, Ohio. This church is technically a mission. They only meet on Sunday nights. The original time of their worship was 7:07 p.m. Due to the extraordinary response, they had to offer three evening worship times. 707 Church is averaging around 1,200 people each week. The majority of the crowd ranged from 18-29 years old. I felt like an old fogey. However, the music was delightful and the preaching was without compromise.

The format was very different from what I am accustomed to, but they were not trying to reach 50-year-olds from the South with seminary degrees. The church was designed to reach a certain socio-age group. Obviously, having a big crowd is not the sign of God’s blessings. If this were true, Joel Osteen and the Pope have us beat. What is a sign of God’s blessings is for the preaching, singing and practicing of God’s people to be biblically true. When churches are faithful to the Word of God, new followers of Jesus Christ are the result.

Summer is a time for people to go on vacation. Summer is also a time for reaching students and doing mission trips. Now is the time to plan to participate in 2006. Visit our website, www.sbtexas.com, or call toll free 1-877-953-7282 and get the scoop on the ways you can be involved in exciting ministries through the SBTC.

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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