I was a senior in high school in November 1998. I was engaged in the life of my church and on fire for the Lord. I was enjoying the end of my senior football season and had already been offered the opportunity to play college football. I felt the world was in front of me and believed that, through my faith in Christ, I was going to change the world.
At that point, I had no idea what the Southern Baptist Convention was all about. I didn’t grow up in an SBC church. I didn’t know that during November of my senior year, a group of churches was gathering, praying, and organizing to see a movement of God across Texas. Today, I am thankful to God for that group of churches that had a bold vision to reach Texas and impact the world together.
I could not in my wildest dreams imagine God allowing me to eventually serve the movement that came to be known as the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. As I look back over the last 25 years of the ministries of the SBTC, I am in awe of how God has blessed us and continued to answer prayers. Here are three prayers He has answered throughout our history as a network of churches.
1. Godly leadership
God was so gracious to send us leaders from among the 120 churches who stepped up and led in the formation of the SBTC. So many people played a large role in laying the foundation of where we are today, including men like Stan Coffey, Miles Seaborn, Casey Perry, Gerald Smith, and Ronnie Yarber. God also gave the SBTC an incredible gift by sending Jim Richards to serve as the SBTC’s first executive director. His leadership allowed the SBTC to grow from 120 churches to more than 2,700 affiliated churches today. I thank God for sending us the right leaders at the right time.
2. Generous provision
God continually brings into our family churches that are generous partners. The Cooperative Program has always fueled our ministry engine, and I am humbled by how SBTC churches have faithfully given to mission causes. I know there are many ups and downs—even in our denomination—but SBTC churches have always been able to stay focused on the mission God has called us to do together.
3. Great Commission churches
SBTC churches hold to the inerrancy of Scripture and agree to work within the parameters of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. We have been incredibly unified in doctrine and mission and care deeply about the Great Commission. I believe God has blessed us throughout our history because we keep the mission at the forefront of our minds and hearts.
I am so grateful for all the prayers God has answered over the past 25 years. Looking back at our history excites me about the future, and I pray the next 25 years are the best days for our family of churches. I believe God wants to continue to use the SBTC in ways we can’t imagine.
I hope you are making plans to celebrate our 25 years together at our annual meeting in November. I am honored to serve you!