They say, “time flies when you’re having fun.” While I am sure this is somewhat of a true statement, the reality is that in life, time continuously marches on.
Recently I was on a weekend trip to preach at an SBTC church. I had two of my sons with me—one age 17 and the other, 14. We went to a college football game the night before I preached. As we sat in the stadium, my heart was overcome with emotion. I wondered where time had gone. It seemed like yesterday these boys were crawling around on the floor, and now they are beginning the journey of becoming young men. The truth is time marches on.
A few weeks ago, I watched some video clips from the first annual meeting of the SBTC. I was a senior in high school at the time. It was November 1998, with a packed house at Woodforest Baptist Church in Houston. The atmosphere was electric, and people were excited about this new convention being formed to stand firmly on the inerrancy of Scripture and work closely with the Southern Baptist Convention at large to reach Texas and impact the world. That day, the SBTC began its incredible ministry that God has continued to bless. For the last 23 years, time has been marching on.
Through the cooperation of SBTC churches, Dr. Jim Richards’ superb leadership, and the team he assembled through the years, the SBTC has grown from 120 churches to nearly 2,700. As time marched on, God poured out his blessings upon the convention. We have been and remain a network of churches focused on missions and evangelism, cooperating within the parameters of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. This has served us well. We have seen great ministry accomplished across Texas together, all while time marches on.
I remember the moment the search team invited me to be presented as the next executive director of the SBTC. My mind and heart were immediately overwhelmed with excitement and gratefulness. I stood in that room humbled and honored to be considered to follow Dr. Richards. However, in the midst of all the emotions, I also felt a sense of resolve. I was, and am today, resolved to see us move the ball forward together, resolved to see us accelerate the gospel’s impact across Texas at an expedited rate. I am resolved to see us plant more churches than we ever have before. I am resolved to see us move the needle on reaching the lost in our state. I believe that together, we will see great days ahead.
The people who gathered in 1998 with a vision for the SBTC served so faithfully. Their vision and hope became a reality that has lasted 23 years. Their convictions about the Word of God and their investment of time, participation and resources served as the catalyst to get us to this place today.
As great as the last 23 years have been, we are still faced with the reality that time continues to march on. Today, we continue to stand for those foundational reasons we started and that have enabled us to grow. We must hold fast to our core values and yet begin to develop new approaches and strategies to serve the next generation of churches, pastors and leaders. The core group in 1998 had no idea that their next executive director was in high school when they formed. Yet they knew there needed to be a convention that would not compromise the Word of God for any reason. I am so grateful they did.
As we move toward the future, let us walk together with a renewed sense of passion and unity. Let us lock arms to reach Texas and impact the world. Let us be found faithful like those who started the SBTC in 1998 because soon we will all look up and realize, time is marching on. I love you and am grateful for you!