Entrusted: A Gospel Legacy for the Coming Generations

Next month at Second Baptist Church of Houston’s north campus in Kingwood, Texas Southern Baptists will gather for another annual meeting. This meeting is special because it will begin with a celebration. Twenty years ago on November 10, messengers from 120 churches constituted the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. The birth of a new convention had not come easily. Pastors and laypersons had worked the preceding 12 months to prepare for the launch. Although considered inconsequential by many, a determined band of committed followers of Jesus started a new convention.

The Bible says we are to “honor those to whom honor is due” (Romans 14). Monday night following the opening session of the convention, the convention will host a reception to give God glory for the past 20 years. In doing so, we will recognize those founders of the SBTC. Everyone who served on the founding Executive Board will receive special acknowledgment. We will express our appreciation to all our past presidents. Other early contributors will be noted. There were many unsung contributors to help start the SBTC. The Lord knows who sacrificed for the cause of biblical inerrancy. We will sing, pray and praise God for the past 20 years.

The next morning we are turning the page to the present and future. A new look for the SBTC will be unveiled. We will also celebrate exciting ministry accomplishments by the churches. Seizing the opportunity before us together, we are ramping up church planting, evangelism and revitalization. Churches will continue to receive assistance in areas like Pastor/Church Relations and Church Ministries. SBTC en Espanol will incorporate ministry to our Hispanic churches into every ministry area. This is an exciting time to be a part of what God is doing through the SBTC. 

Tuesday night we will hear from the Southern Baptist Convention President J. D. Greear. It is more than a preaching moment. Tuesday night emphasizes a forward-looking approach to the next 20 years. As a rising generation prepares to take the reins of leadership in many areas of work together, the future is now. The SBTC and SBC will look different in 20 years. It is imperative to have change. The future is as bright as the promises of God.

This brings me back to our founding core values. These principles must never change. The SBTC is a confessional fellowship. Our confession is a broad statement that allows great latitude in many areas of biblical interpretation. It is narrow enough to define who we are as Baptists. Churches and institutions that cooperate with the SBTC can walk in agreement within the parameters of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. 

Staying Kingdom Focused is a non-negotiable. Church planting and evangelism must remain a priority. Revitalizing churches is done primarily through evangelism. A church cannot be revitalized without reaching people for Jesus with the gospel. Church planting is accomplished by gospel proclamation. In the New Testament, all new church starts were brought to life by a gospel ingathering of people. Other functions of our work together are important. Whatever else is done must circle back to helping us start churches, evangelize and revitalize.

Finally, our giving plan must not change. We may change the name of the Cooperative Program, but if we change the concept of a unified budget our work together will unravel. The Southern Baptist Convention existed 80 years without a cooperative giving plan, but mere existence is not our goal. Our future expanded gospel impact depends on a renewed loyalty to and participation through a common giving channel. 

Join me in Houston next month. We will unite our praise to God for the past 20 years, hear what God is doing among us now and expect great things from our Lord as we pledge ourselves to Reach Texas and Touch the World together!  

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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