GRAPEVINE—The Southern Baptists of Texas Conventions Executive Board elected Texas church planter Shane Pruitt as its new director of missions and approved a proposed 2016 operating budget of $27.1 million during its summer meeting in Grapevine, Aug. 11.
Pruitt, 36, planted C3 (Connection Community Church) in Rowlett in November 2010 through the support of the SBTC, and the congregation has grown to more than 600 in less than five years. Pruitt replaces former missions director Terry Coy, who retired in June after serving in the position since 2008.
Kie Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, introduced Pruitt, saying, “God’s using him in a great way in the area of evangelism among young people.”
SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards echoed Bowman’s remarks, adding, “When this vacancy became open, we looked for someone who was a practitioner, someone has done it—and (Pruitt) has done it. He has been a faithful pastor and church planter (who has) grown that church to a place where it is now making a difference in Rowlett and around the world as he participates through the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
“I believe that because of his life experience at such a young age and because of his young age that he is giving us a completely different approach to our church planting efforts in Texas, where we need to recruit young church planters to go into our under-evangelized and unevangelized areas.”
Part of Pruitt’s job description as director of missions includes the development of a statewide church planting network. Richards told board members that the job description was crafted to fit Pruitt’s strengths in church planting, with his primary role being to recruit and mobilize church planters in Texas.
Pruitt shared his testimony and vision for SBTC missions with board members, stating, “I believe in church planting, and I believe in the SBTC. We (C3) are a product of the SBTC, a product of the Cooperative Program, and I love what the SBTC is all about.”
Pruitt acknowledged the great foundation and track record of the SBTC’s missions department and said, “I’m not coming in to overhaul anything. What I want to do is champion what they’re already doing.”
He shared an immediate vision that he believes God has given him called “Pray 100 Plant 100.” Pruitt described it as an initiative “calling all 2,500 of our churches to get on our knees before the Lord and plead with the sovereign Lord to raise up 100 planters that will plant 100 biblically based, kingdom-focused, missionally driven churches across the state of Texas.”
Pruitt has been actively involved with the SBTC and affiliated ministries for a number of years, giving the English testimony and gospel presentation for the 1Cross mobile app, an evangelism tool created by the convention, and serving as a trustee for the Texas Baptist Home for Children in Waxahachie.
Prior to planting C3, Pruitt served as youth pastor and associate pastor at churches in Fate and Garland for 10 years. Since 2002, he has also been a traveling preacher and Bible teacher at student camps, revivals, DiscipleNows, college retreats, marriage retreats and church planter panels.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Criswell College, a Master of Liberal Arts from Dallas Baptist University and a Ph.D. in Clinical Christian Counseling from Cornerstone University in Lake Charles, La. Pruitt is married to Kasi, and they have three children.
The board approved a recommended budget for 2016 of $27,743,629 that requires approval of SBTC messengers during the convention’s annual meeting at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Nov. 8-10. The SBTC will continue to forward 55 percent of CP receipts for SBC ministry and retain 45 percent for Texas missions and ministry. The board also approved a recommendation to send 100 percent of all 2016 Cooperative Program receipts that exceed the budget to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program.
Through the end of July, Cooperative Program receipts were $15,810,793—slightly up from the $15,688,282 given through July 2014, Chief Financial Officer Joe Davis said. To date, the net operating income through July was $808,837, mostly the result of underspending, Davis said, with SBTC designated giving and investment income also contributing.
Meanwhile, giving through mission offerings by SBTC churches showed small decreases over the previous year with giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions closing in May with $8.53 million—down from $9.02 million the previous giving year.
The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions, with nine months reporting, showed a decrease of $144,982 for total giving of $2.51 million. Reach Texas giving was up nearly $30,000 through 10 months with a total of $1.26 million given.
The board approved affiliation requests from 30 churches, bringing the total number of affiliated churches to 2,510. Four churches that have disbanded, four that merged with other congregations, and three that disaffiliated were removed. Board members heard a report from SBTC Director of Pastor/Church Relations Heath Peloquin on the church count protocol to ensure accuracy, accountability and transparency in reporting the number of affiliated churches in the convention.
Joshua Crutchfield, pastor of First Baptist Church of Trenton, was approved as the recipient of the 2015 H. Paul Pressler Distinguished Service Award during the SBTC annual meeting.
The Board also heard reports from SBTC-affiliated ministries—Texas Baptist Home for Children, Jacksonville College, Criswell College and the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation. Eddie Marsh of TBH reported that they have 150 children in their care at this time. Mike Smith, president of Jacksonville College, expressed appreciation for SBTC disaster relief teams who assisted in tree removal after storms this past spring. He also shared about a number of students who have come to faith in Christ over the past year. Barry Creamer, giving his first report to the board since his election as president of Criswell College in 2014, said the school will open a new program in elementary education next fall, which opens the doors for more students, has added more than $1 million to the endowment, and hopes to eliminate its final debt by year’s end. Bart McDonald of the SBTF reported that the foundation has approved a total of $6.3 million in loans to Texas churches so far in 2015 and continues to aid individuals and churches with planned giving as part of an overall stewardship strategy.
The administrative committee reported on the convention’s post-retirement and survivor medical benefits for ministry staff. The board also approved a reserve funding request for a pilot project called MK Breakaway Camp for children of church ministers.
Richards also gave his executive director report. Despite recent events in the nation, such as the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage and President Obama’s deal with Iran, Richards said, “With all these things happening around us, turmoil in the churches and in the culture, the kingdom of God continues to move forward.”
Richards rejoiced at the ongoing evangelistic impact of the SBTC student camps and Engage revival teams. He also noted that the number of SBTC-supported church plants continues to flourish, and he has been thankful for the statewide regional prayer gatherings led by SBTC President Jimmy Pritchard. Richards concluded his report by mentioning his excitement for the upcoming annual meeting, where the convention’s Reach Houston initiative will be launched and the SBTC and Baptist Missionary Association of Texas will gather together for a joint worship service.