We passed another milestone in this 10th year of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s existence. Over 2,000 churches have affiliated with us. The SBTC has grown dramatically since starting with only 120 congregations. This is quite phenomenal.
Some organizations use “funny” math to count their numbers. One such group is the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. They will list churches as members when one person designates money through the church’s office. The SBTC is careful to recognize only local congregations that have sought affiliation. There are several steps required of churches to be a part of the convention. Monetary contributions alone are not sufficient for affiliation.
The process begins with the local church taking official action to affirm the doctrinal position of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. This makes the SBTC a confessional fellowship. Churches affiliate because they want to be part of a group of churches that stand unashamedly for historic Baptist beliefs.
An initial mission gift accompanies the affiliation form to the SBTC office. Once the affiliation form is recorded, the Credentials Committee of the SBTC reviews the requests and passes it along to the Executive Board. The Executive Board votes to receive the congregation into the convention.
Doctrinal fidelity has been the hallmark of the SBTC. Boldly, churches stand together on the inerrant Word of God. Belief in the exclusivity of salvation in Jesus Christ, eternal security of the believer, believer’s baptism by immersion and the primacy of the local church are just some of the common bonds that hold us together.
Because of a belief in a totally true and trustworthy Bible, social and moral issues are addressed. The sanctity of human life, which values life from conception, is clearly expressed in our faith statement. The sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman is underscored in our beliefs. What we believe is who we are and should be how we live!
We can never say we have arrived, however. The battle for the Bible will never be over until Jesus comes again. But I think it is time in our 10th year to acknowledge that the SBTC has come of age. We are no longer “the other” convention. We are no longer the “new” convention. The SBTC is a viable ministry partner as churches come together to “Reach Texas and Touch the World.”
In a stronger and more determined way we can turn our attention in this 10th year to a kingdom focus. We have the opportunity as a group of churches to plant new churches and do missions in Texas as never before. Through prayer and work we can also see struggling churches turn around and experience a fresh breath from God.
As a group of churches, the SBTC is positioned to minister to one another in a new approach. Your staff is reassessing in order to do a better of job of ministering to your church. I have never been more optimistic about a move of God than I am today. The SBTC is poised to make a difference for the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us seize the moment.
Pray with me that God will unleash a powerful display of his grace upon us as we seek to bring glory to his name.