Salado church pressing on after tornado destroys building
It wasn’t church as usual, but there was much to thank the Lord for when First Cedar Valley Baptist Church met for Sunday services on May 8.
Meeting in a temporary building with only studs holding up a partial roof, the church sang hymns such as “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” prayed, and pastor Donnie Jackson did what he does every Sunday—he preached the Word of God. A little less than a month before, on April 12, an EF-3 tornado tore through Salado and destroyed 76 buildings. First Cedar Valley was one of them.
“Lord, we’re facing some things ahead where we know we’re going to have to work together,” Jackson prayed as the service began, with a steady breeze blowing between the studs and crinkling Bible pages.
Despite the challenging circumstances, the ministry of the church carries on. At the service on May 8, Jackson reminded the congregation that they were continuing their campaign to donate funds to a local pregnancy center. Immediately following the tornado, the church met outside, then in a tent, and now is meeting in a temporary building.
“You’ve got to accept what is. Don’t look at what was. Look at what is to come,” Jackson told the Texan last month. “It’s been hard in the flesh, but I believe Romans 8:28. I don’t know what God’s purpose is, but we’ll be stronger. We’ll reach more people than we would have been able to reach.”
Svajda joins SBTC as pastoral ministries associateAnthony Svajda has been named pastoral ministries associate in the Church Health & Leadership department of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He was officially hired by the SBTC Executive Board in April and began work in May. Svajda has served as lead pastor at Harvey Baptist Church in Stephenville since 2015 and has also served as an associate pastor, collegiate pastor, and student pastor in locations including Jewett, Colleyville, Keller, and Watauga. He received his Ph.D. in evangelism and church vitalization from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2018 and his Master of Divinity in evangelism from SWBTS in 2013. Svajda and his wife, Kristen, have two children. In addition to his pastoral duties, he currently serves as a member of the SBTC Executive Board.
CP giving among SBTC churches in 2021 is highest everCooperative Program giving in 2021 was the highest it has ever been in Southern Baptists of Texas Convention history, Executive Director Nathan Lorick said in April. Lorick attributed the record amount—$27,283,572.03—to two things: a belief in cooperative missions work that encourages faithful giving, and also the quality of missionaries, church planters, disaster relief workers, and all other efforts “that the Cooperative Program fuels and sends.” The record giving, he noted, happened in the midst of uncertain times that some felt might lead to a decrease in giving. “Let’s not miss that today,” Lorick added, “that in the midst of people saying the sky is falling, I think God’s just getting started.”
SWBTS board approves $37.3 million budgetheological Seminary board of trustees has approved the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget of $37.367 million, representing a 5.86% increase over the current year. The budget includes a 3% cost-of-living increase for faculty and full-time staff, a 3% increase in tuition and fees, as well as targeted investments in Hispanic programs, technology infrastructure, and other campus improvements. “It is my joy to report to the board of trustees that the state of Southwestern Seminary is strong, and it is growing stronger every day by God’s grace,” Adam W. Greenway, president of Southwestern Seminary and Texas Baptist College, said in his report to the board during the April 5 plenary session. Additionally, Danny Roberts—executive pastor of North Richland Hills Baptist Church—was re-elected to role as chairman of the board. Information from SWBTS was used in this report.
SBTC executive board takes action to support life initiativesGEORGETOWN—The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention executive board unanimously approved two motions that will provide ministry for the most vulnerable at its April meeting. One of the motions approved a reserves funding grant to be given to the Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The funds specifically will be used to purchase six ultrasound machines and training for pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) in Texas. Each of the six PRCs have made urgent requests for the machines, as there has been a drastic increase in the number of women being served since the passing of the Heartbeat Bill in Texas. One clinic in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has reported a 48% increase in clients over the previous year. On the other end of the life spectrum, the board approved another reserves fund grant to Mission Dignity, a ministry of Guidestone Financial Resources which serves to honor retired Southern Baptist ministers, workers, and widows struggling to meet basic needs through advocacy and financial assistance. Mission Dignity funds 12 monthly gifts to approximately 263 individuals in Texas, of which 178 are widows or widowers. The reserves fund grant approved by the executive board will be used to provide a 13th check as a bonus/love gift over and above the normal 12 monthly gifts.