For the first time since 2009, the Reach Texas Offering for state missions broke its goal of $1.1 million as the 2011-12 giving year comes to a close and a new one begins this month.
“In spite of the economy, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches were again faithful in their giving through Reach Texas, which enables us to plant more churches, invest more in evangelistic outreach, and win more people to saving faith in Jesus Christ,” said SBTC Missions Director Terry Coy.
As of Aug. 20, churches had given $1,188,858.98 toward Reach Texas, every cent of which goes to the field because of Cooperative Program giving, which covers administrative costs.
The coming year’s Reach Texas theme is “Bienvenidos a Texas!”—with an emphasis on the ever-growing Hispanic culture of Texas—forecasted to be the largest people group by 2020 and more than 50 percent of the Texas population by 2040.
The Reach Texas Week of Prayer is Sept. 23-30 and the goal for 2012-13 is again $1.1 million.
“The Reach Texas Offering goes to do missions, evangelism and disaster relief all over Texas,” Coy emphasized. “It touches all kinds of people, but our annual emphasis is a way to highlight some of the population segments of our state. So this year’s emphasis is on Hispanic ministry—not just the idea of reaching Hispanics but rather celebrating Hispanic Baptists as full partners in reaching Texas.”
In Texas there are about 200 congregations affiliated with the SBTC that would identify as culturally Hispanic, including Spanish- and English-language churches, said Mike Gonzales, director SBTC language ministries.
Part of the Reach Texas Offering helps with missions efforts in places such as Laredo, where SBTC churches have helped plant churches and do evangelistic outreach the last several years, to El Paso, the site of a church planting and evangelistic effort in spring 2013.
Coy said the largest portion of the Reach Texas Offering—75 percent—helps fund mission strategies, including church plants, and 25 percent funds evangelism strategies.
Fifty-eight church plants are currently under funding with 17 newly planted churches in 2012. The convention doesn’t plant churches itself but instead partners with church-planting churches and associations to provide supplemental funding for up to three years.
“God has been faithful, churches have been generous and one of the things we are praying for this year is for God to call out new church planters. The resources are there; we need those who are called to plant churches to respond,” Coy said.
A 16-page prayer guide and devotional is available to familiarize churches with the missions outposts they are helping support. Each of the eight days of the prayer emphasis comes with a story—from Primera Iglesia Bautista de Pflugerville to an apartment ministry in the Booker T. Washington Terraces in Austin.
Churches may order promotional materials by calling Carmella Mechling in the SBTC missions office toll-free at 877-953-7282 (SBTC) or by e-mailing her: email@example.com. Materials are also available for download at sbtexas.com/reachtexas.