GRAPEVINE—A great year for church planting through Send Network SBTC is ending with a special opportunity for planters.
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Director Nathan Lorick on Friday announced the SBTC will provide portable baptistries for church plants that plant through Send Network SBTC. Though this initiative will begin Jan. 1, 2023, the SBTC will also make this opportunity available to any Send Network SBTC church plants that launched in 2022.
The gift of baptistries, which can often be costly, will be a practical and welcome tool for church planters who often operate on tight budgets and with limited resources. Lorick said the heart of the effort to provide baptistries is to serve and resource planters as they launch new churches across our state. One of the most tangible ways to do this, he said, is by helping them be able to take the gospel to the people in their community.
“I love church planters. I know they face unique challenges as they work diligently to fulfill the calling God has on their lives,” Lorick said. “As they see lives transformed, we also want them to have the opportunity to celebrate as churches by being able to baptize those who have come to Christ. It is an awesome privilege to provide church plants with a tool like this as they seek to reach their communities for Christ.
“I know many church plants may not have the space or need for this gift,” Lorick added. “However, if a church plant needs one and desires to have one, the SBTC considers it an honor to come alongside these churches and provide this opportunity.”
Send Network SBTC Director Julio Arriola said the gift of baptistries “has the potential to make a difference in dozens of churches every year.”
“We believe in our church planters and we know they are doing what they are called to do—engaging their communities with the gospel and making disciples of Jesus,” Arriola said. “Providing a baptistry to each one of our church plants when they launch will be a clear statement that we believe lost people will be reached with the gospel at that new church and that they will not need to go somewhere else to celebrate baptisms.”
Arriola said Send Network SBTC leaders not only understand the limited funds planters have, but the logistical challenges they face when they do not have their own baptistries. Those planters often are forced to find alternative locations or means to baptize the people they reach.
The end of 2022 also marks the end of the first full year of the church planting partnership between the SBTC and Send Network SBTC. During that time, Arriola said, “We have seen more churches planting churches than we have seen since 2005.” He added that the network has started English and Spanish Send Network assessment retreats for Texas planters, and that it also has been working on developing church planting residencies.
“That is allowing us to see an amazing record harvest of new churches,” Arriola said.