Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Focus on Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation, Sexual Misconduct, and Mental Health at Annual Meeting

Messengers to the 2019 Southern Baptist of Texas Convention Annual Meeting in Odessa, Texas, Oct. 28-29, elected as new officers, from left, president Kie Bowman of Austin, vice president Tony Mathews of Garland, and secretary Frances Garcia of Odessa. Southern Baptist TEXAN photo

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) emphasized the urgency of evangelism and passed resolutions on racial reconciliation, sexual misconduct and mental health at its annual meeting Oct. 28-29 at First Baptist Church of Odessa, Texas.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s evangelism outreach “Who’s Your One?” was the theme for the group’s 22 annual meeting, which featured Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Adam Greenway and International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood as guest preachers.

Messengers approved a $28.9 million budget for 2020, continuing the SBTC’s practice of sending 55 percent of undesignated receipts to the national Cooperative Program while retaining 45 percent for Texas Cooperative Program ministries. The 55 percent reflects the largest percentage of Cooperative Program giving of any state convention, SBTC said.

After a welcome from Executive Director Jim Richards, SBTC President Juan Sanchez, pastor of Austin’s High Pointe Baptist Church, gaveled the convention to order Monday evening.

Richards welcomed groups from El Paso and Midland-Odessa, announcing a time of prayer for pastors and staffs from those cities in the aftermath of August’s mass shootings.

“Texas has experienced some of the most tragic consequences of human depravity,” Richards said, praising the response of local pastors to their communities and outlining ways the SBTC has assisted.

Applause erupted as the El Paso contingent stood. Messengers surrounded them while Sanchez prayed in Spanish and English that the Lord would bless, protect and “use them in the midst of tragedy in this historic moment” to advance the Gospel. Reminding attendees that messengers voted three years ago to hold the 2019 meeting in Odessa, Richards thanked pastors and staffs from that area for their “consistent witness and testimony,” inviting them to stand, surrounded by attendees, as Sanchez again prayed.

Who’s Your One?

Chitwood called upon attendees to focus on the “one” that God would have them evangelize, recalling a visit by two Baptist deacons to his modest childhood home in the eastern Tennessee mountains where his single father raised him and his two brothers.

“I had no clue how kind the Lord was being to us, how our lives for eternity would over time forever change because of the faithful witness of two Baptist brothers, out looking for their ‘one,’ knocking on doors, inviting people to church,” Chitwood said, introducing his text, Revelation 22.

Greenway preached on Luke 5 and linked cooperation and evangelism, noting that the four friends who carried the paralyzed man on a stretcher to see Jesus did so together. He called the text an “example of those who found their ‘one.'”

Sanchez preached from 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, recalling lessons from his own time in the U.S. Navy, when the goal was to “accomplish the mission.”

Believers have a “clear mission” of going into the nations and making disciples, Sanchez said, a “clear strategy” of preaching Christ, and a “clear mission field” that is the unbelieving world hostile to God.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press