Numbers paint picture of missions
Summer brings a change of pace for most of us. Family vacations are most often planned for this time of the year. Churches take on a different dynamic, too, as the sounds of children and youth can be heard throughout the week. Camp programs, Vacation Bible Schools, summer mission trips, Super Summer youth evangelism conferences, recreational activities and local community mission involvement all contribute to the “hum” around the church house.
That hum goes on statewide, as well. Rosemary and I, along with scores of Baptist General Convention of Texas staff, attended the annual meeting of the Hispanic Baptist Convention June 22-24. In a few days, the African-American Baptist Fellowship will convene in Houston, July 8-11. What I love about these meetings is the way entire families show up. There are activities for children and young people. And the adults celebrate and rejoice in the achievements of their children and grandchildren.
BGCT Executive Board
It is the stated goal of the BGCT to “reach all people.” We want, as a pastor in the Valley expressed, our churches and convention to look like the face of Texas. We want Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and anyone else to feel as much at home in the BGCT as do Anglo-Americans. And if we are to do that effectively, we must encourage one another, and in order to do that, we must know one another.
For more than 40 years now, the Mexican Baptist Convention in Texas, now called the Hispanic Baptist Convention in Texas, has been an integral part of the BGCT. We cannot even think about the BGCT without thinking of the 1,200 Hispanic congregations, the Hispanic Baptist Theological School (now Baptist University of the Americas) in San Antonio, and the gifted and dedicated Hispanic members of the BGCT staff.
It was another great Convencion this year. These brothers and sisters are poised for the greatest advance of the gospel we have yet known in Texas Hispanic culture, in outreach to Mexico, in helping churches across America start Hispanic congregations.
The giving of the Hispanic churches through the BGCT Cooperative Program continues to climb as these churches see more and more how their giving helps them to be part of a great mission and ministry outreach throughout Texas and around the world. The BGCT priorities of starting churches and equipping leaders who can build strong and healthy churches are exactly the priorities that move the hearts of our Hispanic churches.
If you attend the African-American Fellowship meeting in Houston, you will be welcomed and blessed. There are more than 700 black congregations affiliated with the BGCT. There are growing numbers of our African-American brothers and sisters who work on our staff and who serve on the committees of our convention. More and more of their churches are giving generously through the Cooperative Program.
In the next five years, there will be 1.2 million more Hispanics in Texas than now. There will be 154,000 more African-Americans, 203,000 more Anglos, and 135,000 more of all others, mostly Asians. That means that if Texas Baptists are going to be true to God, we must share the good news of Jesus Christ with all these people. There must be more than 1,100 new churches, mostly among Hispanics. There must be more intentional multicultural congregations. And even if Texas were not adding so many new people, we would have a mission field all around us, because at least 10.5 million people now living in Texas have no relationship to a church.
We are loved.