Cross-country church connections bringing revival
By John Hall
Texas Baptist Communications
Prayer is connecting Texas Baptists with Christians from New England to the Rocky Mountains, and it is bringing revival with it, firsthand observers report.
Churches in the San Felipe and Colorado Baptist associations, which make up Coastal Plains Baptist Area, have connected with Christians in New England and Colorado through prayer-based partnerships.
San Felipe Association is partnered with Southeast New England Baptist Association, and Colorado Association is partnering with Arkansas Valley Baptist Association in the state of Colorado. The Baptist General Convention of Texas and its Texas Partnerships Resource Center facilitated both relationships.
Rather than launching the partnerships with mission projects, Harold Sellers, director of missions for the Coastal Plains Baptist Area, started by pairing at least one Texas church with each congregation in the New England and Colorado associations.
Leaders communicate prayer requests, needs and praises to each other at least once a month, Sellers said. From there, a relationship has developed naturally. Ministers from Colorado Baptist Association in Texas sent their pictures to leaders in the Arkansas Valley Baptist Association in Colorado.
The communication and prayer have been encouraging, Colorado and New England directors of missions said. There are fewer churches in these areas than in Texas, and ministers are not as well connected.
“We have some churches here where it is 45 to 50 miles to the next Southern Baptist church,” said Frank Cornelius, director of missions for the Arkansas Valley Baptist Association in southeastern Colorado. “The pastors get lonely.”
“It is such a source of encouragement to know people are praying for each other,” said Rafael Hernandez, director of missions for the Southeast New England Baptist Association, which includes Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut.
Communication helps each side know the other’s needs, Sellers said. Then each party has set out to assist the other.
San Felipe Association helped put together the first youth camp for Southeast New England Association in several years. Later, the Texas churches donated money to help New Englanders turn a church into an associational office.
Texas ministers consoled a family with Colorado state ties after the loss of a loved one. Texas Baptists also have done several projects in Colorado.
And Baptists from New England and Colorado have helped Texas churches by sharing ideas about ministries that worked for them. Colorado Christians also repaired facilities at the Baptist encampment at Palacios last year.
“It’s been a true partnership,” Cornelius said. “We’ve done a lot together.”
The relationships have brought revival to Coastal Plains Baptist Area, Sellers said. Churches allowed God to work in their ministry because it was based in prayer.
“I think one of our greatest needs today is revival,” he said. “I think that always starts with prayer.”
For more information on partnership missions, contact the BGCT Texas Partnerships Resource Center at (214) 828-5181.