Ruane named Standard development director. Tom Ruane, who served 36 years with the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board staff, has been named director of development for the Baptist Standard. He will work alongside Leroy Fenton. Ruane served as a campus minister and Bible teacher at Tarleton State University, Howard Payne University and the University of Texas at Arlington. He worked in the student ministry division at the Baptist Building from 1979 to 2000. Since then, he has been associate coordinator of institutional ministries and director of church relations consultants. He has been interim pastor of 26 churches and the pastor of two cowboy churches, in Ennis and in Kaufman County, where he continues to serve.
Weslaco church returns funds to BGCT. First Baptist Church in Weslaco returned $26,550 in Baptist General Convention of Texas church-starting funds that were used in a questionable manner. The funds were allocated to First Baptist Church to start a congregation that would originate as a third worship service at First Baptist Church. Most of the membership of First Baptist Church reportedly never understood it was starting another congregation, and former Pastor Jonathan Becker claimed the BGCT funds as a salary supplement for leading the new church. Last fall, Becker returned the funds to First Baptist Church in Weslaco, and the church agreed to return the funds to the BGCT. The BGCT has agreed not to seek any additional funds from the congregation. The total returned matches the amount BGCT records show went to First Baptist Church in Weslaco for the church-start in question. Additional funds were used to support First Baptist Church’s work in starting two other churches that continue operation. BGCT funds appear to have been used according to the guidelines in those instances, administrators report.
DBU meets challenge, receives $1 million grant. Dallas Baptist University received a $1 million challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., after raising $15 million toward the construction of the Patty and Bo Pilgrim Chapel. Pilgrim Chapel will be a 77,000-square-foot facility with a 1,500-seat sanctuary, as well as classroom space, faculty and staff offices, reception hall and prayer ministry offices.
Cepeda named bivocational/small church director. Robert Cepeda has been named Baptist General Convention of Texas bivocational/smaller membership church ministries director. Cepeda assumed the role Jan. 1 after serving as a BGCT church starter in the Rio Grande Valley since 2007. Prior to joining the BGCT Executive Board staff, Cepeda was pastor of First Baptist Church in Los Fresnos. He also served as associate pastor and later as pastor at Primera Iglesia Bautista in San Benito. He was on staff at Baptist Temple Church in San Benito and First Baptist Church in Overton. Of his 17-year ministry experience in churches, more than half was in bivocational service. He is first vice president of the Texas Bivocational/Smaller Membership Church Ministers and Spouses Association. For three years, he served as second vice president of the group. He was a member of the BGCT Executive Board two years, including service as chairman of the Missions & Ministry Committee.