- February 5, 2013
- By John Hall, Texas Baptist Communications
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico—A steep decline in mission teams serving along the Texas-Mexico border has led to a drastic drop in training opportunities for leaders of churches in the area.
So, the Bible study team from the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board staff helped fill that gap by providing Sunday school training sessions in Ciudad Juarez.
Phil Miller, director of the team, recruited Sunday school specialists to lead conferences in January for workers with preschool, children, youth, adults and general leadership. Several months earlier, Miller and Daniel Rangel, director of Texas Baptist River Ministry, led a seminar to help pastors.
Texas Baptists long have worked hand-in-hand with Mexico Baptist leaders to help spread the hope of Christ, and they need to continue that partnership, Miller said.
“You can’t escape the fact that we’re neighbors with churches who are all along the border,” he said. “This is what we should do.”
The gratitude pastors expressed during the August training seminar confirmed Miller was following God’s call, he said.
“There was a lot of genuine excitement when I was there last time,” he said. “You feel like you’re doing the right thing when that happens.”
Training seminars such as these are made possible by gifts to missions through the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program, the primary giving channel for the convention. In 2012, the Bible study team provided 111 training events across the state.
Bible study seminars encourage leaders and strengthen churches in numerous ways, Rangel noted. They will reach people and better disciple them as a result of what they learn.
“It’s a tremendous need, because many of the pastors in Mexico have little formal training,” he said. “They do things in traditional ways like they were done when they grew up. Training like this gives them new ideas.”
Miller understands not every church is called to send groups to Juarez, and each congregation must follow God’s leadership. But headlines about violence in Mexico border cities should not be the last word in determining whether a mission group goes there, he said. He hopes this training will open some church’s eyes to the mission possibilities in the area.
“Maybe something like this opens the door to people thinking, ‘We could do that,’” he said.
For more information about River Ministry opportunities, visit www.texasbaptists.org/riverministry.