Future Focus Committee explores dreams, fears for BGCT

DALLAS—Members of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Future Focus Committee voiced both their dreams and their fears for the state convention during their Aug. 5 meeting in Dallas.

Unity, commitment to missions and evangelism, strengthened Cooperative Program giving and engagement of the young generation in BGCT life topped the list of dreams, said Stephen Hatfield, co-chair of the committee and pastor of First Baptist Church in Lewisville.

Empower churches 

Failure to achieve each of those dreams and consequently “slide into irrelevancy” marked the greatest fear noted by committee members, he reported.
“There was a clear consensus that we want to move forward and help the BGCT empower churches to perform their kingdom assignment,” Hatfield said.

The Future Focus Committee grew out of a motion introduced at the 2007 BGCT annual meeting by Ed Jackson, a layman from First Baptist Church in Garland, that called on the BGCT president and executive board chairman to appoint a committee to consider a shared vision for the BGCT for 2020.

Jackson’s motion called on the committee to bring interim reports to the Executive Board at its February, May and September meetings and bring its final report to the 2008 BGCT annual meeting.

Messengers to the annual meeting subsequently approved a substitute motion by Philip Wise of Lubbock, chair of the committee on convention business. The substitute motion called on the committee to meet after the selection of a new executive director and set the 2009 BGCT annual meeting as the deadline for a final report.

Hatfield stressed the committee’s desire to be thorough in its research, deliberations and recommendations.

“We want to produce something that is not just put on a shelf but that is authentic, meaningful and memorable,” Hatfield said.

Next meeting Nov. 3 

The Future Focus Committee will meet again Nov. 3, spending time in subcommittees devoted to studying issues related to finances and resources, institutions and Executive Board staff. The committee also will schedule a two-day retreat in January.

Hatfield chairs the finance subcommittee. Other members of the subcommittee are Elizabeth Hanna of Nederland, chair of the BGCT Executive Board’s administration support committee; Fred Roach of Richardson, chair of the BGCT Executive Board’s finance subcommittee; Russell Dilday, chancellor of the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and former seminary president; Jeff Harris, pastor of GracePoint Church in San Antonio; Jackson of Garland; Tom Lyles of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler; and Gary Morgan, pastor of Cowboy Church of Ellis County in Waxahachie.

Andy Pittman, co-chair of the Future Focus Committee and pastor of First Baptist Church in Lufkin, chairs the subcommittee on institutions. Its other members are Paul Armes, president of Wayland Baptist University; Jeane Law of First Baptist Church in Lubbock; Joanna Berry, vice president of South Texas Children’s Home Family Ministry and International Childcare; David Lowrie, pastor of First Baptist Church in Canyon; Rene Maciel, president of Baptist University of the Americas; Bob Schmeltekopf, retired director of missions; and Mark Wingfield, associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

Steve Vernon, BGCT immediate past president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Levelland, chairs the subcommittee on Executive Board staff. Its other members are Randy Babin, director of missions for Soda Lake Baptist Association; Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield; Frankie Harvey of Nacogdoches Bible Fellowship in Nacogdoches; Peter Leong, pastor of Southwest Chinese Baptist Church in Stafford; Joseph Parker, pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church Austin; Taylor Sandlin, pastor of Southland Baptist Church in San Angelo; Noe Trevino, BGCT church starter; and David Keith, pastor of Carlton Baptist Church in Carlton.

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