DALLAS—A log cabin—supposedly built by Dallas founder John Neely Bryan—stands in the heart of the city as a symbol of its pioneering spirit. Christians in 21st century North Texas must be inspired to forge ahead like those early adventurers, shaping the area’s future, said Albert Reyes, Buckner International president and chief executive officer.
While Dallas prospers in many ways, it faces significant challenges, particularly regarding children. More than 190,000 area children live below the poverty line. About 28 percent of Dallas County children face food insecurity. Nearly 1,300 young people were homeless in 2011—half of them younger than age 7.
In the midst of these circumstances, Christians must rise to the occasion, Reyes urged. That journey begins with humbling oneself before God.
“It may be time for us to go back in order to go forward,” Reyes said. “To go back to the founding cabin and get on our knees to repent—to ask for God’s power, his favor and his blessing and to ask for this city.”
From there, Christians will remember Christ remains the answer for all cities, he stressed.
“As far back as the first century, the Christian community has always had a sustainable answer,” Reyes said. “The answer was the Jesus way. It is the Jesus way that gives life. It is the Jesus way that shines hope. It is the Jesus way that takes what was meant for harm and turns it into good. It is the Jesus way that redeems the life of a child to his or her full potential. It is the Jesus way that says, ‘Let the children come to me’ so they might be blessed.”
Buckner served among the sponsors for Greater Dallas Movement Day, which included breakout sessions focused on making a difference in pressing issues in the area.
Buckner played a leading role in starting discussions about ways churches could recruit more people to foster and adopt in the next five years. The conversation including leading experts, staff members, churches and volunteers passionate about the topic.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas also sponsored the event, with BGCT Executive Board staff members leading breakout sessions focused on hunger and ministering in a multicultural urban area. Other sponsors included Dallas Baptist Association, the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, Park Cities Baptist Church and Dallas Baptist University.
Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and a keynote speaker, hopes the event marks the beginning of a movement of churches working together for God’s kingdom in Dallas.
“Every Christian has the power to minister,” he said. “Every Christian has the power to serve.”
Movement Day first started in New York City in 2012. Led by Mac Pier of the New York City Leadership Center and Keller, Christians in more than 360 cities around the world have gathered to make it a global event for spiritual change.
In addition to Reyes and Keller, keynote speakers were Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Bryan Carter, senior pastor of Concord Church in Dallas.