DALLAS—Joanna Jespersen, minister to children and families at Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, will nominate Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland, for first vice president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
“I have known Jason and Kristi Burden for several years. They are some of the best of who we are as Texas Baptists,” Jespersen said.
Burden has been pastor of churches of varied sizes and “has led each one with distinction,” Jespersen said. “He is not only a great pastor; he is also a friend to pastors.”
Kristi Burden is an author, blogger, teacher and “fantastic pastor’s wife,” she added, noting together they make “a great team.”
Jespersen particularly singled out Burden for his ministry after Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas.
“His leadership in the Texas Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Harvey was second to none,” she said. “He led FBC Nederland to host the Baptist Men of North Carolina (disaster relief team), and FBC Nederland became a major contributor during this difficult time during our state’s history.”
‘Been so well served by Texas Baptists’
Seeing the ministry Texas Baptists provided to churches, families and individuals along the Gulf Coast after the hurricane hit underscored his commitment to cooperation and his appreciation to other Baptists in the state, Burden said.
“I would be honored to serve Texas Baptists because I have been so well served by Texas Baptists,” he said.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last year, pastors in Southeast Texas found encouragement in the many expressions of concern shown by Baptists around the state, he said.
“We were the recipients of a lot of grace and kindness,” Burden said. “Our Texas Baptist friends and family reached out, called to check on us and brought resources to us.”
Some members of First Baptist in Nederland still have not been able to move back into their homes, but the church facility escaped serious damage, he said.
So, this summer, the Nederland church will house volunteer rebuilding groups, particularly teams from the BGCT’s Bounce student disaster recovery program.
“We’ll turn our building into Hotel First Baptist Church,” Burden said.
Strength in relationships
If elected, Burden said, he wants to “bear witness to the strength we find in our relationships” and to highlight the good things Texas Baptists are able to achieve through cooperation.
In a society characterized by “a lack of civility,” Texas Baptists have the opportunity to model how diverse people can work together in harmony to achieve “a God-sized mission,” he said.
Burden, who grew up in Hico, earned his undergraduate degree from Tarleton State University and both a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary.
He has been pastor at First Baptist Church in Nederland since 2011. His previous pastorates include Dorcas Wills Memorial Baptist Church in Trinity and First Baptist Church in Chilton. His first ministry experience was as volunteer youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Iredell.
He has served as moderator both in Golden Triangle Baptist Association and Falls Baptist Association. He also served on the BGCT Committee to Nominate Executive Board Directors and on the Committee on the Annual Meeting.
He and his wife Kristi have three children—Hayden, 21; Hallie, 17; and Rylie, 12.