WACO—Michael Evans, newly re-elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, reminded Texas Baptists they are compelled to serve and to implore people to accept Christ’s invitation.
Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, delivered his presidential message during a worship service following the opening business session at Texas Baptists’ annual meeting, Nov. 18 in Waco.
Preaching on Jesus’ parable of the great banquet as recorded in Luke 14:16-24, Evans not only called Texas Baptists to “come to the table,” but also invite others to join them.
“We are challenged to invite everybody to the table,” he said. “Excuses will no longer be tolerated. There is too much at stake.”
Out of the box, not out of the Bible
God has called Texas Baptist churches, blessed them with great resources and equipped each of them to minister within a unique context, he insisted.
“Our churches represent the changing face of Texas,” Evans said. “We are rich in diversity.”
He urged Texas Baptists to consider a principle Bethlehem Baptist Church follows as it seeks to be creative in its varied ministry approaches but true to unchanging gospel truth.
“We can be out of the box, but we cannot be out of the Bible,” he said.
Evans encouraged churches around the state to proclaim the Good News of Christ, letting people know “there is still room” at the banquet table.
“There is safety in the arms of Jesus. There is healing in the arms of Jesus,” he said. “There is salvation in the arms of Jesus.”
During the business session, messengers to the 2019 BGCT annual meeting adopted a $35.1 million total Texas 2020 budget and re-elected officers by acclamation for a second one-year term.
The 2020 budget depends on $27.5 million in Texas Cooperative Program receipts from churches, compared to $28.35 million in the 2019 budget. It projects slightly more than $5 million in investment income, compared to $4.9 million in the 2019 budget. It also includes more than $2.5 million in additional anticipated revenue from conference and booth fees, product sales, the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board and other sources.
At the recommendation of the BGCT Executive Board, messengers approved $1.15 million for Texas worldwide missions partnerships and initiatives in 2020. They include missions mobilization, River Ministry/Mexico missions, Texas Partnerships, Baptist World Alliance, intercultural international initiatives, Go Now Missions, Hispanic Education Task Force and chaplaincy.
Messengers also approved without changes the trustees, directors and others as presented by the BGCT Committee on Committees, Committee to Nominate Executive Board Directors and Committee on Nominations for Boards of Affiliated Ministries.
During the introduction of items of miscellaneous business, Janice Trujillo from Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi made a motion requesting that Texas Baptists study designating a Texas Churches Care Day Offering for ministries that River Ministry missionaries help provide to meet the needs of migrant families.
Motions introduced as items of the miscellaneous business are referred to the Committee on Annual Meeting either for referral to another convention entity or for consideration by messengers during the second business session.