Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4).
I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity to serve Texas Baptists as convention president. I am both honored and humbled to be the third Hispanic leader to serve in this capacity. I also am very excited about promoting the good work of Texas Baptists and providing leadership and unity as God would use me.
I am thankful I grew up in a Christian home with a mom who took us to First Baptist Church in Tucumcari, N.M., and then to see my father have a dynamic change in his life to become a radical follower of Jesus Christ. His conversion changed our family.
I am thankful I had the opportunity to attend Hardin-Simmons University, where my faith continued to develop and mature. It was there God opened doors for me to speak, preach and lead worship in many meetings and churches.
I am thankful President Jesse Fletcher asked me to stay around Hardin-Simmons after I graduated to help recruit others to the university. It was this opportunity that led me to appreciate and be thankful for Christian higher education.
I am thankful that over the many years God has used me in Texas Baptist institutions—at Hardin-Simmons, Baylor University, Truett Seminary and Baptist University of the Américas—to promote and recruit students to consider Texas Baptist higher education. He especially used me to encourage Hispanic students and their families to pursue their dream of obtaining an education. My dad was the first in our family to obtaina degree, and I was the second.
I am thankful for the Texas Baptist institutions that are foundational to Texas Baptist life—from our universities, to the hospitals, to the child care agencies. We truly have wonderful resources of education and care in our convention.
I am thankful for how Texas Baptists have formed me and continue to shape my heart and life toward kingdom work. My dad taught and coached 30 years in public education in New Mexico until God led him to Texas to be a Baptist pastor for 27 years. So, I also have been a Texas Baptist pastor’s kid.
I am thankful for all Texas Baptists mean to me. How about you? Can you stop and thank God for the kingdom work of Texas Baptists in your life? I will enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and president of Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.