SBTC prepares to advance kingdom mission through Reach Texas offering
August 24th, 2017 / By: JC Davies / comments
Every day, 1,200 more people call Texas home, and as the state’s population grows, so too grows its need for the gospel message.
“Living in Texas means you can no longer say you live in the Bible belt,” said SBTC Director of Evangelism Shane Pruitt.
“Texas is home to 19 million people that do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. … The Bible belt has burst with lostness here in Texas.”
To ensure that Southern Baptists are equipped with the necessary tools to engage in Jesus’ Great Commission in the Lone Star State, the SBTC is inviting churches to partner again in the annual Reach Texas Missions Offering, with the 2017-2018 goal of raising $1.4 million.
Pruitt said that every penny of what is given will go directly toward advancing the kingdom through church planting, evangelism and missions in Texas.
With more than 400 different people groups represented inside its borders, Texas ranks as the most diverse state in the nation. Southern Baptists’ gifts help support the work of Pierre Bitar, who ministers to one of those people groups as the pastor of Arabic Community Church in Allen.
After coming to Dallas to continue his education in 2013, Bitar soon realized a large number of his neighbors hailed from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries.
“I started to pray, and I started to see how the fields are white and are plentiful for harvest,” he said.
With support from Southern Baptists, he is now able to serve local Arabic peoples by offering them a community while they are far from loved ones and by telling them of Christ’s salvation.
“We eat with them. We celebrate with them, and we pray, and the most important thing (is) that we share the gospel with them,” Bitar said. “I’m so grateful for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and for the generosity and for their support and for help to be able to accomplish this ministry.”
Funds from the Reach Texas offering also help meet physical needs through the SBTC disaster relief ministry, which works with local churches to assist with disaster cleanup and provide food and other necessities for victims.
“You come to a place where people are in anguish and in pain and hurting emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our main purpose is to make sure that we share the message of hope in Jesus Christ. It is a message that people need at that moment,” said Julian Moreno, SBTC disaster relief task force member.
Churches can prepare for the offering by participating in the Reach Texas Week of Prayer and Emphasis, from Sept. 17-24. A prayer guide is available online, which includes a seven-day devotional for individuals, families or small groups, with specific prayer points and stories of how God is using SBTC churches and ministries to reach the lost.
To download the prayer guide and access additional resources, including videos, posters, bulletin inserts and curriculum for all age ranges, visit the Reach Texas page on the SBTC website: sbtexas.com/reachtexas.