God working through our efforts together

July 23rd, 2018 / By: Jim Richards | Executive Director / comments

God has been on the move in the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He has showered his favor on us. Let’s give him praise together. Here is my praise report.

The summer began with staff retreats. The senior staff met separately, followed by all ministry staff having a time of discussion and deliberation. Planning consisted of 2019 calendaring, preliminary budgeting for ministry and personnel evaluations. We are always seeking to make the SBTC staff better in order to serve the churches.

The Southern Baptist Convention was held in Dallas and allowed the SBTC to be front and center before the messengers. The SBTC was able to secure a coveted spot directly behind the registration desk in the exhibit hall. Everyone who came through the main entrance passed by our booth. We were able to connect with people who wanted more information about the SBTC or needed assistance. SBTC was a headline partner with the ERLC in the Global Hunger Relief Run. This gave us an opportunity to connect with younger pastors. The SBC Executive Committee allowed the SBTC to direct the prayer room for the annual meeting. Ted Elmore led this effort as we sought to keep the focus on spiritual matters. I believe the prayer involvement allowed a more positive outcome to the annual meeting than otherwise would have been the case.

The SBTC staff has worked overtime this summer in numerous student camps. The final numbers are not in but at this time hundreds have made professions of faith and scores have answered God’s call to ministry. This summer is the largest registration for student camps in SBTC history. Next summer the SBTC is expanding camp opportunities. We are grateful to God that he has given us the privilege of investing in the next generation. 

On a personal level, I had 32 preaching events in the first 26 weeks of 2018. My fourth book was released at the Southern Baptist Convention. The title is Hard Hat Area: Building Biblical Families. Families live in a construction zone. Prayerfully this book will help strengthen lives. It was my privilege to serve on the SBC Evangelism Task Force appointed by President Steve Gaines. Our report was given at the annual meeting. Once again Southern Baptists are challenged to make gospel conversations a high priority. In addition to these activities, I have attended various denominational meetings, SBTC events, directed staff and had one on one conversations about ministry with pastors and staff. 

The preceding paragraphs were part of a report I gave to the SBTC Executive Committee and later to the Executive Board. It is important to remember that the denominational headquarters is the local church. Each local church has a say in the direction of our shared work through the convention. Messengers elect members to the Executive Board. The Executive Board is tasked to represent the convention between the annual meetings. The Executive Committee, comprised of the officers of the Executive Board, acts for the Executive Board between board meetings. All of this organization enables the churches to have a constant presence in the life of the state convention. Transparency produces trust. The SBTC Executive Committee and Board have sought to keep the churches apprised of our mutual mission and ministry. The churches, through their messengers, have the final say at the annual meeting. Neither the Executive Committee nor the Executive Board can overturn a decision of the convention. The local church remains the headquarters.

This fall, messengers from the churches of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention will meet at Second Baptist Church, North (Kingwood). Our theme is, Entrusted: A Gospel Legacy for the Coming Generations. I will give my report to those who gather. I look forward to thanking God for his blessings of the past 20 years. I join with you looking to the future as we continue to promote unity around the BF&M 2000 to accomplish cooperative work through the Cooperative Program.