Reach Texas: Your State Mission Offering
September 4th, 2018 / By: Jim Richards | Executive Director / comments
Most people would agree we don’t get four seasons in Texas. However, I think we have three—hot summer, January and February. Or you might say the four are Football, Football, Football and Football. Whatever your interests, September says it is fall.
Each fall the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention observes a week of prayer and offering to “Reach Texas.” This special state offering supplements the Cooperative Program. The CP provides the lion’s share of what we do together in Texas and beyond. Sending 55 percent of Cooperative Program dollars to the Southern Baptist Convention is a wise investment of mission dollars. The International Mission Board depends upon the CP to fund the 3,500 missionaries who share the gospel in some of the hardest places on earth.
On our continent, the North American Mission Board seeks to plant churches in the North and West, especially in under-evangelized cities. Our six seminaries provide financially subsidized biblical training to 15,000 students through the CP. Although a small portion is provided to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptists have a voice for life and freedom in the public square because of the CP. The SBC Executive Committee operates a lean ministry to carry out the wishes of the messengers between annual meetings. Yes, the Cooperative Program allows churches to extend beyond our state and around the world.
The 45 percent invested in Texas is accomplishing kingdom work. On any Sunday, around 100 funded church planters are preaching the gospel in various languages amid growing suburbs and changing neighborhoods. The largest line item in the SBTC budget is new church plants. CP helps churches who seek revitalization also. In all, more than 100 church ministries are resourced through the Cooperative Program. Pastor and staff assistance is available because churches care by giving through the CP. With all of this said, why have a Reach Texas Offering?
Reach Texas dollars enable us to underwrite the costs of missions and evangelism that exceed the CP budget. Listen to some testimonies.
Shane Pruitt, SBTC director of evangelism, states that this summer was the greatest camp year ever. He shares a testimony of how a student named Saul Williams attended M3 Camp at Glorieta with a group from Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, and how Saul was saved during one of the night services. Saul is a star football player at the school and a natural leader. During a time right after worship when churches gather to reflect on the service and share testimonies, he shared his testimony of salvation with the other students in his group. He told them how he surrendered his life to Jesus that night. He told them it was time for them to stop running from God and surrender all to Jesus. Six more students made professions of faith right then.
Generous people giving through the Reach Texas Offering helped make the camp possible, investing in these souls and in future leaders.
After all of the camps were completed, more churches sent in their camp decision cards. Current numbers are all-time highs for M3 Camps: Total decisions: 603; Salvations: 178; Calls to ministry: 96; Total attendance (all three weeks combined): 2,865.
Another praise enabled by the Reach Texas Offering is the SBTC local church-based collegiate missionaries. Through the efforts of your missionaries, 105 college students were baptized last school year. This is astounding! Another school year is here. Collegiate missionaries are ready to go because of the RTO.
Doug Hixson, SBTC missions and church planting director, shares this testimony about Grace Church in Waco. Grace affiliated just a few years ago. They are very passionate about planting churches. Recently, the senior pastor told a church planter who was leaving to replant Grace Church in Hewett that he could take as many people as he wanted. His direct quote was, “Even if you take them all, we will start over if that is what it takes to reach Hewett with the gospel.” Grace Church Waco is sending 75 people to replant this new church. This church plant along with others is partially funded through the Reach Texas Offering.
“Proclaiming the Name of Jesus!” is the theme for the Reach Texas Week of Prayer and Offering. Actually, that is the only theme we should ever have as a community of believers in Jesus. Every church must decide how they are going to divide their resources. Local ministry is essential. To carry out the command of Jesus, a church must be about disciple-making locally and globally. One of the best ways to do that is with other churches through the Cooperative Program. For Texas, giving through the Reach Texas Offering, you provide needed extra funds for disaster relief, revitalization and many other areas of missions.
Pray for me, for your SBTC staff, church planters, revitalization pastors, collegiate missionaries and others during the Reach Texas Week of Prayer. Prayerfully give so that together we can see the 18 million Texans who do not know Jesus hear of God’s amazing grace.