As Dallas hosts next year’s annual meeting of Southern Baptists, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is extending an invitation for churches to bring mission teams as well as messengers.
Whether it is the week leading up to the June 12-13 meeting, extending their trip into the next week or finding another time frame later in the summer, mission volunteers will find plenty of opportunities from which to choose throughout the state, noted Barry Calhoun, SBTC director of missions mobilization.
“In 2018 we will have opportunities for churches in other states to get a taste of foreign missions in Texas along with some Texas BBQ,” Calhoun said. “There will be vision tour opportunities in key cities in June for pastors, mission leaders and church members as they visit our state.”
With more than 28 million people in the state and 18 million of those lost and without Christ, Calhoun said the 25,000 to 40,000 people moving to Texas every month increases that ratio.
“We can’t plant enough churches to keep pace with the population growth, so we need other states partnering in Texas to help us reach the nations that have come to us,” he stated.
The Reach Houston Initiative combines church planting and revitalization in the fourth largest city in the United States. Houston is home to more than 350 ethno-linguistic people groups speaking more than 220 languages, making it the most diverse city in North America.
“We also have the longest border of any southern state,” Calhoun said, “and our borderland strategy helps to carry the Gospel of Christ into Mexico from the Rio Grande Valley to El Paso, without us ever crossing the border as part of our Reach Houston and Borderlands Reach initiatives.”
With more than 300 languages spoken in Texas, mission team volunteers can make use of the 1Cross app produced by SBTC as an evangelistic tool for sharing the message of the Gospel in multiple languages. The three-minute gospel testimonies in video form feature native speakers, making it possible to overcome a language barrier when witnessing.
Prior to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting, pastors can take advantage of training for revitalization and replanting. Mark Clifton, senior director of replanting at the North American Mission Board (NAMB), said the June 9-10 lab will feature “actual practitioners leading conferences and breakouts on every aspect of how to replant a dying church for God’s glory.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press – Tammi Reed Ledbetter