First Baptist Church in Dripping Springs was about 20 miles from Austin when it was founded in 1875 in a community of about 200 people. But Austin’s vast growth has reached Dripping Springs, and the church is positioned to reach the 35,000 living there now.
Dripping Springs’ population is projected to double in the next eight years, pastor Matthew Nance said. To address that growth, First Baptist is working to become a multigenerational congregation with emphases on ministry to Hispanic immigrants and on meeting practical needs in the community.
First Baptist Dripping Springs affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention this year, and one of the reasons, Nance told the Southern Baptist TEXAN, is the SBTC’s strong level of cooperation with churches across the nation.
“I am thrilled that the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, in my understanding, leads the Southern Baptist Convention in the percentage of money that is passed on from the state level to the national level,” Nance, a former Southern Baptist missionary, said.
To support that effort, First Baptist Dripping Springs plans to increase its Cooperative Program giving by half a percentage point each budget year until it reaches 10 percent. The church now gives 8 percent of its undesignated receipts through CP.
Nance was a church planter in Texas from 1981-1990 before serving with the IMB nearly 20 years in East Asia. He then pastored in Georgia and Oklahoma before returning to Texas last year as pastor of First Baptist Dripping Springs.
When Nance was a church planter, there was only one state convention, he noted, and they paid part of his salary each month. “I went to all of their meetings, so I felt a heart connection with them,” he said. In 1999, the IMB asked Nance to represent the mission board at the SBTC annual meeting in addition to the older state convention.
“I went to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention expecting not to feel comfortable there because I wasn’t a part of that in the past. To my surprise, I heard ‘Cooperative Program,’ ‘Southern Baptist missions.’ … All of the things that I felt convicted about were being represented,” Nance said.
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Source: Baptist Press