GALVESTON — On Monday, Nov. 15, at the 2021 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, a group of over 200 missions-minded individuals gathered to celebrate the work being done through the ministries of the Center for Missional Engagement and give glory to God for the fruit.
Dustin Payne, church starter for Texas Baptists in the Houston area, opened the dinner with ministry updates. In 2021, the Center for Missional Engagement, in partnership with churches across the state, served a total of 583,086 people in some capacity. Through this ministry, the Center saw 7,769 professions of faith across its ministries and recorded more than 1,300 baptisms.
Many church plants also began over the past year, with 22 traditional churches, 16 house churches, 53 Missionary Adoption Program partner churches and nine River Ministry churches planted. Additionally, partnership with churches and pastors in the Pacific Northwest remained strong and over 3,000 pastors in the state of Texas and beyond received training through the Center.
“It’s been a rough year, but the church is still working,” Payne said. “The spirit of God cares for you and your church, and there’s so much to celebrate.”
Executive Director David Hardage was present and spoke encouragement to the group, emphasizing the diversity of the Texas Baptists family and their unity in Christ.
Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, brought a message from Matthew 24:14, reminding participants that the gospel is for people all across the globe.
“All different kinds of people around the world need to hear the gospel, and God has called Texas Baptists to be a significant part of spreading the gospel around the world,” said Stetzer.
“The Center for Missional Engagement engages the nations right here in Texas.”
Payne shared about the ministry BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery and Student Church Planting has been doing, particularly in the Galveston/Houston area. He introduced John Eckeberger, director of 4B Disaster Response Network, who shared about the great work BOUNCE students have engaged in in the area, particularly in response to Hurricane Harvey.