DALLAS–During the September meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio (BHFSA) presented a $1 million grant to Texas Baptists focused on church and church leaders’ health initiatives in South Texas. BHFSA President and CEO Cody Knowlton presented a check to Executive Director David Hardage for the funds, which will be used over five years.
The grant will support three initiatives including a Pastor to Pastors staff position for developing deeper, interpersonal relationships with area pastors; a Financial Relief Fund which will offer financial aid to alleviate stress and anxiety for pastors; and Church Health Conferences and Retreats which will create new learning experiences to strengthen awareness and knowledge around holistic health services and practices.
The board approved the proposed 2019 Texas Baptists missions and ministries budget of $35,968,634 with an additional $1 million proposed for 2019 Worldwide Missions and Partnerships. The budget reflected a reduction of $1 million from 2018, based upon anticipated Cooperative Program giving. Gifts to institutional ministries of the convention were reduced by 6% to reflect the decrease in Cooperative Program gifts. The budget also allowed for a 1% raise for convention staff, made possible through reduced health coverage costs for 2019.
During his first address to the board, President Michael Evans challenged Texas Baptists to come together as a unified body of believers to do the will of God after reading from 1 Corinthians 3. “Remember that we are God’s field and God’s building,” he said. “God will pour into us, and when we fully embrace our call and our mandate, we will see in the midst of a divided country the church bringing all people together. Go, save and do.”
Executive Director David Hardage addressed the board during a report on Monday evening and discussed the church-starting methods of the convention, including 364 new churches involved in the five-year church-starting program and 682 new churches started through the house church movement.
The meeting also marked the first gathering of the Horizon Council, a new council of emerging millennial leaders who seek to address the future work of the convention. Chairman Abraham Quinones said of the council, “We love being part of Texas Baptists life. We are proud of it. We want to move together into the future of what the church will be and can be.”
In other business, the board approved a recommendation from the Institutional Relations Committee to allow the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to reduce the number of trustees from 37 to 30. Chairperson Donna Burney noted the reduction would not impact the relationship between UMHB and Texas Baptists. Appointments to fill vacancies on several boards and councils were also approved. Click here to view a full list.