Center for Church Health welcomes new staff members

by Texas Baptists Communications on January 28, 2021 in News

Texas Baptists’ new Center for Church Health is pleased to welcome three new staff members: Jonathan L. Smith, Church Health strategist; Carlos Francis, Associate Evangelism lead, African American specialist; and Jennifer Howington, Preschool and Children’s Ministry specialist. All three started their new positions in January.

“Part of the excitement in helping to launch the newly formed Center for Church Health is seeing how God works in bringing new leaders on board to take up the mantle of existing ministries, and others who are starting new ministries to connect with Texas Baptist churches. Each of these three new staff members brings a wealth of local church staff experience, while also bringing a new passion to the assignments listed. My hope is that every one of our 5,300 churches - their staff and lay leaders - will be able to meet them and get to know their heart for ministry,” Phil Miller, director of the Center for Church Health, said.

Jonathan L. Smith, Church Health Strategist

Smith serves in the newly created position of Church Health Strategist. In this role, Smith will assess the needs of churches and connect them with resources so that they remain healthy and may succeed in the mission of connecting the world to Jesus. Smith has served in ministry for over 20 years, including as executive pastor at First Baptist Friendswood and lead pastor at First Baptist Church in La Grange. He has also served on the Texas Baptists Committee on Committees from 2016-2018 and has been a church coach for church revitalization for over 12 years.

Smith received his Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Christianity from Houston Baptist University and his Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his Doctor of Ministry in Church Health and Growth/Church Revitalization from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Carlos Francis, Associate Evangelism Lead, African American Specialist

As the new Associate Evangelism Lead and African American Specialist, Francis will focus on raising up and providing resources for leaders in African American churches to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. Francis comes from a long history of ministry, including serving as Youth Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Director of Camp Exalted and a consultant for Texas Baptists African American Ministries. Francis is looking forward to creating and teaching innovative ways of sharing the Gospel in his new role.

Francis received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Sport Science from Texas Tech University and his Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was in the Leadership Texas Baptists Cohort 1, a program designed to engage, equip, and inform emerging leaders from churches across the state.

Jennifer Howington, Preschool and Children’s Ministry Specialist

Howington serves as the Preschool and Children’s Ministry Specialist and will minister to children’s ministers, volunteers and pastors across Texas, as well as connect them to useful Texas Baptists resources. She will also offer training and workshops designed to help those who lead children's ministry leaders better serve their congregations. Howington brings nine years of experience from her previous position as Minister of Preschool/Children’s at Field Street Baptist Church in Cleburne.

Howington received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Baylor University. She has also earned a Master of Arts in Children’s Ministry from Dallas Baptist University and is in pre-residency for a doctorate in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Center for Church Health exists to serve the needs of our churches; to help the local church be healthy so that God’s people may succeed in His mission of connecting the world to Jesus. For more information, visit txb.org/church.

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