Texas Baptists seek to engage our churches in corporate missions through strategic opportunities in Texas and around the world without duplicating the role of traditional mission-sending agencies.
For Rio Grande Bible Church, a Texas Baptists church plant in McAllen, the COVID-19 pandemic altered how they attracted people to their new church. A church plant is in the early stages of establishing a community of faith, Pastor Victor Castillo explained, so when the church was told not to have gatherings, they found themselves challenged to figure out ways to continue ministering and taking care of their sheep.
The church got creative, using social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube live to provide Sunday online services, offering discipleship classes via Zoom Meetings, and sharing all Sunday and mid-week teaching recordings via their mobile app Rio Grande Bible Church, which is available via the App Stores for iOS or Android devices.
They even went out to area hospitals, making rounds once a week to each and every hospital, to hold prayer meetings in their parking lots with the hospitals’ permission. The church also delivered groceries to church families and the community.
Rio Grande Bible Church also started supporting 15 missionaries and pastors in Cuba for a one-year project. Castillo explained that being a church plant does not mean they cannot do missionary projects, and the church wanted to make sure Missions is in their DNA.
Rio Grande Bible Church is one of over 330 church starts working with Texas Baptists, with new churches being added monthly. Through their partnership with Texas Baptists, these church starts, and their planters, are given access to training, mentorship, counseling resources, discipleship curriculum and more.
Tom Howe, associate director of the Center for Missional Engagement at Texas Baptists, explained that these new churches are created to meet Texas’ rapidly growing population.
“Our population is continuing to grow, and we need more churches for that new population,” he said. “This is not to replace churches, this is in addition to the churches that we have.”