The third cohort of Leadership Texas Baptists was honored during Texas Baptists’ Executive Board Meeting on May 21. The graduation celebration, held during Monday evening’s session, awarded and recognized the 11 emerging young leaders for their hard work and dedication during the nine-month long program.
Throughout the nine-month program, the participants were introduced to leaders of Texas Baptists institutions, convention staff and ministries across the state. They discussed curriculum including leadership development, critical issues for Texas Baptists in the 21st century and ministry in a multi-cultural context.
“When we came and began to do this cohort, it opened my eyes to the vast amount of ministries Texas Baptists has its hand in,” said Andrew Malone, director of Student Ministries at Northview Baptist Church in Lewisville. “After time together, going all over the state, I’m much more proud to be a Texas Baptist now than I ever have been.”
Timothy Schmidt, manager of projects/property for Hendrick Health System in Abilene, shared a similar sentiment. “Coming from the institution side, I had a real lack of awareness of what the BGCT was,” he said. “I had no idea the impact that it had on Texas, the lives that it touches throughout the state. Who we’ve been in Texas throughout time and what impact we’ve had is a great story to me. Now, I want to give something back.”
The cohort had the opportunity to hear from a wide-range of Baptist leaders including Dr. David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists; Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International; Eric Bruntmyer, president of Hardin Simmons-University; Norma Hedin, vice president for Executive Affairs and professor of Research and Leadership at Dallas Baptist University; Dr. Doug Lawson, president of Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas; and many more.
“The visit to Buckner was transformative for me,” said Nigel Robinson, marketing consultant for Texas Baptists. “Jesus loved people, He met needs, and when we do that, people want to know what we have.”
During their final cohort meeting at the Executive Board, the members participated in a Q&A with Texas Baptists leaders. They discussed diversity, reaching rural populations, ministering to the upcoming generation, the changing landscape of ministry and becoming present leaders in their spheres of influence.
Robinson posed the question, “What would it look like for churches to engage the culture with things happening now, including shootings and racism? There’s a reason why Jesus engaged the people He was around with parables of agriculture. We have to make the Bible apply like we know it does. The Gospel message doesn’t change, but churches need to look at adapting themselves.”
Abby Manes, Children’s and Family minister at First Baptist Church in Muleshoe, spoke to the topic of future generations. She said, “Our culture today is so different, so we can’t expect the same results using the same methods. We have to look what’s happening with the family at home and minister there. We have to look at what’s going on and how to meet those needs.”
A common theme expressed during their meeting was the community they experienced with one another.
“The number one thing for me has been the connections and the community made with other ministers and other leaders within our cohort,” said Ashley Weir, children’s minister at First Baptist Church Corsicana. “That’s been one of the best things - being able to come and sit in our cohort with senior pastors, youth leaders, people who work in the healthcare system and people who work in seminaries. We all come together at the same table and have the same conversations no matter what our position is, while bringing our different experiences.”
Other members of the cohort included: Chris McLain, pastor of First Baptist Church in Crowell; Daniel Camp, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Crawford; David Tate, Certificate Program coordinator, George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco; Jillian Sanders, web content specialist, Texas Baptists; Josh Breslaw, pastor of Evergreen Retirement, a mission of First Baptist Church in Lewisville; and Ty Gist, Youth/College pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Robinson.
Applications for Leadership Texas Baptists Cohort 4 will be accepted until June 15, which will begin in September 2018. For more information, contact David Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 828-5253.