Critical political and social movements were discussed during the Baptist General Convention of Texas’s annual meeting in Houston Nov. 15-16.
UMHB faculty and students attended, including university President Dr. Randy O’Rear and Chancellor Dr. Jerry Bawcom. Both were honored during one of the sessions for their service to higher education.
The conference was an opportunity for Texas Baptists across the state to gather to make decisions and vote on matters, but BGCT President Randel Everett said, “The annual meeting is about more than business; it’s a time for fellowship and worship, too.”
Attendees and BGCT churches were encouraged to pursue the Hope 2010 challenge — a Texas Baptist Initiative to share the Gospel with every Texan
by Easter 2010.
“The probability of us accomplishing that goal … is not likely,” said Convention President David Lowrie. “But accomplishing it in the next few years is very likely. I am excited where we’re going.”
Churches across the state are reaching out to their communities with whatever resources they have and are hoping to involve all people in the mission. This year, conference leadership took a step in engaging younger generations of Baptists by providing workshops for those under 35 called STREAM.
“It’s exciting to see younger people getting involved because we have to share these resources with them,” Everett said.
An anonymous person made a generous contribution that allowed for UMHB students to go to the annual meeting, and covered meals and hotel rooms.
Nine universities were represented in the BGCT. Convention President David Lowrie said the institutions were some of the Texas Baptists’ greatest treasures.
College of Christian Studies professor Dr. Leroy Kemp said, “It’s important for them to fellowship and get the opportunity to see how the Baptists work, and hear … the history.”
Speakers addressed various issues, including the challenges of church leadership and ministerial outreach.
“If you want to change the world, be Baptist. Re-claim the name,” said Alan Lefever, who encouraged young people to embrace their doctrinal foundations.
“Depend on the proud heritage of men and women before us,” he said.
Junior Christian ministry major Zachary Raygoza said attending the conference was a highlight of his semester.
“It challenged and inspired me to look for where Christ wants me to fit into His will…. We’re given opportunities to make a difference, and we need to realize these opportunities,” he said. “(The speakers) encouraged me to listen to what the Lord wants for my life and refreshed me to seek Christ in all that God has for me.”