A word from your missions office
By HEITH MITCHELL
“To everything [there is] a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck [what is] planted;” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NKJV)
I was reminded of this beautiful passage this week as I witnessed the pain of death in the hearts of a group of believers who knew their church was near its end. A church closing is tragic, painful, and I wish it could always be avoided. I am reminded though that in this life, death is as certain as life. With the joy of the miracle of new birth comes the certainty of death. Our culture sanitizes and avoids this truth. Death is part of life on this sin sick planet.
The church doesn’t escape this. It is alive and has a lifecycle. For 2,000 years of church history churches have been born, matured, reproduced and eventually died. There has been the occasional church that lived to be 150 or more. The average lifespan of a US church is 40 years. Most BMA churches have outlived that average but we can all name churches that haven’t. I’m not saying this to discourage, but to give perspective. People panic and despair without perspective.
The season we are in today is like any that came before it.
Churches are being born: The BMA of Texas currently has 29 churches in the exciting fragile stage of birth. These young churches are practicing simple faith while facing challenges and taking risks. They are seeing hundreds saved and are making disciples. The BMA of Texas is seeing more new churches begin than at any time in its history! Praise the Lord!
Church’s are growing: In fact there are BMA churches right now seeing the largest attendance ever. Several have passed 1,000 in attendance. I am witnessing growth in small churches and larger churches. There are rural and urban churches that are growing. I can even point to some churches that have known long decline that are now in a season of growth.
Churches are reproducing: All 29 of your mission points have a mother church. Keltys First Baptist in Lufkin is sending a planter and around 10 members to start a church. Antioch Baptist of Conway, Arkansas sent multiple families to Georgetown, Texas to plant there. The Spanish congregation at Suburbanwood Baptist in Humble has sent three planting teams out in two years. The Carpenter’s House Mission in Lake Jackson has sent out two planting teams.
Churches are dying: Every year we witness a few churches that end. In the last 12 months we have seen Dallas Park in Cockrell Hill; First, Gary and Oak Grove, Canton pass. We hate to see this day but we must recognize that it comes. Each of these churches saw many decades of fruitful ministry and have had an impact. They all exceeded the average lifespan by many decades. I want to challenge us as BMA Baptists to have a Kingdom perspective. We must understand that struggle, age and death are an inescapable part of living. We must focus on faithfully submitting to Jesus and being about His Mission. We must be faithful to reproduce. We must be fruitful and multiply. The mission requires that our birth rate far exceed our death rate.
Will you join us in prayer and commitment to:
100 New Churches/10 years
- That we see an aggressive multiplication movement of churches who make disciples, equip and release leaders, and start churches for the glory of God and the advancement of his Kingdom Mission
- That each new mission begin with a plan to begin three new churches in their first 10 years
- That pastors and churches of the association be encouraged and equipped to start new churches
- That we connect, evaluate, identify and train new prospective church planters
I would love to come and share Texas Missions with your church or association. I have open dates and look forward to hearing from you.
A word from your missionaries
Chris Driver – West Texas Multiplication Network/Texas Missionary Care
What a month! Our west Texas plants shared the blessing of the missions trailer for the month. We had five separate events where we ministered to about 400 people and every single person had a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ! Seed was sown, relationships built and fun was definitely had by all! We are praying for fruitful follow-up with the families we met. Thank you again to the ladies of our amazing WMA for providing the trailer! God is definitely bearing fruit from your faithfulness and generosity!
Gamalier Luna – New Mission in El Paso
Pray for encouragement, and strength to continue.
Matthew Prather – The Bridge Mission, Midlothian/Waxahachie
Summer is coming to a close and students and teachers will soon return to school. As summer ends, we are excited to see what God is going to do through The Bridge this new school year. Believe it or not, 2019 is over halfway over! God is up to some big things in 2019!! Here are just a few things we are celebrating:
1. God answered our prayers and provided us with a building to meet in!
2. We have seen five salvations so far this year!
3. We had our first baptism since we moved into our new building!
4. We have seen more first time families in 2019 than we did in all of 2018!
5. The best thing is God is not finished with 2019 yet!!
We are praying and planning for big things for the remainder of 2019.
We just want to thank you for your continued support of The Bridge Church as we carry out the mission God has for us–to lead people from where they are to where God wants them to be. We appreciate your continued support and prayers.
Jaime Garcia – Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida Mission, Gilmer/Mesquite
Thank God for his goodness and his mercies, and all the brothers who support the missionary work as well as Hispanics and other languages, or ethnic groups, from all continents. God willing more workers will become involved in the Great Commission. There are many needs in the hearts of people and God continues to speak in one way or another. But what a privilege it is, and how important also, that He chose us to participate in this special thing, and that people find out and hear that Jesus is life and the mediator between God and men. God use us and let us continue proclaiming to everyone that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost.
Thank you for including me in your Prayers, for me it will always be of great importance and great help in the Ministry and the preaching of the Gospel, since through the prayer there will be many open doors. Help me pray for my wife and her health. Also pray for my son, Isaac García, who is a very good son to continue supporting me and getting more involved in the ministry.
Neptaly Molina – Iglesia Bautista Mission, Nacogdoches
We are happy when people respond to the gospel but we are sometimes saddened when the brothers do not persevere in moving forward. It is important to know that if God is not in the matter, it is lost. I feel blessed because I was able to visit the home of Adelaide, a woman who was abandoned by her husband and left her with three daughters. She is going through that test and suffers from depression. We pray for her. Another blessing was the Biblical Summer School with a participation of 15 children, six young men and 12 adults, with a total of 33 people we performed at the Westside, Nacogdoches.
Cristian Martinez – Grace Harvest Baptist Mission, Lubbock
We thank God that a group has been forming from the scattered Bible studies we had throughout the week. It’s a joy to see God building His church as believers are gathering together and they are being built up as their lives are becoming more and more centered on the gospel, growing in their passion for God’s glory, and are being equipped to multiply. We thank God for your faithful support.
Wife’s pregnancy. Recruiting disciple makers. New disciples to persevere and bear much fruit. Opportunities to preach the gospel. Many conversions.
Cliff Robertson – Carpenter’s House Mission – Lake Jackson/Clute
Sometimes when things aren’t going the way you would like them to go, you simply have to put your head down and pray… and then while you are there, go ahead and get to work.
Pray that we will find a worship leader.
Ronnie Mills – Kingdom Chapel Mission, Saginaw/North Fort Worth
BMA Family, we are so thrilled to know that coming in a few weeks we will be launched publicly as a church. We ask that you would continue to pray for us as near August 25.
You will also be happy to know that as a church plant that has not even launched yet, we have baptized 11 and are still have another five to baptize. That will be 16 people in less than a year as a new church.
We are so excited about what God is doing among us, and in us and through us. Thank you for all of your prayers for us, and our ministry!
Pray that our people would not become cozy. We want them to no only come and sit, but to be engaged in our mission.
Spencer Simpson – Redeemer’s Love Mission, Houston
Thank you for your prayers and support! We are excited to see the Lord bless us with more new members this past month, as well as to see Him work in our efforts to reach the diverse people groups in our area of southwest Houston.
Pray for our new members as they are learning how to commit to the church and one another. Pray that those in our discipleship classes would be given boldness as they are sharing the gospel with people in the local community, as well as for fruit in our efforts of going door to door to reach the surrounding community.
Cesar Cantu – Intern preparing for Richmond/Katy
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The Lord shared this with me this week. As I studied it, the word hope means to conjoin with the LORD. As we line up with his plans, the plan succeeds. He also equips us to complete his work. Since my release from prison nothing has gone as planned. God has taken some crazy routes for me and I would have never imagined to be here right now. Even though I seek him and his plans for me, my best ideas never pan out.
Pray for wisdom as we determine a specific place of ministry.