Northwest, Texas partner for missions
Decemer 5, 2018
From our earliest days, Northwest Baptists have enjoyed the partnership of Texas Baptists. Legendary church-starting pioneer Leonard Sigle came from Texas to serve First Baptist Church, Klamath Falls, OR, as pastor in 1930. When he died 46 years later, he had started 58 churches in the Northwest, California and Nevada.
R. E. Milam, the first executive director-treasurer of the Northwest Baptist Convention, Lewis Steed, Cecil Sims, Ted Cotten, Harry Bonner, Bill Crews, and many others came to the Northwest from Texas. I like to say that the West begins in Texas and then extends from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska and Hawaii.
In our 2018 annual meeting, Northwest Baptists rekindled our partnership with Texas Baptists by signing a three-year partnership agreement (2019-2022), renewable for an additional three years. In this agreement we have opportunity to both give and receive from our Texas friends.
The agreement focuses on four primary emphases: Northwest church planting, collegiate ministry with a focus on metro Seattle, mutual pastoral training and renewal and a joint missions partnership focused on the Rio Grande River Ministry along Texas’s southern border.
Regarding church planting, the purpose is to form an alliance between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the NWBC that accelerates growth in the number and strength of disciple-making churches in the Northwest. The BGCT will provide funding to some church plants, but mostly the partnership will happen as the 5,300 Texas Baptist churches partner with our church plants.
Regarding collegiate ministry, the BGCT will help to provide a viable, sustainable ministry to the vast collegiate and university population in the Seattle/Tacoma Metro area. A strategic component to this vision is identifying the person and developing support for a Metro-Seattle Collegiate Ministry Coordinator.
With more than 300,000 students attending the many colleges and universities, there is currently no organized Baptist collegiate ministry effort in metro Seattle area and no local person has this ministry responsibility on behalf of the convention.
Regarding pastoral renewal, we will develop cross-cultural training for Texas Baptist pastors, helping them to visit and learn from innovative ministries in the Northwest. Many Texas pastors will benefit from the cross-cultural exposure available in the Northwest. The Northwest’s “pre-Christian” cultures make it a good training ground for missional engagement.
Regarding a joint mission partnership, Texas Baptists invite Northwest Baptists to join them in their River Ministry. The purpose is to enable Northwest Baptists to serve in the Rio Grande Valley to impact both sides of the river with gospel. This includes two venues: (1) ongoing mission work with the river ministries, and (2) training in the Valley Mission Education Center in Harlingen, TX. The current immigration crisis has opened the door for humanitarian and evangelistic outreach along the border region of Texas.
Specific ways in which you can participate in this partnership will unfold over time. Most importantly, as we celebrate Christmas peace and joy, we can also express gratitude that it is a good day to serve the Lord in the Northwest, and it is a good day to share our blessings with our Texas Baptists friends.