You may have heard that Grace Church is partnering with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to host a training for disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey victims. But what exactly is the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) and why are we affiliated?
According to their own mission and vision:
The SBTC exists to facilitate, extend and enlarge the Great Commission ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention and Southern Baptist churches and associations of Texas, upon the authority of God's inerrant Word to the glory of God the father, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
The SBTC and its cooperating churches are shaped by these three core values, which are similar to and in agreement with Grace Church's own core value. In all they do, the SBTC aims to be:
1) Biblically Based
2) Kingdom Focused
3) Missionally Driven
As each local Baptist church is self-governing, there is no authority in the SBTC because churches may choose to affiliate with any association they wish. In order to affiliate with the SBTC, a church must express doctrinal agreement, specifically in the areas of Biblical inerrancy and affirmation of the BFM2000 statement of belief, as well as their intent to participate in mission and ministry through the Cooperative Program. The Cooperative Program is the missionally driven core value that seeks to enables churches to plant more churches, educate and train pastors, send and equip missionaries, engage in relief efforts, and further church relations.
Some conventions have built associated schools, benevolence ministries and other institutions. While these ministries can be beneficial to local churches, the SBTC has instead made its first commitment to missions and evangelism.
To read more about the values, beliefs, or Cooperative Program, check out the SBTC website.
Why Has Grace Church Specifically Chosen To Partner With SBTC?
Grace initially became affiliated with the SBTC in 2015 from a desire to have a greater gospel impact through inter-church connections that stand beyond the impact we would have doing ministry own our own. Partnering with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention provides us with a tangible avenue to strategically plan and cooperate with other churches with the aim of specifically planting churches in Texas. The SBTC also contributes to seminary education, which many of of our staff have or currently are benefitting from as they do ministry.
The SBTC is also a part of the Southern Baptist Convention, which seeks to plant churches through the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, allowing our church to not only focus on Texas, but on reaching the world with the gospel. Networking with all of these organizations means we can send, mobilize, and go to further the Great Commission with nearly infinite resources and support.
In short, we can do more together.
How Does Grace Church Partner With The SBTC?
Most basically, we commit monthly financial gifts to the Convention to facilitate the work of supporting and equipping church plants in Texas and around the world. Because of this, we are able to enter into specific partnerships with churches and planters at varying levels of support. This partnership allows us to host events like disaster relief training or training for new and developing pastors, as well as care for newer churches that have just been planted.
Our staff and elders have benefitted from leadership training on church planting and college ministry, which has enabled us to further serve the members of our own church as we equip them to be sent out in Texas and beyond.