Skip to comments.Church-starting opportunities great along the Rio Grande
Posted on 02/15/2011 2:17:22 PM PST by wmfights
LAREDOWhen Mario Garcia surveys Laredo, he sees opportunities to help people living in destitute conditions, to provide a word of encouragement and most importantly to share the gospel with more than 185,000 area residents who attend no church.
As a River Ministry coordinator for Texas Baptists, Garcia seeks to respond to those opportunities. Fewer than two dozen Baptist churches serve an area of about 500,000 people. Although there are other evangelical churches in Laredo, the regions spiritual needs remain drastically underserved, he noted.
The need is so, so great, Garcia said. Just hearing 185,000 people go to no church, thats unbelievable.
Laredos situation is typical of Texas border towns, where the number of evangelical congregations cannot keep pace with the exploding population. Noe Trevino, Baptist General Convention of Texas church starter in the Rio Grande Valley, said Laredo and Brownsville each need at least 20 new congregations. Del Rio and Eagle Pass each need at least five more congregations. El Paso also needs a significant number of new churches.
Where congregations are being started along the border, they are growing, Trevino noted. Many of the 16 church starts facilitated by the BGCT in the past few years have ingrained themselves in their communities, building relationships, providing benevolence ministries and sharing the gospel.
The church is thriving in colonias, Trevino said. Folks are really eager to come out and listen to the gospel and help one another. Many times, youll find these folks dont go outside their colonia. They help those within the colonia. Theyre practicing Acts 2, selling what they have to help their brethren.
Garcia and Trevino face two primary obstacles head-on as they seek to connect congregations and associations to start churcheslack of churches willing to sponsor church starts and lack of church starters.
In Laredo, the association has two training groups that equip laypeople to become church starters, creating a force of indigenous, prepared people who feel called to start churches.
Working with the BGCT Missions Mobilization Team, Garcia equips people to start house churches. These house church starting efforts are unfunded and have proven effective in reaching people in the region, Garcia said. Laypeople are trained to start home Bible studies that can are meant to develop into churches.
To encourage churches to sponsor new congregations along the border, Texas Baptists have tapped into technology to allow churches in other parts of the state to help launch congregations. Through Web video conferencing and regular visits, churches and local associations can provide the required accountability of the conventions church-starting process.
If a church in Dallas or Houston or San Antonio wants to partner to start a church along the border, we can enter into that conversation, said Paul Atkinson, who leads Texas Baptist church-starting efforts. Were looking for sponsor churches from all across the state.
For more information about getting involved in starting a church or ministering along the border, call Texas Baptists at (888) 244-9400.
Thats it...I’ll start Bubbajunebugs Bazooka Baptist Church
Pass the collection plate for ammo....
Baptists aren’t liberation theologists. Saving souls for Christ is what they want.
Cemeteries are popping all along there, too. Particularly popular are unmarked graves and vulture sanctuaries.
Surprising isn't it that the mission field here in America is as dangerous as in islamic countries. I say God Bless the brave souls that will take The Gospel to these people.
Only 185,000 out of 500,000 attend no church? That’s far, far, far better than average, even among those who report to be Baptist.
>> Baptists arent liberation theologists. Saving souls for Christ is what they want. <<
“Liberation theology” is called the “social gospel” among the Protestants whom the Catholic liberation theologians copied from, and it is positively rampant among certain Baptist conventions. It’s not very common among Southern Baptists, because Southern Baptists are largely white, anglo/saxon southerners, among whom liberalism in general is rare. But Al Gore, Bil Clinton, John Edwards and many others are Southern Baptist.