Friday, October 29, 2010


I appreciate the leadership that President David Lowrie has provided for Texas Baptists over the past two years. As president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), David has been a pleasant surprise to some and a disappointment to others. I’m in the former group. David has been fair and thoughtful in his dealings. Unfortunately, there are those who wanted him to do their bidding and trumpet their displeasure with all things BGCT. But David sought to serve all Texas Baptists, and he deserves our commendation.

I remember at least a couple of private conversations I had with our outgoing president; as always, he was gracious and considerate. David is an unabashed Jesus follower, and I’m glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to know him.

David will preside one more time in McAllen, in just a few days. Of course, we will elect a new president in McAllen. Victor Rodriguez is the only announced candidate for BGCT president. A humble, principled man, Victor pastors a growing congregation in San Antonio, South San Filadelfia Baptist Church. There’s a line in South San Filadelfia’s statement of practice that reveals Victor’s heart. It reads: “As a church, we practice giving to and praying for missions around the world.”

If you made it to San Antonio during the week of June 28-30, you got the opportunity to see Victor lead Convención Hispana de Texas Bautista as president. There were over 3,000 in attendance, and the spirit was one of celebration and genuine fellowship. What a joy it would be to have Victor serve our convention as president.

Like Victor, Jerry Carlisle is a person of integrity. Anybody who has met Jerry knows how caring and attentive he is. A faithful member of the Executive Board of the BGCT, he chairs the Institutional Relations Committee and serves on the Executive Committee. He is also a General Council member of the Baptist World Alliance and a Global Impact Pastor. According to the Baptist Standard, “Under Carlisle’s leadership, First Baptist Church in Plano has helped launch Hispanic, Anglo and western-heritage congregations, and it has been host to Korean and Chin congregations. The church shares its campus with Mission to Unreached Peoples, Plano Children’s Medical Clinic, Chin Baptist Church, and Texas Baptist Church Weekday Education Association.” It’s a good thing for the BGCT that Jerry is willing to serve as first vice president.

Ed Jackson is no stranger to Texas Baptists Committed. We fully appreciate his past financial support of TBC. After his retirement in 1997, Ed served as special assistant to the BGCT executive director. And, for the past year, he has served as first vice president of the BGCT. Now Ed has decided to run for BGCT second vice president.

Sylvia DeLoach has also agreed to be nominated to serve as second vice president. I’ve talked with Ed on occasion, but I’m not personally acquainted with Sylvia. However, there are people in whom I place great trust who know Sylvia and tell me that her commitment to missions is outstanding and will be a valuable asset to the BGCT.

Joy Fenner, former BGCT president and Texas WMU executive director emeritus, says this about Sylvia: “Many of you know Sylvia from her ministry as consultant with national WMU, while others know her as a Missions Innovator who assisted Texas WMU. (A few may even remember her as one of the 'singing Jones girls’ when her father served many Texas churches as music-education director.) Sylvia is a member of First Baptist Church, Richardson, where she is currently involved in multiple facets of missions and ministry; she also serves as chair of the WMU Foundation Board of Trustees. Indeed, she is a capable leader whose skills have been developed through study and experience with both women and men as well as Anglo and multi-cultural congregations large and small.”

Sylvia’s experience and heart for missions are in sync with Texas Baptists’ Hope 1:8 emphasis. I’m convinced that Sylvia’s broad experience in missions – in Texas, nationally, and around the world – is exactly what our convention needs in its leadership right now.

In closing, I’m fully aware that there are those who, without due consideration, presume to delineate parameters for others to abide by, while at the same time violating their own rubric. And I learned long ago that those who routinely miss the beauty of roses because of an overweening obsession with thorns will always have a bone to pick, an axe to grind, or someone to disparage. That’s too bad, but that’s life.

I’m excited about the BGCT McAllen convention, November 8-10. Hope (there goes that word again) to see you there.

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