Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baptist Temple Year in Review: 2016

It was another year of blessings for the ministries that share the Baptist Temple Campus. We are blessed to now have six congregations meeting on the BT campus. Community Bible Church of Highland Park joined our family of churches in May. In the Fall, Weapons of Deliverance and Sunny Slope Baptist Church started worshiping at our location. Together we baptized 36 people last year.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL involved the four churches on campus at the time and a mission team from Houston; a total of 96 workers. Our enrollment was 153 and 32 decisions were recorded, leading to many of our baptisms.

WORSHIP events this year included an Easter Sunrise service and the musical presentation “Champion of Love.” In May we concluded “BELIEVE,” a 30 week sermon series and Bible study in conjunction with 14 San Antonio Area churches. During Advent we celebrated the Hanging of the Green (with CBC Highland Park and Family Deaf Church), Christmas Eve (with CBC Highland Park) and a memorial service for people in our community who lost a loved one this past year (with Immanuel Motorcycle Ministry).

FELLOWSHIP opportunities abounded for all ages. The children and youth went on a variety of field trips; and our senior adults enjoyed monthly luncheons. There were church-wide fellowships as well, including a Valentine's lunch, and banquets in the Spring and Fall. In June we enjoyed a campus-wide picnic at Roosevelt Park.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH included our annual Fall Fest and National Night Out events. Our first Back to School Health Fair attracted 488 people. A total of 19 churches, businesses and community groups participated to provide food, games, health screenings, vaccines, school supplies and fresh produce.

Another first this year was our community Christmas party. Snacks, make and take crafts, games and Christmas carols made this an event that we look forward to repeating.

FIGHTING HUNGER remains our most visible ministry. We collected and distributed nearly 80,000 lbs of food. (That's 30,000 more than last year.) This includes groceries for 6300 people; 1800 received individual ministry through our client choice food pantry.

We provided 75,469 meals to our community through our Wednesday night dinners, summer feeding and other venues. This included 151 breakfasts, 1628 lunches, 3550 dinners and 9140 snacks.

FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS are a continuing effort on the BT Campus. Some major improvements came as result of a contract between Parent-Child Incorporated and our Early Learning Center. This includes a new freezer, new ovens, playground equipment, classroom furniture and security cameras. Additional security cameras were added by Highland Park Gifted and Talented Academy.

Another big improvement involved boosting our wireless internet capacity to reach more areas of our campus. This was made possible in partnership with CBC Highland Park.

THREE NEW PARTNERS came to the BT campus this year in addition to the three new churches. The Christian Women's Job Corps Job helps us to provide job readiness training. San Antonio Sports brought the Fit Family Challenge to our campus, with an average participation of 58 per week. Immanuel Motorcycle Ministry came alongside to enhance and expand our evangelistic efforts.

We hosted 9 MISSION TEAMS from as far away as Connecticut and South Dakota. They ministered all around San Antonio including the Rosemont Apartments and Habitat for Humanity houses.

Each year God provides the workers, leaders and physical resources to meet the changing needs of the community that surrounds us. Our impact has drawn the notice of local government leaders in 2016 leading to campus visits from state representatives Diego M. Bernal (District 123) and John Lujan III (District 118) and Mayor Ivy Taylor. I believe that there are greater things to come in 2017.

Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”
Pioneer Missionary William Carey

Friday, December 23, 2016

Are We Losing the War on Christmas?

There are some who say that society is waging on Christmas. The evidence presented ranges from micro-aggressions such as “Happy Holidays” to the more offensive substitution of X for Christ in Xmas.

Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the coming of Christ (Advent) and His birth. We don't exactly know when He was born but the early church decided that this season would be a good time to celebrate. Pagans in Europe had celebrations that revolved around the days becoming shorter and colder but the church wanted Christians to focus on God during their merriment. Ancient traditions (e.g. decorating trees, feasts, etc.) were deemed acceptable and new things were added (manger scenes, Advent candles, etc.)

The danger does not lie with the “barbarians at the gate;” those secular folks wishing us a “Happy Holiday.” The real war on Christmas is being waged in the hearts of Christians who lean more towards the commercial than the spiritual side of the season.

As far back as 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” lamented the commercialization of the holiday. Lucy Van Pelt believed it was run by a “big eastern syndicate.” Linus read from the second chapter of Luke to remind us all of the reason for the season. For more than 50 years the Peanuts gang has given this tender reminder.

Today, as in ancient times, we celebrate the coming of Christ with a mixture the secular and the sacred. Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, Christian's have the opportunity to keep Christ in Christmas with more that a bumper sticker. Bring your family to worship this Sunday at one of the many churches across the land that didn't take a holiday and will be open to celebrate Jesus' birthday.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Angello Sanchez joins the BT ministry team

Angello Sanchez joined the Baptist Temple family this year to develop our campus youth ministry. Along with Luis Juarez, from Sunny Slope Baptist Church, Angello ministers to the youth of our four Sunday morning churches (Baptist Temple, Betel, Family Deaf Church and Sunny Slope). On Wednesdays, Angello leads a program for the youth of our campus churches and the community.

Twenty five teens attended our first youth worship night led by Angello. The teens came from our campus churches (including Community Bible Church of Highland Park) and the community. Ministers from the Church on Congress Avenue, Austin, helped lead worship.

Future plans include youth worship nights every 4-6 weeks and a number of activities to build community and develop slow growth. In due time our youth will be part of an outreach effort to the youth in our community.

Angello was born in Venezuela and came to the US on a student visa, enrolling at the Baptist University of the Americas (BUA) to learn English. He started attending the Church on Congress Avenue, in Austin, where he played bass and led the youth ministry.

A follower of Jesus since he was 14, Angello felt the call to ministry while at BUA and enrolled in the theology program. Working with youth fills Angello with hope. He not only wants to teach but, also wants to learn from them.

Angello has a demonstrated passion for urban youth, is fluent in English and Spanish and is comfortable ministering in a multicultural environment. When you factor in the mission-oriented education he is receiving at BUA, Angello is in position to carry the BT campus ministry to a new level.