Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Using buildings as a ministry tool

Facilities were the first feature mentioned by denominational leaders when I inquired about BT in 2009. There were built strong and maintained well. They include four, three story, interconnected buildings, two smaller buildings, a playground, a two bedroom house, a garden and five parking lots on four corners of an intersection; 80,000 square feet on three acres. They are indeed a remarkable presence in the community.

Baptist Temple quickly outgrew its new building and had to build again. The new concrete structure, built in 1917 still stands today and has been designated an historic building.

From the beginning of it's history BT has been putting up new buildings, tearing down old ones, renovating, improving, repairing and expanding as it continued to meet both numerical growth and the changing needs of its ministry. Buildings are an important part of the ministry for most churches. It is exciting at first. Attendance and finances are growing and your building becomes a sign of prosperity. It seems easy to get people to invest in beautiful, modern facilities. However, when a church begins to decline, the building becomes a burden. Few people want to invest in a lost cause. First maintenance begins to take up a growing share of the budget. Next minor, then major, maintenance needs are deferred. The deterioration is visible from the street turning away potential newcomers and, soon, a seemingly irreversible downward spiral ends with the church shutting down.

In 2009 BT was in great shape. In needed some work but it was still an attractive facility. In the 1980's major renovations began to modernize most of the BT facilities, particularly the 1942 sanctuary and the 1930 children's building. To preserve the future and expand our ministry impact, renovation continued in the 21st Century, when over $500,000 dollars were raised to repair the roof and exterior walls and improve and expand the facility's ministry impact.

Included in these renovations was an old dry goods store that once belonged to the Brunneman family. It had been purchased by the church and wound up being a closet for things we weren't ready to throw way, yet. As part of the strengthening our community ministry focus, the building was cleaned up, remodeled and christened the Brunneman building (honoring Max Brunneman whose parents, children and grandchildren have all been a part of BT.) Here our Highland Park CAN (Community Assistance Network) provides a thrift store, food pantry and teaching garden serve our community.

The Fritz Building (once a Boy Scout Hall) was renovated to make it more appealing for community meetings and events. The Long Mission House was purchased in 2018 to house resident interns who will live and work in the community. Modern touches included WiFi, flat screen monitors and a solar array that declared our commitment to creation care.

The work to expand the ministry impact of our facilities continue as we renovate our playground to be inclusive and enable special needs children to play with their friends with typical abilities.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Youth Spotlight: Shaylynn Fisher

Guest blog by Melissa Baxter

Shalynn Fisher is a graduate of Highlands High School, class of 2019. She has been part of Baptist Temple since 2002 with her brother Zachry, parents John and Heather and her great-grandmother, Jean Vance. She committed to faith in Christ at age six and was baptized at Baptist Temple.

She is a strong Christian and credits the Lord and the prayers of her fellow Christians in getting her through her surgery in 2008. She knows the Lord watches over her, even though things are a bit more difficult for her than most. She realizes that she is blessed in different ways and keeps her focus on that.

A faithful Sunday School member, Shalynn has been a part of BT's children and youth ministries and looks forward to going to Centrifuge for her final year of youth camp. She has sung in the Sanctuary Choir since age 12.

Shalynn has been a Girl Scout for the past 12 years, beginning with Brownies and continuing through Ambassador Scouts and will bridge to being an Adult Scout this summer. She has numerous badges for learning new skills and experiencing new things. She loves working with the Daisies, the youngest members of the scouting family.

She lettered in choir at Highlands High School, participating all four years and recently sang a solo in the end-of-year choir program at school. She will attend San Antonio Colleges this fall.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Youth Spotlight: Dylan Zayasbazan

Guest blog by Melissa Baxter

A senior at East Central High School and one of Baptist Temple's Youth Dylan Zayasbazan has accomplished much in his 18 years. He is class valedictorian and received the Academic Achievement Award twice in 2018, from both the English and the Computer/Technology Departments. He was nominated for the Princeton Book Award in 2018. His participation in the Art Club, the Green Team, Envirothon and the Math & Sciences team and his service as a Vice President of the National Honor Society have helped him to develop his public speaking skills. 

Dylan has a black belt in karate, plays the piano, climbed Mt. Katahdin and has a love for pottery and sculpture. An industrious worker, he spent a summer working Shaw's Hostel, tutored math and currently works at Chick-Fil-A and the Baptist Temple nursery.

Last summer, Dylan completed basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and serves with the 228th Combat Support Hospital in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Next Fall Dylan will be attending the prestigious Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering. Cockrell is ranked first in Texas and eighth in the country among engineering schools.

Dylan received Christ at a young age. His favorite scriptures are Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

And James 1:12, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

Dylan's parents are Pastor Jorge and Tracy Zayasbazan.