We have had a very exciting year filled with ministry. Our church has expanded at fast clip thanks to the hard work of our staff, church members and ministry partners. In 2010 we baptized 12 people; twice the number of 2009. Four baptisms are scheduled for this month. Let's double it again!
Our Spanish-language mission, Betel, received support funding from several partners: Northeast Baptist Church and San Antonio Baptist Association ($100 per month, each), Cooperative Baptist Fellowship ($400 per mo.) and Baptist General Convention of Texas ($975 per mo.). The mission continues to grow and accounted for 5 of our baptisms.
One notable area of growth has been in our missions and community ministries. Our trip to Eagle Pass stands out as BT spent a week building homes, leading VBS and more. We have worked with Literacy Connexus to provide bookshelves in the homes of children on the border and in San Antonio. This year saw the launch of our thrift shop and food pantry. Our youth have been heavily involved in church-wide service projects as well as many of their own.
Our community itself is a mission field and several mission teams came throughout the year to help us show the love of Christ to our neighbors. Our summer day camp was the biggest event of the summer. It involved 12 churches and service organizations, over 30 church members and a $1400 grant from CBF to pay an intern. The results were that over a period of six weeks we ministered to more than 100 children and served over 2000 free meals.
Infrastructure is vital to a large ministry. Many repairs and improvements occurred throughout the church. A $100,000 campaign fund was launched to repair and remodel the chapel building. Most of the work involved painting and re-tiling but it also included reconfiguration of the 2nd and 3rd floor. On the ministry side, we ordained four new deacons to help care for our expanding flock.
In addition to the ministries for our children, teens, and adults that continue to serve so well, we added other opportunities. On Wednesday evenings we now offer TeamKID for children and Trek for youth. On Sundays we have a new contemporary worship service at 8:15 AM.
Things picked up speed in the Fall as, 40 years after starting our daycare, we started a charter school. Highland Park Gifted and Talented Academy (a Jubilee Academic Center campus) began with 150 students PreK – 5th grade. Not only does this make better use of our church plant, it helps us to share in the cost of running it. The impact was immediately felt in our other ministries as charter school families began to participate.
Also in the Fall we had our 30th annual Fall Festival and it was a big one. It attracted three (maybe four) times as many people as we had last year. A $7500 grant from the Baptist Health Foundation allowed to add a health fair which added to the growth. Highland Park GT Academy helped run some of the booths, STAR AM 810 ran a live broadcast and the fire department had a truck for the kids to see.
Next year promises even greater results as we celebrate 100 years of ministry. Each month we will look back at our rich history while, at the same time, we surge ahead.
We've already hit the ground running in January with the launch of our After School Club and Fitness Ministry. The After School Club runs from 3:30-5:30 and has 33 children enrolled. In the first two days we have had rave reviews for kids, parents and teachers.
The Fitness Ministry builds upon last year's work which includes a Karate club and a $20,000 grant from CBF to purchase equipment and set up a workout room. The ministry will include something for all ages. In the meantime the workout room is ready for action.