Monday, December 30, 2019

Baptist Temple Year in Review: 2019

Daniel Arredondo,  Roxanne Arredondo, and Robert Newman
(front) were licensed this year. Pastor Jorge Zayasbazan in back.

SLIDESHOW: TheYear in Pictures 

We kicked off 2019 with an Experiencing God Weekend led by Texas Baptist Men. Our goal was to grow together as a church so that we may better see where God is at work, make adjustments and join Him. One clear message we discerned is that our bottom line mission is to make disciples. This spiritual awakening would be crucial to the decisions we would need to make as many opportunities and changes presented themselves in quick succession.

One major decision was whether or not accept a $200,000 lump sum payment for the cell tower lease. It would be a financial loss in the long-term but a short-term windfall that would pay off a large loan and free up money to do ministry now.

Buildings are a church's biggest financial liability but can also be its strongest asset. In order to maintain our campus as an asset, we were able to leverage some large financial gifts and grants to make needed repairs and improvements. These include completing the exterior lighting upgrades and upgrading all interior lighting to energy efficient LED, replacing a significant number of windows, replacing the floor in the parlor and new signage.

We said goodbye this year to Betel and Free by the Truth. Two new church starts that were incubated on the #BTCampus. Betel began as a Spanish-language Bible study in 2006 and moved into their own facility. Free by the Truth continues to meet as a house church.

However, the work continues as God sent two new churches to our campus. Rise Above Ministries meets at 3 pm in the chapel and reaches out to counter culture youth in the punk / heavy metal culture. It is led by Basilio Carrillo. Iglesia Bautista Inmensurable is a Spanish-language new church start in its formative stages and is led by Samuel Paquot. 

We also welcomed the San Antonio Clubhouse to our campus. They meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Fritz building to help people living with mental illness live more productive, enjoyable lives.

Our leadership development and ministry-student mentoring kicked into high gear this year as we hosted five Student.Go missionaries (from five different schools) and nine mission teams. Student.Go is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship program that places potential missionaries in ministry settings.

The nine missions teams brought 179 people who worked all over San Antonio with refugees and children, in hunger ministries, community gardens, home repairs, evangelism and more.

In the Fall we licensed Robert Newman, Daniel Arredondo and Roxanne Arredondo to the ministry. Robert serves as our Minister of Adults, Daniel has served as an intern and is, now, our Minister of Outreach, and Roxanne is our Youth Ministry Intern.

Another leadership development action we began this year is training 18 people to be Stephen Ministers. After 50 hours of training they will be prepared to walk alongside people who are going through a difficult time. Training will be completed in January.

Along the way we baptized 5 and added 11 new members. We gathered over 112,000 pounds of food that was distributed to over 15,000 people. We also served over 2000 meals and snacks.

What stood out most prominently this year was our vision to build the first inclusive playground in the Southside of San Antonio. We received grants from the Baptist Health Foundation ($7395) and the Charity Ball Association ($60,000) plus other gifts and fundraisers that totaled over $140,000 at the end of 2019. There are still two more grants pending and gifts are coming in but we have enough to get started.

As we look to the new year, we must look to find evidence of God's work and make the needed adjustments to join Him. That will require breaking the bondage of tradition and moving beyond the comfortable and familiar.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Bringing God's presence into church meetings

Did you hear about the church business meeting that ended in a fist fight in the parking lot; over the color of the new carpet? I'm not sure if that story is true but it is often told. It serves as an illustration for how volatile church meetings can be.

Understanding that church committee, board, council and business meetings are spiritual gatherings can go a long way to bringing God's presence into our deliberations. Opening and closing in prayer is a good practice but we need to move deeper than these book-end prayers. One way is to pray over each agenda item; seeking God's wisdom and clarity.

Hymns and other Christian songs can help set an appropriate atmosphere. Another form of prayer is create a litany of recent victories. After each victory is read, the people pray in unison, “We give thanks to you, our Lord.”

If the group is small and not familiar with each other, begin with someone sharing a brief (3 minute) testimony. If it is a retreat-type setting, with a longer meeting time, more people can share.

Vision casting is important element in understanding purpose. Not just the vision for the organization but, also, for the group and this particular meeting. How are we going to honor God in this meeting? How will we advance the Kingdom... the Gospel... the Great Commission? Tie the vision to scripture in a vibrant way that binds the journey of the church to God's Word.

Move beyond statistical reports to victory stories. Whose lives are being changed? Numbers have value but stories bring them to life in a way that is memorable and spurs us on to greater service and sacrifice.

Most importantly, Christians must remember who we are and whom we represent. Moderators need to be ready to pause a meeting for a time of prayer and reflective silence; perhaps, even, a hymn if a meeting becomes contentious. Angry shouting has no place in a Christian gathering.

Discernment is more than consensus and compromise and may require a bit more time. Discerning God's will is worth the wait. It's certainly better than a bad decision and much better than the bitter feelings left behind after a split vote.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Servant Spotlight: Angel Jimenez

Guest Blog: Robert Newman

Angel, Robert and Terry
Some people have, at least, a little warning that they are going to be dealing with a special needs child, but Terry Jimenez had no warning at all.

Terry's first learned something was wrong when Angel went to daycare, he started biting and hitting other children. Angel was referred to Any Baby Can and was diagnosed as having had oxygen deprivation at birth, due a breech delivery.

As Angel was growing up, he had no access to school playgrounds and played in the classroom. He was not allowed to play with children his own age at school since he acted like a much younger child but was too big to play with the younger students. No one would play with him at the public park.

Terry believes Angel would have benefited from an inclusive playground. He is apprehensive around regular playground equipment − if it doesn't have pictures showing what it is used for, he doesn't know what to do. He doesn't like it if it goes too fast or too high.

Today, Angel is 32 years old and developmentally disabled. He cannot read, write, or understand money. He attends the ARC of San Antonio on Saturdays, learning to tell time and count money. Terry reinforces that training at home.

Angel is called a VIP at the ARC because he is so helpful. He helps push people in wheelchairs, helps with Meals on Wheels, and volunteers at the dog pound. Angel likes to be on the go and enjoys interacting with his peers but is still shy when interacting with strangers.

Angel looks forward to coming to worship at Baptist Temple each week. He feels love and acceptance. He especially enjoys working with the children during VBS. The recent gift of a hat from Immanuel Motorcycle Ministry President Armando Acosta is a reminder that he is an important part of the Baptist Temple family. 

Armando (L) gives Angel an Immanuel Motorcycle Ministry hat,

Friday, November 15, 2019


Guest Blog: Diana Aranda-Curtis

I was born in 1958 with Cerebral Palsy, due to a complication during birth. My first memory of learning that I was disabled came to me during a doctor visit at the age of seven. My life changed. The doctor told my mother about a school for children with disabilities. They decided that it would be better for me.

I had just started 2nd grade at the same school my siblings were attending. We all walked to school together but now I was being sent to a different school. A school bus would pick me up and bring me home each day. I would no longer be able to be with my siblings.

I didn’t want to go to a different school. I protested when the bus came to pick me up. It was a struggle to get me on but soon I was on this school bus filled with children with many different disabilities. I saw children in wheelchairs, children with crutches and walkers, and children who needed to wear braces to walk. I examined myself and wondered why I was at this school. I didn’t use a wheelchair. I didn’t need a walker, crutches nor leg braces.

My life was now very different and I had to adjust. I grew up not being around my brothers and sisters. They all shared or knew the same principals, staff, teachers, and friends. I had a life of loneliness. Even though I went home each evening, I was going home to a family who didn’t know anything about me. They didn’t know my principal, my teachers, or any of my friends.

The school I went to was for children 1st through 12th grade, located in the Southeast side of San Antonio, and had students from all over San Antonio. Most of those in my grade, and there were not many, lived in the Northside or Westside. I lived on the Eastside. I couldn’t go to a friend’s house after school or during the summer. My siblings were able to visit their friends but I felt left out.

It wasn’t until I was in the 10th grade that many students were being streamlined to regular schools. Some were able to make it and some did not. I was one of the students who could not make it at a regular school. I had no idea what to expect at a regular school. I didn’t know anyone there. I felt insecure and afraid of this change.

The school became an elementary school and still uses the mascot that we voted on but there is not anything left of the school that I attended. There are no school reunions; many of my friends died at an early age due to their disability. I was left to find a way to live in a world that I never got to know.

I have struggled since graduating and I still struggle today. Bringing those with disabilities to be a part of this world is very important. It teaches everyone that we are all different; but that we all matter.
Diana Aranda-Curtis became a wife and mother, raising four children and has eight grandchildren. She is a compassionate person who serves at Baptist Temple in many ways but particularly through the Highland Park CAN thrift store and food pantry.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Servant Spotlight: Tracy Zayasbazan

Guest blog: Melissa Baxter

Shortly after graduating high school, Tracy Zayasbazan went to see a recruiter with her friend who wanted to join the Navy but it was Tracy, instead of her friend, who enlisted. Her dad was a Navy man but, before that day, she hadn't really considered it.

Her walk with Jesus was tough. She hadn't found a place for Christian fellowship and discipleship between boot camp, school and her first duty station. God carried her and protected her through her time in the service.

Tracy's time in the service prepared her for life, giving her structure and a mission. She was stationed in Florida, Mississippi, Bermuda and, prior to her discharge, the Great Lakes Naval Hospital; near her home town.

She married Jorge and served a church where she connected with other believers and really begin to learn what it is to be a true follower of Jesus. Tracy, a cancer survivor, said, “God has always been my rock especially when my health was compromised or our finances weren't aligned to what He would want them to be. My times of trials have drawn me so much closer to my savior and have allowed me to mature and completely depend on Him and live in a way that glorifies Him.”

There is a strong military tradition in Tracy's family. Her father is a retired naval officer, her brother a Colonel in the Marine Corps and her son serves in the Army Reserve. Her sister, too, is a veteran, serving a tour with the Air Force. She had to lean heavily on her faith when her husband, Jorge, was called to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom; leaving her a solo parent for over a year.

She continues to serve today as a pastor's wife and at the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach, where she helps find housing for homeless veterans.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Reaching counter-culture youth

Basilio Carrillo, a Westside San Antonio native, experienced a life changing moment at 15 when he saw the British punk rock band, The Clash on MTV. He identified with their anti-fashion and angry counter-culture message. He quickly became immersed in the underground punk rock world of clubs, booze and drugs. He started playing drums with punk rock bands and soon found himself the front man for the “The Deceased;” writing songs and singing lead.

At 29, his girlfriends mother convinced him to take his kids to to church. He chose a particular church because he knew the youth minister, who was cool. He showed up on a Sunday morning looking like the lead singer of a punk rock band: blue hair, piercings, tattoos, leather jacket and biker boots.

He did not receive a warm welcome. In fact, during the greeting time, two men reached across him to shake hands. No one shook his hand.

Yet, as worship began, Basilio felt the Holy Spirit come over him like a wave. He felt convicted by the sins of his past and, broken, he began to weep. On his knees he sought God's forgiveness.

It was a while before he returned to church but he'd heard about a church called Rise Above Ministries led by Skip Brooks, who also had a punk rock past. Skip wanted to reach kids in the punk rocker, heavy metal and other counter-culture worlds; showing that people who look like them can follow Jesus. Basilio felt right at home and, in 2005, became associate pastor.

The church dissolved in 2013 and Skip moved to Tennessee. Rise Above rose again when Skip returned in 2017 and asked Basilio to work alongside him. Basilio took over as pastor following Skip's recent death from cancer. He has the same desire to reach young people who reject and are rejected by the mainstream.

Rise Above Ministries meets in the Baptist Temple Campus Chapel Sundays at 3 PM. They are the sixth church meeting on a campus that is also shared by two schools and several service organizations.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Motorcycle Ride to benefit an inclusive playground on San Antonio's Southside

This Saturday, November 9 at 9 AM, motorcyclists will gather at Baptist Temple Church, 901 E Drexel St., for a ride to benefit Southeast San Antonio's first inclusive playground. They playground will allow children with disabilities to play with their friends of typical abilities. Children need free play to build their physical, mental and social skills. Also, this type of playground breaks down the barriers that lead to loneliness for disabled children and lack of understanding for others.

Riders will meet for breakfast at 8 AM for the 9 AM start and will return at noon for lunch where they will be welcomed by friends from the disabled community.

Inclusive playground website and video

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Servant Spotlight: Mateo Beltran

BUA grad, Logsdon Seminary student and 
Student.Go missionary receives the 
Mary Ellen Long Scholarship.
Mateo was born in Cali, Columbia and came to the US to enroll at the Baptist University of the Americas (BUA). He graduated from BUA in 2018 with a dual major in music and theology. The practical side of his ministry training occurred, in part, at Baptist Temple, where he has served in with children, youth, community ministries and more. During summer breaks, Mateo would serve at different churches across Texas to gain a broader understanding of how churches understand and carry out their missions.

He keeps returning to Baptist Temple because of the creative ways we fund and carry out our ministry to the community. He sees a genuine love for both our neighbor and the members of the church. “I was made to feel welcome,” he says.

This atmosphere of welcome is reflected in the diversity of Baptist Temple's campus community. A diversity reflected not only in terms of race and ethnicity but, also, in economic, social and age as well.

The student body of BUA is around 50% international with students from Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. This multicultural mix has served Mateo well in his work at Baptist Temple.

This year, Mateo has returned as a Student.Go missionary; a missions program of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) that provides opportunities for students to serve with our field personnel and ministry partners as they live out CBF Global Missions commitments—cultivating beloved community, bearing witness to Jesus Christ and seeking transformational development.

Mateo is currently enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at Logsdon Seminary in San Antonio, where he leads music during chapel and is this year's recipient of the Mary Ellen Long Scholarship. Mateo seeks to apply his training by ministering to communities of need. At BUA he learned about Business as Mission (BAM) and began to develop a concept for supporting himself through bivocational ministry. In this way he will not be limited to serving only those churches that can afford to pay him. 
UPDATE 2/25/21 - Mateo will be licensed this Sunday and will join the BT staff as Minister of Outreach

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Spiritual but not religious

Six groups gathered for worship on the Baptist Temple Campus this morning. Five services were planned. One was a surprise; at least to the folks who plan campus events. Members of several motorcycle clubs, including the Banditos, gathered to remember a young man who was killed in a motorcycle accident at the intersection where our church is located.

The group that gathers across the street does not look like typical church attenders. They looked like the people that Jesus would hang with. You know, the kind that the Pharisees called riff-raff. No doubt most will count themselves among the “nones” (folks that claim no religious affiliation.)

Much is written today about the shrinking number of church attenders. The phrase “spiritual but not religious” is often thrown around. I can't quite define that phrase but, perhaps, what happened today in the shadow of Baptist Temple can serve as conversation starter.

These folks gathered on a Sunday to remember a lost loved one. They had rituals of remembrance and comforted one another in their grief; without the official sanction of the church.

The fact that they are doing this on the Baptist Temple Campus is due solely to the location of the accident. However, the location of Baptist Temple is no accident. Since the day after the accident our deacons and staff have spoken to the mourners and offered whatever help they needed.

These annual gatherings remind me of the human heart's need to connect with God and each other. It serves as a challenge to the church to reach out to the folks that feel out of place in the typical church; they way that the early church did. It gives me a picture of the people Jesus hung out with. Most important it a reminder that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Deacon Spotlight: Willie Ronshausen

Guest Blog: Robert Newman

Willie Ronshausen and his wife Janet came to Baptist Temple in 1996, where he has served in many capacities including Deacon, Sunday School teacher, greeter, building and grounds, administration and more. He as been preaching at the San Antonio Rescue Mission for eight years.

Born on June 22, 1942 and baptized at the age of 10 in a Baptist church, Willie began Assemblies of God from age 12 until he came to Baptist Temple. It was as at Highlands Assembly of God where Willie first served as a deacon in 1987.

What Willie likes most about Baptist Temple is the friendliness and support of the members. This was something that he and Janet felt from their very first visit.

Willie is a cancer survivor and remains cancer-free by God's grace but the greatest miracle in his life came when he was run over by his own truck. He was working under the truck when it began to roll down hill and across his body. He suffered six broken ribs and his collarbone was broken in 3 places but no organs were damaged.

People rarely survive that type of accident but Willie says Jesus was with him then and through the process of healing. He guesses that God had more work for him to do.

Willie and Janet have been married for 41 years. He retired from the Army and civil service in 2002. He enjoys serving the Lord and helping people as well as hunting and fishing.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Servant Spotlight: Michael Barron

 Guest Blog: Robert Newman

Michael Barron is one of the leaders of Sunny Slope Baptist Church; part of the family of churches that meet on the Baptist Temple Campus. He grew up in Cuero, Texas, as part of a devout Catholic family but the direction of his life changed when he began attending a Baptist church. Having committed his life to Christ, he made the decision to study theology in San Antonio at the Hispanic Baptist Theological Seminary (known today as the Baptist University of the Americas.)

What started out as a summer job in Cuero for Michael, turned into a 38 year career with HEB, where he currently works at the help desk. HEB helped Michael purchase clothes in high school, support his ministry training and continues to provide support as he serves God through the ministry of Sunny Slope. One memorable event that combined his roles at HEB and as a Baptist minister was when he gave the opening prayer at an HEB Recognition Ceremony.

Michael served an internship at Baptist Temple in 1982 and, upon completing his education in Christian Service, began serving at Sunny Slope. He has served as a teacher, preacher and administrator and has officiated more weddings and funeral services (in English or Spanish) than he can recall. For the last five years he has been involved in hospice, providing comfort and counseling to patients and their families that are nearing the end-of-life.

Although he has amassed a collection of Bibles and religious books that fill a room, you might be surprised to learn that his other hobby is finding souvenirs and visiting places related to the movie The Wizard of Oz. His hobby has taken him on tours and to museums all over the United States. His favorite character is Glinda, the Good Witch.

Michael Barron is one of scores of people who began their ministry as an intern at Baptist Temple. Sunny Slope Baptist Church was started in 1945 and is one of 15 new church starts sponsored by Baptist Temple.

Monday, September 30, 2019

My turn in the nursery

Serving God in a nursery is so much more than baby-sitting. Many churches feel that they don't need to staff a nursery because they don't have babies. Could it be that families stay away for that very reason. Would someone in your church invite a young family knowing there is no nursery?

Ministering to young children serves both the children and the parents, who may be new to the faith. Putting a young family on the right path could help prevent many wrong turns in the future.

A church that wants to make families with young children welcome needs to plan ahead with a clean nursery staffed with friendly care-givers. Jesus said "let the little ones come unto me."

I ran across the poem many years ago. I believe it says it best.

Last Sunday was my turn in the nursery to work.
My heart wasn't in it; my feelings were hurt.
A child from its mother did not want to part
And it cried a lot with its broken heart.
I prayed that soon the hour would end
That I could relax - no more children to tend.
Soon the hour was over; it felt good to be free.
I said, "Once a month was too much for me!"
That very next Sunday I sat in a pew
A very good sermon, but visitors were few.
But down came a woman and her soul was saved.
She was the mother of that crying babe!
Then it dawned on me that I had been a part
Of one being saved - giving God her heart.
From that day on I would never dread
Working in the nursery while souls are fed.
Author Unknown

Monday, September 16, 2019

Deacon Spotlight: Ernest Alvarez

Guest Blog: Robert Newman

Born and raised in San Antonio, Ernest Alvarez showed an early interest in music, singing in his middle and high school choirs. He studied electronics at San Antonio College, served a tour in the Army, and worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone from 1974 until his retirement in March 2009.

On June 17, 1976 Ernest committed his life Jesus Christ at Lakeview Baptist Church under the ministry of Pastor Johnny Hutchins and later joined First Mexican Fundamental Baptist Church, where met met Bertha. They were married in 1979.

His early ministry involved driving the church bus and teaching children's Sunday School. Later, he would lead worship at Pyron Avenue Baptist and Hot Wells Baptist Church. In 2008 he joined Baptist Temple where he was ordained a deacon and is currently attending Stephen Ministry Training. At BT Ernest has sung in the choir, played in the praise band and worked the sound board among other ministries.

Recently, Ernest was elected chairman of the board of directors of KBIB, a-Spanish-language Christian Radio Station in San Antonio. This reflects an entrepreneurial spirit that has led Ernest to start a graphic arts business and a Spanish language Christian book store.

Ernest believes that being a deacon fulfills his desire to help people in times of need and appreciates how Baptist Temple encourages and empowers people to serve. "I like the fact that there are so many opportunities to join in different ministries to serve the church and the community,” he said.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Reaching people on the margins

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the
San Antonio Clubhouse site on the BT Campus.
San Antonio Clubhouse is the newest member of the Baptist Temple Campus family of churches and service organizations that meet the spiritual and physical needs of our community. SA Clubhouse is a self-help program where adults with mental health conditions can volunteer, learn, and grow. The Baptist Temple site is a satellite of the main campus and will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Founded in 2003, The SA Clubhouse serves as a model of success for people living with mental illness by promoting life skills, job skills, employment, wellness, recreation, connections to resources and healthy meals. Executive Director Mark Stoeltje reports, “Ninety one percent of clubhouse members reported a reduced need for psychiatric intervention and 84 percent reported fewer run-ins with law enforcement.”

Baptist Temple's efforts at serving people with special needs began in 2009 when a Texas Baptist representative called Pastor Jorge Zayasbazan and asked if they would host a Deaf congregation. Pastor Zayasbazan enthusiastically answered, “Yes! It's an answer to our prayers.”

The result of that call has been FamilyDeaf Church worshiping in American Sign Language on the Baptist Temple Campus for ten years. They not only serve the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community but, also, their hearing family members. Family Deaf Church is the only Baptist church in San Antonio that is centered around Deaf Culture.

John Richey, pastor of Family Deaf Church said, “The Deaf are a distinct culture with its own challenges. They have common needs that are best understood in their own context. That requires more than an interpreted service.”

Baptist Temple continues to find ways to provide services to people on the margins. They are now in the process of developing an inclusive playground so children with disabilities can play with their friends of typical abilities. Play is an important part of every child's development. It helps develop social, physical and problem solving skills. However, children with disabilities often lack places to play. This is especially true in the Southside of San Antonio; an area declared to be a very low opportunity area for children (according to

Inclusive playgrounds allow children of different ability levels to play together. They can inspire mutual understanding, friendships, and a real sense of community. Children who learn to play with children of all ability levels will be better prepared for a diverse work environment. This will be the first inclusive playground on the Southside open to the community.

Baptist Temple has already raised 80% of their funding goal through a combination of donations, fund-raisers and grants from the Baptist Health Foundation and the Charity Ball Association. They seek to raise another $24,000 this Fall. Donations can be made online at or mailed to Baptist Temple, 901 E. Drexel, San Antonio, TX 78210.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Servant Spotlight: Cleta Foster

Guest blog by Melissa Baxter

A child of non-church going parents, Cleta Foster began walking to church at about ten years old, where she enjoyed GA’s and Vacation Bible School.

While in college, Cleta was part of the the Baptist Student Union. She committed her life to Jesus Christ during a Freddy Gage revival at 22 and was baptized at Lamar Baptist Church in Wichita Falls.

Cleta moved to San Antonio in 1961 with her husband, Marvin. Baptist Temple was the first (and last) church theyt visited. Cleta attended Blu Kingston’s Sunday School as well as Sunday evening discipleship classes, then known as Training Union. In her younger years, she played on Baptist Temple’s 1973 championship women's softball team.

For over 30 years Cleta was a public school teacher. She taught one year in Oklahoma, fifteen years in the San Antonio Independent School District and fifteen years in the East Central Independent School District.

Through the years, Cleta has served on many Baptist Temple committees, including two pastor search committees, personnel and social/hospitality. She was the first woman to be elected trustee. She taught children's Sunday school for many years. Currently she lends a hand where needed and still serves on committees.

Cleta is a widow with two grown children, Krisie (married to Bennet) and Kevin (married to Christy), five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

1973 softball champions, Cleta Foster front row, center.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Deacon Spotlight: Charlotte Cruz

Guest Blog: Robert Newman

When Charlotte was a teenager, her mother died. She then faced many difficulties and did not feel loved by her father. Drinking and recreational drugs only made her feel worse. She suffered through two failed marriages but with prayer and repentance, she fully submitted herself to the Lord and things became much brighter having Christ in her life.

Charlotte was saved, baptized, and married to Ernest Cruz in 2007 at Hot Wells Baptist Church. She felt God guided her to Baptist Temple and became a member in 2008. “I felt the warmth and love from everyone right away and it felt great,” she said.

In her time at Baptist Temple, Charlotte has served on the Floral committee, VBS, Young in Heart, Hospitality, and as a substitute Sunday school teacher. Her passion has been working with the Ordinance committee for the past 11 yrs.

Charlotte became a Deacon in 2017 and realizes that she has much more work to do. Charlotte is shy but warms up quickly.She likes that she gets to meet and help people, pray for them and lead them to the Lord; in church and in the community.

Charlotte and her identical twin were born and raised in San Antonio and graduated from Highlands High school. Charlotte has 3 children and 5 grandchildren and has been married to Ernest for 12 years.

She likes archery and glass sculpture. Her favorite bible verse is: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make you path straight.”

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.