Monday, March 01, 2021

New Direction Church joins the BT Campus family of churches

When Oliver Moffett was 10, he and some cousins spent a week of spiritual reflection at his grandparent’s house. His grandfather was pastor of Free Mission Baptist Church in New Orleans. For a week, without television or distractions, they were to pray for spiritual breakthrough. Oliver committed his heart to Christ that week.

While serving under Pastor L.C. Griffen at St. Stevens Baptist Church in San Antonio, Oliver became more involved in the church’s ministry and dug deeply into God’s Word. He had a hunger to serve and to learn. One night, he felt a clear calling to ministry. Several people, including his pastor, confirmed Oliver’s call. He preached his first sermon at St. Stephen’s in April 1980 and was ordained at Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church, San Antonio, in 1984. He was mentored by Pastor Griffin and, also, Pastor Smith of Golden Gate, as he studied the Bible and spent much time in prayer and meditation.

In 1994, Oliver started New Direction Church in his home with seven people. As the congregation grew, the young church worshiped outdoors in a park and then, at the Davis-Scott YMCA. Continuing growth led them to rent a warehouse in the Eastside in 2000. There they grew to 200 in worship with room to expand. New Direction was not able to hang on to the warehouse and moved first to the Eastside Boys and Girls Club and then, back to the YMCA.

In 2020, New Direction moved onto the Baptist Temple Campus. COVID-19 had taken a toll on their attendance, but they soon outgrew their small space and plan to begin using the Baptist Temple Chapel.

New Direction’s mission is building and rebuilding families back to God. They are a welcome part of the multidimensional ministry of the Baptist Temple Campus.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

God showed Anna how to use her pain to minister to others who suffer.

Anna Cortinas was raised in a Christian home in Beaumont, TX. She committed her heart to Jesus and was baptized at sixteen in Templo Bautiusta of Beaumont. In 1987, she enlisted in the US Army and served as a records clerk for four years in Germany. Following her military service, she worked for the Social Security Administration as a claims representative for ten years.

She enrolled at the Baptist University of the Americas (BUA), pursing a call that seemed unclear at the time. There, she began to grow spiritually as she gained a deeper knowledge of the Bible. God was changing her and giving clarity to her call. It was her participation in BUA’s first Latina Leadership Institute group that helped her find her ministry voice. She credits Dr. Nora Lozano with giving her the encouragement to break the shackles that limit so many women in ministry. 

She was a gifted teacher but had been restricted to teaching only women by her fundamentalist church. Anna accepted this constraint because she had never seen an alternative. When she preached her first sermon, she found a greater confidence in her calling. Following her graduation from BUA, in 2008, she continued to teach and preach and served as hospital chaplain. She even preached at her home church, where she had once been told that women aren’t allowed to preach. Still, she felt a strong call to something more in her ministry.

Being at her brother’s side and caring for him in the final stages of his life reinforced Anna’s gift of mercy, expressed by caring for suffering people. She grew in her understanding of how God can use the hardship and trauma in her life to help others in their time of need. 

In 2018, Anna enrolled in the Master of Theology program at Dallas Baptist University, preparing for the next phase of her ministry. She currently serves as an intern at Baptist Temple, where she will apply her organizational and interpersonal skills, along with her spirit of encouragement to help serve the spiritual needs of our community. She will take the lead in developing support groups and helping hurting people to discover God’s unconditional love and healing.

Anna has three children and five grandchildren.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Nate Clark shares the gospel and teaches others to do the same.

Nate Clark grew up in rural Iowa and has lived in San Antonio for almost 10 years. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in pottery from Graceland University in Lamoni, IA, he served as a chef in fine dining restaurants for 13 years until God called him into full-time ministry three years ago.

Nate says, “There was a time in my life when I was very angry, hurt, and had no sense of self-worth, mostly because my dad didn’t love me. I hated everyone and everything and myself most of all. I contemplated or planned suicide or suicide bombing on several occasions. My life absolutely sucked.

“Then, when I was 16, I read the Bible. I learned that God loves me and that he showed his love for me in Christ. He put His money where His mouth was and proved His love for me. It wasn’t just a hollow claim. He loves me so much He died for me. And not just that- but His love for me was so wholesome and so complete that His death also gave me forgiveness for my sin. The death I very justly deserved for being the absolutely terrible person that I was, was paid for in Jesus’s sacrifice. And as if that wasn’t enough, I got the Father I always wanted. Because of what Jesus has done, and because I have received Him and believed in Him, I have the right to call myself a child of God because that is what I am!

“When I learned this, it absolutely blew my mind. It totally wrecked me. I chose to accept Jesus’s love for me and follow him. Now my life is completely different than I ever imagined it could be. I have a wife who God uses every day to test me and try me but also to remind me of His great love. And now I’m a father! I have a son who I get to love and be an example for.”

Nate credits Ben Hanna for mentoring his spiritual development and equipping him to do the work of the Great Commission. His life changed in a way he never would have imagined. He, then, began his ministry of sowing the seed of the gospel and teaching other believers how to obey Jesus, by committing themselves to the work of the gospel.

Nate works closely with a global network of disciple-makers, missionaries, and church planters called No Place Left (NPL), who focus on using simple, biblical, and easily reproducible tools to facilitate God’s movement into all the peoples of the world. His partners include a network of traditional and non-traditional churches, the Baptist General Convention of Texas and E-3 Partners.

Along with his wife Alison and son, Keith, Nate has moved into Baptist Temple’s Olaya Long House as Missionaries in Residence. They will practice hospitality evangelism in our neighborhood and help equip God’s people to be soul-winners.

 

Friday, February 19, 2021

A lesson from the ant

Over the past several years San Antonio has endured a few emergencies. Following Hurricane Harvey, there was a run on gasoline which created a local shortage. At the beginning of the pandemic there was a shortage of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. During this week’s prolonged freeze, we experienced closed highways, loss of power and loss of running water. It only lasted four days but, of course, we ran out of gasoline, groceries, toilet paper, water, etc.

There are some lessons to be learned.

First. We are vulnerable to disruptions in our utilities and supply chains. The disruptions are unpredictable and can come in combinations. Our recent loss of power and water was amplified by the limitations on travel caused by icy roads. Warming stations and shelters were opened but COVID-19 restricted the capacity. On the other hand, both utilities and the supply chain have proven to be resilient. The lights come back on, the water flows and the stores are restocked.

Second. Most people are very generous in an emergency. Food and water were being given away. Churches and other public buildings were opened as shelters. Neighbors looked out for one another, sharing their resources.

Third. We need to store supplies to tide us over in an emergency. FEMA recommends three days. That’s how long it can take local, state and or federal authorities to get to you. Supplies ought to include water (one gallon per person per day), canned food, candles, flashlights and batteries. Always make sure you have enough of your prescription medicines. Don’t let your vehicle’s fuel drop below half a tank and top it off if expecting bad weather.

Other items to consider are a battery powered weather radio, meal bars and extra pet food. Having a gallon of water in your vehicle during the summer and a blanket in the winter won’t hurt.

There will be another emergency. We don’t know what it will be or when but the time to prepare is when store shelves are stocked. The Bible wants us to learn from the ant.

Proverbs 6:6-8 says “Go to the ant you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise. It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Kathleen Lanzalotto leads the BTELC through challenging times

Born and raised in New Jersey, Kathleen Lanzalotto became the Director of the Baptist Temple Early Learning Center last year, just as the pandemic hit. At first, the decision was made to shut down the ELC, but the child-care needs of medical personnel and other essential workers led us to reopen.

Leading the training and creation of new protocols, Kathleen created a safer environment for teachers and children. In two weeks, we were back in business. By the end of the year, we acquired a new van and expanded our after school program by providing services to other area schools.

Kathleen always wanted to be a teacher but had been told she was not smart enough. Kathleen has dyslexia, a disorder that makes learning difficult. Refusing to accept limitations, she attended school part-time and earned a Bachelor’s degree in child development and business.

Her personal struggles with traditional learning systems helped her to raise two children with dyslexia. Both achieved academic success. The oldest received an Associate’s degree in cosmetology, the youngest is in college studying to be a doctor and has a 4.0 Grade Point Average.

Following her husband’s death in 2010, Kathleen moved to San Antonio to be closer to family. Having previously operated a Montessori Academy in New Jersey, Kathleen opened an early learning center in San Antonio, applying her academic training and her sensitivity to children who learn differently.

She sold her successful business but soon returned to the field of early childhood learning. Feeling there was more for her to do, Kathleen accepted the position at Baptist Temple. Kathleen wants to take BTELC to the next level, so it becomes the standard for other schools to follow. Our Google rating went from half a star to 4.3 stars in her first year.

Kathleen's leadership has enabled the BTELC to excel through challenging times.  We recently passed all our inspections with no negative observations. Parents are saying, “I’m calling you because you have a five star rating.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Jonathan Clark celebrates 20 years at Baptist Temple

 Guest Blog by Robert Newman

Jonathan was called as Minister of Music to Baptist Temple in January of 2001. He had recently graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Music after earning a Bachelor of Music from Oklahoma Baptist University.

Born and raised in El Paso, Jonathan became a Christian at the age of six and was baptized at Immanuel Baptist Church. He remembers struggling to understand what he was to do to become a child of God. He had sensed God's call into ministry since about the second grade but began to really consider God's call while finishing high school.

Jonathan stepped out in faith and discovered a fantastic world of worship. God called him into the area of music and worship. A call has been continually confirmed throughout his time in college and seminary studies. He discovered within himself a concern for corporate ministry to God, to the people of God, and to the unsaved community.

In 1991, he was licensed at Immanuel and served churches in Oklahoma and Texas. Jonathan is the recipient of several music awards including the 1995 Oklahoma Music Teachers Association Regional Voice Competition. He placed first in the college men’s division at the National Association of Teachers of Singing and was chosen as a member of the National Men’s Honor Choir by the American Choral Directors Association, both in 1995. In 1994, he received Oklahoma Baptist University’s, Helen Gaskin Church Music Award.

Jonathan found his concern for ministry was most effective when applied with concern for the individual. He has best been able to address this concern through creativity in ministry and worship and by organizing and using ministry resources. He believes that the church's responsibility is twofold. One responsibility is ministry. This means ministry to God first, then to the people of God, and then to the lost community.

The church's additional responsibility is making disciples. He believes that evangelism is essential for a healthy church ministry. He is still growing and learning as a Christian and a servant, and desires to be more Christ-like.

During his time as Minister of Music, he worked with choirs of all ages, leading tours and music camps. Purchasing handbells, he formed a handbell choir and took them on tours, and to workshops and festivals. His creativity enabled him to direct Easter and Christmas cantatas and transition our worship to a blended program with a worship band. Jonathan, also, supervised technical upgrades to our worship service including a new sound system, video projector and upgraded lighting.

When promoted to Associate Pastor, in 2009, Jonathan oversaw practical discipleship projects such as Financial Freedom Workshops and Abundant Life University. He supervised several major maintenance projects including a $300,000 air conditioning rebuild, complete roof replacement, upgrading exterior lighting, converting all interior lights to energy-efficient LEDs, installation of the cell tower and solar panels, and remodeling the Chapel. Jonathan was ordained on November 3, 2012.

Jonathan was promoted to Executive Pastor in 2018, which includes supervision of our early learning center. In a short time, he was able to bring financial stability to the early learning center, while raising academic standards and making teacher payrates more competitive.

During the pandemic, he secured a Paycheck Protection Plan loan to ensure our employees would still receive pay. Furthermore, we were able to provide childcare for the children of essential workers, purchase another van and grow our after school ministry.

A significant achievement for Baptist Temple in 2020, under Jonathan's supervision, was the completion of our inclusive playground. A place where children with disabilities can play with their friends of typical ability. The total cost of the project was nearly $250,000 in cash, material donations and volunteer labor.

As we emerge from the pandemic, Jonathan is helping Baptist Temple to expand and strengthen our ministry to the physical and spiritual needs of our community.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Baptist Temple Year in Review: 2020


2020: The Year in Pictures

It is with great joy that I write this blog as a testimony of God's faithfulness. Even in the darkest times we can see Him at work. While the COVID environment created limitations and hardships, God created streams of mercy that enabled us to continue to be a channel of blessing to our community.

Towards the end of March, we shut down hard. All of our campus churches went online. Jubilee Academy went to remote learning. Our Early Learning Center closed and all campus activities were suspended. We did not know how long this would last.

I soon received an email that put us back into play. A lack of open childcare centers created a crisis for medical workers who were unable to return to work. Our newly hired daycare director, Kathleen, quickly went to work and, in two weeks, we had the equipment, protocols and training to reopen.

In order to stay close to our members in this age of social distancing, we commissioned our deacons and Stephen Ministers to be Phone Angels and make weekly check in calls to all our members. Robert Newman, our Archangel, and Minister to Adults, kept it running smoothly. He, also, created paths for online ministry so our worship and Bible study would continue.

Thanks to Jonathan, our Executive Pastor, we continued to improve our infrastructure to save money and enhance ministry delivery. Jonathan's most visible accomplishment was the completion of our inclusive playground. Work days continued in January as the equipment began to arrive. Construction is essential work, so it continued through the Spring and Summer. We dedicated the first inclusive playground in the Southside to God's glory in October, as a testimony of God's love for all His children. We received nearly $250,000 in cash, material and labor to make this happen.

In 2020, we collected and distributed over 55,000 pounds of food. During the shutdown Daniel, our Minister of Outreach, delivered food directly to our clients who were in greatest need and lacked transportation. David and Bertha led the way in determining ways to provide ministry through our thrift store and pantry in a safe manner.

Uncertainty caused many churches to cancel summer travel plans but we still had a 40 member team from Lee's Summit FBC stay at BT this summer. We also had five summer interns who assisted in worship and a variety of other tasks.

A partnership with No Place Left expanded our disciple-making efforts. No Place Left is a network that seeks to preach the gospel to the ends of earth until there is no place left that has not heard. A group joins us on Thursday mornings to prayer walk in our neighborhood and has provided training for our leaders. In the Fall we hosted a No Place Left residency for seven people (six are ministry students). The residency provides advanced training for evangelism.

We returned to worship in our sanctuary in May, with the new protocols in place. We maintained space between family groups, wore masks and avoided hand shakes and hugs. The 30 minute service reduced the amount of singing and the offering plate was not passed.

Soon Family Deaf Church, Sunny Slope and Rise Above returned. Another church, New Direction, started meeting on our Campus. (The Message and Life Change still have not returned.) Other groups began to return, including Jubilee and youth basketball clubs, all with new safety procedures.

Although it seemed to be a quieter year, much was accomplished. A group from the community has started working on the community garden, ensuring its beauty and utility. Under Kathleen's leadership the Early Learning Center not only survived but revitalized the after school program and helped us acquire a van to pick up kids from other schools.

All this was made possible through your prayers and financial support. Thank you for your faithful partnership that sustained us through a difficult year.

Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 NKJ