Wednesday, January 11, 2023

2022: The Year in Review

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

 2022: The Year in Pictures

God has given Baptist Temple many good and perfect gifts in 2022. The largest of these was a grant of $653,668 to help our Early Learning Center with the labor shortage and pandemic-related losses, thus enabling us to continue our vital service to the community. The grant was a result of federal funding provided to answer the national childcare crisis which has threatened to leave 6.5 million U.S. families without stable childcare. Once again, the Baptist Temple Early Learning Center has stepped up to meet a community need.

Often, God’s gifts come as people. Our new daycare director, Lakita Oats, brought 14 years’ experience and an MA in early childhood education combined with a passion for service and a desire to be used by God. Her cheerful countenance and steady leadership have kept us moving forward through troubled times.

Sometimes, God’s gifts come disguised as trouble. When the Early Learning Center’s van was stolen and vandalized this fall, several folks responded financially (including one large gift of $30,000) to help us recover. Most of the contributions came from strangers who learned of our plight on the news. While it is sad that there are people who would perpetrate such a senseless act of destruction, it became an occasion for joy as God demonstrated His provision. “Every good and perfect gift is from above.”

More financial blessings came from the Charity Ball Association ($110,000) and the Baptist Health Foundation ($118,000) to help renovate the gym. Over the last ten years, the gym has been used more than ever before. Jubilee uses it during the day, youth basketball teams practice at night, and adult recreation groups use it on the weekends. That’s a lot of wear and tear. Work has already begun and will include the floor, lights, staircase, locker rooms and bathrooms.

The gym renovation is not the only maintenance task we undertook in 2022. The roof of the Brunnemann Building had to be replaced after it started leaking, we changed all the exterior locks on the campus, and a SAGE grant (San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside) helped us to replace more exterior windows.

God is a wise investor. The servant who invested the master’s money received more. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

The fellowship hall looks more cheerful now with the replacement of our worn-out chairs. The new chairs are blue and are made of more durable materials. The Baptist Student Missions group from Baylor assembled the chairs while on a mission trip to San Antonio. They also painted the exterior of the Fritz Building.

Another mission team, the middle school choir from FBC Garland, stayed at BT this summer and ministered throughout San Antonio. They sang at a senior center and our Tuesday night community meal, distributed flyers and sorted food at the San Antonio Food Bank.

Fighting hunger is Baptist Temple’s most visible community ministry. Each Tuesday night and one Sunday a month, we provide a free meal to all who come. Our food pantry provided groceries for 4608 people in 2022. This is made possible by the generosity of Woodland Baptist Church, the Fellowship of San Antonio, San Antonio District 3 Councilwoman (Phyllis Viagran), Jubilee Highland Park Academy, the San Antonio Food Bank, Daily Bread Ministries, funding from the BGCT World Hunger Offering and the SABA hunger walk, and individual food donations.

We enjoyed four worship concerts throughout the year. The Southern Plainsmen, Westward Road, Don Wallace, and Simply Blessed communicated the gospel through music, while providing an occasion to invite new folks to our church. A fellowship meal helped to create bonds of friendship in an atmosphere of welcome.

This year we said goodbye to The Message Church and Rise Above Ministries but welcomed three new churches to our campus. One Voice Praise and Worship meet at one PM on Sunday in the main sanctuary and the Spanish-language church they sponsor meets at five PM. World Healing Church meets on Saturday evenings at six.

As the new year began, an eighth church joined our family. Casa de Oracion has begun to meet Sundays at 3 PM in the chapel. With Family Deaf Church, New Direction and Sunny Slope Baptist church and our new congregations the Baptist Temple Campus displays a diversity rarely witnessed in the American church.

The recovery from the COVID disruption continues. We have made a lot of progress but there is still room for growth. The community garden and Fritz Building are underutilized ministry assets. Our worship numbers remain 30% below the pre-COVID days but God is still at work. New people are coming every week. Increasing our efforts at discipleship continues to be the key to kingdom success.

 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:33-34