In additional articles in the Did You Know? series, we’ll look at how our giving makes ministry happen in five other areas: Pastoral Care Engagements, Local Engagements, Sending Engagements, Direct Engagements, and Metroplex Engagements. But right now, we’re turning our eyes toward what happens in the category of Cooperative Engagements when you drop your gift in the offering plate or when you give online.
There are two parts to cooperation, specifically as it applies to our Great Commission goals:
♦ One person cooperates with another to do more together than they could individually.
♦ That leads to a group of people cooperating with another group to do more together to make an even bigger impact.
Both happen at FBCA. There’s a cooperative aspect to what we do when we each give a small part of what God has given us. We pool those resources and we make more happen together. Then the next step up is when we, as a church, take our collected gifts and cooperate with other groups to meet needs and help people meet Jesus. We have a great heritage of connection and cooperation – as individuals working together and as a church working with others – and we think our best days are yet to come!
Let’s get started with the big picture of what part of our FBCA Budget and World Mission Offering will be directed toward Cooperative Engagements:
For the 2018-2019 fiscal year,
the total given to Cooperative Engagements will exceed $342,000.
It’s an amazing figure, isn’t it? There’s much to praise God for when we look at that amount because it’s a testimony to the giving heart that resides in the members of FBCA. And now, we want to introduce you to some of the recipients of our Cooperative Engagement gifts. And just as “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (so said another ancient philosopher, Lao-tzu, who lived in China at the same time Aesop was crafting fables in Greece), let’s start right outside our front door, in our very own Downtown Arlington neighborhood.
Click graphic to enlarge…
Baptist Student Ministry: $9,600 per year
Stand just about anywhere on our FBCA campus and look at what’s around our church – you’ll see part of the University of Texas at Arlington. UTA is our nearest and most populous neighbor. Boasting 58,000 students from over 100 countries, we’d be remiss if we didn’t see the mission field at our doorstep every time we look across the street.
Thankfully, Baptists have been committed to ministry on college campuses for a long time – because colleges are exciting, incredible places to reach people with the good news of Jesus. The Baptist Student Ministry at UTA just celebrated its 75th anniversary (which gives a whole new meaning to the idea of being a “perpetual student”). Thousands have been reached with the gospel, discipled in Bible studies, and challenged to engage in missions locally and globally. Check out these BSM milestones:
♦ Each week, the BSM connects with 400 students across the UTA, as well as Tarrant Community College’s (TCC) Southeast and South campuses.
♦ 43 students made decisions for Christ last year.
♦ With a strategically located facility in the heart of UTA, BSM provides opportunities for spiritual growth, making friends, leadership, service, and missions. BSM has ministry outreaches in six UTA residence halls, too.
♦ For the past 15 years, the BSM has been led by Gary Stidham, an FBCA member and deacon. Currently, the BSM staff has 3 full-time, 3 part-time, and 3 interns.
♦ Last year, 88 students participated in missions over summer, Christmas, or a semester, while 105 students participatedin a semester or year-long discipleship training program.
♦ Vertical is the weekly large group meeting and is attended by over 300 students.ImpactTrainingis a weekly classroom-style evangelism and ministry training which equips students to effectively spread the gospel.
Our Cooperative Engagement with UTA BSM helps make these milestones happen. BSM is also supported by Texas Baptist churches, plus UTA BSM alumni, family, and friends. From 2015-2017, FBCA also provided an additional $10,000/year to support an international student minister at UTA BSM.
As you can see, it’s safe to say that we’re “all-in” with our Cooperative Engagement with UTA BSM. We’re thankful for the partnership we share with this incredible ministry that’s literally a short walk from our church campus.
Beyond Our Neighborhood
Tarrant Baptist Association: $26,320 per year
Look toward Fort Worth, toward Seminary Hill, to be exact. On the outskirts of the Southwestern Seminary campus is the office of Tarrant Baptist Association (TBA). Notice we said “office” and not “home.” You see, TBA’s home is never just one spot on the map.
♦ TBA is a network of 387 churches (and counting) who are “investing in relationships to connect others to Christ.” Over 20 languages are represented, indicating the incredible ethnic diversity of this region of Texas – and the incredible opportunity to share the gospel with the world’s people groups who pass through here.
♦ TBA stretches from Roanoke in the north to Burleson in the south — and from Walsh Ranch in the west to Arlington in the east.
♦ TBA’s vision is to support churches through leadership development, community connections, prayerful encouragement, and church starting.
♦ And TBA isn’t afraid to tackle tough issues to meet needs. Tarrant County has the state’s highest rate of infant mortality. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of safe sleeping surfaces for newborns and infants. Working with 26 other public/private/nonprofit groups, TBA has placed more than 600 Pack ’n Play beds in high-risk homes. Their goal: To eliminate infant mortality in Tarrant County. As TBA executive director David Bowman said, “Jesus loves the little children – and so do we.”
Riverbend Retreat Center: $13,160 per year
From Fort Worth, look south toward Glen Rose. Just around the bend in the Brazos River is a 204-acre spread of Riverbend Retreat Center. FBCA has been involved with Riverbend from its inception, and Brian Sepulveda, FBCA’s Minister of Activities, currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Riverbend Retreat Center. Our church has long been one of Riverbend’s top financial-giving churches. All of Riverbend’s financial support comes from camp and usage fees, gifts from churches, and individual donors.
During Riverbend’s 50 years of operation,
more than 22,000 people have become Christ followers!
Every summer, our Children’s Camp and Youth Camp load up hundreds of kids and adults and make the trek to Riverbend as the first big event of the kids’ summer. And every summer, our kids – and thousands of other children, youth, and adults — experience worship, fellowship, and spiritual formation while enjoying the “get-away” that Riverbend provides.
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering: $8,000 per year
Cast your eyes to the east and the west – then to the north and south. Wherever you look, there’s a restaurant in Arlington. They’re hard to miss. But no matter which direction you look, people are hungry. They’re easy to miss. But hunger happens in Texas. And it happens around the world.
♦ In Texas, 14% of Texas families are “food insecure,” which exceeds the national average of 12%. Food insecurity happens when families have to choose between food and other living expenses. It means families are undernourished or actually hungry.
♦ Around the world, 1 in 9 people are classified as undernourished (that’s 821 million people, according to a 2017 United Nations report).
Texas Baptists have been working to alleviate hunger, locally and globally, through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which is initiated by and administered through the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
What happens when FBCA gives to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering? Texas Baptists then disperse 100% of the offering (yes, you read that right; no funds are taken out for administrative costs) to more than 130 hunger relief and development ministries around our state and around the world. From Huntsville to Honduras, from Livingston to Lebanon, our gifts put food on tables.
Want more info on hunger issues? Click here:
Baptist General Convention of Texas: $210,560 per year
You noticed the six-figure number on this one, didn’t you? Be assured, it’s not an accident and it’s not without carefully considered and prayed-over intentionality. FBCA gives a big chunk of our Cooperative Engagements funding to the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) every year because we are so aligned with the purposes and vision of this organization that unites thousands of Baptist churches in Texas.
Historically, we have always had strong connections to BGCT, with its commitment to reach Texas with the Good News of Jesus, with its compassion to meet the physical and emotional needs of Texans, and with its visionary partnerships with Christians around the world.
Want to know more about Texas Baptists and their mission, vision, beliefs, values, priorities, and history? This page will help you discover that.
Texas State Missions Offering: $10,000 per year
Our $10,000 gift is part of a statewide goal of $3.6 million – so how far can it go? If you follow the money, you’ll be wide-eyed at the breadth and depth of ministry that occurs:
♦ 6,000 loads of laundry were washed/dried for families who were hurricane victims, thanks to through Suds of Love — the Texas WMU Mobile Laundry Unit.
♦ Millions of meals were prepared as Texas Baptist Men sprang into action with their Disaster Relief teams, not only feeding hurricane victims and relief workers, but helping to “mud out” and rebuild homes.
♦ Cowboy Churches were started to reach a truly unique segment of the Texas population.
♦ Basketball tournaments reached unchurched youth in inner cities.
♦ Churches and associations were trained to identify and combat human trafficking in their cities.
♦ …and hundreds of additional ministry efforts that are showing the love of Jesus to people everywhere!
Beyond Our Borders
We’re not limiting our Cooperative Engagements and our giving to entities that focus just on Texas (although you’ve already figured that out by reading the previous examples; they all have ministry efforts that reach far beyond Texas). The following recipients of our offering funds are positioned to reach the world for Christ in ever-expanding ways.
“God has a plan to reach North America: the Church. The Church feeds neighbors in need. The Church removes storm debris. The Church establishes new churches in areas with no gospel presence.”
“Our vision is a multitude from every language, people, tribe, and nation knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ.”
With heart statements like these, you can see why FBCA is like-minded with these two long-standing mission arms of the Southern Baptist Convention. Their strong faith-history includes starting churches, training leaders, and meeting needs.
BGCT Outside Texas: $52,640 per year
Contributing to Texas Baptists Worldwide gives us a connection with missions and ministries from the heart of Texas to the ends of the earth. Engaging with Texas Baptists Worldwide means we are helping to support these ministries:
♦ Missions Mobilization
–Multi-Housing/House Congregation Ministry
–BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery
–River Ministry & Mexico Endeavors
♦ Texas Partnerships
–Facilitating mission trips to Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and more
♦ Baptist World Alliance (BWA)
–Representing 45 million Baptists in 177,000 churches in 122 countries/territories
♦ Intercultural International Initiatives
–Partnering with congregations in Japan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Lebanon, and Turkey
♦ Go Now Missions
–Sending college students on mission trips around the world since 1949
♦ Hispanic Education Initiative
–Partnering with Hispanic churches to encourage education and training
–900+ chaplains minister in healthcare, military, correctional, corporate, counseling, first responder, crisis response, and lifestyle
Now you know!
We hope you have caught a glimpse of the company we keep through our Cooperative Engagements. These partnerships allow us to be a part of the Great Commission in ways our predecessors could only dream of. The world is at our doorstep, whether it’s UTA’s Baptist Student Ministry just down the block or our connection with the global Baptist World Alliance.
And now that you know, join us in thanking God that He placed us all in an era of human history where His Word is able to travel across borders, through cyberspace, and through the genuine compassion of a smile when someone hears about the Savior from a Christian who is following the Jesus Way.