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Mission Colleyville, in 5th year, continues to find response

COLLEYVILLE, Texas (BP)–Despite near-freezing temperatures at Mission Colleyville 2006, the scene at First Baptist Church was reminiscent of an old-time tent revival, complete with rousing music and a declaration of the Gospel.

And it continued to show a heart of compassion.

For the fifth year in a row, hundreds of First Baptist members and volunteers from several local churches canvassed the area weeks in advance with 13,000-plus mail-outs and 8,000 handouts inviting people to attend the annual event, receive a free box of groceries from Feed the Children, get a voucher for children’s Christmas toys and, most importantly, hear about the saving love of Jesus Christ.

“The first year, we had about 1,000 people attend and 100 decisions for Christ,” Ron Cogburn, a Mission Colleyville team leader, said. “Each year the number has grown. Last year we had about 4,700 in attendance and 200 decisions.”

Michael Ray, First Baptist’s senior pastor, said more than 5,300 people registered this year and 75 made decisions.

“We will provide toys for 4,150 children when the toy store opens on Dec. 13 and runs for four days and we will continue to present the Gospel each night of the toy store,” Ray said.

Following a simple system, families were asked to register, then they were given an armband and a voucher allowing them entrance into the church’s Christmas store where every child will receive two gifts. The church also partnered with Oklahoma-based Feed the Children for the second time to distribute groceries.

“I can’t say enough about how this represents a lot of hope for a service community,” Cogburn said. “A lot of these people work in the service industry and they support the restaurants and hotels and the businesses in this area; this time of year is sometimes very thin for them financially, and this just makes a big difference in their lives.”

Included among the 600-plus volunteers were several local Hispanic pastors and their congregants. The first year of Mission Colleyville, Cogburn recounted, there were no churches along Mustang Drive, which has the highest concentration of Hispanics in the Grapevine/Colleyville area. Now two churches are meeting in apartment complexes on Mustang Drive that grew out of Mission Colleyville.

“Some of those churches have upwards of 100 people that attend on Sundays,” Cogburn said, voicing hope that another Hispanic mission will result from this year’s Mission Colleyville.

This was the first year Jason Paredes, Hispanic/Mission pastor at Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, attended Mission Colleyville as a volunteer.

“I got involved through Mike González (Hispanic initiative director for the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention) after he began to talk about ways to reach out to the community,” Paredes said. “He told me [First Baptist Colleyville] was having this outreach event that attracts a large Hispanic population. So being a Hispanic pastor, I sure wanted to get involved. We are now looking at doing something similar at Fielder Road.”

Jose Ramirez, pastor of Jesucristo es la Respuesta (Jesus Christ is the Answer), and members of his church went out every day around their community handing out fliers and telling people about Mission Colleyville.

“That’s the kind of passion these guys have,” Cogburn said, referring to Ramirez, Paredes and the numerous other Hispanic pastors who gave their time and energy to continue making Mission Colleyville a success.

Several big names were involved in Mission Colleyville this year. Salvador, a popular contemporary Christian band based in Austin, performed during much of the event, as did Rodrigo Rodriquez, a classical guitarist.

“Salvador was really a Godsend for us,” Cogburn said. “We wanted something that everybody would recognize and is in contemporary Christian music today, and they happened to have a break in their tour schedule. Out of 100 requests to be a part of different ministry opportunities, they chose four, and we were one of them.”

“We are really honored to be here,” Salvador guitarist Nic Gonzalez said, “and that Mission Colleyville would trust us with the stage. This is a big responsibility but we know that God is faithful.”

Jay Lowder, who travels extensively sharing the Gospel through Harvest Ministries, delivered this year’s evangelistic message.

“This is a great outreach,” said Lowder, of Wichita Falls, Texas. “I really believe that many times we have forgotten that we have to earn the right to be heard rather than just coming out here and saying, ‘Hey, here is the Gospel.’ They are meeting a physical need. Mission Colleyville is earning the right. It is exciting to me that we have a chance to present not a denomination, not a religion, but Christ, the greatest gift ever.”

Evangelist Freddie Gage, a member of First Baptist Colleyville who was among those who cast a vision for Mission Colleyville, said the outreach, while providing humanitarian aid, is “1000 percent evangelism outreach ministry. God has no hands but our hands. God has no feet but our feet. God has no tongue but our tongue. It’s all about soul-winning.”

Gage also mentioned that Mission Colleyville was a key event uniting the church together in Kingdom service.

Frank Harber, former pastor of First Baptist Colleyville, resigned suddenly earlier in the year. While some churches might have trouble recovering from something like that, Cogburn was quick to mention that church members pulled together and continue to serve the cause of Christ, not man.

“From the very beginning, Mission Colleyville was a deacon- and congregation-led event,” Cogburn said. “As time rolls forward, the congregation rises up, volunteers, takes responsibility and runs with this thing to the extent that the staff doesn’t have to do anything. [Mission Colleyville] really is the true definition of what the church was back in the chapters of Acts.”

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  • Melanie Lloyd