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SBTC bolsters Montreal church planting initiative

HORSESHOE BAY, Texas (BP) — Church planting efforts in Montreal gained ground when the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s Executive Board approved a $100,000 grant to the North American Mission Board to assist in coaching church planters and student missionaries as well as encouraging evangelistic opportunities for Montreal churches.

Woody Wilson, a former International Mission Board missionary to France and church planter in Chicago, will serve as a Mission Service Corps missionary with NAMB for Send Montreal, one of the major city initiatives in the mission board’s Send North America church planting strategy. Wilson will guide the process of moving student missionaries to internship opportunities, then placing them in apprenticeships that train them to plant churches.

The board also redesignated a $250,000 grant approved last year to purchase property in Montreal for a church planter multiplication center and campus of La Chapelle Church. Instead of acquiring property, the change allows more flexibility for renting a facility and equipping new churches.

La Chapelle, since its launch in 2013, has grown to more than 900 people in attendance, reporting over 80 baptisms and more than 200 decisions for Christ during 2014. La Chapelle will plant two new churches in the next 18 months.

The board also received a report during their spring retreat of the Reach Houston initiative for church planting and revitalization efforts in the nation’s fourth-largest city. Eighteen pastors met April 23 at Houston’s Faith Memorial Baptist Church to hear about the initiative and offer their advice.

SBTC will employ a strategist to establish church planting centers and coordinate with existing churches to reach the diverse metropolitan area.

Other reserve funds grants will provide $50,000 for special projects to meet ministry opportunities that arise outside the convention’s normal budget and up to $90,000 to fund the 2016 Breathe Deep Conference for non-pastoral church staff.

The board approved giving property in Laredo to a local ministry to be established under the guidance of a board made up of members of SBTC-affiliated churches. The former church building was purchased in 2011 to launch church planting efforts near the border and host mission groups with the intention of transferring ownership within five years.

SBTC affiliation requests for 40 churches were approved while 22 were removed, 20 of which have disbanded and two others having merged with other congregations.

Cooperative Program receipts through March totaled $6,519,822, or $264,193 below budget for the same period. However, that gap had decreased to under $100,000 by the time of the board meeting, Joe Davis, SBTC chief financial officer, reported. CP receipts through the end of 2014 exceeded the nearly $26.8 million budget by $301,706.

The board received the resignation of Terry Coy after 14 years of service with SBTC, the last seven as director of missions. He will continue serving with SBTC as a consultant in the area of church planting while pursuing teaching, writing and speaking opportunities.

“Reaching Texas and touching the world is more than a slogan,” SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards told the board. “It’s a mandate of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.”

He reflected on two common denominators he had observed while leading revivals in two different churches during the previous month — a culture of prayer and a genuine care for people.

“We are not having this sweeping spiritual awakening yet, but the mercy drops ’round us are falling,” Richards said.

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  • Tammi Reed Ledbetter, Southern Baptist TEXAN