SBC Life Articles

A Legacy Of Missions

First Baptist Church of Pampa, Texas knows the joy that comes with serving the Lord through missions. For thirty years, the church has been an example of how a local body of believers can participate in making disciples of all nations.

This legacy of missions extends back to the early 1970s when seemingly tragic circumstances gave rise to a surge of evangelistic zeal. On December 23, 1973, a fire destroyed the church's auditorium and several surrounding portions of their building. During the thirty-three months it took to rebuild, however, the church saw an increase of decisions for Christ and made it a point to increase missions giving.

Over the next decade, First Baptist continued to grow both in numbers and sensitivity to missions. By the mid-1980s, it was giving one-third of its budget to missions. In addition to Cooperative Program giving, the church sponsored a foreign mission trip every summer, sent its youth on an annual mission trip, operated a bus ministry to reach children in Pampa, and gave tens of thousands of dollars to pioneer mission work across North America.

By 1984, the church had so expanded that it was desperate for additional education space. In response to this need, Dr. Claude Cone, pastor at First Baptist Pampa from 1972 to 1985, led the church in a campaign to construct a $3 million educational facility. During the campaign, however, First Baptist made an unusual commitment. It vowed to keep all building debt out of the budget so that it could continue to increase its mission giving. The church set up special funds for all building costs and continued to give liberally to the work of Christ around the world.

The church also illustrated its firm commitment to missions advancement through the Southern Baptist Convention by including a sixteen-foot tall SBC logo, thought to be the largest church reproduction in the country, on the atrium wall of the new education building. At its base are the words of Isaiah 40:8, … the Word of our God shall stand forever.

Cone, now Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico, said of First Baptist Pampa, "I have never seen a church with a greater heart for missions."

Today, Pastor Randy White continues to build upon the church's missions legacy. Last year the 2,300 member congregation gave 13.5 percent of its budget to the Cooperative Program through the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. First Baptist still devotes a full 20 percent of its budget to mission causes, in addition to almost $90,000 from the three special mission offerings. In 2001, the church sent 140 of its members on short-term mission trips to Canada, Illinois, Texas, and Honduras.

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