Quarterly Update

“TEXAS STATE ASSOCIATION OF
FREE WILL BAPTISTS
Greetings from the State Office and the Executive Board!
A lot has happened since our last formal update three months ago. We’ve shared a number of
announcements, resources, and smaller updates with you by e-mail, by letter, and through the
Texas Challenge (https://texaschallenge.net/), but we want to recap for you what’s been taking
place and share some new information.
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions on traveling and gathering as a result of the COVID-19
pandemic, the Executive Board has made the unanimous decision that it is necessary to cancel
this year’s State Meeting, originally scheduled for June 2-3 at Lakehills FWB Church in Cedar
Park. With the consent of the host pastors, our plan is to shift our confirmed future meeting
hosts by one year, so that we will meet at Lakehills in 2021 and at the First FWB Church in
Duncanville in 2022.
In the meantime, we are considering how we might be able to share with you online some of the
activities that you would normally attend at the State Meeting. We have asked our national
agencies and ministries to share their updates and reports with us in a format that we can
distribute to you electronically (through some combination of e-mail, Facebook posts, and Texas
Challenge posts); as we receive them, we will compile that information and get it out to you,
along with our other reports that normally make up the contents of the annual Texas FWB
Yearbook. To that end, we need for all of our boards and committees to submit their annual
reports with budgets to Clerk Kevin Williford and Challenge Editor Kyle Howell; they, along
with Treasurer John Davis, will be assembling our 2020 Yearbook.
In addition to cancelling the State Meeting, the Christian Education Board was saddened to
announce the cancellation of the Alive Youth Conference that was scheduled for June 10-13.
With the uncertainty of the times they felt it best to focus on other events later in the year and to
plan on having the Alive Youth Conference again in 2021. If you have any questions regarding
Christian Education Board events, please contact Heath Ferguson at
hferguson@woodforestchurch.com.
The other noteworthy cancellation just recently announced was that of this year’s National
Convention, scheduled for July 19-22 in Oklahoma City. A streamlined convention (with details
to be announced later) will be offered online. This is the first time in its 85-year history that the
National Association will enact Bylaw 13 and conduct business through the General Board
because the body cannot gather. For additional news releases and forthcoming information about
the online convention visit nafwb.org/convention.
The cancellation of the State Meeting and National Convention does not eliminate our
responsibility to submit our church, district, and state letters and dues, however. We thank the
35 churches and their respective districts that have already submitted their dues to John Davis.
For those who haven’t done so, this is a friendly reminder – state dues of $175 per church and
national dues of $175 per church (total of $350 per church) are normally due in April, but for
districts that typically meet in May and submit their dues then, that is OK. Also, district clerks
need to submit their annual letter to State Clerk Kevin Williford by the end of May, if you have
not already done so. Please contact John, Kevin, or me if you have questions.
We are preparing this update in the context of the statewide shelter-in-place order being allowed
to expire on April 30. Many of you may be wondering what this means for your churches
beginning to meet again in person. First of all, the governor’s office has this checklist on
minimum standard health protocols for churches that you should download and review:
https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/organization/opentexas/OpenTexas-Checklist-ChurchesPlaces-of-Worship.pdf.
In addition to that, here are some broad guidelines for your church that are suggested from
multiple sources, including the NAFWB Executive Office and the National Center for Life and
Liberty:
 Considerations for Reopening Your Services
o What is best for my church? For example, if you have a lot of high-risk people
in your congregation, it is probably unwise to begin meeting in person, even if
restrictions are removed. If your congregation is already actively participating in
your online services, you may not have as much urgency to resume meeting in
person as early as other congregations that are not as connected virtually.
o What are the mandates in my state or locality? Follow your local guidelines.
o What is the best testimony for my church? Just because you can doesn’t mean
you should. Doing the right thing in the wrong way can easily look like doing the
wrong thing.
o Whatever the specifics of your approach, maintain social distancing. In
particular, recommend continuing to postpone nursery, children’s church, and
similar activities to minimize exposure and to provide reassurance to parents.
o Minimize opportunities for cross-contamination. Specifically, if you haven’t
already done so, consider alternatives to the traditional method of “passing the
plate” for receiving offering. Encourage people to give electronically (and ask us
for suggestions if you need help setting that up for your church) or by mail,
encourage the use of checks instead of cash for those who have a choice, and
provide an opportunity for people giving in person to discreetly leave their
offering in a collection plate or collection box before or after service.
 What’s Next?
o Food is probably a bad idea. Do not reschedule fellowship dinners yet.
o Continue your virtual presence (both as a contingency, and as a secondary
access for those who cannot attend or do not feel comfortable attending in
person).
o Remember those who are at risk. Depending on the needs of your
congregation, consider how to provide a separate seating section or even a
separate service for high-risk people.
o Remember health care workers.
o Minister to those struggling with stress.
Finally, we remind you to please visit the State Association website at
http://www.texasfwb.org/churches.shtml and review your district’s and church’s information in
the directory. If you see any information that needs to be changed, please send updates and
corrections to me at the State Office. Also, we send these quarterly updates to everyone on the
State Office e-mail list, but there are surely some who would be interested in receiving the
information that we do not have on our list. Pastors, please share these dates, events, and details
with your congregation so that everyone can be informed and involved. If someone has
forwarded this information to you and you would like to be on the mailing list in the future,
please contact us at the e-mail address below.
We appreciate all that you do for Texas Free Will Baptists and for the work of God. As always,
you can contact us with any questions at stateoffice@texasfwb.org.”

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