Reach the World at Home

“Please welcome career missionary Judy Lytle as she shares how we can reach the world at home through English language ministry!

“Buenos días. ¿Cómo está? Estoy bien. Espero que su familia esté bien.” What did I just say? Imagine being in a new country and seeing and hearing a language you do not understand. How would you feel? You would be nervous and stressed. You have a constant headache from trying to listen and understand. Now, look around your neighborhood and city. Have you noticed things are not the “same” as years ago? God has brought many cultures and languages to our front door. These are people like you with families, feelings, and dreams. God loves them and Christ died for them just as He died for you. We can remain passive. It is hard to get involved because we must get out of our comfort zone to interact with someone from a different culture. But I don’t believe God wants us to stay in our bubble and ignore those He has placed around us.

How can we welcome them? Smile. Speak to someone from a different culture. Invite them to your church. Another way we can welcome them and share the love of Christ is to teach them English. If they are going to live, work, and study here in the United States, they need to learn English. Your church may have organized classes or you may go the route of conversational English. Volunteer to help in the program your church has. If your church does not provide this opportunity, look for places that do offer English classes and volunteer to help. You don’t have to have a doctorate degree in English. You just need to be able to speak English and love others. Where can you find classes for teaching English as a second language? “Google ESL classes for adults in my area” and see what pops up. Call and plug in. Also, look around your town and city for signs advertising English classes.

Some things to remember if you want to begin or volunteer in an English ministry.

1. Be flexible. Your students are “doing life” and jobs may change so expect interruptions. You may need to change the schedule but don’t give up.
2. Don’t do an English ministry alone. Ask for help from your congregation. Even three or four can make a huge difference.
3. You will have students at all levels of English. Try to minister to all of them.
4. You are not just helping them learn English. You are a part of their world, and you may become a facilitator to help them solve problems they encounter living in a new culture.
5. Don’t just teach English. Teach Jesus and His love.

Oh! Let’s go back to what I said in the first sentence. In case you want to know, I said, “Good morning. How are you? I am fine. I hope your family is well.'”

State Office Update

Greetings from the State Office and the Executive Board!

We are just about ready for summer and with that comes many activities to be a part of. First of all, this year’s State Meeting, the 108th Annual Session, is scheduled for June 8-9 at First FWB Church in Duncanville. See the attachment for the formal announcement, program, hotel details, and more. Details will be also available on the State Association website at http://www.texasfwb.org.

The Christian Education Board is also gearing up for this year’s Texas Youth Conference event, ALIVE!, which will be held shortly after the State Meeting, June 15-18 at Lakehills FWB Church in Cedar Park. If you are planning to attend the conference, please see the attached ALIVE! flyer for registration information.

In July, many of us are planning to attend this year’s National Association of Free Will Baptists in Birmingham, Alabama. Details can be found in ONE Magazine and on the convention website; conference pre-registration is available online now, and hotel reservations can be made beginning Monday, May 16.

Finally, summer also includes youth camps, Vacation Bible Schools, and numerous other activities organized by your churches and districts. Please take some time to take some pictures and write a short recap of your event to use in the Texas Challenge. We want to know and share all of the great events that our churches are involved in! For more information, or to submit write-ups and photos, contact Kyle Howell at fwbtexaschallenge@gmail.com.

As a reminder, please visit the State Association website at http://www.texasfwb.org and review your district’s and church’s information in the directory. We want to make sure that the contact information is all up to date. If you see any information that needs to be changed, please send updates and corrections to me at the State Office.

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.


Meta…This Ain’t Your Grandparents World Anymore

There is a show on Amazon Prime that has as its premise the idea that people would upload their minds into this virtual world where they could live on. Their loved ones and people who worked for this company could enter into this virtual world by way of putting on virtual reality glasses. This idea isn’t totally new to the world of Hollywood. Movies have been portraying this idea of how the future would look for quite a while now. But that’s what movies do. That’s what Hollywood does. They want to make good, fun, and entertaining movies that cause us to get lost in the what if’s and possibilities, all while suspending our judgment of reality. 

Now, however, life is starting to look too close to what we see in the movies. I say that in a small joking way, but also with seriousness. I remember watching Back To The Future 2 and seeing what the future was supposed to look like. I believe that movie was made in 1990 and was attempting to show what 2015 was supposed to look like: flying cars was the norm, hoverboards (that actually hovered), and pizza hydrating machines (I don’t know why I still remember this one, but it seems necessary!). It’s always funny to look back and see what we thought the present was going to be like. You could see the styles of the 80’s and 90’s flowing through their vision. The one part that we did seem to get right was the growing reliance and shift to technology. 

So what am I getting at? I’m sure you all know that Facebook is now officially named Meta. Mark Zuckerberg is going all in on this new idea of what he believes is the future of social media and really just the way our culture today will interact with each other. In the simplest of ways to understand what the vision is of Meta, the social media giant is attempting to shift towards a virtual reality universe. Virtual reality is not something new that Facebook created, but the lengths to which they want to go are. Maybe you’ve tried virtual reality where you put on the glasses and you have been immersed in the world of the game. I believe Meta wants to take that concept and expand on it. So not only are we seeing the world we’ve been implanted in, but now the next steps are going to be to make it more and more real. Think empirically. So the goal is to be life-like with all the senses being a part of the experience. And if you can get everyone in on the idea from work, to play, to even church, then there’s no stopping it.  

You’ll be able to go to meetings, but stay at home. You’ll be able to have the whole family together (even the ones who live on the other side of the world). Global pandemics will be less of an issue with our daily lives. At least, that’s the goal–to help enhance our lives. 

What does that mean for the church? The life of a Christian? I can see some positives. We all lived through the Zoom year when Covid hit. So we saw a positive with technology in that we could still meet together (sort of). But for most, that got old really fast. That’s why, I believe, they are trying to tweak the virtual world and social media. The goal is to do everything possible so that no one will want to leave. Now, someone could make the argument that that is what the church does too (try to change things to keep people in the door).  

So, once again, what does this mean for the future of the church? I believe there are greater possibilities now to be able to spread the gospel and get the gospel out. But as for the model and the core elements of what the church should look like and function–that can’t change. What I mean is, fellowship and believers doing life together, seems to be at the center of it all. Exceptions can be made for those who physically can’t make it to church for health, or other reasons outside of their control. The norm, however, should be people coming together. Take Acts 2:42-47 as a snippet of the first church. Every verse seems to hint at the necessity of people being together in person. It’s more than important. I would argue it’s essential. We were made to fellowship. We are created by God who (as some theologians like to say) is a community with Himself (referring to His Triune nature). Then who can forget the verse most often used to refer to presently being in church–Hebrews 10:25. The call is to, “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

I don’t fully know what I believe about where we are headed with technology. As I said, I definitely see some positives and tools that we can utilize to spread the gospel with ease and speed that is unmatched from previous times. But if we aren’t intentional to make sure the core of what we do is not front and center with everything, then we are in danger of becoming less connected and personal. Both essential aspects of what being in the body of Christ should be about. After all, the illustration of the church, given in 1 Corinthians 12, is of a physical body. Scripture is clear and intentional about the comparisons and illustrations it makes. A body works together, feels together, hurts and rejoices together, is physically connected together, and draws life from the same place. If we lose that, the various parts of the body begin to lose nourishment, the ability to sustain life, and eventually die. Presently we’re witnessing one of the biggest (if not the biggest) falling away, turning away, and exit from the church in history–the deconstruction of Christianity movement. I can’t help but think how so much of this–the importance of meeting together, the health of the church, living biblically consistent and loving–is directly related to our time. Something to think about. 

Join Choir for National

“The Music Planning Team for the National Association of Free Will Baptists is excited to announce we will offer a Mass Choir during the evening services of the NAFWB in Birmingham!

If you (or someone you know) is interested in singing in the choir, please fill out this form to let us know. Even if you just have questions, you can use the form and we will get back to you in a timely manner.

We are excited to be able to offer a full choir and orchestra this year and look forward to worshiping with you July 24-27, 2022!”. Check out more details here: https://www.fwbworship.com/choir/

State Meeting Hotel Information

“Hi everyone,

We have information to share with you on the hotel for this year’s State Meeting in Duncanville. We have been waiting for them to provide us with a website link to make your reservations online, but they have not yet provided it and we want you to have enough time to make your reservations, so we are sharing the information we have, and you can call the hotel directly to book your rooms.



Lodging for this year’s State Meeting has been arranged at La Quinta Inn & Suites Dallas – Duncanville. The hotel has a number of rooms temporarily blocked at a reduced rate; to make reservations, please see the information below.



La Quinta Inn & Suites Dallas-Duncanville – (972) 298-4600

835 US Hwy 67

Duncanville, TX 75137



Room Rates: Single King or Queen/Queen – $89.00 + tax

Reservation Deadline: May 17, 2022



Rates include all standard amenities, such as free breakfast, parking, and high-speed Wi-Fi.



Ask for the Texas Free Will Baptist group. The default for our group rate is arrival on Tuesday (June 7) and departure on Friday (June 10). If your arrival/departure dates are different, you can specify that when you call the hotel. The reservation deadline to obtain the reduced group rate is no later than May 17.







We will be releasing all of the usual State Meeting information on the website very soon, including registration, driving directions, and the meeting program, but we wanted to get this out to you without any further delay. If you have any questions, please let us know.”



Blessings,

Marcus



Marcus Brewer

Moderator/State Office Coordinator

Texas State Association of Free Will Baptists

P.O. Box 2716

Bryan, TX 77805-2716

(979) 774-3125

stateoffice@texasfwb.org

http://www.texasfwb.org

Youth Conference

“Information is in the attached flyer and below for this year’s Texas FWB State Youth Conference. Registration deadline for both the conference and the reduced rate at the hotel is May 15. If you haven’t already, make plans now for your youth to attend June 15-18!”



Marcus Brewer

Moderator/State Office Coordinator

Texas State Association of Free Will Baptists