Frequently Asked Questions
ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT SBTC:
1. Why have a state convention?
There are at least two reasons for a state convention among Baptists...
Relational - Churches need fellowship and accountability. While a local association can provide for these needs locally, the state convention can provide training, fellowship, and encouragement on a broader scale.
Spiritual - No church can accomplish a state-wide strategy for missions and ministry on its own. We can do more together. By combining our efforts and developing a comprehensive strategy, we can reach more people with the message of Jesus Christ.
Our fellowship is based on a partnership with likeminded congregations in a cooperative ministry. A congregation must decide what the parameters are for fellowship. Our convention of churches has settled on these two specific parameters...
Doctrinal - The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has adopted the Baptist Faith and Message Statement (2000) as our statement of faith. This document clearly affirms inerrancy of Scripture.
Missiological - Missions and Evangelism are the clear priorities in the SBTC budget. The largest single line item in the budget is for new church starts. The SBTC can provide training and assistance without building an elaborate bureaucracy. This is possible by using the resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and Texas Southern Baptist churches.
The SBTC is a confessional fellowship. The current Baptist Faith and Message (2000) is our statement of faith. Affiliated churches and ministries express their agreement by affirming the BFM2000. This provides a set of parameters. Every affiliated church or ministry is assured they are connecting with a group of like-minded believers. Additionally, the SBTC affirms the inerrancy of Scripture in our constitution. A belief in the plain truth of the Word of God is foundational to fellowship within the SBTC. A high view of Scripture (inerrancy) is the belief that all the miracles occurred as they are recorded, all the narratives are historically true and all the authors of the books are the authors to whom they are ascribed.
“Inerrancy” means that the Scripture speaks truth in every area it addresses. The Bible is not a science book, history book, nor a geography book, but when it addresses these topics, it always speaks truth.
God in his relationship with humanity has expressed himself in masculine terms as our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith, in Christ alone.
The SBTC considers the local church to be convention headquarters. Churches not only formulate policies for the convention, but they also drive ministry priorities.
While there are many interpretations regarding the details of Christ's return, he is literally coming again.
The SBTC budget directs 55% of all undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. Over 70% of the SBC budget goes to the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. Seminaries, the Executive Committee and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission receive the majority of the remaining amount.
Along with state conventions across the country, the SBTC is recognized as a full partner with the Southern Baptist Convention. GuideStone Financial Resources provides their full range of services to participants within the SBTC. The North American Mission Board, International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources are also in working relationships with the SBTC. The SBTC participates with the Executive Committee and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in a variety of ministry endeavors. Six Southern Baptist seminaries serve the SBTC, with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth providing local opportunities of ministry.
Some conventions have built associated schools, benevolence ministries and other institutions. While these ministries can be beneficial to local churches, the SBTC has instead made it first commitment to missions and evangelism.
Other ministries are also important. The SBC and local churches have personnel that can provide expertise in a wide variety of ministries. The SBTC can have a smaller staff since many ministries can be done using experts in SBTC churches and partner entities.
Conventions provide for ministry needs using the financial resources given by the churches. Churches pool their resources and decide what types of convention services will provide.
Each local Baptist church is self-governing. Each one has the freedom to affiliate with an association or convention as they wish. In order to affiliate with the SBTC, a church will express doctrinal agreement as well as their intent to participate in mission and ministry through the Cooperative Program.
Most churches that affiliate with SBTC do so uniquely, meaning they have no other convention relationship. Others "dually" affiliate with two or more state fellowships at once. Again, each church will make the decision they think is best suited for their ministry.