HOUSTON – During the opening session of the 2009 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, nearly 1,500 messengers re-elected David Lowrie, pastor of First Baptist Church in Canyon, as president. Ed Jackson, a member of First Baptist Church in Garland, was elected as first vice president, and John Ogletree, founding pastor of First Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston, was elected as second vice president.
At the beginning of the meeting, Bobby Dagnel, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lubbock, stood to nominate Lowrie for a second presidential term. Lowrie was then elected by acclamation.
As he spoke, he reminded messengers that in 2008, Bruce Webb, pastor of First Baptist Church in The Woodlands, nominated Lowrie for his first presidential term because of his is a sincere Christian, great pastor and wonderful Baptist statesman.
“These qualities have been portrayed to us in the past year,” Dagnel said. “His leadership has enabled us to see past our personal preferences to the greater good.”
When Lowrie was elected president of Texas Baptists in November 2008, he became the first second-generation president of Texas Baptists, serving in the footsteps of his father D.L. Lowrie who was president of Texas Baptists in 1982-83.
Lowrie serves on the Howard Payne University board of trustees and the Texas Baptists Future Focus Committee. In 2006, he served as president for the Panhandle Plains Pastors’ and Laymen’s Conference. He also was second vice president of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.
The next nomination to elect Ed Jackson for first vice president was brought by Gregg Ammons, pastor of First Baptist Church of Garland. Jackson was elected shortly after by acclamation.
“Ed and his wife Re have been faithful supporters of the church for many years,” Ammons said. “And he knows the importance of laity in reaching the 12 million unchurched in Texas.”
Jackson has taught a Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Garland since the 1950s and faithfully serves on many committees and with various outreach projects through the church. He currently serves on the Texas Baptists Executive Board and is the chairman of the Garland Chamber of Commerce and founding chairman of Hope Clinic, a Christian health care clinic serving the uninsured in Garland.
He served three years in the Navy as the electrical officer on the USS Princeton in the South Pacific during the Korean War, and then worked as an electrical engineer at several engineering firms before serving as CEO of Varo Incorporation.
After retirement, Jackson served for eight years as a volunteer with Mission Service Corps, spending most of his time as a continuous quality improvement specialist to the Texas Baptists executive director.
In 2007, Jackson was the mind behind the motion to form the Texas Baptists Future Focus Committee, a group to consider direction and vision for Texas Baptists for 2020. The report will be shared at the 2009 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
The last nomination to elect John Ogletree as second vice president was brought by Bob Fowler of South Main Baptist Church in Houston. Ogletree also was elected by acclamation.
“I have worked with John for several years now … and have seen that he has given strong and effective leadership [to his positions in the church and community],” Fowler said.
In the past, Ogletree served as the president of the Texas Baptists African American Fellowship, moderator of the Union Baptist Association and the first African American chairman of the Texas Baptists Executive Board.
Ogletree has been involved in the Houston community through serving as a member of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District board and fostering relationships with ministries like Mission Houston.
He is a guest preacher all across the United States and has spoken in Haiti, Taiwan and San Andres Island, Columbia and author of the book Moving to the Next Level – Becoming a Fully Developing Follower of Christ.
As Texas Baptists recounted the last year of missions and ministry, they looked to the future as they unanimously voted to accept the 2010 budget of $41 million.
“Some economists say that the great recession of 2008-2009 is over,” said Jill Larsen, Texas Baptists treasurer. “But we as Texas Baptists know something that others need to hear – God is in control and on His throne.”
Though the budget has been reduced from the 2009 budget, Larsen stated she is confident that Texas Baptists will continue to touch the state with Christ’s love, making a difference through the three tiers of Texas Baptist ministry – missions and evangelism, advocacy and care and education and discipleship.
“Texas Hope 2010 has been the focus of the BGCT in the past year,” Larsen said. “And BGCT will continue this effort with Texas Baptist from around the state in the continuing year.”
Out of every dollar in the 2010 budget, 48 cents is for evangelism/missions, 27 cents is for education/discipleship, 10 cents is for advocacy/care and 15 cents is for administration, Larsen said.
Through the pooled resources in the Cooperative Program, Texas Baptists have been able to help distribute more than 84,000 Texas Hope 2010 compact discs to families in El Paso. Young boys are able to find direction and a safe haven at Miracle Farm in Brenham. Churches like Independence Baptist Church in Independence have an option for ministry-based building plans when current facilities are too small for ministry endeavors.
College students gain a Christian education and a place to serve through institutions like Houston Baptist University. Hispanic adults gain computer skills through a computer lab at Iglesia Bautista Dios Te Ama in Fort Worth. And bikers now have churches that minister to them as they are and give them a place to worship through church plants like Broken Chains Freedom Church in Wichita Falls.
“These ministries are only possible because Texas Baptists care about reaching people and give to the Cooperative Program,” Larsen said.
By Kaitlin Chapman, Texas Baptists Communications