A Texas church worthy of imitation

To hear news about churches who leave the ways of Christ is discouraging, but many congregations still adhere to the truth of the gospel and busy themselves with the divine project of salvation. We do well to remember them and emulate their faith. One such is the Baker Heights congregation in Abilene, Texas.

Yesterday morning I spoke at both meetings of the congregation. These fine folk here have partnered with us in the gospel since the beginning of our Brazil ministry in 1984. They are a church committed to God’s truth and to evangelism. Already this year over 30 people have been baptized locally through their efforts, according to elder Ron McElyea.

Their latest bulletin noted that eight people were baptized in the Taylor County Jail May 10. Established near the Dyess Air Force Base in 1961, the church continues to reach out and serve the military community as well. Because of such ministries, they have a high turn-over, but this also means that from them the gospel goes out to many places in the country and the world.

Yesterday, May 20, the congregation held a special missions contribution for needs and projects for works they support in Zambia, India, Australia, and Brazil, as well as stateside efforts in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and other ministries.

Baker Heights Christians are heavily involved in World Bible School, and many of them also travel to mission points they support to encourage and contribute to the work.

Larry Taylor, one of the shepherds, taught the auditorium Bible class on faith and works, using James 2 as his text. He provided a clear message on the need for works as evidence of a living, genuine faith and how they relate to grace.

Vacation Bible School preparations were being made in earnest. We could feel the excitement in the air. After the Sunday night assembly, deacon John Hanson was fitted out for pharoah’s headdress. The theme will focus on the Exodus from Egypt. We heard that the Red Sea would be parted in one of the hallways.

After the evening assembly, the 13 high school seniors were honored with a reception. The elders presented them with Bibles, thanked them for their example, and charged them with continued faithfulness, remembering Philippians 4.13.

Overseer Charles Beebe and his wife Jane are the publishers and editors of the print magazine, Bulletin Digest. They provide a wonderful service to church bulletin editors and to anyone looking for a judicious, edifying selection of articles.

At the end of the morning assembly, Ron made a statement to the congregation on behalf of the elders. In view of the American president’s statement the previous week in support of homosexual marriage, the elders wanted to let the congregation and the community know that the gospel would still be preached according to the Scriptures, regardless of the political or social winds.

The congregation has adopted Mark 10.45 as their theme for the year, together with the phrase, “Lord, give me a servant heart.” That theme is no empty wording, but represents these saints’ approach to work in the kingdom of God.

It’s a pleasure and a great encouragement to be associated with such a congregation. We pray for their growth and continued service in the Lord. May the Lord multiply their number.

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet.

8 thoughts on “A Texas church worthy of imitation

  1. Randy, Vickie and Leila,
    Truly so great to be with you yesterday. Wishing you safety as you travel here in the states and later when you return to Brazil.
    Thank you so much for the great words for Baker Heights congregation and for the kind words for us and the Digest. We keep putting it out and one day maybe we can promote it more. Thank you so much.
    We are praying for you and your continued work. Congratulations on the newest grandchild. Hoping to see you when you return to Abilene.

    Love in Christ, Charles and Jane

  2. We would like any information you have on the church in Plattsburg, NY. I was surprised to see it was still in the missionary feild.
    We was stationed there when Yale Murphy was the preacher, it was then we helped build the preachers home. Reading this about “A Texas church
    being worthy of imitation” brought back many memories of our time, in Air Force spent in Plattsburg.
    I hope to recieve a reply,
    In Christ, Guilea – Guilea@aol.com
    PS I enjoy recieving the articles from Forthright Magazine.

  3. Randy, it was such a pleasure to visit Baker Heights and you and hear your wonderful sermon. I am so pleased to have been at Baker Heights when you were there getting ready to go to Brazil. My family and I were privileged to be there 9 years with the responsibility as preacher. We later returned and some later was made a deacon. It was at the end of this 6 years we determined to begin another congregation as there was not physical room for growth. From this the Oldham congregation started. Both congregations feel a kinship and are very mission minded. We are so greatful for the work you, the family and the team has done. In Christ, Bob Connel. The following was meant to be a song, but I didn[t write the music ..In Christ, Bob Connel

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