E-Challenge July

I heard on the news that meteorological summer is here. Meteorological summer differs from astronomical summer by its restriction to the months of June, July, and August. Here in Texas, however, neither the meteorological nor the astronomical versions fully contain the heat of our endless summers.  

Please note we halfway through 2017. 

How are you doing on those New Year's resolutions? If you are like most people, the resolve gave out some time in January. However, knowing you to be the exemplary person you are, you are no doubt batting well above average. 

I completed my first quarter's goals and set my second 90-day goal at the end of March. I am now moving toward the conclusion of that goal, and I'm happy to report I am on target. 

My present 90-day goal involves completing and submitting for publication two writing projects. As of this morning, the first one is complete. (You can find it here: 30 Days of Prayer: How to Read the Bible, Listen for God's Voice, Record What He Says, and Respond in Prayer and Practice (Volume 1): David Bowman, Casey Lester: 9780999087602:  Amazon.com: Books]( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0999087606)

Our assistant, Casey, and I wrote this simple devotional guide. We have eleven more forthcoming in this series. We want to encourage people to spend focused time alone with God hearing what he has to say about prayer, praise, thanksgiving, joy, hope, and more. This has been a fun process. Of course, Casey makes everything fun!

In the next few days, I have at least one more book to add to the Amazon sales pages. Notice that these are self-published books. They are not going to sell millions of copies and make us household names. They will, however, help us serve others through what God has taught us. What do you know that someone else would benefit from? How can you make that wisdom more broadly available?

Casey and I are working on an online course which teaches how to read more books, retain the important insights, and recall them for later use. Each time I speak on this subject with individuals or before groups, I am asked how the listeners can find what I have told them in one place. Until now, that has not been available. Soon it will be. 

If you are keeping score, that is three major projects completed or nearing completion in the first half of the year. I cannot tell you how many years I have finished December with nothing but regrets at not completing a single one of these kinds of projects although I began the year with big goals and ambitious plans.

What changed and radically improved my production? I know my personal mission in life and I have a vision of where God is taking me. The LifePlan Snapshot from Life Younique provides me with the right amount of vision in the right amount of time. It gives me ways to state where God is taking me and to measure my progress. 

Around the edges of my personal Horizon Storyline, I have my LifeCall (mission) statement, my LifeCore (core values), LifeSteps (strategy), and LifeScore (measures). These guide my quarterly and weekly planning and reviews. They tell me what I must do, why I do it, how I will do it, and when I know I am succeeding.

Inside the Horizon Storyline, are my Beyond the Horizon three-year goal, my Background Horizon one-year goal, my Midground Horizon 90-day goal, and my Foreground Horizon weekly goals. These lenses help me see life more clearly. The Foreground lens helps me see what is close up and what requires attention day by day and week by week making it possible for me to accomplish my 90-day Midground Horizon goal. 

The Midground Horizon goal leads me toward fulfilling my Background Horizon one-year goals, and this goal sets the direction toward fulfilling my Beyond-the-Horizon goal. 

The genius of this process is the keystone habit of weekly evaluation. Life Younique provides a tool that is a reminder of what I said was most important regarding how I honor God and serve others, and a checkup to see how I am progressing. I evaluate my week and make adjustments for the week to come. A similar process is included for quarterly planning and evaluation. 

Do you want to live more productively and effectively? The Life Younique process can lead you toward greater clarity about who you are, how God wired you, and what he has uniquely shaped you to accomplish. 

Contact Becky ( becky@tarrantbaptist.org), Troy, ( troy@tarrantbaptist.org), or me ( david@tarrantbaptist.org) for more details. 

With gratitude,

In This Issue
Pastors' Conference and Executive Board
Upcoming Trainings and Retreats
Weekly Blogs
Book of the Month
Pastoral Succession
The State of Our Community
Are You Living on Mission?
You Can Pay Me Later, But You Will Pay Me
Discipleship Journey for Pastors and Staff
RA Camp
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative - Speak Freedom
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative - Build Freedom
Volunteer Interim Pastors in England Needed
You're Invited!
BGCT Upcoming Events
News from Churches
Pastor's Conference and Executive Board Meetings

Tarrant Baptist Association
4520 James Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76115


Upcoming  Training  and Retreats
  Upcoming Trainings and Retreats

Professional Coach Training - Part 2
August 7-11, 2017

re:FOCUS Retreat
October 8-10, 2017
Riverbend Retreat Center

Hearing God Retreat
October 26-27, 2017
Riverbend Retreat Center

Our Weekly Blogs!
Blogs go out every Thursday

Book of the Month
Bob Roberts
Becky, my bride, and I had lunch today with a local school district employee who connects community service organizations with the district's schools. The openness toward working with churches was not surprising. The school leaders we meet and work with regularly love having partners who will enter with an attitude of service.
Our conversation reminded me of Dr. Bob Roberts' book quoted above. Here are more great quotes from Bob:
  • We build credibility in our communities by serving people outside our walls with no strings attached. But we severely limit our influence by our self-promotion, competition, and disdain for those who are different from us.
  • A church-focused pastor asks, "How's my church?" A kingdom-focused missionary asks, "How's my city?"
  • Great worship services don't change the world; empowered, impassioned disciples do.
  • The most important metric isn't what happens for an hour or so on Sunday morning, but what happens in the homes, neighborhoods, offices, fields, and shops all week.
  • The power of God's church isn't in the hands of a single person who is the star on Sunday morning; it's in the hands of ordinary believers equipped, empowered, and shepherded to do extraordinary things for God's kingdom.
  • Wouldn't it be cool if people came to your church because they were amazed at the wisdom and love of a friend instead of being amazed at your preaching or the quality of the music?
  • Wouldn't it be wonderful if people were drawn to Christ by friends in their domains and they'd never heard of you?
  • What if Sunday mornings are more about celebrating what the body of Christ is doing during the week than marketing you and the excellence of your services?
There are three parts to this book: Part I: Kingdom Vision and Strategy; Part II: Kingdom Hearts: Part III: Kingdom Action. Throughout the book, Bob compares and contrasts the ways evangelical believers in the USA and around the world lead. Those things that are primary concerns for many congregations here have little to do with the mission Jesus gave us to make disciples.
Pastor Bob knows what he writes about. He lives what he says he believes. I had the privilege to travel with Bob and a group of church, community, and academic leaders to Vietnam for an international conference on social responsibility. Glocal.net, the international ministry affiliated with NorthWood Church in Keller where Bob serves as pastor, has been serving this country for over twenty years. They entered through the front door by cooperating with the government. The effect of their ministry will take eternity to tell.
This book will encourage you and challenge you. It will help you refocus your life and ministry. It will give you hope regarding that worldwide awakening many of us have prayed for over the course of our lifetimes.
Pastoral Succession
Pastoral succession is a major topic these days. A few 
books are available on the subject, but each of them was written primarily with megachurches in mind. Succession planning is most often considered part of the interim  pastor strategy of churches. There is much more to it than that.
Will Heath has developed a pastoral succession process that digs deep into what churches need to consider regarding the transitions of pastors and staff members. Beyond finding a new pastor, what happens if a pastor is suddenly incapacitated or dies? Most church bylaws are insufficient to guide a congregation through such tumult.
Will is hosting the Pastoral Succession Boot Camp in Dallas this August. I encourage you to take a look at what he has to offer. Will has worked with our staff and is currently working with several denominations. His content is theologically rich and wonderfully insightful. I've sat through his training several times and each time I am more impressed.

Pastoral Succession - http://auxa.no/successionBC
This summer marks a season of transition. Some people like change and
create it if it is not happening. Others resist change and often feel like they have been run over while attempting to halt it. 

Change is good when it leads to refinement and clarity of purpose. We are experiencing that kind of change at Tarrant Baptist Association. 

For over a decade now, Jay Harris has led the church starting efforts for TBA. He has helped shepherd over two hundred churches into existence. He has coached, encouraged, and resourced hundreds of church starting pastors and their teams. He has raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for church starting. He has prayed tirelessly for church planters. 

Jay has led this ministry ably and well. 

Jay has also led TBA toward greater impact with our leadership coach training events. He is a professional certified coach well on his way to becoming a master certified coach, the highest accreditation for individual coaches. He is a mentor coach. This is a special credential that makes it possible for him to assist new coaches along the certification pathway.

Each year 
Jay and our other directors host two major coach certification events. Afterward, Jay guides the new coaches through the next steps of the process with great patience and skill.

Jay was also certified recently to facilitate LifePlan. He is especially well suited to provide this two-day coaching process. He is wonderful at getting to the essence of a leader's heart. He helps people see what they are overlooking. He opens their eyes to new possibilities. 

Jay brings out the best in others. These two processes maximize his skills and gifts. 

Troy Wolfe began working with Jay and Hector Mendez in church starting in January. Troy is a successful church starter and a strategic thinker. He is a church starter assessor for Converge, one of the most innovative church starting groups in the USA. 

Troy brings real-world experience and perspective to TBA's church starting efforts. The processes he is developing will enhance this area of ministry. 

Becky and I accompanied Troy to Denver a couple of weeks ago for a church starter assessment event. We were able to participate and see firsthand its quality and value. We came home excited about how we will build upon the foundation already in place. We envision this extending beyond our TBA boundaries to include neighboring associations. We will find new ways for churches and associations to work together in a manner that maximizes our resources and multiplies disciple-making churches.

Several years ago, I asked our staff to begin looking for our successors. Jay quickly concluded that Troy was the guy to follow him. They are good friends and mutual supporters. Ask Jay what he thinks about Troy sometime. Make sure you are sitting down. It may take a while. Ask Troy about church planting and be sure to keep your seat.
This is the kind of transition that makes change look good. This is because of who Jay and Troy are. They are the kind of men everyone wants and needs as friends. I am so glad they are on our team. 
The State of Our Community
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord  on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

How is our city? Most of us have our weekly paths. We go to work, go home, go to church, eat out occasionally and hang with the same group of friends each week. We live "under our bushel." The light of Jesus that lives within us stays in "safe" places.

Child Abuse/Maltreatment
Tarrant County has now dropped to #2 in the state of Texas behind Houston in having the most child abuse. This however doesn't paint the correct picture. Compared to the population, Tarrant County has double the number of cases of child abuse than Houston. The number of abuse cases grew to 6,213, from 6,097, and the number of child fatalities increased to 16, from 11, according to a recent report from Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Teenage Pregnancies
Tarrant County birth rate for females 15 to 19 years of age is almost as high as the Texas Average of 73 pregnancies per 1000 females in 2010. These 15 to 19 year old females comprise 12.4% of all live births in 2008.

Crime Rate
Crime in Tarrant County Annual Report reveals that the Tarrant County crime rate in 2015 was 3,470.9 for every 100,000 people. With a population of 1,929,893 in 2015, this was 66,984.66 crimes. Compared to Dallas County's 3,514.5 crimes per 100,000 people. Of the seven Index Crimes 1 (criminal offenses); crime in Tarrant County decreased in 2015. Compared to 2014, overall Index Crime in Tarrant County decreased 4.13%; Total Violent Crimes increased 1.33% and Total Property Crime decreased 4.783%; of the seven index crimes separately, Murder was down 6.41%; Rape was up 27.12%; Robbery was down 6.75%; Assault was up 0.62%; Burglary was down 12.87%; Theft was down 2.86%; and Motor Vehicle Theft was down 1.73%.

The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition 2016 Report shows the count of people experiencing homelessness in Tarrant and Parker counties is 1,985 - an increase of 71 people, or 3.7%. The homeless population continues to shrink as a percentage of the overall population and remains below one percent. There are 408 unsheltered (326 in Fort Worth, 61 in Arlington, 6 in Parker County, and 15 in NE Tarrant). There are 1,168 in emergency shelters (1,018 in Fort Worth, 150 in Arlington, 0 in Parker County, 0 in NE Tarrant). There are 20 living in Safe Haven in Fort Worth and 389 in transitional housing (156 in Fort Worth, 135 in Arlington, 0 in Parker, 98 in NE Tarrant County). Other statistics:
  • 76% are single
  • 65% are male
  • 68% are between the ages of 25-64
  • 23% were under the age of 18
  • 53% are African American
  • 45% are White
  • 8% are Hispanic
What You Can Do
  • Pray specifically over areas of our community
  • Get involved to create solutions
  • Engage people everywhere you go
  • Be intentional and work with non-profit agencies

Some Agencies Who Are Asking for Volunteers
Becky Biser
Are You Living on Mission?
Are You Living On Mission?
By Becky Biser

What does it mean to live on mission? How do you know if you are living on mission or you aren't? What did God design you for? These are questions we like to help leaders wrestle with and discover. 

If you are interested in discovering your mission, contact becky@tarrantbaptist.org. We have numerous process and journeys that take leaders to this discovery.

  • Re:FOCUS Journey
  • LifePlan
  • Life Younique
  • CC4T - Communication Clarity for Teams

For instance, we had a leader in our office yesterday going through a LifePlan. He spent two days discovering about himself and God's design in his life. His new personal mission is "I engage to enhance lifes journeys." This fit him perfectly. Another leader in a CC4T training  came up with "I guide others to fully embrace God's best."

You may say, "so what?" If it is just a statement and not your daily marching orders from God, then I agree, "so what?" However, as I've experienced, once I prayed over, discerned and wrestled with what God had designed me especially for in His Kingdom, it has made all the difference in the world. I wake up every morning knowing why I was designed. I'm expectant that God will bring me His chosen to empower. My own personal mission is - "I shine to empower God's chosen!" I do this at home, at work, at church, in the community and everywhere God sends me.

May we all live on mission.
You Can Pay Me Later, But You Will Pay Me

You Can Pay Me Later, But You Will Pay Me

If the Internal Revenue Service had an audible voice, the title of this article is a statement you might hear coming out of the IRS mouth. Specifically, this comment would be made in the context of taxation of "qualified monies." These are those funds in your name that have never had income tax paid on them as opposed to "unqualified monies" which have been duly taxed and then invested in some way (i.e.certificate of deposit, checking or money market account, mutual funds, etc.). The most common sources of qualified monies are 401K, 403b, traditional IRA, 457, and a number of other plans that are not currently taxed but rather are taxed on a deferred basis upon withdrawal. The IRS is patient and long suffering to a degree, but they never forget that you have that potential income tax liability hanging over your head that is delayed but always present.
At the beginning of the year you turn age 70 ½ the patience and long suffering gives way to Required Minimum Distributions, commonly called the RMD, which mandates that these monies will start being withdrawn. The RMD for each year is calculated by dividing the qualified funds  account balance as of December 31 of the prior year by the applicable distribution  period or life expectancy. This rule does not apply to your Roth IRAs. If only the RMD is taken out each year, the owner of the qualified funds will likely have an RMD that increases each year as their personal age advances. This is to say that the IRS wants you to accelerate the amount taken out as you age so that the annual taxable amount increases.
Any qualified monies left in your estate when you die can pass to another individual. Those funds left to a spouse, child, grandchild or any other person will be taxed to them upon withdrawal. The rules on this can be a bit complicated depending on the circumstance, but one thing is certain. Income tax is still due on all distributions until the funds are exhausted and the ever-present tax bill is paid.
Surely you are asking if there is any way to get around the looming income tax obligation. The good news is that yes there is. First, if you are 70 ½ or older a distribution up to $100,000 can be made annually directly to a qualifying charity, such as your church, from your IRA account. There is no charitable deduction for this transfer for purposes of itemizing deductions, but the trade-off is this money is never taxed. The obligation disappears with the transfer to the qualifying charity. Second, at death you can leave any or all of these yet untaxed monies to the qualifying charities of your choice in any amount and the income tax bill disappears on that amount. Pretty neat, huh?
If you have questions on this topic, feel free to write me at gary@tarrantbaptist.org or call 817-927-1911, ext. 213. I will be glad to answer any questions you might have.
Gary L. Crowell, CPA, CCA, ACC
CFO, Tarrant Baptist Association

re:FOCUS Journey for Pastors and Staff


Is is time to refocus your life?

Want to experience a life change journey designed just for pastors, staff and leaders? This is not like any other discipleship conference you have experienced. This is a time you can refresh yourself in a hands-on experiential-type of journey. Here are some of the things you will experience:                                                               
  • A safe environment
  • Time for reflection
  • Time to spend reading the Bible and reflecting on your relationship with Christ
  • Authentic facilitators who let you discover your own way
  • Prayers offered over you
  • Laughter and fun
  • A few stretching and challenging activities
  • Time to hear God speaking just to you
  • A renewed excitement and expectation about what God is doing in your life

The next re:FOCUS journey will start Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. on October 8th and end at noon on Tuesday, October 10th at Riverbend Retreat Center. The cost is $149. Each retreat time is unique and will focus on different aspects to help empower leaders.


Retreat #1
- Leaders will spend time re:Connecting with God and with peers in an experiential learning environment. This time will include alone time with God enhancing their dependence on the Father and time to make friends with peers that are both authentic and safe.

Retreat # 2
- Six months later leaders will come back together to re:Discover who God has made them to be. They will spend time exploring things about themselves and formulating their own personal mission statements.

Retreat #3
- In another six months leaders will re:Think what it means to be a disciple. They will explore passages of scripture and write their own definition of a disciple. They will gain a clear picture of what this disciple looks like and how they personally will help others grow to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Retreat #4
- The final retreat six months later will focus on re:Engaging with God in His Kingdom. How has God created me to be most effective personally on engaging others? What is He nudging me to do? How do I most effectively lead myself and others?

Between these retreat weeks leaders will meet together monthly to encourage and pray for each other.

Interested? If so, contact Becky Biser at becky@tarrantbaptist.org.


Sign up today!


Date: October 8-10, 2017 (Begin Sunday evening at 6:00 and ending at Tuesday at noon)

Cost: $149 each retreat (includes lodging, meals, snacks, books and other materials)

Duration: 4 retreats over 2 years (Oct. 8-10, 2017; April 15-17, 2018; October 7-9, 2018 and April 7-9, 2019)


Register Here!

RA Camp
RA Camp is scheduled for July 18-22, 2017 at Riverbend Retreat Center. Currently, there are beds available for additional churches. Contact Glenn Hedgpeth at 817-249-9968 for additional information. 
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative - Speak Freedom

The Baptist General Convention of Texas  (BGCT) is partnering with the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) to announce Speak FreedomSundayNovember 5, 2017.  This designated Sunday will be promoted for churches and faith communities in Texas as a day of solidarity with the religiously-persecuted around the world.  This will be a day to emphasize praying for the persecuted church.  This can also be a day to preach on religious freedom, show a video, teach a Bible study, etc. in support of the persecuted church.
Free resources will be available to download such as videos, fact sheets, sermon starters/outlines, Bible studies, contemporary stories from persecuted Christians, and action items.  Guest speakers can also be available if requested.
Did you know?  More than 70% of the world's people live in places where there is some form of religious restriction, discrimination, or ongoing persecution.  Dr. Randel Everett, President and Founder of 21CWI says, "Speak Freedom Sunday will be a great encouragement to Christians globally to know that we are remembering them.  This will also send a strong message to government leaders (domestic and international) that international religious freedom is a national priority." 
There will be more details to come in the months ahead from both the BGCT and 21CWI but for now please
SAVE THE DATE:  Speak FreedomSunday, November 5, 2017.
May God continue to bless you as you continue to serve Him.
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative - Build Freedom
The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) has launched Build Freedom, a project highlighting the grim situation happening now in Nigeria. Did you know that over 1 million Nigerians are living in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camps all over their country? These people have fled their homes, farms, and villages to escape the brutal attacks of Boko Haram and the Fulani Militants. By building a shelter similar to those used by the Nigerians, Build Freedom provides a meaningful opportunity for churches, university groups, youth/children groups, and individuals to pray for, better understand, and address this ongoing crisis. 
The shelter was designed by Habitat for Humanity and is made to resemble a typical IDP shelter in Nigeria. The uniquely designed shelter creates an interactive simulation that invites participants to learn, pray, and practically stand with those who are suffering. This immersive experience is a practical and powerful platform to learn about religious persecution and what can be done for those who have been forced to flee from the violence of terrorism, war and conflict. 
The cost to build the building and furnishing the shelter is approx. $400 depending on the availability of donated material. It will take approx. 6-8 hours to construct the 12x12x8-foot temporary structure. 
The Freedom Shelter would be great to use for Vacation Bible Schools, Mission Fairs, Youth Camps, Children Camps, Retreats, or any other future events you may have on your calendar to teach about missions and international religious freedom. For more information including free reports, resources, action packs, etc. please visit  www.21wilberforce.org and/or  www.standwithnigeria.org.
Opportunity for Volunteer Interim Pastors in England
 Morley Community Church near Leads in Yorkshire
You're Invited!

You are invited! Chosen People Ministries is involved in a conference called "The Gospel and the Middle East" this coming October featuring author Joel C. Rosenberg.

BGCT Upcoming Events


News from Churches
News from churches church
If any church is in need of a  1956 or 1957 Hammond B3 Organ with Leslie Speaker, please contact Randall Loftis at 817-521-5160.

If any church is in need of Bibles or hymnals -- The Bibles are NIV and hymnals are 1970's Brentwood "Hymns for the Family of God" We have over a 100 of each at the Chapel on base. If one of your ministries would be interested, please have them contact our office at 817-782-5665 or email Bryan Crittendon at bryan.crittendon@navy.mil.

JOB OPENING for Normandale Baptist Church --  We are exploring hiring a very part-time preschool ministry coordinator (6-10hrs/wk), someone whose primary responsibility is volunteer scheduling and curriculum setup. He or she will also assist the children's minister to administer the preschool ministry. This person must be willing to become a member of Normandale.  This person needs to have a strong administrative gift coupled with a positive, joyful personality to encourage volunteers through potentially draining times. Some experience would be desired but is not necessary due to the simplified nature of what we are doing and the volunteers/staff around them.  Please contact John Wohlgemuth at  john@normandale.org  with any inquiries or resumes. Thank you.