Lone Star volunteers aren't alone in missions
___By Ken Camp
___Texas Baptist Communications
___Twice as many volunteers served in Texas Partnerships mission trips in the past year than did the year before, according to director Don Sewell.
___A greater variety of service opportunities and a church-directed approach combined to increase the number of Texas Baptist volunteers from about 600 to more than 1,200, Sewell explained.
___About one-fourth of the total number of volunteers served in the first year of Texas Baptists' partnership with Baptists in Germany. "We have 27 projects going in Germany alone," Sewell said.
___Texas Partnerships has adopted a "cafeteria-style" approach so that individuals in Texas Baptist churches can find ministry opportunities that match their spiritual gifts, talents and interests, Sewell said.
___In addition to formal ongoing partnerships with Baptist conventions, unions and associations within the United States and around the world, Texas Partnerships also has expanded to include other options.
___These include prayer walks, prayer partnerships for largely unreached people groups, project-oriented limited partnerships as requested by missionaries or local groups of Christians, and special-interest projects for hospitals, schools and other specialized ministry teams.
___Texas Partnerships also provides missions orientation for churches planning their own mission trips outside the state.
___"We're committed to serving any Texas Baptist church going anywhere, regardless whether it is an area where we have an official partnership," Sewell said. "That's a new paradigm."
___In addition, Texas Partnerships has grown to include the lay envoy program. Lay envoys are Christians whose employment takes them outside Texas for an extended time. These lay envoys serve alongside career missionaries and local Christians to help strengthen churches.
___For more information about partnership missions, call Sewell at (214) 828-5183 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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