Deeper in Faith
Hit the Trail to Texas
by Emily Faison
The last time Free Will Baptists met in Texas, the
Internet was a new innovation, WWJD bracelets were all the rage, and iPhones hadn’t been invented.
Next summer, when the 78th National Association of Free Will Baptists returns to Fort Worth for a fourth time, the world will undoubtedly look a bit different. But some things haven’t changed. Fort Worth remains the “Gateway to the Real American West,” complete with cowboys, rodeos, and good old-fashioned fun. Vistors can explore Fort Worth Zoo or The Stockyards (pictured below), visit Sundance Square, spend an afternoon at the Museum of Western Art, or attend a Texas Rangers baseball game. In Fort Worth, self-titled “City of Cowboys and Culture,” visitors find something for everyone.
When 6,771 Free Will Baptists assembled at the convention center in 1996, the 60th convention was themed, “I Will Build My Church,” based on Christ’s assertion in Matthew 16:18 that he would set His Church on the Rock. Convention speakers and seminars sparked discussion regarding ways to revitalize ministry to advance the kingdom and build up believers in contemporary culture.
In 2014, the convention will revisit the importance of reaching the culture with the theme, “Principles of Sowing and Reaping.” A number of transitions will take place at the meeting. Debbie Burden will experience her first convention as registration coordinator, Kevin Justice will continue his role as convention music coordinator, and the Media Commission will expand their online presence to archive services.
At the 47th National Youth Conference (NYC), Brandon Roysden will shift into the role of conference manager, and previous coordinator Danny Conn will assume a more focused role as competition manager.
NYC will focus on the theme, “Authentic,” from Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” The return to Fort Worth recalls the 1996 conference when young people took to heart the theme “Takin’ It to the Street…the Gospel.” During the inaugural year of Reach That Guy, volunteers partnered with Fort Worth Union Gospel Rescue Mission and the Fort Worth Area Food Bank. They stocked shelves, passed out tracts, and donated more than 2,500 gift packages filled with school supplies and personal hygiene products to needy children.
The last time Free Will Baptists met in Fort Worth, lives were changed, God moved, and we expect the same next summer. So, hit the trail to Texas! We will see you there.