EULESS, Texas (BP) – The 235 baptisms last year at First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas, totaled nearly 10 percent of the church’s 2,534 average Sunday morning worship attendance. But pastor John Meador would like the number of baptisms to be much larger.
That’s one reason First Euless developed the “Can We Talk?” six-week training program in sharing the Gospel that has already equipped 472 members to share their faith.
“Our goal is for 95 percent of our entire adult church membership to be sharing their faith on a regular basis,” Meador said. “We are determined to reach every home in a five-square-mile radius of our church in the next two years.”
That same disciplined focus is the reason First Euless gives 10 percent of undesignated offerings for missions through the Cooperative Program, the method of supporting local, national and international missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“I believe in the Cooperative Program and our church has always been strongly committed to it,” Meador said. “The Gospel calls us all to advance the Kingdom, to plant churches and to be the salt and light in our society in America. We love to lead the way, and want to be an example for other churches.
“It benefits us to give generously because what we all do is a Kingdom effort,” Meador said. “Our total missions giving is around 28 percent, so we do much in the way of missions each year. We love how that impacts the world.”
The pastor has a strong heart for community outreach, fueled by his disability. Meador has been deaf since age 6, when he lost his hearing after an illness. The incumbent ridicule he suffered at the hands of peers in the classroom and on the athletic field only pushed him closer to the Lord.
“I began to trust Him more to help me do what I couldn’t do. That became a way of life,” Meador said. “He gives me grace and strength.
“I began to look around me and see people in worse shape than I was. I began to see that the comfort God gave me, the reliance on Him, enabled me to say to other people, ‘God can help you through this. I know this because He has done it for me.’”
First Baptist Euless reaches the community through “6Stones,” a multi-faceted community enrichment and evangelistic ministry launched in 2009 that provides food, clothing, home repairs, and backpacks stuffed with school supplies. The ministry also operates a community garden, among other outreach efforts.
“The ministries we have at First Euless are usually begun by a vision someone has of the ministry taking place,” Meador said. “Normally they begin because of a specific, unmet need. 6Stones is a good example of that. We saw that our community had many needs that were not being met.”
The 6Stones outreach has provided food for some 15,000 people a year and has rebuilt at least 300 homes since 2009, Meador said.
Building strong families is important to the congregation. At each level, there is an emphasis on investing in the next generation, building strong marriages and homes that honor God. Meador, himself the father of six, wants families to experience God’s best in every aspect of their lives.
“Strengthening families has never been more important,” Meador said. “The enemy is in the middle of an all-out assault on the home, which is why we are continually working to find new ways to make families stronger.
“We are actively attempting to build our ministries to be more family-friendly,” Meador said. “With the family in such dire shape, it’s important to do that, but we also recognize that having a ministry that kids love to come to is critical.”
“Preschool Productions” serves children from birth through age 4; “Kidopolis” reaches elementary-age children, “1st Students” ministers to junior and senior high students, and “1st University,” reaches university students. The church reaches expectant parents through “Coming Attractions,” and parents younger than 17 through its “Teen Parents” ministry.
“Family-friendly ministry focuses on allowing each area to experience a life-changing and engaging time on the weekends,” Meador said, “helping the family be committed to church involvement as a whole.”
Key to the success of its family ministries is ministry to men, Meador said. Meador leads ManUP Bible studies on Tuesdays that draw as many as 100 men. Others gather for various outreach ministries and affinity groups reaching motorcyclists and automobile aficionados.
“We believe in building men up in the Word, and we believe that the man who is strong spiritually can better lead the family and church,” Meador said. “We recently had a deacon trained in Can We Talk? who shared the Gospel at his father’s funeral, with 168 people there. Those are the stories I love to tell.”
First Euless members trained in Can We Talk? this spring and made 1,000 home visits that resulted in 200 people making professions of faith, Meador said. Even as the remaining members are trained, Meadors has partnered with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to take Can We Talk? statewide in 2015.
First Euless has adopted an unreached, unengaged people group in southern India, and sends a team there at least twice a year.
“We train pastors in Bible conferences, and we do construction work, children’s work and sometimes medical work in the villages,” Meador said. “Once someone has been on a mission trip with us, they are rarely the same. The passion to change the world begins to resonate within them.”
“Here in Euless we continue to work on being relevant to a changing community,” he said. “We must reach the next generation and we must reach the multi-ethnic culture around us.
“It is also important that we continue to allow the church culture to transition to the most relevant and biblical way to minister to those in our area. It’s invigorating to see the body of Christ operate as they do here.”