James Hassell
Baptist Reflections
February 12, 2008


I’ve chosen to serve on the Texas Baptists Committed Board of Directors for a variety of reasons. In fact, there was only a moment’s hesitation before I responded with a “yes” to the Board’s invitation.

First and foremost among my reasons is that serving in such a capacity affords me the opportunity to give back to Texas Baptists, for I am a product of missional Texas Baptists. George W. Truett said, “The church that is not missionary does not deserve the ground on which its building stands.” Indeed, I’ve observed and experienced TBC’s consistent commitment to the local Baptist church whose focus is beyond itself—a “missionary” church, in Truett’s words.

So I choose to give back, because strong BGCT churches and Texas Baptists Committed have been essential in leading me to understand the diligent protection of religious freedom, church freedom, Bible freedom, and soul freedom that has marked traditional Texas Baptists. I would not have been educated at Hardin-Simmons University or Logsdon Seminary if it were not for generations of pastors, laypersons, and honest teachers who took a stand against religious tyranny and for the authority of Christ. I fear that my generation—“Generation X”—tends to take for granted the opportunities that God has set before us; we have failed to show gratitude to those who walked the extra mile, time and time again, to see to it that the local church remained empowered in its redemptive purpose. So I choose to give back.

Second, I serve on the TBC Board because Texas Baptist life remains in a state of flux. Rather than fear change or shrink from it, I want to work with the TBC Board to take a hands-on, solution-focused approach to the challenges that face Texas Baptists—both now and in the years to come. In my first meeting with the TBC Board, I sensed excitement about the many ways in which TBC is committed to the future of Baptist life.


I expect Texas Baptists Committed to continue to highlight the impact of the BGCT’s ministries and institutions that are so valuable to our churches and our people as we strive to live out the Great Commission in our communities, throughout Texas, and beyond. I look forward to being involved in TBC’s steadfast support of bedrock Baptist principles: soul competency, local church autonomy, religious liberty for all people, and biblical authority. Although the future is uncertain, TBC recognizes that these principles have guided Texas Baptists through tectonic shifts in the past, and they will also lead us into a future of committed and effective evangelism.

In fact, our TBC Board has established a unique approach toward educating others, especially young people, on the biblically focused principles that have kept Texas Baptists free. I’m fully dedicated, as a member of the TBC Board, to establishing supportive and cooperative relationships with new generations of leaders to make a future that is as bright as our past.

Therefore, a “yes” to serving on the Board of Texas Baptists Committed is a “yes” to promoting our Baptist heritage; working with Texas Baptists to confront the challenges and opportunities of the future; developing new generations of Baptist leaders who are committed to bedrock Baptist principles; and promoting and supporting a vision of missions that provides worth and sustenance to our local churches through the power of God’s Spirit.