Memorial Baptist Church in Taylor, Texas, doesn’t have a slogan on its outside sign, but if it did, it might read something like this: A small church with a big, generous heart for Jesus.
To say the 125-member church is mission-minded is a serious understatement. According to Pastor Dudley Marx, 42% of the money the church receives goes to missions.
“The Lord has blessed this church with generous people so that we’re able to dedicate that much to missions,” Marx said. “This is the heart that God has placed in the people here. A church of our size couldn’t do what we do without the help of the Lord. It’s amazing that God can use us.
“It’s how the Holy Spirit has worked in this church. When people come and join us, they know we are a mission-minded church. We teach about missions; it’s our way of giving back to the Lord for him giving to us.”
Since 1999, Buckner has been one of the recipients of the church’s generosity and mission-minded focus. The majority of the church’s contributions have gone directly to the work Buckner does in Mexico, helping strengthen families in a variety of ways.
The church has funded projects such as feeding programs for children, greenhouse building projects for economic strengthening for families, vans for children’s foster group homes, building homes for families and hurricane relief, among many other things.
Last year, Buckner representative Jim Huey presented the church with the Lifetime Jeremiah’s Hope Award, signifying that the church had given cash gifts totaling $250,000 or more over the years.
“We want to give to a place where the Word of God is being delivered and to a place that taught people how to help themselves and Buckner is doing a great job with both of those things,” Marx said. “This isn’t really about Memorial Baptist; it’s definitely not about the pastor. All we want is to be used by the Lord.
“We’re an older congregation, so most of us are not able to go on mission trips. Our hearts are willing, but our bodies are no longer able. This is how we have chosen to help. Whenever we get extra money in the church collections, we make it available to mission work.”
On the Sunday the church was receiving the award from Buckner, the missions committee surprised Huey and other Buckner staff members by presenting them with a check for nearly $48,000 for three additional mission projects in Mexico.
“As a missions team, we looked at all three Mexico projects that were available for funding, and we couldn’t decide which of the three options, so we decided to do all three,” said Marlene Bryan, a member of the committee. “We were blessed to be able to fund all three. That’s exciting for us.”
The three projects involved workshops for families regarding health, nutrition, education and community activities, helping with additional staffing needs in Chiapas, Mexico, and a project to help families make preserves so they can make additional income for themselves.
This year, the church just completed funding the building of four new homes for families participating in the Buckner Family Hope Center in the Rio Grande Valley, as well additional projects for Buckner Mexico, including the purchase of computers for the staff. Total contribution was over $130,000.
Another of the church’s mission committee member, Gene Lowrie, has a personal experience that fuels his giving.
“Several years ago, in the ‘70s, I took a fishing trip to Lake Guerrero in Mexico. We were in a small town in Mexico, and I saw a small child, 2-3 years old, asking for money,” Lowrie said. “I saw that they lived in a cardboard box. It broke my heart. I left there feeling a deep concern for the people there. I’ve never forgotten the face of that little girl and her need.
“When we give to Buckner, we don’t have to worry. Buckner is going to deliver. Buckner is going to take care of families and children.”
Written by Gilbert Montez, senior director for church and network relations for Buckner International. If your church wants to participate in the various ministry opportunities of serving vulnerable children and families, please contact Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.