Merry Christmas Texas Baptists! I am so thankful that I can break my silence and highly recommend to my Baptist family David Hardage. I first met David in Milwaukee Wisconsin of all places. I was serving as pastor of the Northwest Baptist Church and David brought a mission team from First Baptist Church Sulfur Springs to work with us. From that day until now I have counted David as a trusted friend.
If you look up Texas Baptist in the dictionary a picture of David Hardage would appear. His father was a Texas Baptist preacher and most of his ministry David followed in his dad’s footsteps. David has been the pastor of churches large and small alike. He is the kind of guy pastors enjoy being around because he always makes you feel significant and important. He listens. He wants his office door to be open to all the pastors of Texas.
From my perspective God has uniquely prepared David for this assignment. His years as a pastor taught him firsthand the challenges faced by our local churches. He served the BGCT as chair of the State Missions Commission and the Mission Funding committee. So he knows unclose and person the opportunities and challenges faced in these vital areas of our work together. In addition, his service as a Director of Missions has prepared him to lead pastors. Leading pastors and leading a church are not the same thing, and David has a gift for inspiring confidence and earning trust. His days working in development for Truett Seminary and Baylor University has given David keen insight into the opportunities and challenges faced by our institutions. His strong relationship with Baylor will be a real asset as the BGCT and Baylor seek to form a strong partnership for the future, but I believe David will also lead a move to strengthen our partnership with all our institutions. It is vital that our churches and institution move in concert in our efforts to reach Texas with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As a husband and father David is above reproach. As a man of God he is a very spiritual man who daily allows the word of God to speak into his soul and shape his character. As a friend he is trustworthy and keeps his promises. One of his habits is the writing of personal handwritten notes to those he is praying for. This simple act of kindness and thoughtfulness speaks volumes about his heart and character.
I believe David will bring meaningful change to the BGCT. He will strengthen what we do well. He will help us make hard decisions about what we may need to adjust or end. He will surround himself with leaders who lead with integrity and with a heart for Texas. He will protect us from making foolish mistakes. He will challenge us to keep first things first—“Winning Texas to Christ.” He loves the church and believes the BGCT headquarters are in the local churches not in Dallas.
As you can tell I am all in. Right after David accepted our invitation to be presented to the Executive Board for affirmation. I told him you can count on me. I pray you will join me in welcoming David to this post of leadership. Christmas came a little early this year for Texas Baptists and for this I am so thankful.