First Baptist Church Spring Branch of Houston Presents $1 Million Gift to Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary

  • Lavern Graham (far left), chair of the Special Finance Committee of FBC Spring Branch, presents Dr. David Garland (center) with a $1 million gift establishing an endowed scholarship fund at Baylor's Truett Seminary to honor the church's history.
Aug. 30, 2013

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Trustees of the former church leave a legacy through the establishment of endowed scholarship

WACO, Texas (Aug. 29, 2013) - Members of the former First Baptist Church Spring Branch of Houston, Texas, presented Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary with a generous gift of $1 million on Sunday, Aug. 26, honoring the church's history through the establishment of the First Baptist Church Spring Branch of Houston, Texas George W. Truett Theological Seminary Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Though the church closed its doors in 2012, members of the former congregation diligently began donating funds from the sale of the church building to deserving organizations throughout the Baptist church, including Baylor University.

"Jesus said, 'Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,'" said Dr. David Garland, dean of Baylor's Truett Seminary. "To be sure, Jesus was not talking about a church closing its doors, but the principle seems to apply in this case. This gift from First Baptist Church Spring Branch, Houston Texas, designated to help train those called to ministry, will bear incredible fruit in perpetuity. Their doors may be shut, but their partnership in the gospel will live on in the ministries of the many who will receive this scholarship as they touch untold numbers of lives all over Texas, all over the United States and all over the world."

First Baptist Church Spring Branch was founded in 1949 and served the Spring Branch community for 63 years. Following a pastoral resignation and facing the demands of declining membership and an aging congregation, members decided to close the church for good in 2012. Through the establishment of the First Baptist Church Spring Branch of Houston, Texas George W. Truett Theological Seminary Endowed Scholarship Fund, the church chose to ensure that their passion for ministry would live on.

"First Baptist Church Spring Branch was a family," said Lavern Graham, chair of the church's Special Finance Committee. "In choosing Truett Seminary and establishing a scholarship, we felt like we would be leaving a legacy that would honor everyone at the church who was so committed to ministry. That was utmost in our mind, and we are so confident in Truett's ability to train future ministers and missionaries."

For members of the church, the gift was also a way to keep the church's name alive.

"That means so much to us," Graham said. "Those of us who attended deeply loved First Baptist Church Spring Branch. There were many friendships with so many dear people, and that will never change. We may not have the joy of meeting inside a building any more, but we have the joy of knowing that the church will live on through the deserving students that will receive this scholarship."

In addition to the direct gift to Truett Seminary, First Baptist Church Spring Branch also made provision for an organization helmed by alumnus of the seminary. The congregation endowed Cornerstone Family Ministries (CFM) with a $100,000 gift to start a scholarship endowment for the students they serve on a weekly basis. Andy Benton, a Truett graduate, is the executive director at Cornerstone Family Ministries, located in Spring Branch.

To learn more about leaving a legacy through a gift to Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, contact Josh Sims at (254)710-8509 or Joshua_Sims@baylor.edu.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

ABOUT GEORGE W. TRUETT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, the Master of Theological Studies, or the Doctor of Ministry degrees that are centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and consistent with historic Baptist commitments to prepare persons to carry this gospel to the churches and the world. Within the M.Div. degree program, students can choose concentrations in Biblical Studies and Theology, Christian Education, Ministry Leadership, Missions and World Christianity, Worship Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Sports Ministry, and Youth/Family/Student Ministry. Truett Seminary also offers three Dual Degree programs - a M.Div./MSW and MTS/MSW through a partnership with Baylor's School of Social Work, a M.Div./Master of Music through a partnership with the Baylor's School of Music, and a M.Div./MBA through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. Visit www.baylor.edu/truett to learn more.

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