Wayland missions center outlines 5-year goals

Release Date: October 22, 2009

PLAINVIEW – Still in the young stages of development, the Wayland Baptist University missions center has already made in impact on the school and the surrounding area. Last week, missions center director Dr. Rick Shaw called a meeting of more than 30 community and area leaders, including representatives from the Baptist General Convention of Texas and regional associations to outline a set of goals for the center as it moves forward.

“I formulated a plan to have key leaders as well as key missions students and pastors to come together and help us formulate a strategy for the missions center for the next five years,” Shaw said.

Through the course of the meeting, the group identified five areas of focus for the center in coming years.

The No. 1 goal identified is to have a facility in which to house the missions center. Wayland is addressing that goal as it raises funds for a new Flores Bible Building within its ongoing capital campaign. To date, the university has raised $5.7 million in cash gifts and pledges toward the campaign goals. Not all of that will be used for the new Flores Building, but the Bible building and missions center are a main area of focus in fundraising endeavors.

Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Paul Armes said the campaign will continue until all of the major objectives have been met. Armes pointed out that the university has also acquired pledges of unspecified funds. The amount will be determined once certain policies with the donors have matured. That number could reach into hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

Until the time when construction of a new Flores Building begins, university officials are contemplating other means through which to house the missions center and give it an identifiable space.

The second goal involved increased publicity and communication for the center, possibly through the development of a specific Web site. The third goal is to develop an endowment through which to aid the center’s objectives.

The fourth goal is to increase student involvement. Currently about 18% of the Plainview campus students are involved in missions projects of some kind, whether that is through the missions center’s mentoring program, or through mission trips planned by both the missions center and the BGCT.

Through the center’s Apostolos program, WBU students are mentoring Plainview High School students. Currently 62 Wayland students are involved. However, that is not enough to the meet the needs of the 150 high school students who are interested in the program. The Apostolos program is the result of a needs assessment conducted by Wayland students to determine the major areas of concern facing “our Jerusalem.”

The missions center has also impacted curriculum in various academic disciplines, and Dr. Shaw is working to develop an intercultural missions specialization as well as a full missions degree. Wayland has also increased its reach globally, conducting three mission trips this year for students and area churches, and planning as many as seven trips for 2010.

The fifth goal outlined for the group is for increased connections between the center and churches that can use it as a resources and guide for training and implementing mission work of their own.

“A lot of churches feel very close to Wayland,” Shaw said. “They trust Wayland and have a lot invested here. We want to focus on increasing the relationship between those churches and Wayland, as well as developing relationships with other groups.”

Shaw said achieving these goals will help Wayland reach its ultimate goal of increasing and enforcing its identity as a mission-minded institution with a reputation as being to place to go in Texas if you are interested in missions.

“If you want to study missions,” Shaw said, “come to Wayland.”