DALLAS–On June 30, the Bernard (Bernie) and Patricia Spooner Endowed Discipleship Fund was established. The fund, created through the Texas Baptists Missions Foundation, will function as a giving mechanism for anyone interested in financially supporting Texas Baptists Discipleship, a Center for Church Health ministry. Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Spooner, a former discipleship director with the Convention and the namesake for the fund, joined Texas Baptists leaders at the Dallas offices for the endowment signing.
“My prayer for this endowment is that it will be a major step toward ensuring that Bible teaching and biblical discipleship continues to be strong in Baptist life,” Spooner said at the signing. “It is essential to the future of Baptists that lay-people are involved in discipleship and the learning of scripture.”
Spooner is a dedicated leader in Texas Baptists life. He served on the Texas Baptists staff for 22 years as director of the Bible Study and Discipleship division, now called Texas Baptists Discipleship. Before that he served as a minister of education, growing churches through dedicated Bible study and discipleship. Spooner also served 12 years in various positions with the Gary Cook School of Leadership and Graduate School of Ministry at Dallas Baptist University, including as the inaugural dean of the School of Leadership and professor of Christian education.
“This endowment is the first of its kind,” said Phil Miller, director of the Center for Church Health, at the signing. “Most endowments go toward a program, but this one is unique in that it will support the staff and ministry of an entire Convention office.”
Also in attendance at the signing were Texas Baptists Discipleship Director David Adams, Texas Baptist Missions Foundation President Jerry Carlisle, Executive Director David Hardage, Associate Executive Director Craig Christina and Treasurer/CFO Ward Hayes.
“Thank you for giving your name to this office,” Hardage said to Spooner during the event. “We will always keep Bible teaching at the forefront of what we do in discipleship.”
Texas Baptists Discipleship provides consultations, training, special events and resources in the areas of adult, childhood, youth and family discipleship. It also provides leadership tools through Texas Baptists Discipleship Leaders, a community dedicated to continued education, fellowship and support in discipleship; and Leadership Texas Baptists, a nine-month program that identifies and equips emerging leaders in Texas.
“Discipleship keeps growing and evolving. We believe in a Bible that doesn’t change, but the methodology does, and we are continually learning ways to connect with both the current and future generations,” said Miller. “Ultimately though, it all comes back to the simplest form of discipleship, which is two people sitting down with their Bibles.”
To give a gift to the Spooner Endowed Discipleship Fund, or to learn about leaving a legacy through the Texas Baptist Mission Foundation, visit missionsfoundation.org.
*This article has been updated for clarity.