Experiencing Poverty in Collin County First-Hand


Experiencing Poverty in Collin County First-Hand
Story package By Marc Ira Hooks

Some were turned away because they did not have a valid driver’s license. Others gave the last few dollars they had for food, and while a long line formed at the pawn shop. Regardless of where they were, they shared one thing in common – poverty.

Fortunately, this was only a simulation. But for many in Collin County, the scenarios are real. In 2016, more than 60,000 Collin County residents lived below the poverty line. This is shocking for people to discover, said Bill Beamon, leader for last week’s Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE) hosted at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen. “These are the working poor,” Beamon said. “And Collin County is full of them.” He explained that a family of three living on $30,000 each year are still considered to be in poverty. The COPE simulation is a project of Unite Greater Dallas, a para-church organization working to connect Christian leaders to each other and to resources needed to address the urgent social challenges facing the Dallas Metroplex.

Unite Dallas’ Executive Director Rebecca Walls said her heart was changed from having compassion to having empathy for those in poverty after experiencing a similar simulation eight years ago. Fueled by that experience, Walls helped create COPE. With the help of Beamon who experienced poverty first-hand before eventually working his way into bank management before he joined Unite, Walls hopes to use churches to expose their staffs and their members to the problem of poverty where they live, work, and play. “The goal is that people’s hearts will be transformed so they will want to be part of the solution,” Walls said.

Jon Bailey, Missions Pastor of First Baptist Church of Wylie came as part of a group of ministers and community leaders. “It was great to go through the experience with everyone since we do a lot of work together to reach the Wylie area,” Bailey said. “It’s extremely eye opening to see the issues that people face every day who are trying to get out of poverty. It was very clear that we need to be an advocate for those in need. Given the scope of the needs, I know that we cannot fight the battle of poverty alone.”

Keith Tyler, missions pastor for Cottonwood Creek Church prepares to simulate a child in an impoverished family during last week’s Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE) at his church.

Mission and Outreach Director for St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Frisco Mary Hendrix said over the years she has utilized many ‘poverty experience’ resources in order to teach people about poverty. “None have come as close to simulating the feeling and reality of what life in poverty is like, more than COPE,” she said. “Walking through this simulation opens my eyes to new perspectives, thoughts, feelings and ideas every time I go through it,” Hendrix said. She added that every time a person participates in a COPE simulation, it is new and different every time. “It really is a game changer; one we all need to experience,” said Hendrix.

As the host church for the COPE simulation, Keith Tyler, missions pastor for Cottonwood Creek Church said the experience “pierced my heart.”  Tyler said the simulation helped him to learn first-hand what many individuals and families living in material poverty deal with every day in his city.  “I hear statistics and stories all the time of many who struggle to live at or below the line of poverty in Collin County, but to experience material poverty through this event shed light to this issue like never before in my life,” Tyler said. “It was a wake-up call to put our faith into action and come together to love others like never before!”

If you would like to know more about how your church or organization can host a COPE simulation, contact Bill Beamon at (214) 734-6507.


Cottonwood Creek Church hosts ReThink Apologetics Conference

Ideas have consequences. The ideas that you think are true will ultimately play themselves out in the way that you live. Every. Single. Day. We all live at the mercy of our ideas. That’s why the apostle Paul warns us not to be taken captive by the false views of the world (Colossians 2:8).

Sadly, many Christians have been captured by the culture. Their thinking reflects the thinking of the society. Their worldview is no different from that of their unbelieving friends.

Stand to Reason Student Impact exists to provoke a new generation to rethink their worldview, recapture the truth, and then reengage the world for the cause of Christ. That’s why we’re putting on the reTHINK Apologetics Student Conference, designed for junior high, high school and college-aged students. And that’s why you need to be there.

On Friday, doors open at 6:45 pm, and sessions will conclude at approximately 10:45 pm. On Saturday, sessions begin at 9:00 am and will conclude around 5:30 pm. There will be a break on Saturday from noon to 1:25 pm (lunch not provided).

Register now by texting RETHINK to 77978 or going to rethinkapologetics.com. Special pricing is available for church groups. Contact meredith.jackson@cottonwoodcreek.org for the reThink Church Partnership information to obtain the special pricing. Questions? Contact will.chapman@cottonwoodcreek.org.

ReTHINK Apologetics Conference 2017-2018 [HD, 1280×720] from Collin Baptist Association on Vimeo.


Great Bowls of Fire!

It’s time to dig out your pots, pans, and secret recipes! CBA Church Network is hosting the First Annual “Great Bowls of Fire” Chili Cook-off!

The event will be held on Thursday, February 1 at the Network offices in Fairview. Setup for those competing will begin at 11:30, and judging will begin at noon, with lunch being served immediately after.

All proceeds will go to support the CBA Church Network’s hurricane relief efforts in Coamo, Puerto Rico. A $25 donation is requested for those who will compete, and a $10 donation is requested for those who will be eating lunch.

Following the judging a chili lunch will be served where you will be able to taste all of the entries, and have a bowl of your favorites with all the fixins’ provided by the CBA Church Network.

This event is not just for Network pastors and staff, but for our ministry partners, the entire church, family, and friends.


Leftover chili will be sent to GraceBridge Food Bank in Celina. You can find out more about their ministries by visiting their website: http://www.gracebridge.us/

Click here for more information about CBA Church Network’s partnership in Puerto Rico.
To partner with Pastor Rodriguez and donate to Hurricane Relief efforts in Coamo, click the link below.

Donate to Hurricane Relief in Coamo, Puerto Rico.



Meet Pastor Luis Rodriguez

Meet Pastor Luis Rodriguez
Tuesday, December 12
10am – 11:30am

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has asked Southern Baptist Associations around the country to adopt and form church-to-church partnerships with churches in Puerto Rico who were devastated by Hurricane Maria this fall. The CBA Church Network has been assigned Iglesia Bautista Raham de Coamo church in Coamo, a city of roughly 40,000 people.
Pastor Rodriguez serves as lead pastor for the church, and as the President of the Baptist Convention of Puerto Rico. The city still does not have running water, and there are numerous opportunities to minister to both physical and spiritual needs through partnerships with this church.
On Tuesday, Pastor Luis will be at the CBA Church Network offices to share how our churches can help the people of Coamo as we minister together in this disaster-ravaged area.
Please plan to join us to see how our network churches can connect, collaborate, and engage with Iglesia Bautista Raham de Coamo and be living witnesses of the Gospel to the people of Coamo, Puerto Rico.
Tuesday, December 12
10am – 11:30am
 970 S Hwy 5, Fairview, TX 75069

CBA Hosts Church Safety & Security Seminar

Due to the overwhelming response to this event, the location has been changed to the Chapel of First Baptist Church of McKinney – 1615 W Louisiana St, McKinney, TX 75069

Following recent events in Sutherland Springs, the CBA Church Network, in cooperation with the Collin County Sheriff’s Department, will host a Church Safety & Security Seminar later this month.

“The specter of someone entering our churches determined to commit mass murder, once unthinkable, must now be considered,” said CBA Church Network Executive Director Vince Smith.  Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner will brief church leaders on how to react to an active shooter situation, and other scenarios churches may now face. He will also address questions related to best practices, legalities of safety teams and similar issues.

All church staff, leaders, and lay-leaders are invited to the seminar, which will be held at First Baptist Church of McKinney in the Chapel on Thursday, November 30. A light lunch begins at 11:30 am. The 90-minute presentation will begin at noon. Please go to http://bit.ly/ChurchSafety to RSVP for this free event.

“We are all understandably anxious,” said Smith. “We want our church leaders to be able to respond to questions and concerns about safety from their congregations by saying church leaders have met with the Sheriff, and local law enforcement representatives, and are implementing their recommendations.

Annual Christmas Lunch – The Night Before Christmas

Around the world, many missionaries and their families do not have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in the same way they would if they were in their home country. As a result, many develop special traditions of their own as they celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve.

The Night Before Christmas is the theme for the 2017 CBA Church Network Christmas Luncheon. The annual event will be held from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Monday, December 4 in the Atrium of Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen.

The program was written by CBA staff member Marc Ira Hooks while serving overseas in Eastern Europe, where Christmas is a minor holiday and is celebrated in January following the Eastern Orthodox calendar.

Hooks remembers their first Christmas overseas, where his family was awakened not by the sound of carols, or by ringing Christmas bells, but by jackhammers and noises of the workers at the construction site outside their window – December 25 was just an ordinary workday in Russia.

The audience participation-based program begins with a celebration of Advent, and the ligting of candles. Following a catered lunch by Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, participants will help tell the story of Jesus’ birth as they construct a large Nativity.

Music will be provided by Jud Kossum of Gateway Baptist Church in Wylie. An offering benefiting the CBA Disaster Relief fund will be taken, followed by a drawing for door prizes.

You can make your reservations for you and your church staff by visiting: http://bit.ly/CBA-ChristmasLunch2017