More than 5,000 people from all across the state are filling up hotel rooms in Tyler. They're in town as part of the Missionary Baptist Convention meeting this week. But, the convention is less about what happens here, and more about what happens when the ministers return home.
It's Wednesday morning, but the pews at North Star Missionary Baptist Church in Tyler are filled. Ministers like Rev. Charles Maze come from all over the state to talk about the problems their congregations face back home.
"We deal a lot with people who are dealing with rehab, drug situations, homeless people, broken families."
Rev. M. R. Alix's church in Houston has similar difficulties. "The area that my church is located in is in a low income area. Housing, and that type of thing is really facing my church and youth getting caught up in adversities in the neighborhood."
The representative from 15 hundred Missionary Baptist Churches believe together, they can change hearts and minds in their nieghborhoods. Rev. Eric Hooker of Waco is the Dean of the Convention.
"We come in a congress setting to learn what to do, how to do it, and to set examples for young people and adults."
Part of that means getting kids involved. So, in addition to the ministers and church leaders, hundreds of teens have joined the trip to Tyler. Drill teams are just one attempt to bring the youth into the congregation.