June 29th, 2011 at 9:40 am
SAN ANTONIO – Standing at the start of its second century of existence, the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas is seeking to go “adelante” – forward, impacting communities across the state with the gospel.
Throughout the annual gathering of Hispanic Baptists from across Texas, speakers implored believers to be people of action who are known for sharing the gospel, caring for people and participating in mission work.
Martin Ortega, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Emanuel in Midland, urged Hispanic Baptists to push through any obstacles they may encounter in the next 100 years and mirror the heart of God. To do so, they must lean on the promises of God, constantly obey the teachings of the Bible and put all their strength into kingdom work.
If they are determined and faithful, Hispanic Baptists will reflect the nature of God who delivered the Israelites, Ortega said. Likewise, God calls His followers to share the hope of Christ with others, allowing them to be delivered spiritually.
“It is a progressive God,” Ortega said at Trinity Baptist Church. “It is a God with goals. It is a God of action.”
Leslie Hollon, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, pushed convention messengers to move from awareness to action and achievement for God’s kingdom.
The need to share the gospel is great, Hollon said. But Hispanic Baptists cannot stop at simply knowing the need; they must seek to meet it by sharing the gospel in ways the people who need it understand. To do that, requires believers who are faithful to God and His word.
“The more we rely on God, the more we are reliable,” Hollon said.
David Tamez, regional coordinator of Latin American and Hispanic initiatives at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., pushed messengers to seek God’s vision for their lives. When believers can see that vision clearly, they can create a way to make that vision a reality in faith and perseverance.
“Forward, forward, forward,” he said. “When I can see the end, I can plan the way to get there.”
In business, messengers also sought to set the convention up for its next century by voting to incorporate the body into a non-profit organization with an executive board for the first time in history.
The initial members of the board are: Carlos Alsina, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Austin; Frances Barrera, member of Crossroad Baptist Church in Plainview; Baldemar Borrego of Wichita Falls; Alfonso Flores, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana in San Antonio; Abraham Garcia, Hispanic pastor at First Baptist Church in Kaufman; Bea Mesquias, member of Second Baptist Church in Harlingen; Johnnie Musquiz, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Houston; Juan Puente, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Texarkana; Sabrina Sariles, youth minister at Iglesia Bautista Getsemani in Fort Worth; Ortega; Angel Vela, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Westway in El Paso; and longtime leader Rudy Camacho.
Convention president Jesse Rincones, pastor of Alliance Church in Lubbock, said the decision allows the Hispanic convention to govern and receive funding for its own ministries designed to impact communities while remaining in cooperation with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Currently, the Hispanic Baptist Convention receives most of its financial support from the BGCT, which provides the funds for the Hispanic convention through the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program, the primary giving channel of Texas Baptists. Rincones encouraged continued cooperation with the BGCT, including asking messengers and congregations to increase their gifts to missions through the Cooperative Program during the next three years.
“The question has been asked, ‘Are you separating from the BGCT?’” Rincones said. “The answer is no.”
The two conventions will continue to partner and work together on designated ministries, but each body will have its own ministries that will be facilitated by each respective body, RIncones said. The growth of the Texas Hispanic population requires increased ministry.
“This is an opportunity for Hispanic churches to administrate ministry that will impact churches,” Rincones said.
Hispanic Baptist Convention messengers also elected officers: Rincones, president; First Vice President Daniel Dominguez, pastor of Community Heights Church in Lubbock; Second Vice President Vela; Third Vice President Ruben Chairez, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Del Rio; and Secretary Rafael Munoz, member of Waves of Faith Church in Fort Worth.