March 13th, 2013 at 6:00 am
DECATUR – Luis Guevara feels called by God to minister to youth in Decatur. Life as a Christian is an exciting adventure, and he wants local young people to know it.
The animated Guevara bounces around the room where youth gather twice a week for Bible study and fellowship at Primera Iglesia Bautista. Utilizing Scripture, videos and games, he’s an injection of energy and Bible teaching into the lives of students.
“I’m trying to help the youth grow in Christ, for God to be able to use me for them to learn the word of God,” the youth minister said. “That’s my purpose. I want to teach those kids the word of God.”
He remembers what it was like when he was younger. He knows what it’s like to want to follow Christ but constantly be bombarded by non-Christian influences. He prays that his passion for his faith carries over to the students he teaches. Ultimately, they are going to grow up and decide whether they are going to follow God daily in all they do.
It seems to be working in a highly interactive youth group. The students hang onto his every word. They’re eager to participate in the ministry and evangelism. They remember past teaching and excitedly share what they have learned during the current class. A group of them will participate in Congreso, a Texas Baptists’ sponsored event for Hispanic youth and singles.
“When I see the youth, I see that they’re hungry for the word of God,” Guevara said. “… They want to know the word of God. They’re trying. They want to do good.”
Guevara completed the Entrena-T program, a training effort for Hispanic leaders through a partnership between Texas Baptists’ Office of Hispanic Ministries and Baptist University of the Americas. Nearly 300 Hispanic leaders have begun the Entrena-T certification program statewide since 2009.
“We know that leadership development in our Hispanic churches is very important,” said Rolando Rodriguez, director of Texas Baptists’ Office of Hispanic Ministries. “It’s something we really need to provide. Pastors are crying out saying help us in the area of leadership development.”
Entrena-T classes provide training opportunities to nearby locations, giving convenient leadership development possibilities.
“We’re taking training to their areas,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a high priority in our office.”
The classes provided practical pointers as well as encouragement that have helped him take the church’s youth ministry to “the next level,” Guevara said. He was impressed by the quality of teachers and teaching, so much so that he came to cherish the value of education and has enrolled in college.
“It’s been a blessing for me,” Guevara said. “The class helped me in many aspects I thought it wouldn’t help me. It helped me grow more. It taught a lot of things to be able to do what I’m doing now.”
The youth minister looks forward to how God continues to work in the lives of young people at Primera Iglesia Bautista. He’s honored to be able to serve there and reverently prays students under his watch will grow in their faith.
“God has changed my life,” Guevara said. “Like Scripture says, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. My life is now for God. My life is no longer for me. It is now for God. This is something that gives me joy. This is something that gives me pleasure. This is something that I can serve God in.”
Entrena-T classes are available in 13 locations. For more information, contact Texas Baptists Office of Hispanic Ministries at 888-244-9400.