SAN ANTONIO - Hispanic Baptists are well-positioned to focus on what God has laid on their hearts for the convention's future, said Jesse Rincones, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas executive director.
"I thank God I've had the opportunity to serve for the last three years," Rincones said of serving as president and more recently executive director. "It's been a historic time, a time of transition."
Since signing the unification agreement with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 2010, Hispanic Baptists have celebrated their centennial, made changes to some of their bylaws, established the volunteer position of executive director, restructured their board of directors and filed for 501(c)3 status. The transition hasn't always been easy, Rincones said, but it's ushered in a new period of stability that will allow convention leaders to focus on the health of convention churches.
"It's been historic because for the first time since 1963, our convention has become a distinct organization," Rincones said. "We have the opportunity to carry out the vision that our towns, our churches, our pastors and our leaders have, and instead of going to someone else to ask for money or ask for permission to advance in our plans for our convention, we know that what God has put in our hearts is our responsibility as a convention, so we are taking steps to fulfill the vision that God has put into Hispanic Baptist hearts in Texas."
That vision includes plans to revitalize the 42 Hispanic fellowships throughout the state, empowering them to focus on church health, missions and leadership development.
Rincones also talked about the push to reduce biblical illiteracy among Hispanics. Citing a recent study from Barna, he said that although 87 percent of Hispanics own a Bible, only eight percent read it four or more times each week. The convention has partnered with the American Bible Society for a September campaign to promote biblical literacy in churches.
Attendees voted in three new executive board members, approved a $5,000 budget increase for 2014 and passed an amendment to article VI, section one of the convention bylaws.
Nestor Menjivar, pastor of Príncipe de Paz in Austin; José Games, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Alfa in Dallas; and Jesús Guillen, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Redención in Houston, were approved to fill the vacancies on the board of directors.
By Lauren Hollon Sturdy