WACO—With “Everlasting” as their theme, more than 4,000 Hispanic Baptist teenagers and college students gathered at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center for worship, spiritual growth and reflection at the 50th anniversary Congreso.
During the spring event, 127 students made professions of faith in Christ, 51 rededicated their lives to Jesus and 32 responded to God’s call to ministry.
“I am glad to be here, because I know I am talking to the future,” said Erwin McManus, lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles. “Everything God wants to do that will be beautiful and wonderful and extraordinary will happen through people like you.”
McManus challenged the students by pointing to the story of Moses, who delivered the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and gave them God’s law.
“Moses did not live an ordinary life,” he said. “There has never been an ordinary child born on this planet. When you were born you looked just as ordinary as Moses. You were born created in the likeness of God. You were no ordinary child.”
McManus urged the young people to trust God, regardless of their life circumstances.
“There is a God you can trust with your brokenness, your shame, your darkness,” he said. “If you will simply let him see you, trust him with your life. He will cover that shame, take it away and make you new.”
More than 200 churches from across Texas brought groups to the three-day event. In addition to McManus, other speakers included Julio Guarneri, lead pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, and Tiny Dominguez, pastor of Community Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock. Gabriel de la Garza led worship, and the event also featured performances by singer-songwriter Francesca Battistelli and Tedashii, a Christian hip-hop artist.
Frank Palos, Texas Baptist director of Hispanic evangelism, led Congreso more than 15 years. He announced his retirement this year after 30 years with the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board staff.
“Congreso has served as an experience worthy of being called a steppingstone towards the growth of my youth, myself, and all the attendees, not only of faith but of spiritual knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ,” said Paco Silva, youth minister at Iglesia Bautista Filipenses 4:19 in Nevada.
In addition to worship, students worked in 17 service projects throughout Waco, putting into practice principles of servanthood and ministry they learned about at Congreso.
Congreso participants gave a $10,317 offering for college scholarships, to help build a home for a Hispanic family in a Rio Grande Valley colonia and to assist a Woman’s Missionary Union ministry that helps victims of human trafficking.