Julio Guarneri, lead pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, will be nominated for first vice president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Albert Reyes, president and chief executive officer of Buckner International, announced his intention to nominate Guarneri when Texas Baptists hold their first online annual meeting in November.
Reyes praised Guarneri as “an experienced pastor and an excellent thinker” who “has much to contribute” to Texas Baptists.
He pointed to Guarneri’s years of pastoral service in McAllen and Fort Worth, his early experience as a church planter in Corpus Christi, and his doctoral studies in leadership and missions.
“He will offer our convention a good perspective and provide a timely voice we need to hear,” Reyes said.
‘I believe in kingdom work’
Guarneri expressed willingness to serve if elected based both on his convictions about cooperation and his gratitude to Texas Baptists for their investment in his life and ministry.
“I believe in kingdom work. No one church can do as much as what we can do together,” he said.
“I am a strong believer in and recipient of the ministries of Texas Baptists, and I would like to give back.”
Guarneri views the next year as a pivotal time for individual congregations and the cooperative missions and ministries Texas Baptists support.
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“Our churches and our denomination will need a fresh relaunch after the pandemic that has rocked our world and our state,” he said, citing the need to “stay on mission and stay relevant.”
Need to ‘lead by example’
In response to changing demographics in Texas and to rising awareness about racial justice issues, Guarneri said Texas Baptists need to “lead by example and set the tone” by engaging in dialogue and listening attentively.
As churches strive to reflect the racial, ethnic and socio-economic makeup of their communities, Texas Baptists should look at and learn from congregations that are doing a good job of becoming genuinely multicultural, he said.
“At the same time, we need to realize there’s not one formula that fits all situations,” he said. “Diversity is just that—diverse. Every church’s context is unique.”
Guarneri has been pastor since 2010 at Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, a cross-cultural congregation in the Rio Grande Valley. Previously, he was pastor of Iglesia Bautista Getsemani in Fort Worth.
He also served Segunda Iglesia Bautista in Corpus Christi as minister of education and youth, and he was founding pastor of Shalom Baptist Mission in Corpus Christi.
Guarneri earned his undergraduate degree from Texas A&I University in Kingsville, a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Dallas Baptist University.
He served on the BGCT Executive Board and was moderator of Tarrant Baptist Association. He has served on the board of trustees of Buckner International and what is now Stark College and Seminary.
He and his wife Monica have four children—Josh, Rachel, Mia and Stevan.