The Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas annual meeting—originally scheduled for June 23-25 at Dallas Baptist University—will be held online July 26-28, with participants accessing it through Facebook, YouTube and Zoom.
“We decided to go virtual because of COVID-19,” said Convención’s executive director Jesse Rincones. “Because of the videotaping, editing and all the additional work that will be required, we asked the board to change the dates of our annual meeting.”
While Convención leaders considered other options, such as partnering with the Baptist General Convention of Texas or the Hispanic Leadership Conference which will take place later this year, they decided to take on the challenge and explore new opportunities.
“We thought it could be a good idea to not offer what is usually offered at the annual meeting, but at the same time be open to the new advantages that technology offers us,” Convención President Tony Miranda said, noting participants this year will not have travel and lodging costs.
“Another big opportunity we noticed was on how easy it will be to connect with leaders across the world,” he added.
One of the main speakers during the Convención annual meeting is pastor Luis Gabriel César Inzunza of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Ciudad Satélite, Mexico.
A band from Spain will lead one of the worship services, and guests from other Spanish-speaking countries will join the sessions.
The meeting also will feature some speakers in English, including Delvin Atchison, pastor of Westside Baptist Church of Lewisville, and Todd Still, dean of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary.
“We have the leverage to have people we normally would not have and reach people we normally would not have,” Rincones said.
Online format offers flexibility
Another advantage the online format offers participants is the opportunity to avoid scheduling conflicts. If they are interested in two sessions offered at the same time, they can attend one online and view the recorded video of the other at their convenience, Rincones noted.
Freedom from the space and time limitations related to a physical location gives Convención and participants greater flexibility, Miranda said.
“We want to give younger generations an opportunity to learn more about the faith,” he said.
As younger generations battle to find their identity among clashing cultures, Miranda said, this year’s annual meeting hopes to offer a foundation for the life Christ wants them to have.
“We hope they will see the example of those who came before them and placed their faith in Jesus,” Miranda added. “But we also hope churches will see how to reach and work with younger generations.”
Convención already gained some experience in online content delivery through the video meetings they offered as “Contacto Pastoral”—training courses for pastors such as the Greek class Miranda provided to more than 200 people in 15 countries.
“This is certainly a historic time,” Rincones said. “Though there were other times in the early 20th century when annual meetings were cancelled, this is the first time we move to a virtual meeting and I think this is the first time a Hispanic convention in the U.S. holds a virtual annual meeting.”
Registration information for the annual meeting will be posted on the Convención website.