Hispanics challenged to live out their calling in changing times

Israel Villalobos, associate pastor at Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving, preaches at a Hispanic rally prior to Texas Baptists' annual meeting in Waco. (BGCT Newsroom Photo)

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WACO—Christ’s call compels churches to move forward in missional and evangelistic ways, speakers told participants at a Hispanic rally prior to the 2017 Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting.

Ministers from North Texas, South Texas and West Texas invited Hispanic churches to live out that calling in a time of social and political changes.

“A church in action is one that moves in missions,” said Israel Villalobos, associate pastor at Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving.

Care about people

But churches cannot simply say they will do missions or evangelism without realizing they have to care about people first, he stressed. The gospel message will not give people hope for a different life unless the church knows people and cares for them,

Rolando Rodriguez, director of Hispanic ministries at the Baptist General Convention of Texas, reminded participants at the rally, held at Iglesia Maranatha in Waco, the Hispanic population is growing in the state. That presents a compelling call for Hispanic churches to be more involved in mission work around the state.

But there is no secret formula for a successful missions ministry, Villalobos said. “Even though it is hard to develop a plan without a tangible formula or example, we do know we just have to follow Jesus,” he said.

Follow Jesus

The love of God in Christians’ lives calls them to imitate that love and demonstrate love to others, said Carlos Alsina, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Seguin.

“We are to follow the example of Christ, even to our deaths,” Alsina said.

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Christians should tell the world what God has done in their lives, he added.

To do that is to be missional, and to be missional is to be the church, said Martin Ortega, pastor at Iglesia Bautista Emanuel in Midland.

“We have to realize that this is what we are called to do, because as the verse in 2 Corinthians says, we no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died for us,” Ortega said.

Invest in others

While the church has been called out by God to live missionally, it is also the church’s responsibility to invest in others, so they can be compelled to respond to that calling, Ortega said.

One way Texas Baptists are investing in others and helping Hispanics live out their calling is by providing more educational opportunities and training students to be ministers, Rodriguez said. He invited rally participants to gather around Abe Jaquez, new president of Baptist University of the Américas, and pray for him, noting most Hispanic Texas Baptist ministers are trained at BUA.


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