DALLAS—Gus Reyes, director of affinity ministries and the Hispanic Education Initiative of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, was named director of the BGCT Christian Life Commission, effective Jan. 16.
The CLC is the public policy and moral concerns agency of the BGCT, which speaks to—not for—Texas Baptists on ethical issues.
“Dr. Reyes’ work with education and immigration reform on a state and federal government level has proven his passion and ability to give a voice to those who have no voice,” said David Hardage, executive director of the BGCT Executive Board.
“After receiving applications and conducting interviews from a national search, we discovered the person God has placed before us for this position was already with us.”
Reyes has served with the BGCT since 2002, working as ethnic evangelism consultant, director of congregational relationships and most recently, director of affinity ministries and the Hispanic Education Initiative.
Prior to joining the BGCT, he worked with LifeWay Christian Resources and Sprint Telecommunications and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He earned his bachelor of business administration and marketing degree from the University of Texas, a master of business administration degree at Angelo State University, and master of religious education and doctor of philosophy in foundations of education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He and his wife, Leticia, are members of Iglesia Bautista High Pointe in Cedar Hill.
Positioned to help educate churches
“Reyes brings a unique blend of Baptist life, dedication to making a difference and experience in working with those who shape our laws. Furthermore, having served in adjunct faculty positions, he is positioned to help educate and train Texas Baptist churches on how to impact their community through caring for those around us,” Hardage said.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter lauded the selection of Reyes as her successor as CLC director. She praised Reyes as a great leader, saying his strengths are an excellent fit for such a vital role in Baptist life.
“I count it a blessing to call Gus Reyes a friend and co-laborer in creating partnerships of individuals, churches and organizations to improve lives,” said Paynter, who served as CLC director and director of the BGCT Advocacy Care Center from 2001 to 2012. “Gus’ record of success is impressive, and his commitment to Texas Baptists is unmatched.”
Reyes noted he was eager but humbled by the opportunity to lead the CLC.
“The CLC has built a wonderful foundation and legacy with lawmakers and churches on the Christian perspective of issues facing our culture today,” Reyes said. “As Paul wrote to Timothy, we need to fan the flames. There’s a great history with people like (Foy) Valentine, (Phil) Strickland and (Suzii) Paynter, who have created an avenue for the marginalized to be heard and individuals to be helped. We will continue this and build upon their success.”
Wide variety of issues
Reyes plans for the CLC to continue to address a wide variety of issues.
“All through the Gospel, we see Jesus preaching good news and also reaching out to those who are hurting, hungry, in prison, thirsty and oppressed. We will continue with Jesus’ agenda and take the steps necessary to further provide for and protect those who need it,” Reyes said. “We learned early in CLC’s history that culture needs to change, because culture can be blind to the needs of the marginalized.”
In recent years, Reyes has focused on issues related to education and immigration reform, testifying in Austin and Washington, D.C., on these efforts and working with bipartisan groups to improve the systems and create fair and appropriate responses.
Reyes wants to continue to build on the CLC’s heritage of informing and encouraging churches to make their voices heard.
“I want the CLC to help pastors understand what freedoms they have to speak to the legislative agenda. It’s a freedom, a right and a responsibility,” Reyes noted.
“The next step is clear—continue God’s direction. I welcome and covet your prayers for me and the CLC as we move forward impacting our world for Christ.”
Editor’s Note: The article was edited after it originally was posted to add the quotes from Suzii Paynter in the 9th and 10th paragraphs.
(Top llustration by He Qi, Nanjing , China http://heqigallery.com/)