- June 1, 2014
- By Jesse Rincones / Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas
This month, the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas joined with 487,000 other churches as the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference merged with CONELA, a Latin America-based organization that serves evangelical churches across the world.
When the Hispanic Baptist Convention—or Convención—joined the NHCLC several years ago, we became the largest Baptist group represented in the national coalition. This collaboration allows Convención to partner with Hispanic evangelical congregations around the nation, and now the world.
I have the opportunity to serve on the board of the NHCLC along with other Hispanic leaders in Texas that include Gus Reyes, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission directo; Rolando Rodriguez, BGCT Office of Hispanic Work; and Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International.
Dr. Reyes had the following to say about the merger: “Dr. Phillip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history at Baylor University, has forecasted the global south as the zone for the future of Christianity in his book, The Next Christendom: Global Christianity in the 21st Century. The merger between the NHCLC and CONELA creates a global network of local churches with a common vision, faith, and cultural ethos connecting the global north with the global south for all the interests of the Redeemer’s kingdom.”
Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC, said: “This merger is a win-win for both NHCLC and CONELA, and we are thrilled to join together to better serve Hispanic Evangelicals worldwide. Under the new NHCLC, we will continue to unify, serve and represent the Hispanic Evangelical community with the divine and human elements of the Christian message all while advancing the Lamb’s agenda.”
CONELA brings excellent research capabilities to NHCLC’s strong organizational structure. Conela has conducted several studies among Latin Americans, including surveying 7,500 Latino pastors about the priorities they believe are important for the church. Of the 10 priorities they identified, seven coincided with the NHCLC seven directives of life, family, compassionate evangelism, stewardship, justice, education and youth.
This merger, which came at the request of CONELA President Ricardo Luna, will result in a worldwide organization that represents over half a million churches and millions of individuals, making it the largest Evangelical association in the world.
Convención has the monumental task of serving the Hispanic Baptist congregations in Texas. At the same time, we can not avoid our responsibility and opportunity to partner with others for kingdom work around the world.
We look forward to it—Adelante!
Jesse Rincones is executive director of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas