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Amid growing Hispanic population, Send Network Español names Jose Abella as new leader

MIAMI (BP) – Jose Abella was born and raised in the United States, a child to parents who grew up in Cuba before immigrating in the 1960s. His life has been a testimony of gaining cultural and linguistic fluency between two worlds—Hispanic and English-speaking America.

Abella grew up attending a Baptist church and after coming to Christ around the age of 10, service in the local church characterized much of his life, which eventually culminated with him planting Providence Road Church in Miami in 2010.

“The Lord gripped me at a young age, and he’s never let go,” said Abella. “He’s been forming me and shaping me, stumbling along at times, but the Lord has been kind and called me to his service.”

At the start of April 2024, Abella was named vice president of Send Network Español.

Send Network, the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) church planting arm, launched Send Network Español in early 2022 to take the network’s church planting efforts among the Hispanic population to the next level.

The 2020 U.S. Census revealed that the Hispanic population had grown to nearly 20 percent of Americans, a population of more than 62 million people. That growth has shown no signs of stopping, and Send Network Español launched as an effort to be a resource for churches looking to make an impact for the gospel among Hispanics.

“I love being a part of our network of churches and the emphasis of Send Network president Vance Pitman and NAMB president Kevin Ezell to have a vision to reach this ever-growing population,” said Abella. “It’s my joy to collaborate to that end together with them. It makes me proud to be part of our faith family.”

Since its launch, Send Network Español has helped to establish Spanish-speaking residencies at churches throughout North America, which has led to an increase in the number of church planting missionaries who are dedicated to planting Hispanic churches.

For Abella’s part, Providence Road Church has been a church planting church since its inception in 2010. Their congregation has either directly planted or supported nearly 20 new churches in their fourteen years.

James Peoples has been leading Send Network’s church planting efforts in Florida for more than six years and has worked “hand-in-hand” with Abella and Providence Road as the church developed both Spanish- and English-speaking churches.

“To this day, he is among the largest multipliers of planters coming out of his church that we have in Florida,” Peoples said. “He leads their pastoral residency program by example through the entire process, and he does so over the long term.”

That DNA for multiplying local churches was woven into Abella’s ministry while he was completing his bachelor’s degree at The College at Southeastern in Wake Forest, N.C., and through a pastoral internship at Open Door Church in Raleigh, N.C., under pastor Dwayne Milioni.

“As much as I learned at Southeastern, I was trained well in the local church,” Abella said. “Open Door’s internship program ingrained in me the desire to raise up leaders and send them out. It became the model for me.”

That model will fit well in Send Network as “think multiplication” represents one of the network’s values.

Abella has been involved in the life of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) as well. He was elected second vice president of the SBC in 2017 and preached at the SBC Pastors’ Conference that same year. He is eager to step into this role and serve the broader SBC family.

“I’m eager to work with pastors, associational leaders and state executive directors, everywhere we have pockets of Hispanics,” Said Abella. “We want to meet those needs in those unique contexts and work together to impact the kingdom of God.”

As a second generation of Cuban immigrants, Abella also understands how ministry to Hispanics will need to remain flexible and engage English-speaking churches as many in the second and third generations will transition to being primarily English speakers themselves.

“He’s an incredible leader, a humble leader who empowers others,” said Peoples. “He has great people skills in bringing people together for partnership. He’s just what we need at this time since Send Network Español is such a key part of reaching North America with the gospel.”