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Edgar Aponte accepts call to Idlewild pastorate

Edgar Aponte was voted on Aug. 6 as the ninth senior pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church in the Tampa suburb of Lutz, Fla. Photo courtesy of Idlewild Baptist Church

LUTZ, Fla. (BP) — Members of Idlewild Baptist Church voted on Aug. 6 in favor of Edgar Aponte becoming the church’s ninth senior pastor.

Aponte, a native of the Dominican Republic, had been the Global Missions pastor for four years and a member of the church’s Pastoral Leadership Team. During that time, he oversaw missions initiatives at the church’s other campuses, Idlewild at the Springs and Iglesia Bautista Idlewild.

Prior to arriving at Idlewild, Aponte was the vice president of Mobilization at the International Mission Board, where he led an 89-member team and led in the execution of all fundraising strategies, including the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Edgar Aponte and his wife, Sara, worship Aug. 6 at Idlewild Baptist Church. Photo courtesy of Idlewild Baptist Church

Before that he served as director of Hispanic Leadership Development and professor of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and as a diplomat in Washington, D.C. on behalf of his home nation.  

Idlewild’s previous pastor, Ken Whitten, retired in 2022 after 33 years of service. He joined the North American Mission Board as national director of pastoral leadership in February.

According to Annual Church Profile reporting. Idlewild had more than 15,000 members in 2022.

“As I look back in my life, I see significant events, changes, experiences and blessings as ways that God’s grace has prepared me for the ministry here,” Aponte said.

“I have a strong conviction that this is the Lord’s doing, and because of His grace and faithfulness, I am very excited about the future of our church.”

The year-long national and international search was conducted by a 12-member team.

“Edgar Aponte is a special guy with special gifts,” Whitten said. “I knew the moment he joined our pastoral staff four years ago from IMB, God’s hand was upon him. He has a very winsome personality and a beautiful and supporting family in his wife Sara, and his three children, Miguel, Isabella and Daniel.

“His character is impeccable, his knowledge of the Word of God incredible, and he is a man fully devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. My deepest prayers go out to him and all the leadership of this wonderful church I had the privilege of being pastor of for 33 beautiful years.” 

Luis Lopez, associate vice president for Hispanic and Brazilian Relations of the Executive Committee, called Aponte’s “servant leadership skills and love for the bride of Christ clearly seen in his passion to accomplish His mission.”

“Dr. Aponte is a man of God,” Lopez said. “He listens and has a great passion for the Lord. I look forward to seeing what God will do through Idlewild under his leadership. I am praying for him that God will use him mightily in this new ministry role!”