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Fla. pastor Jose Abella to be 2nd VP nominee

PHOENIX (BP) — Florida pastor Jose Abella will be nominated for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Georgia pastor Michael Lewis announced May 10.

In 2010, Abella planted Providence Road Church, a bilingual congregation in Miami, and has served as pastor ever since. He is a preacher for this year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference, a former second vice president of the Florida Baptist Convention and a council member for the Hispanic Baptist Pastors Alliance.

“Jose is a loving picture of what Southern Baptists are working to become,” Lewis, pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., said in a news release, “effective in an urban context, multiplying churches, reaching different generations, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, all while being faithful to Scripture.”

The nomination will occur June 12 at the SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.

Lewis said Abella “is fully bilingual, preaching each week in both English and Spanish, and leads Providence Road to effective cross-cultural outreach in Miami.”

During Abella’s pastorate, Providence Road has planted a sister congregation in Miami and increased in average worship attendance from approximately 65 to some 250, the church reported. Providence Road baptized five people last year and 17 in 2015. The Florida Baptist Convention and the SBC’s Annual Church Profile reported similar data.

Providence Road reported Great Commission Giving last year totaling 19 percent of its undesignated receipts. That total included 4 percent through the Cooperative Program. Baptist Press could not confirm the congregation’s 2016 giving because some data is not included in reports from the Florida convention and the ACP database.

The church’s 2017 budget includes 5 percent giving through CP, Providence Road reported.

Great Commission Giving is a category of giving established by SBC action in 2011 that encompasses giving through CP, Southern Baptists’ unified program of funding state- and SBC-level ministries, as well as direct gifts to SBC entities, associational giving and giving to state convention ministries.

Abella is a leadership team member of the Pillar Church Planting Network, Lewis said, and “models biblical expository preaching and a firm commitment to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture.”

“With Jesus and the Gospel at the center,” Lewis said, “Jose goes across people groups, languages, ethnicities and calls people to Jesus. We need that perspective. We need Jose’s voice.”

Abella holds a bachelor of biblical studies degree from The College at Southeastern, the undergraduate school of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is pursuing a master of divinity at Southeastern.

Prior to his current pastorate, Abella served on church staffs in North Carolina and Florida. Before that he worked six years as a licensed general contractor.

He and his wife Nira have six children ranging in age from 20 to 9.

Abella is the first announced candidate for second vice president. Southeastern Seminary diversity advisor Walter Strickland will be nominated for first vice president. Recording Secretary John Yeats will be re-nominated.