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FROM THE STATES: Georgia Hispanic Leadership Summit; Alabama children’s ministry ‘Safety First’ webinar

Georgia holds inaugural Hispanic Leadership Summit

By Scott Barkley/The Christian Index

MARIETTA, Ga. (BP) – Labeled as the first gathering of its kind, 115 Georgia Baptist pastors and leaders from around Georgia came together for a daylong Hispanic Leadership Summit Sept. 12 at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.

“With one million Hispanics in Georgia, the mission field is great,” said Javier Chavez, Georgia Baptist Convention 2nd vice president and pastor of Amistad Cristiana Church in Gainesville. “But the commitment of the Spanish-speaking church is even greater.”

Chavez, who called the meeting, said the gathering was also to reaffirm the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s proclamations that “Pastors are our heroes, churches are our priority and Georgia is our mission field.”

Alex Cosio, pastor of Iglesia Nuevo Horizonte in Woodstock, addressed church leaders and the need to stand by pastors in times of crisis and emotional distress. Jose Delgado, pastor of Iglesia Pozo de Esperanza in Gainesville, spoke on the importance of financial stewardship for the family, church and missions. Daniel Santander, pastor of La Iglesia in Marietta, talked about the second generation of Hispanic leaders who prefer speaking English but have the “Latino flavor” in them.

“That second generation is soon to become church planters, international missionaries, and denominational leaders,” Chavez said.

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Alabama holds children’s ministry “Safety First” webinar

By Michael Brooks/The Alabama Baptists

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) – Danielle Bell, minister to children at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, said her congregation practiced an intruder alert a few months ago and discovered “we weren’t as prepared as we thought we were.”

“One of the doors we thought was locked wasn’t, and the walkie-talkies in the sanctuary were on a different channel from ours,” she said. “This is a major reason we need to practice the ‘big’ things like fire, weather and intruder drills.”

Bell was presenter for the recent “Safety First” webinar coordinated by the office of Sunday School and discipleship of the Alabama State Board of Missions.

Bell noted three major areas to consider.

Policies. “We’re people-centered, but policies help us deal with people better,” she said. “Policies demonstrate that we care for people. This is where we all quite literally ‘get on the same page.’”

Bell said in one church a volunteer offered to serve in both morning Sunday Schools.

“Whereas I appreciated his spirit, I referred him to the written policy that said our workers needed also to demonstrate their faithfulness to worship, so he couldn’t miss worship by working another hour. [Having] the policy in place helped me with this matter.”

Bell listed several policy topics, including job descriptions, discipline, social media, child protection and incident reporting.

Procedure. “We have our policies available in the classrooms,” Bell said, noting the policies, or how-tos, should be reviewed periodically. “I found an idea from another ministry of hanging a backpack on the wall with items like flashlights but also with laminated copies of policies, most of them in bullet points for ease of reference.”

Practice. “We try to practice the ‘small’ things and the ‘big’ things.”

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