DALLAS (BP) — More than 100 pastors and their wives attended the Hispanic Baptist Pastors’ Alliance Tuesday (June 12), welcoming new SBC President J.D. Greear during a morning of worship, fellowship and a call to go beyond the church walls.
Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in North Carolina, kicked off the meeting telling pastors about several areas he sees as important to unity and proclamation of the Gospel.
First, Greear said, the Gospel must be what the churches unite around. Next, people of other cultures within the SBC need to be elevated to positions of leadership. As a convention there needs to be a re-focus on evangelism and a renewed commitment to planting churches at home and around the world, something he thinks Hispanics are key to as they are able to go places Anglos can’t. His final point was an encouragement to mobilize the college-aged and next generations in their strategic places.
“The future of the Great Commission is ordinary Christians sharing the Gospel,” Greear said.
Keynote speaker Otto Sanchez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Ozama en Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, urged pastors to take an offensive position with the Gospel instead of the defensive position it has been stuck in during recent decades.
“We have blocked the world away with a defensive theology, but we are already a victorious church,” Sanchez said.
The church has always been “poor and persecuted but powerful” and that is why he said it needs to break away from defensive theology and bring the Gospel to people near and far.
“We must preach the Word of God as He gives it to us,” Sanchez said. “When we preach the Word faithfully, God is faithful.”
He ended with a reminder that despite the challenges Southern Baptists are facing, “what does not destroy us, makes us stronger.”
Bobby Sena, a Hispanic relations consultant with the SBC Executive Committee, announced during the gathering that next year, for the first time, Hispanics would have one meeting during the 2019 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., with the purpose of “proclaiming to the entire SBC that Hispanics are united.”
Sena added that all of the Hispanic organizations within the SBC are necessary to Hispanic Southern Baptist life as they all offer something different and essential to the churches and the pastors.
Attendees also heard from Hance Dilbeck, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and worship was led by Jonathan and Sarah Jerez.
Felix Cabrera, co-founder of the Hispanic Baptist Pastors Alliance and pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City, said he was happy and encouraged to “see an increased unity between Hispanics of all ages and cultures” within the SBC.