ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Two major Hispanic evangelism initiatives will be part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting and Crossover Orlando in June.
The 2010 National Hispanic Celebration is expected to draw several hundred Hispanic Baptist pastors and leaders to First Baptist Church in Kissimmee, 1700 N. John Young Pkwy., on Sunday evening, June 13.
“Live With Urgency: Share God’s Transforming Power” will be the theme of the celebration that is expected to draw Hispanic Baptists not only from central Florida, but from across the state and other parts of the country.
Among the principal speakers: René Pereira, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Glenview in Ponce, Puerto Rico, the largest Southern Baptist church among Puerto Rican Baptists, and Richard Harris, interim president of the North American Mission Board.
“It is an honor for the North American Mission Board to host this significant and meaningful event each year prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting,” Harris said. “We will celebrate and discover new ways to engage over 45 million Hispanics in North America.”
Following a 6-8 p.m. worship service, a time of fellowship will feature 13 area Hispanic Baptist churches preparing food distinct to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Peru, Bolivia and other Hispanic nations. Jess Fairbanks, Hispanic people groups coordinator for NAMB and a planner for the Hispanic celebration, said the event also will feature exhibits, videos and Hispanic country flags.
Hispanic-specific Crossover events will kick off with a rally on Sunday, June 6, which Joshua Del Risco, another NAMB staff member and Hispanic Crossover coordinator, described as “a time of challenge, inspiration and thanksgiving prior to the actual outreach, which will focus and inspire the participants in carrying out the Great Commission in Orlando.”
Crossover, now in its 22nd year, is a yearly evangelistic outreach to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the days leading up to the SBC’s annual meeting in the host city, which this year is June 15-16 in Orlando.
“The Hispanic version of Crossover will not be just a one-day event,” Del Risco said, “but [it] will run from Monday to Saturday [June 7-12] with 18 Hispanic Baptist churches in the Greater Orlando Baptist Association participating.”
During the week of June 7, Hispanic Baptists will share the Gospel with Orlando’s large Hispanic population through door-to-door and street evangelism, Vacation Bible Schools, soccer clinics, day camps and other events.
“We hope to impact the Hispanic community all week by sharing the Gospel with every Hispanic we come across in this very large area,” Del Risco said.
Hispanic Crossover will climax on Saturday, June 12, with a Hispanic Family Festival from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. which is expected to draw 2,500 or more people to the Central Florida Fairgrounds at 4603 W. Colonial Drive in Orlando.
Del Risco said the festival will include music, free food and children’s activities to attract local Hispanics outside the church as well as those who have made decisions for Christ during Hispanic Crossover week.
“This is also a great opportunity to impact local congregations, many which are struggling, with encouragement and outreach,” Del Risco said, with a hope that “at the conclusion of the events, many churches will have literally hundreds of contacts to follow-up for growth.”
In addition to the 18 Orlando-area Hispanic Baptist churches supporting the Hispanic Family Festival, Del Risco said many of Florida’s Brazilian Baptist churches also will participate.
For information on Hispanic Crossover volunteer participation, visit www.crossoverorlando.com/sp_contact.cfm.
Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board; David Raul Lema Jr. is a Baptist Press correspondent in Miami.