METAIRIE, La. (BP) – Hispanic Baptists from 15 Spanish-speaking countries attended an event to train for Crossover in June.
Crossover, an evangelistic event that takes place each year in the host city of the SBC annual meeting, will be Saturday, June 10 in New Orleans. This year’s meeting is scheduled for June 11-14 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in that city.
The event, sponsored by the SBC Executive Committee, the North American Mission Board, the National Hispanic Baptist Network, New Orleans Baptist Seminary and the Louisiana Baptist Convention, was held at El Buen Pastor Baptist Church, in Metairie, La., and focused on providing training in Gospel presentation.
“Hispanic churches continue to grow, which indicates the importance that Hispanics are placing on evangelism,” said Luis López, SBC Executive Committee vice president of Hispanic relations and mobilization, who greeted the participants on behalf of the SBC and shared resources available to Hispanic churches at SBC Español.
“… Live the call that God has given you without holding anything back until the Lord returns,” Lopez said.
Bruno Molina, executive director of the National Hispanic Baptist Network and interfaith evangelism associate of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, began the training by explaining why it is important to share the Gospel and disciple new believers.
“We cannot separate discipleship from evangelism,” Molina said. “God has not taken away the human agency to share the Gospel, and evangelism is important because it is the first step to discipleship.”
Eloy Rodríguez, president of the National Hispanic Baptist Network and pastor of Idlewild Church in Tampa, Fla., invited the entire audience to attend the great celebration of Hispanics during the SBC’s annual meeting in New Orleans in June.
The event will include a dinner for pastors and their wives, followed by a celebration. On Monday, June 12, at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans, workshops will be offered in Spanish.
Rodríguez emphasized the importance of sharing the Gospel.
“I have to remember that Jesus Christ is coming for me,” he said, “and when He comes, I need to be able to tell Him, ‘Lord, I am not waiting for you alone; I have my family, my co-worker, my neighbor, etc., because I shared the Gospel with them.’”
Rodríguez challenged attendees, asking them to personally ask themselves: “In your years of service, with how many people have you shared the Gospel? How many people have you led to Christ? Have you related to the lost? Be watchful, walk with the Holy Spirit and reproduce.”
Ethnic church planting strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention Carlos Schmidt was charged with explaining the how of sharing the Gospel with non-believers. He offered simple and helpful steps and trained the participants in a method of sharing the Gospel using four questions: Why share the Gospel? With whom is it being shared? What should one say? When should it be shared? Schmidt says that, “as new creatures, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, we are ambassadors; and I, as an ambassador, am representing someone greater than myself, Christ.”
Ramón Osorio, who leads a NAMB church-planting team, explained who we are as Baptists and offered guidance on Crossover and Harvest Sunday, an evangelistic service on Sunday morning that celebrates the events during the week of evangelism through Crossover.
“Christians need to have compassion and unite to have evangelistic events to show love to people of the community, serve them, and be the hands and feet of Christ,” Osorio said. “They need to restore, evangelize through local churches, and take time out of busy schedules to share.”
Osorio also explained what the Cooperative Program is – the financial fuel of Southern Baptist missions and ministry around the world.
He encouraged the pastors to send messengers to the yearly SBC meeting and to participate in the evangelistic events on Saturday throughout New Orleans by inviting evangelists or joining with other churches if the church is small.
Fabio Castellanos, director of the Hispanic program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary who also serves at Emanuel Hispanic Baptist Church and was one of the organizers of the training, promoted the studies offered by the seminary and led a panel discussion.
Castellanos is concerned about the theological education of Hispanics.
“Where is Hispanic education going to be if they are not prepared?” he asked. “At the moment, we have very few Hispanics prepared to teach others.”
He invited all the participants to NOBTS’ conference focused on gender and identity on Sept. 15.
The longest-serving pastor in the ministry, David Lema, and the shortest-serving pastor, David Speed, ended the training by praying for the leaders, their ministries, Crossover and the annual SBC meeting.