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Hispanics hear of LifeWay initiatives

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)–The Hispanic National Fellowship of Southern Baptist Churches opened its “Facing Challenges of the 21st Century” June 10-11 meeting with a leadership training session and banquet sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources.

Harold C. Pinto, LifeWay’s director of strategic marketing and native of Brazil, told leaders LifeWay is moving in new directions and working to enhance their accessibility to all Southern Baptists.

“We can expect Lifeway, being one of the largest Christian publishing houses in the world with a reputation for healthy doctrine, to have everything well coordinated and working in harmony,” Pinto said, speaking in Spanish. “We have to admit that it has not always been so. Our commitment to the Scriptures and the leading of the Spirit is unquestionable, but we have also come to the
conclusion that if we want to be relevant in the culture … we must listen to our clients.”

Pinto said LifeWay also is working to improve materials for small groups. “Today, one-fourth of the evangelical churches in North America have adopted small groups as their primary model for the Christian education of adults,” Pinto said.

He also pointed to several studies LifeWay has conducted which show the need for more culturally relevant products for the Hispanic community.

“We have to become and act as a multicultural organization that attends to the needs of the different ethnic groups of North America,” Pinto said to applause. “As you know, the Hispanic community is a large and influential group in our country which we need to serve better….”

Jess Fairbanks, a multi-ethnic specialist in LifeWay’s pastoral ministries department, said LifeWay has been inundated by hits to its “LifeWay en Espanol” website which offers Web-based resources and information in Spanish. Fairbanks pledged that LifeWay’s resources in Spanish would continue to improve and culturally relevant.

Following a banquet with ethnic food, Miriam Nunez of Miami shared traditional hymns set to Andean rhythms and melodies. Nunez and her husband Alcides served as missionaries to Chile and Peru for the SBC International Mission Board. Moises Hernandez, from Iglesia Bautista Resurreccion in Miami, donned in the traditional apparel of the Mexican “mariachis,” presented numerous Christian “rancheras” and classical hymns.

More than 160 participated in the meeting at Pleasant Garden (N.C.) Baptist Church. The fellowship meeting precedes the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 13-14 annual meeting in Greensboro.

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  • David Raul Lema Jr.