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IMB missionary to help mobilize Hispanic congregations for missions

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Jason Carlisle, a Southern Baptist missionary to Uruguay since 1976, has been selected to help mobilize Hispanic Southern Baptists to meet world missions needs they are uniquely qualified to meet.
Carlisle, 47, grew up in Uruguay, where his parents, Robert and Ruth Carlisle, served as Southern Baptist missionaries for 29 years. He is a native of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
“Jason is a real natural for this role,” said Wendy Norvelle, the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s associate vice president for public relations. “Growing up as a ‘missionary kid,’ serving as a missionary in Latin America, he has a perspective that gifts him uniquely for this effort.”
Carlisle will serve in the new position as a missionary, rather than as IMB staff, she said.
In this capacity, Carlisle will develop relationships with Hispanic leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, identifying missions involvement needs of Hispanic congregations and providing tools and resources to help them be more effective in world missions.
The move reflects an IMB awareness of the dynamic growth of Hispanic Southern Baptist churches.
Just as the Hispanic population in the United States is growing faster than any other segment, Hispanic Baptists are increasing at a faster rate than Anglos, Asians or African Americans, said Raul Vazquez, language missions division director for the Florida Baptist Convention.
Language congregations in Florida are baptizing one new convert for every 11 members — twice the rate of Anglo churches in Florida and almost four times the rate of Southern Baptist congregations in general.
“The U.S. Census Bureau projects that our country’s Hispanic population will grow by 89 percent by 2020, while the general population will grow by 25 percent,” Vazquez said. “Minority congregations in most Baptist state conventions are baptizing people at a more accelerated rate than other congregations.”
Yet there are varying degrees of maturity among Hispanic Southern Baptists in regard to their understanding of and involvement in cooperative missions, Vazquez said. While Hispanic congregations are as missions-minded as any, they have not yet realized their potential for cooperative outreach.
With about 3,600 congregations and at least 300,000 members in the United States and more than 9,000 churches with at least 1 million members in Latin America, Hispanics have a destiny to fulfill in world missions, Carlisle said.
“The Latin population has a tremendous role to play in God’s redemptive plan,” he said. “It is no historic accident that has brought such a large concentration of Hispanics to the United States. It’s part of God preparing to take the gospel to all the nations of the earth.
“There are many places in the world where Hispanics will be received by people who would not receive Anglos,” he said. “God has put Hispanics in a position where they can be sent to countries and to people groups that would not be responsive to Anglos.”
Mobilizing isn’t new to Carlisle. In Uruguay, he helped Baptists launch an international missions agency that has sent almost 50 short-term and career missionaries to Latin America and Greece. He also served on the international committee for Comibam, the missions mobilization network for Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
In his new IMB role, Carlisle is developing an initiative for Hispanic churches to adopt Hispanic Southern Baptist missionaries and become advocates for the people groups they serve. In seminars and workshops, churches will be able to learn about unreached people groups, find opportunities to join mission teams and build relationships needed for strategic world evangelization.
Carlisle also is preparing bilingual materials and translating several key IMB products into Spanish for congregations that prefer the language. Both the popular mobilization fliers and a new video produced for the 1999 Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelization will soon be available to Hispanic congregations free of charge.
To contact Carlisle, call (804) 219-1725 or e-mail [email protected].

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  • Mark Kelly