NASHVILLE (BP) – Luís R. Lopez has been named executive director of Hispanic relations and mobilization for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, filling the post vacated by Julio Ariola.
Formerly associate director of missions for ethnic work with the Robertson County Baptist Association (RCBA) in Springfield, Tenn., Lopez will work to multiply Hispanic congregations among Southern Baptists and engage the congregations in Southern Baptist life.
“I hope I can encourage a greater level of participation, partnership and enthusiasm of our Hispanic churches within SBC life as we continue to reach our nation and the world with the Gospel,” Lopez told Baptist Press. “I am here to serve Christ and His bride, and this position offers such opportunity. God is doing some great and exciting things among the Hispanic churches in our denomination.”
Interim Executive Committee President and CEO Willie McLaurin announced the hire March 21.
“I am delighted to welcome Luís Lopez to the SBC Executive Committee team. His convictional calling and compassionate heart for the Great Commission will add great value to the Southern Baptist family,” McLaurin said. “I am incredibly thankful that Luís will be building relationships among the Hispanic Community in the SBC. Luís is a bridge builder who will help Hispanic churches mobilize for Gospel impact.”
The post was created in 2019 as a collaboration between the EC and the North American Mission Board, and transitioned to a fully EC position in January. The NAMB/EC partnership was focused on reaching and mobilizing ethnically and racially diverse churches in the SBC, McLaurin said, and increased ethnic engagement among Southern Baptists.
“The executive director of Hispanic relations and mobilization will focus on maximizing involvement and participation of Hispanic churches and church leaders across the Southern Baptist Convention and its network of cooperating churches,” McLaurin said. “I am confident that the addition of Luís Lopez to our team will elevate our work of serving Hispanic pastors and churches in the SBC.”
In Lopez’s six years with the RCBA, he was responsible for all work with ethnic communities and served in 2021 as acting director of missions. He helped lead and develop the Hispanic Baptist Center for Theological Training in Tennessee and Malaga, Spain, equipping Great Commission leaders and engaging ethnic communities through educational and recreational activities. He is credited with developing partnerships with Hispanic churches, distributing Bibles in the native tongues of ethnic groups in the association, and helping expand the association’s English Language Learners program.
“I am humbled to serve His church in challenging times like the ones we are living in,” Lopez said. “God is not finished with us. Time is of the essence. His coming is certain. I hope I can help build more bridges to help our churches better reach the lost and rescue the weary. The Gospel is what unifies us and Jesus is what our world needs today more than ever.”
During 17 years in Christian publishing, Lopez served as Español and International Director of Lifeway Christian Resources, where he led the introduction, expansion and annual growth of Lifeway’s products and services in Latin America, East Asia, North America and parts of Africa and Europe.
Lopez was ordained as a minister of the Gospel in 1984 at Eastside Baptist Church in Martin, Tenn. His ministerial career has included associate pastorates, ministerial leadership and church planting work in Tennessee and Venezuela. He was general administrator of the Venezuelan Baptist Convention from 1985-1987.
He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in international business, with a concentration in finance, from the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from the University of Tennessee in Martin.
He and his wife Maria Elena are parents to Pedro and Andres, parents-in-law to Evelyn, and grandparents to Mariana and Sophia.
Lopez will begin his work with the EC April 1.