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NAMB to recognize Hispanic church planting achievements

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)— Southern Baptist efforts to start new churches to reach the growing Hispanic people groups in North America will be recognized during the eighth annual Hispanic Church Planting Celebration June 19 in Nashville, Tenn., prior to the June 21-22 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in the Tennessee capital.

The 6 p.m. Sunday gathering will include the presentation of a Lifetime SBC Church Planting Award to Mauricio Vargas of the Missouri Baptist Convention and recognition of 10 new Hispanic congregations in Tennessee.

“Expanding God’s Kingdom” will be the theme of the meeting at Haywood Hills Baptist Church, 255 Haywood Lane in Nashville, sponsored by the North American Mission Board’s church planting group.

Vargas is a multicultural church planting strategist with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). The 62-year-old El Salvador native, who came to the United States in 1965 and became an American citizen in 1979, has been a fulltime MBC staff member since 1987. He was named to Missouri’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs last year by then-Gov. Bob Holden.

MBC church planting director Jerry Field said of Vargas, “His whole heart is really about expanding the Kingdom of God through planting congregations of various non-English-speaking people.”

Bobby Sena, manager/field partner service representative in NAMB’s church planting group, said, “There’s a lot of wonderful things that these [Lifetime SBC Church Planting Award] guys do, a lot of enrichment that they bring to the tapestry of Southern Baptists at the association, state and national levels, but a key factor is that they are multipliers, mentors and visionaries.”

Featured musicians during the church planting celebration will be the California musical group Celestial, with Norma, Cindy and Debbie Campos, and worship leader and pianist Heriberto Hermosillo from Texas.

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