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Okla. pastor Felix Cabrera to be 2nd VP nominee

DALLAS (BP) — Oklahoma pastor Felix Cabrera will be nominated for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Alabama pastor Ed Litton announced today (March 23).

A Puerto Rico native, Cabrera planted Spanish-speaking Iglesia Bautista Central (IBC) in Oklahoma City in 2015 and has seen the congregation grow from about 12 in worship attendance to more than 200, according to information released by the church. Cabrera also is co-founder of the Hispanic Baptist Pastors Alliance and founder of the RED 1:8 Church Planting Network, which has helped plant 34 churches over the past five years in North America, Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain.

Litton cited Cabrera’s “Gospel vision as a church planter, his humble-hearted leadership and how he leverages his leadership gifts to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

“Felix doesn’t sit back and accept the status quo,” Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Mobile, Ala., told Baptist Press via email, “but he humbly gives himself to the Lord’s service and to others in order to build up the church and to work together with other pastors and leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention to represent Christ well to the world.”

The nomination will occur during the SBC’s June 12-13 annual meeting in Dallas.

Cabrera, 39, is among the “powerful young leaders of a new generation that leave me with an impression of hope for the SBC’s future,” said Litton, a former SBC Pastors’ Conference president. “He demonstrates to me the beauty of God’s diverse, multiethnic church and he is exactly the kind of man that we should be learning from and following.”

During Cabrera’s pastorate, IBC has been recognized twice by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) for being among the state’s top churches in baptisms per capita, IBC reported. The congregation baptized 10 people each of the past two years, according to data from the SBC’s Annual Church Profile (ACP).

IBC has classified 15 percent of its undesignated receipts for 2018 as Great Commission Giving, including 7 percent through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified program of funding missions and ministries in North America and across the globe.

By convention action in 2011, the SBC defined Great Commission Giving as comprising “contributions to any Baptist association, Baptist state convention, and causes and entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

During its first two years as an independent congregation, IBC gave 7.9 percent and 9.4 percent respectively of its undesignated receipts through CP, according to a report from the church confirmed by the BGCO and ACP data. In 2016, the church received a letter from SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page commending it for increasing its CP giving by more than 1 percent of undesignated receipts as part of the “1 Percent Challenge” issued by Page. Amid a move in 2017 to “a new, higher-cost facility,” IBC stated, the church’s Great Commission Giving decreased temporarily to approximately 5 percent and CP giving to 2.9 percent.

Cabrera has served on the SBC’s Resolutions Committee and Committee on Committees as well as the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s Leadership Council and LifeWay Christian Resources’ Hispanic Pastoral Council. Additionally, he is part of Southern Baptists’ Hispanic Leaders Council, a group comprising leaders of various Southern Baptist Hispanic ministries seeking to bring focus and cooperation to their work.

Cabrera holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico, a master of arts in pastoral counseling from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a master of arts in church planting from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Cabrera is pursuing a doctor of ministry degree at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor in the Spanish-language graduate program.

Prior to planting IBC, Cabrera was an associate pastor at churches in Puerto Rico and Oklahoma. Before his call to ministry in 2005, he was general manager of professional basketball teams in Puerto Rico.

He and his wife Denisse have two daughters.

Cabrera is the first announced nominee for second vice president. Announced presidential nominees are J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Ken Hemphill. A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego, has been announced as a nominee for first vice president.