PUERTO RICO (BP) – At their annual meeting Feb. 5, Puerto Rico Baptists celebrated continuing ministry in a tumultuous time.
“During a year full of risks and uncertainties, we have experienced God’s faithfulness,” said David Colón, president of the Convention of Southern Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico (CSBCPR).
“It has been evidenced in the year 2021, where we have seen new churches start and join our convention, strong support for the training activities for leaders that have been made throughout the Island, a growing unity despite diversity, and finally a commitment to the Cooperative Program.”
The gathering, themed “Equip the Saints,” welcomed 125 people, including guests.
“In this new year 2022, we begin with a new approach entitled Equip the Saints, to help pastors, leaders and members of our churches get training in all areas of the ministry,” Colón said, adding that the training would be mainly theological training through an educational alliance.
Félix Cabrera, who has served as executive director of the CSBCPR just over two years, announced his resignation at the meeting. He has been tapped to serve as senior director of Send Network Español, a new initiative designed to recruit and train Hispanic church planters as well as provide support and resources for church planting in Hispanic contexts. (See related story.)
“We had our hands full for the past three years, in the midst of political instability, earthquakes, pandemic and still recovering from hurricanes,” Cabrera said in his convention message.
“Today we are 50 affiliated churches and two new church plants that will be born this year for a total of 52 churches with the same vision and purpose. After these past 36 months, our Convention is in a healthy position and ready to continue fulfilling the Great Commission that our Lord Jesus Christ left us in Matthew 28.”
During the last three years, Puerto Rican Southern Baptist Churches have:
- Grown from 35 churches to 52.
- Reached historic giving in 2021 – to the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
- Launched new ministries such as a collegiate ministry with a presence in several Puerto Rican universities as well as chaplaincy training, which has graduated 14 new chaplains. The convention has also partnered with the International Mission Board to send three new missionaries to serve unreached people in North Africa and the Middle East.
“The Lord has called me to new responsibilities and new challenges, so I say goodbye to this position of executive director,” Cabrera told messengers.
“But from my seat as one of the pastors of Iglesia Bautista Ciudad de Dios, I will continue to support our board of directors, the new executive director, pastor Luis Soto, and the great work team that remains in charge so that our churches continue living in mission and training the saints until everyone hears that Jesus Christ is Lord.”