Hispanic Baptists set to be encouraged, equipped at Anaheim gatherings

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Pictured Above: Hispanic Baptists gather for dinner and celebration prior to the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Ala. BP file photo

Baptists from the U.S. and beyond are looking forward to the annual Southern Baptist Convention gathering in Anaheim, Calif., where they will gather to fellowship and celebrate all that God has done during this past year.

On Sunday, June 12 at 5 p.m., pastors and wives are invited to the Hispanic Celebration and the Hispanic Pastors & Wives Dinner in Grand Ballroom E-K on the first level of the Anaheim Marriott. More than 200 pastors and wives have already registered, and more are expected.

“The SBC Anaheim meeting will be a great time to fellowship, celebrate and be inspired by seeing what God is doing among His people, and very specifically among Hispanics,” said Luis Lopez, executive director of Hispanic relations and mobilization with the SBC Executive Committee. “In the midst of the challenges we face today, we can be certain that Jesus is the center of it all. As we lead the church out of the COVID crisis, Hispanic pastors and church leaders will find in Anaheim a great opportunity to hear stories, encourage each other, worship and collaborate with the rest of the SBC family in carrying out the Great Commission. This is a time to be inspired and  be encouraged in God’s kingdom.”

Ramon Medina, global Spanish pastor at Champion Forrest Baptist Church in Houston, is organizing the dinner as a member of the Hispanic Leadership Council.

“We expect this to be a great time of fellowship for our Hispanic pastors and wives as they catch up and share their ministry experiences in their individual contexts,” Medina said.

The dinner will also serve as an opportunity for Southern Baptist partners to share Spanish-language ministry resources with the pastors. Some of the ministry partners that will share are Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lifeway Christian Resources, the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, GuideStone Financial Resources and Dallas Baptist University among others.

The Hispanic Celebration will precede the dinner at the same location. Both events, which are being organized by the SBC’s Hispanic Council, are focused on the SBC annual meeting’s main theme: “Jesus the Center of it All.”

The Hispanic Celebration is open to all and will feature guest speaker Erik Zaldaña, pastor of Shadow Mountain en Español in El Cajon, Calif. Worship will be led by Julio Arriola, director of Send Network Texas in partnership with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

“It’s going to be a beautiful opportunity to be united, to share and encourage each other on what the Lord is doing in the country through our Southern Baptist Convention,” Medina said.

Lopez listed three reasons to be excited about gathering in Anaheim.

“First, the meeting is taking place in California, the state with the largest Hispanic population in our country,” he said. “We, as Southern Baptists, have not had  our annual meeting here since 1981. I love California for its beauty, the diversity of its people and great weather. We have some great churches and leaders there. It is also a great mission field.  Second, there are some key events specially for Hispanic pastors and leaders that will take place during these days. Last but not least, this year in our annual meeting, Southern Baptists from around the nation will be discussing relevant topics that concern the church today and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.”

On Monday, June 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., a series of workshops will be held for Hispanic pastors and leaders. The workshops will focus on different ministerial areas available to pastors, leaders and churches in Spanish.

On Wednesday, June 15, at 10:45 a.m., the CP Stage in the Exhibit Hall in the convention center will host a panel in Spanish on the topic, “Leading the church out of the COVID crisis.” The panelists will be Tony Miranda, president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas and pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista de Austin; Victor Solórzano, senior pastor at Iglesia Vida en Victoria; and Eloy Rodriguez, pastor of Idlewild en Español in Lutz, Fla.; with Luis Lopez as moderator.

For more information on these events contact Martha Espinoza at mespinoza@sbc.net and Ariel Irizarry at ariel.irizarry@lifeway.com.

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