Hispanic practitioners share models of growth during Challenge 2025 session

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ORLANDO–Hispanic breakouts highlighted a variety of church models and practitioners effectively doing Great Commission work during the Challenge 2025 Gathering at First Baptist Church in Orlando Feb. 22.

Louis Egipciaco and Hector Torres, who serve as pastors of Elevate Church in Miami Lakes, shared the story of the church’s revitalization, and offered leadership principles from their journey.

God has worked to see the small, declining church turn around to powerfully impact its community, Egipciaco explained. One aspect of that miracle is the recent debt-free completion of a new worship center. Now they are holding two worship services in English and one in Spanish that averages more than 1,100 people weekly.

Egipciaco said he challenges his staff and leaders to ensure they share the gospel in all they do, which is making a difference in changing lives and growing a church.

Israel Martin, who serves as pastor of First Orlando’s Españo ministry, said the heartbeat of the church is to impact their world in all they do missionally. They look for where God is working in lives, community needs, and ministry opportunities to live out the gospel.

Whether church attendees are recent arrivals from other countries or established families, everyone has an opportunity to serve and be a part of the family, he said. Their services minister to thousands in the greater Orlando community and they also reach the world in many mission expressions.

No matter what the need, they are committed to telling people “Yes, we can serve you” to be able to show the love of Jesus Christ, he said.

Pastor Reynier Coro, Iglesia Bautista Resurreccion in Kissimmee, shared how through spiritual awakening and a resulting prayer movement God has transformed his life and revitalized the church.

He said he was convicted to call his church to committed prayer to discern God’s plan. He started with a “50 Days of Prayer” focus held daily at 5:30 a.m. for all who would come. The prayer meeting grew to more than 50 people meeting each morning to pray.

When COVID decimated the gatherings, they continued committed prayer and regathered at the first opportunity. They felt compelled to continue and have not stopped meeting for this daily prayer emphasis of intercession throughout the past year.

Pastor Coro said because of their concerted prayer, the church has been revitalized and is growing significantly.

A statewide prayer movement has also led to many Hispanic pastors and churches joining in prayer gatherings. God is working greatly in revival and spiritual awakening.

Pastor Manny Barahona, Westside Baptist Church in Boynton Beach, told how God has revitalized the congregation through multicultural ministry. Two churches, one Anglo and the other Hispanic, decided to join as one congregation and called Barahona to lead them in the transition.

The pastor taught the newly created congregation that unity in Christ is the reason for all the changes and expressions of ministry. He continues to emphasize that truth often and now challenges the church to fulfill the Great Commission in unity.

Barahona reported that the church is healthy and expresses missions to its community, city, other cultures and countries as God opens doors. While he recognizes every church is different, the pastor said churches must express their unity in Christ to effectively show and share the gospel.

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