Victor Rodriguez, Hispanic Evangelism associate and Discipleship specialist, found his original plans for training Hispanic churches in evangelism and discipleship shaken when COVID-19 hit Texas. Now, he has readjusted, and he is focused on ensuring that the Texas Baptist Hispanic churches and their pastors are healthy. To Rodriguez, that looks like a church that is actively evangelizing, engaging their community and making disciples.
Rodriguez is a leader with the Texas Baptists en Español initiative, a renewed effort for Texas Baptists to reach Hispanics. This new initiative seeks to help Hispanic churches connect with the convention and grow in discipleship and evangelism. He also serves with the newly-formed Center for Church Health.
“I take care of the health of the leaders and churches,” he explained. “Other leaders in Texas Baptist En Español will be impacting new church starts, missions, developing young Hispanics leaders.”
In order to do his part, Rodriguez has embarked on an ambitious plan to train all of the Hispanic churches in Texas. Knowing that he could not reach the over 1,200 churches in the convention, he has recruited 15 churches that he will train and then launch those church leaders to help others.
“Christ had a system. He had his disciples that he trained himself, and they went out and trained other people. And that’s the approach that I believe God has led me to,” Rodriguez explained.
The 15 churches will meet collectively twice a year, where they can share their struggles and successes and encourage one another. Rodriguez will also talk with each church individually on a monthly basis, assessing how their trainings are going and talking about how each church has implemented evangelism strategies in their communities.
In addition to providing in-depth training to these 15 churches, Rodriguez is also travelling around Texas to teach evangelism workshops to churches and associations.
Though there are many ways to evangelize, Rodriguez wanted to keep the format simple.
“There are so many systems of evangelism out there, but I want to be able to focus two basic ones: how-to share your testimony and how to approach someone. These are very personal applications that people can go back and duplicate at their churches,” he said.
These simple, yet personal, evangelistic tools are the key to sharing the Gospel, Rodriguez explained. One teaches people how to connect with non-believers, the other tells them how to share the Gospel after they have made the connection.
In addition to these basic tools, Rodriguez is also teaching the churches how to deliver the Gospel message to people of different and diverse backgrounds.
“The product, the gospel of Christ, never changes, but sometimes we have to change how we deliver that message,” Rodriguez explained. “Factors like income level, education and family background change how people understand the Gospel.”
Furthermore, Rodriguez is conducting assessments of every church he interacts with to better understand the successes and struggles of churches around the state. This will better help Rodriguez and the rest of Texas Baptists en Español to see what resources they need to provide churches to enable them to make the biggest impact on their communities.
“You’ve got to know where you’re at to figure out where you’re going to go,” Rodriguez said. “These questions will help me identify ‘symptoms’ that evaluate how healthy each church is.”
For more information about evangelism trainings for your church or association, you can contact Rodriguez at Victor.Rodriguez@txb.org.