Congreso encourages students to be “Sent” out

by Bonnie Shaw on April 21, 2022 in News

“The Father’s heart that sent Jesus is the same heart that’s sending you,” Scott Venable told the crowd of over 1,400 Hispanic students and leaders during Texas Baptists’ Congreso 2022.

After two years of online gatherings, this year was a joyous return to their in-person gathering, which took place April 14-16 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Congreso, which is the one of the largest Hispanic youth evangelism conferences in the United States, has been training and equipping students for 57 years. Students from middle school to college gather together for a weekend of worship, fellowship and ministry. This year, 124 students made commitments for Christ during the event.

Groups from churches as far away as San Juan, TX, came to be a part of the event.

Sent out by the Lord

This year’s theme was “Sent,” drawing from John 20:21. During his message on Thursday night, Venable, lead pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, told the students that in order to be sent out by God, they had to understand His heart first. His heart is loving and rich in mercy, Venable explained. That is why He sought out Adam and Eve when they were in their sin, and it is why He seeks out you too, he said.

Venable explained that God sent out Jesus because He loved mankind and wanted to provide a path to salvation, and now He is sending out Christians to share the good news with everyone. He encouraged students to be bold in their faith and live in love, not fear.

“We’re the called-out ones. God is calling you out to go out of the [church] building,” Venable said.

El Vow, a Hispanic, Christian Artist, led a concert Friday night for the students. After the concert, he shared that he had been to Congreso when he was a student. He encouraged the students in attendance to use the biblical teachings they learned to share the gospel with their peers.

“The generation around you is hungry for something,” he said. “Take what you’re learning here and take it to the rest of your generation.”

Worship was led by Chris Benites & Co.

On mission in the community

On Friday morning, the students participated in a variety of workshops focused on issues such as evangelism, identity and mental health, before heading out to participate in mission projects around Fort Worth. Students cleaned churches and parks, helped churches prepare for Easter outreach events and worked on local beautification projects.

At El Buen Pastor Christian Church, a group of 50 students helped clear out trash and old furniture. The church is going through a remodeling and revitalization process. The interim pastor, Rolando Rodriguez, explained that the church has grown from 45 weekly attendees to over 180 in the past year and that they needed space to expand.

“We have a lot of space, but most rooms were full of storage. We need that space to continue growing our church,” he said.

The Congreso students helped the church create more space for sharing the gospel and ministering to their community. The rooms they cleaned will be redone to make a gathering place for a new, English-language service and Sunday school classrooms.

An offering of $1,214.87 was raised by attendees to support the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.

As part of their emphasis on higher education, Congreso also gave away four college scholarships of $2,000 each. They took up an offering of $844.18 to raise additional funds for future scholarships.

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