Texas Baptists en Español celebrate common calling, scholars at annual rally

by Teresa Young on November 14, 2022 in Annual Meeting

WACO–Attendees of the Texas Baptists en Español Rally were challenged to practice “immovable leadership” while celebrating all God is doing in churches and schools across Texas. The rally, which happens annually on the first night of Annual Meeting, was held at First Baptist Church of Waco. Worship was led by the First Baptist Church Weslaco worship team.

Using Acts 20:28 as his key passage, Pastor Gilberto Gutierrez of Iglesia Bautista Horeb in Mexico City preached the main celebration sermon as a challenge to pastors to stay focused on the mission they have been given.

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with his own blood,” Gutierrez read, before setting out his sermon points.

First, Gutierrez pointed out that today’s churches have a multitude of pastors since all the congregation is called to bear witness. Gutierrez quoted Ephesians 4:11-12 to explain the roles of those within the church vary by their gifts, but all have the same end goal, “to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

Gutierrez also noted that immovability and steadfastness are a matter of conscience as well as a historical consciousness and being immovable is related to an ethical experience. More important than doctrine is one’s behavior, he said, referencing the sinfulness of God’s people in Isaiah 1:10-18.

Immovable leadership is also a community experience, Gutierrez continued, noting a church is not just a good place to work but “a community where you can invest your life.” He said leadership is a divine calling and more about God’s will than individuals’ own desires.

True immovable leadership, he said, comes from a passion for the mission and from a sense of stewardship, realizing “God is the owner of all and we are only helpers.” It was a challenge, in essence, for all to live as pastors.

Following the sermon and another worship song, Gus Reyes, director of Hispanic Partnerships at Dallas Baptist University (DBU) and Dr. Gary Cook, chancellor of DBU, presented the 2022 Servant Leadership Award to Dr. Israel Loachamin, associate pastor of Spanish Ministry at First Baptist Church in Waco. A native of Ecuador, Loachamin earned his bachelor’s degree at Baptist University of the Américas (BUA) and a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Truett Seminary. Besides his ministry to the church, he founded La Puerta Waco, which provides GED, ESL and computer literacy assistance to Hispanic residents in Waco as well as connection to various resources.

Dr. Julio Guarneri, Texas Baptists first vice president and pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, presented a challenge to the approximately 50 graduates of a certificate program offered through BUA in various cities. After his brief message of encouragement to keep their eyes on Jesus as the supreme guidance, Guarneri closed by challenging the students to serve the Lord.

“It’s worth it, because Christ is worth it,” he said before the graduates crossed the stage in cap and gown to receive their Certificate in Biblical Studies and words of congratulations from BUA President Dr. Abe Jaquez.

“We’ll continue to pray that God moves you in the direction He has for you,” Jaquez said.

To learn more about Texas Baptists en Español and its ministries, visit here.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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Read more articles in: Annual Meeting, Texas Baptists en Español, Cultural Engagement