As the church planting team, it is our desire to create opportunities for our planters to connect and gather in order to encourage each other in the way of the Gospel. This month, several of our planters and their families met at Camp Paron for their annual Hispanic Pastors Retreat. There were 107 people who attended the retreat from Hispanic Baptist Churches from all around Arkansas.
The weekend was filled with worship and encouragement as speakers Emily Smith, Bob Johnson, Daniel Cerda, and Alfredo Zuniga spoke into the challenges many Hispanics are facing today.
Emily Smith and Bob Johnson, members of the Church Health Team at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, led a conversation about the importance of safety within the church family as well as the expectations of the ABSC endorsed Ministry Safe program. All the while, local Hispanic church planters, Daniel Cerda and Alfredo Zuniga, led sessions challenging the members spiritually and theologically. “The conference dealt with the exact problems that we are dealing with today. I feel better equipped to deal with these situations,” said Elizabeth Lozano.
So often the enemy wins simply because pastors do not have the opportunity to share their burdens. However, Cerda and Zuniga encouraged those at the retreat to break into smaller groups and give voice to what is going on in their lives. Not only were their voices heard, but they also received encouragement from the Lord through His Word and through Spirit-directed conversations with each other. The prayer, worship, and encouragement these Hispanic families experienced at this retreat equips and enables them to continue sharing the Gospel in a world that often rejects them and Christ.
“As a Hispanic ministry within a Hispanic culture, it is difficult for many people to adapt to the American lifestyle. This conference regarding the safety of the church, the doctrine of the church, and how we can develop a discipleship ministry was really helpful. Each expositor brought their experience and knowledge into the room. I heard not only a conference; I heard people with a passion for Jesus and for the church. I believe we identified a necessity that we need to fight hard. As the Bible says, Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord - Romans 12:11.” – Carlos Lozano
We look forward to all that God is going to do at the Hispanic Church Planting. The Arkansas Baptist State Convention is happy to assist in anyway to progress the vision the Lord cast on our planters knowing that God is the ultimate Maker.