Hispanic Baptist Convention draws leadership

Fourth nominee announced for Hispanic Convention presidency
By Ken Camp, Baptist Standard, June 17, 2009

A fourth nominee—Victor Rodriguez of San Antonio—has emerged in an increasingly crowded field of candidates for president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas.

The Convention’s annual meeting will be June 28-29 at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.

Julio Guarneri, pastor of Getsemani Baptist Church in Fort Worth, has announced his plans to nominate Rodriguez, pastor of South San Filadelfia Baptist Church in San Antonio because “he represents the best of leadership in our midst” and “the best of what the Convencion has been about for 100 years.”

“He ministers in the barrio, and his vision includes reaching all Hispanics with the whole gospel, including salvation, education, family care and economic improvement,” Guarneri said.

Rodriguez is “a product of our Hispanic Baptist work in Texas,” he continued. His father, Manuel Rodriguez, served as Convencion president, and the younger Rodriguez served as president of the jóvenes in San Antonio, president of youth camp and president of the Hispanic Baptist state singles camp. He was educated at Hardin Simmons University and Wayland Baptist University.

Rodriguez, who is bilingual, “relates to first–generation Hispanics, as well as to second- and third-generation Hispanics” and Anglos, Guarneri noted, predicting he will be “an inclusive and understanding leader for our Convención, leading us into the next century of Hispanic Baptist work of collaboration with all those who are committed to the advancement of the gospel in Texas and beyond.”

If elected, Rodriguez expressed his desire to lead the Convencion in three emphases—equipping ministers for church growth, evangelism and education, particularly involving churches in reserving the drop-out rate among Hispanic youth.

“I see the past 99 years of our Convencion as years of great vision and determination. Now, I believe we are entering a new era—a new stage in the life of the Convencion. I was to see us involve all Hispanics, including the third- and fourth-generation Hispanics,” he said.

Rodriguez has served as a Texas Baptist pastor 24 years. Under his leadership, South San Filadefia Baptist Church has grown from 25 members to more than 900, and in the last five years has baptized an average of 100 people annually. The church sponsors community ministries that touch 1,300 lives on a weekly basis.

Rodriguez and his wife, Olga, have three sons—Victor, Fernando and Manuel.

Previously announced candicates for Convencion president are Angel Vela, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Westway in El Paso; Teo Cisneros, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in La Grange; and Eli Rodriguez of Dallas, state coordinator for the Hispanic Convocation of the Laity.

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