Hispanic Texas Baptists urged to seize the moment when service opportunities arise


WACO, Texas—Hispanic Texas Baptists rallied at the beginning of Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting 2016 Sunday night at Iglesia Maranata in Bellmead.

The service recognized various ministry leaders in Texas Baptists life. Texas Baptist Hispanic Ministry Director Rolando Rodriguez said that was intentional.

“In celebrating service, I think it’s important we see every aspect of church life and community--pastors, Sunday school teachers, lay leaders,” he said.

He and Dr. Moises Rodriguez, acting president of Baptist University of the Américas, presented Texas Baptists President René Maciel with the Cook Servant Leadership Award.

“I am honored in many ways,” Maciel said, “because of what God has done in the last 10 years, not just at BUA but in my heart. Many people thought I was going to be president there. In all honesty I was going there to learn how to do ministry.”

Maciel became president of Baptist University of the Américas in summer 2007. This past September, he departed from BUA to serve as Community Pastor at First Baptist Church of Woodway.

“I believe he’s an excellent leader,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “He is a man committed to God [and] he is a man committed to prayer. He is a man of integrity who has always preached out of obedience to God.”

Maciel preached the evening’s sermon from Ephesians 5, encouraging Hispanic Texas Baptists to live passionately for the moments God uses to communicate his love for people.

“It was a cold, rainy day. I remember a young Anglo couple on the corner of that street. This young couple went to every single car asking for help,” Maciel said, recalling a personal narrative in the opening lines of his address. “This young couple sat down by a bus stop and began to cry.

“There are times when God ordains us to be there for that moment. It was a moment. As I drove over to that spot, it was a moment. But I did what everyone else did. I drove off. I missed that moment.

“The Christian leader of the future is not someone who is always busy doing stuff. Not necessarily someone who’s always busy serving God,” he said. “The difference between the Christian is that he or she has been forgiven and experienced the goodness of God. Someone who walks in the freedom of forgiveness to love God and love others.”

Maciel concluded his time by leading the congregation in a song, “Con Que Pagaremos.”

Convención Bautista Hispana of Texas President Rolando Aguirre, who pastors Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, Texas, gave the final remarks at the Hispanic Texas Baptist Rally. Drawing from Maciel’s encouragement to not miss opportunities to serve, he spoke on the role of servant leadership in the community of faith.

“In the world, power and authority are important. Jesus says it all depends on service,” Aguirre said. “People live their whole lives looking for success [but] the values of the kingdom are humility and service. We should be humble and we should serve.”

In the church, position has less to do with status than it does giving from one’s self.

“That’s why we celebrate service,” Aguirre said.

Guitar ensemble “La Rondalla Monte Erez” led attendees from across the state in worship. Rolando Rodriguez and his wife, Angie, played with the ensemble.

“The song Primera Amor (First Love) is based on one of the churches talked about in Revelation,” Rodriguez said. “The Lord returns and says, ‘Don’t forget me.’ We need to remember how it was when we came to the Lord. We’re celebrating service and that’s a matter of returning to the Lord.”

Jordan Corona is a freelance writer for the 131st Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. 

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