Javier Chavez, a vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention and pastor of Amistad Cristiana Internacional in Gainesville, began hosting meetings for Hispanic leaders last year. “We have stopped being many Hispanic churches and have become one Hispanic church,” he said. JAVIER CHAVEZ/Special
GAINESVILLE – A group of college students will nominate Javier Chavez for 2nd vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. The 44-year-old pastor is known for his past experience in international missions and presently serves as the planter-pastor of Iglesia Bautista Amistad Cristiana Internacional in Gainesville, Ga. He is also currently a visiting professor of global missions at Truett McConnell University.
Chavez, a former missionary kid, immigrated to the United States as a transfer college student and went on to pursue master and doctoral studies at Wheaton College and Biola University. He met his wife in Chicago, and as newlyweds they embarked on a journey to South America to serve as missionaries for 13 years with World Challenge Inc.
“Our generation has a voice in our denomination, and we are so excited to use it by nominating Pastor Javier Chavez,” said Rick Portillo, bilingual leader at Southside Church in Athens, Ga. “He is a man of faith and clear convictions. His gospel-driven commitment to further God’s Kingdom has been inspiring to witness. His unwavering persistence to assist, connect, encourage, pray for, and equip ethnic pastors has not been seen before in Georgia. Pastor Javier is a man of wisdom and problem-solving qualities that will help enhance our SBC commitment to tell the Good News of Jesus to the ends of the world.”
Bree Samples and Rachel Durham, both graduate students at Truett McConnell University, support the nomination.
“I support the nomination of Javier Chavez because I truly believe that he desires to see the next generation of believers be educated and equipped with everything necessary to carry out the Great Commission in their daily lives. He will be very influential in helping our Convention further fulfill the Great Commission both locally and globally,” Samples said.
“Pastor Chavez is a man of integrity, and as one of his students, I want it to be known just how deeply he cares for others and seeks to help them understand where and how God is leading them. I believe he will do well in this position because of his experience within the local church, his training and experience from serving on the mission field, and his strong relationship with the next generation of Southern Baptist missionaries and pastors from diverse backgrounds. As a graduate student working towards my appointment with the IMB, I believe Pastor Chavez will bring a refreshing perspective to the table while also firmly upholding the core values of our convention,” Durham said.
Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga., and candidate for SBC president, expressed support for Chavez as well.
“Javier Chavez is one of the most gifted leaders I have ever met,” Stone said. “His service as a career missionary, church planter and leading pastor among Spanish-speaking peoples will be of immeasurable value as an SBC officer.”
Amistad Cristiana was planted in August of 2016 and has become one of the growing churches in northeast Georgia. With a representation of several nationalities and young families, the church is a dynamic multicultural community. As a church plant, the church has recorded an average of 52 baptisms per year and contributes 7% of its undesignated funds to the Cooperative Program. Contributions to the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings are channeled through Lakewood Baptist of Gainesville, its sending church.
“We are the example of an SBC church planted with no funding from national convention sources but with the sacrifice of its people, and still, proudly cooperating with our convention,” Chavez confirmed.
Ricardo Avila, a layman and the only Hispanic on the SBC Executive Committee, supports the nomination as well.
“Pastor Javier Chavez is truly becoming an influential leader in our denomination. He has been a blessing to our local community by preaching the Gospel in word and deed. I have also witnessed the support he has extended to many pastors, their families, and churches during the COVID crisis,” Avila said.
Javier Chavez is known for his evangelistic zeal, solid biblical preaching, and church strengthening efforts in Georgia and among Spanish-speaking congregations around the world. During his leadership, Georgia Baptists have become the largest evangelical denomination in the state in number of Hispanic churches. Also, Amistad Cristiana International partners with churches in Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Geneva Switzerland, and Manchester UK, and plans are underway to plant a church in Tokyo, Japan at the end of 2021.
A rising leader in Southern Baptist life, Javier served as a member of the 2018 SBC Committee on Committees and as a member of the Georgia Baptist Executive Committee. In 2019, Chavez made history by becoming the first Hispanic to be elected 2nd vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
Pastor Chavez is a servant leader who models a modest life in rural Lula, Ga. with his wife of 20 years and their four children. For more information about this press release, please contact Amistad Cristiana International.