Hispanic pastors from across Georgia listen as Thomas Hammond welcomes them to the Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center.
By ROGER ALFORD
The Christian Index
DULUTH, Ga. – Pastor Charles Quintero didn’t know about all the many ways the Georgia Baptist Mission Board serves pastors and churches.
That changed on Tuesday when Quintero joined about 70 other Hispanic pastors from across the state to get a closeup look at the Mission Board and the joint efforts of 1.4 million Southern Baptists in 3,600 Georgia churches working together to reach the state and the world with the gospel.
Hispanic Pastors Day is one of a series of gatherings scheduled to enlighten new pastors about the purpose of the Mission Board. An African American Pastors Day is set for Sept. 29 and a more general Discover Georgia Baptists Day is set for Oct. 19.
“I was surprised,” said Quinero, who leads the Hispanic ministry at Hampton First Baptist Church, about a half hour south of Atlanta. “There are far more resources than I thought.”
Thomas Hammond Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, reminded pastors and church leaders who gathered at the Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center northeast of Atlanta that the Mission Board exists to serve them.
“We say pastors are or heroes,” Hammond said. “Nothing is more important that what you do every Sunday, and that is to preach the Word of God. We also say churches are our priority. It’s the church that Jesus Christ died for. It’s the church that is the army that will reach the lost all over Georgia. And we say Georgia is our mission field. We all are locking arms across this state to shine the light of the gospel for every person in Georgia to see.”
Georgia is home to about 1 million Hispanic residents, and the Mission Board has made planting additional Hispanic churches a priority to accommodate the growing population.
“We are here to serve you, to walk alongside you,” Mark Marshall, assistant executive director of the Mission Board, told the pastors. “We work for you.”
David Cardoza, a Mission Board consultant, said the annual series of informational meetings are always eye-opening for pastors.
“This event lets them know they’re not alone, that there are resources available to them,” Cardoza said.
Marshall took time to explain the Cooperative Program, which allows churches to have a part in sharing the gospel beyond their local communities, to follow the biblical mandate to reach the uttermost parts of the work.
The Cooperative Program allows Georgia churches to not reach deep into Georgia with the gospel but also to fund the missionaries and ministries that spread the good news across the U.S. and around the world.
“The Cooperative Program gives us an opportunity to participate in something much larger than ourselves,” Marshall said.
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