Floyd encourages, pledges support to Hispanic pastors
New Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd greeted the group for the first time saying that he is thankful for what they do for the Gospel and not to "underestimate the power of what we can do together for the glory of God." The gathering was held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting, 11-12.
Floyd encouraged the group reminding them that the ultimate commitment is to present the Gospel to every person in the world.
"We need people from all socio-economic classes, cultures, backgrounds, generations, languages," Floyd said, "and I don't know a group in the SBC that has more potential for growth over the next decades than the Latino family." He also said he would be right alongside Hispanic churches to assist and support them.
Members of the SBC's Hispanic Leaders Council laid hands on Floyd while Felix Cabrera, second vice president of the SBC, led a prayer over him.
Bobby Sena, Hispanic relations consultant of the SBC's Executive Committee, introduced all 25 members of the Hispanic Leaders Council saying, "let us pray for them, it is a blessing to have this group of brothers and sisters in these roles." Cabrera, also a member of the council, prayed that Hispanics may be as one, leaving "behind any differences and uniting behind the Gospel."
Ramon Osorio, ethnic relations director of the North American Mission Board, moderated a panel on preventing child sexual abuse in the church. Osorio asked panel members about actions that were considered child sexual abuse but not often talked about. He also asked how churches could create a culture of safety for children on campus, and general tips for Hispanic churches to prevent sexual abuse of children.
Eloy Rodriguez, Hispanic pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., added that checking references for people who want to serve is key.
"Call their former pastors and ask about them and have them wait to get approved," he said. "A wait period is good to sort out who might have bad intentions." In general, the panelists advised churches to create open spaces where children could be seen at all times, to have safety policies in place that all staff members are trained on and to always report wrongdoing to law enforcement.
Pastors remembered, honored
"This South American missionary of Hispanics and Kichwa left us a great legacy that we must seek to imitate," Pulido said. "We will always remember him wearing his sombrero and walking with his shepherd's rod." Montalvo's daughter Blanca and granddaughter Elizabeth received a water color painting in honor of him.
Rodolfo Lagos, council member, honored pastor Daniel Sotelo who also passed away this year.
"Only eternity will reveal the number of lives that were blessed by the life and ministry of Dr. Daniel Sotelo," Lagos said. Sotelo was led to Christ by his wife and became an ordained pastor in 1953. He pastored churches across California in key cities like El Monto, Pico Rivera, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Fresno while serving in various Baptist organizations. "May his legacy and his ministry inspire us to serve the Lord diligently and until we are reunited with him in Heaven."
Daniel Sanchez, co-chairman and of the Hispanic Advisory Council, shared some statistics about Hispanic population and its expected growth in the next decades.