From time to time everyone needs to recharge the batteries of their spiritual lives. For Hispanic church planters that moment comes every year with a spiritual retreat. Fifty church planters and leaders from Arkansas Baptist churches gathered at Camp Paron for two days in August for the Hispanic Church Planting Retreat to renew strength, be inspired, and fellowship with others in the ministry.  

The retreat theme was “The Balanced Leader: His personal, family, and ministerial life.” The guest speaker was Luis R. López, Executive Director of Hispanic Relations and Mobilization of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. He did a tremendous job explaining how to have a balanced life in the middle of the leadership crisis we are experiencing today. He also provided practical steps to help leaders in this endeavor.  

Francisco Gómez, ABSC Hispanic Church Planting Strategist, who organized the retreat, believes that “it is not just important to know how to share the Gospel and how to grow a church, but it’s also important to have a balanced life because that will impact everything we do.” 

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Everyone was excited, inspired, and challenged to have a balanced life. There was a time for several activities like preaching, fellowshipping, swimming, having fun, and praying for one another.  

Gerardo Acevedo, a church planter, said the retreat was “very encouraging, since we had not had it for two years, and in my opinion, we urgently needed to meet again. It was a call to reflect on the ministerial balance and how vulnerable we are if we do not achieve a balance.” Acevedo added, “The choice of the guest speaker was excellent – a full spiritual experience that exceeded our expectations.” 

Another church planter, Norberto Gutierrez, said, “It was a special time of fellowship and building up. Thank you for the effort done and the support we received.” 

Santiago Albuja, the president of the Arkansas Hispanic Network summed up the Hispanic Church Planting Retreat weekend at Camp Paron: “The truth is that it was a beautiful time… uplifting and refreshing, too. It’s necessary to recharge batteries and continue serving the Lord. It was more than a time of motivation, but it was also a time of sharing with other brothers who accompanied us.” 

Hispanic church planters are so thankful for the partnership of Arkansas Baptist churches who have sent them out to plant churches. They are receiving encouragement from participating in the Cooperative Program and the Dixie Jackson State Missions Offering as they continue to cooperate “while it is still light” to impact the lostness in Arkansas. They ask that Arkansas Baptists continue to pray for them and that ministry among Hispanics will grow.  

This article was written by Francisco Gomez, Hispanic Church Planting Strategist at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

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