Ramseur church embraces Hispanic ministry
    April 14 2011 by Mike Creswell, BSC Communications

    Joaquin Martinez was ordained to the gospel ministry by First Baptist Church in Ramseur on March 20. That’s a one-line summary of what happened that day.  But here’s the rest of the story.

    First, note the number of Hispanics in Ramseur and surrounding Randolph County has climbed steadily in recent decades.

    North Carolina’s Hispanic growth was one of the fastest in the nation during the 1990s, seeing an almost 400 percent population growth. And Randolph County’s Hispanic population grew by more than 1,400 percent during the same period.

    Some churches retreat or close down when communities change so abruptly.

    After a time of reflection and prayer, First Baptist Church’s leaders decided to reach out instead.

    “Our community has more Hispanics now. We knew the church should reflect the community. We prayed for guidance on how to reach out to our community,” said John Fogarty, chairman of deacons.

    As part of their searching, the First Baptist ministry committee called on Guillermo Soriano, consultant in multicultural evangelism with the Baptist State Convention. Soriano counseled patience and prayer, promising God would open doors for ministry when the time was right.

    Soriano, himself a native of Honduras, put the church in touch with Manuel Chacon, pastor of Roca Eterna Baptist Church in Dale City, Va., near Washington, D.C.

    BSC photo by Mike Creswell

    Chacon lays hands on Martinez during the ordination service March 20 as other leaders line up to pray for the newly ordained and baptized pastor. See photo gallery.

    One of that church’s members, Joaquin Martinez, had just moved back to Ramseur, and was feeling the Lord lead him to share the gospel with Hispanics and start a new church.

    “He had lived here before and wanted to move back to live. He was looking for a place to get started,” Fogarty said.

    Soon First Baptist had endorsed the ministry of Martinez and later licensed him to the gospel ministry. The church Martinez is starting, also called Roca Eterna (Eternal Rock), has been growing slowly. That growth was evident in the March 20 service: Immediately after being ordained, Martinez stepped into the baptistry and baptized Alicia Rosales, a new believer.

    Chacon brought a van full of his members from Virginia to support Martinez and his new ministry. “For us it is an amazing experience to see him ordained, because God has been working both in the two churches in Virginia and North Carolina and through the Baptist State Convention to bring it all together,” Chacon said.

    He introduced Martinez to the combined congregations of First Baptist Church and the two Roca Eterna churches.

    Ron Coleman, a minister and First Baptist Church member, delivered the ordination sermon and presented the certificate of ordination and a Bible to Martinez.

    Guillermo Soriano delivered the charge to the churches, and John Fogarty conducted the traditional ordination review of Martinez.

    It was a big step forward for First Baptist Church in reflecting the changing community around them as hoped for by Fogarty and other leaders.

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    4/14/2011 10:02:00 AM by Mike Creswell, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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