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Ramseur church embraces Hispanic ministry
Mike Creswell, BSC Communications
April 14, 2011
3 MIN READ TIME

Ramseur church embraces Hispanic ministry

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

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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