Mike Gonzales, director of Hispanic ministries for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), will be nominated for first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Texas pastor Juan Sanchez announced April 18.
Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin and SBTC president, said Gonzales “has been a faithful brother and faithful missionary; he has a daughter on the mission field. I think that speaks volumes, not just of the character of someone but of a basic parenting commitment.”
Gonzales served as a missionary to Spain for 15 years with the International Mission Board (IMB) and later became an IMB trustee from 2005-2013, with committee assignments relating to the regions of East Asia, Europe, South America, American peoples and European peoples. Gonzales has led mission and crusade trips to Australia, Mexico and Cuba.
His pastoral experience includes Primera Iglesia Bautista of Pleasant Grove in Dallas and Primera Iglesia Bautista in Cameron, Texas. He served as a minister of music and youth for La Loma Baptist Mission in Fort Worth, Texas, Mision Bautista el Calvario in Dallas and Primera Iglesia Bautista in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Before joining the SBTC staff in 2004, Gonzales had served as an ethnic consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) evangelism department; area director of retirement services and church marketing at GuideStone Financial Resources; and director of missions for Rio Grande Valley Baptist Association in Weslaco, Texas. He also is a Spanish-language columnist for Baptist Press (BP).
“I have a real concern for equipping pastors in North America,” Sanchez said. “That is what Mike is doing through the SBTC. The Hispanic pastor in North America, in Texas, has a very hard life. My relationship with Mike has grown as we try to encourage these Hispanic pastors on the front line as they pastor their churches, care for their families and face [a wide variety of ministry challenges]. That’s why I think the work Mike is doing is important work.”
Gonzales served on the board of the Baptist Spanish Publishing House Foundation from 2000-2004 and 2015-2018, having just completed a year as president. He was tapped to serve on the national Hispanic Task Force for the North American Mission Board from 2004-2005 and the SBC Executive Committee’s Hispanic Advisory Council from 2011-2014. He was a trustee of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, from 2002-2004.
First Baptist Church in Colleyville, Texas, where Gonzales is a member, reported 86 baptisms and an average worship attendance of 1,293 in 2016, the last year for which data is available in the SBC’s Annual Church Profile (ACP) database.
First Baptist gives approximately 10 percent of its undesignated receipts to missions annually, the church told BP. For the church’s 2016-2017 fiscal year, it reported 2.2 percent in Great Commission Giving, including 1.7 percent through the Cooperative Program (CP) out of $4.3 million in undesignated receipts. That CP total included gifts through both the SBTC and the BGCT.
ACP data and reports from both Texas state conventions indicated similar giving totals.
Great Commission Giving is a category of giving established by SBC action in 2011 that encompasses giving through CP, Southern Baptists’ unified program of funding state- and SBC-level ministries, as well as direct gifts to SBC entities, associational giving and giving to state convention ministries.
Gonzales holds two degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: a master of divinity and a master of arts in missiology. He earned a bachelor of arts from Howard Payne University, which also has awarded him an honorary doctor of divinity degree.
Gonzales and his wife Dalia have one daughter and two granddaughters. Their daughter serves with her husband in Spain where they are IMB missionaries.
Gonzales is the second announced nominee for first vice president. California pastor A.B. Vines’ nomination was announced in March. Announced presidential nominees are J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Ken Hemphill.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tammi Ledbetter writes for the Southern Baptist TEXAN. With reporting by TEXAN editor Gary Ledbetter and David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press.)