Missouri Baptists Partner to Reach Hispanics in Minnesota and Wisconsin

AUSTIN, Minn. – This girl prepares for a water-balloon fight during a Bible Club here. Several Missouri Baptists went to Austin last month to help Hispanic churches in the area reach their community. Submitted photo

The Primera Iglesia Bautista here is the only Spanish-speaking Baptist church in a town with between 5,000-10,000 Hispanic people.

The church had its beginnings through the efforts of Spanish-speaking lay people, some of whom moved to Minnesota from Missouri. At first, they desired to worship with God’s people each Sunday. So, even though they didn’t understand English well, they attended the English service at the town’s First Baptist Church for four years. Meanwhile, they met in homes during the week for Bible study. Then, when the First Baptist Church closed its doors, they called a pastor, began meeting in the vacated church building and became the Spanish-speaking Primera Iglesia Bautista.

This Austin church’s situation isn’t unique in Minnesota. The city of St. Paul claims a Hispanic population of roughly 250,000, but it also has only one Baptist church — namely, Iglesia Hispana Betel.

“This is definitely a pioneer work,” said Omar Segovia, ethnic church planting strategist for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). In fact, Napoleon Meynard, the pastor of Iglesia Hispana Betel, was for many years the only Spanish-speaking Baptist pastor in Minnesota.

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Source: Baptist Press