SALEM, Ore.—Bethany Baptist Church publicly launched a Spanish-language church on Easter Sunday. The launch of Bethany Iglesia Bautista is the result of the vision of Pastor Tim Baker and the leadership team of Bethany Baptist Church to form a multiethnic ministry. These leaders are committed to fulfilling Christ’s mission to reach every nation with the gospel and want to see various people groups come together to worship Christ as one body.
“Two years ago, while I was studying multiethnic church ministries in the Pacific Northwest, God burdened my heart for the Hispanic population in my city,” Tim Baker said in his Baptist Bulletin article “Lush Land, Hungry Hearts, and a Church Plant.” “God is growing our city by bringing the nations to our doorstep, and these new neighbors constitute the mission field before us. The time has come for us to reach out!”
On Easter Sunday, more than 60 people, including several young families, celebrated Jesus’ resurrection at Bethany Iglesia Bautista Church. The service was a culmination of the core launch team’s continual efforts to connect with unchurched Spanish speakers in south Salem. Team members had been reaching the church’s community by providing coffee at a Laundromat, visiting people in neighborhoods, and offering counseling services. The team members have planned more connection opportunities for this summer as the church builds toward its grand opening in September.
Prior to its public launch, Baker turned to Clare Jewell of Regular Baptist Church Planting for assistance. Bethany Iglesia Bautista Church also held three preview services that allowed the core team to develop the systems necessary to open a new church. During that time, the core team grew from 11 adults to more than 25. Most of this growth was due to individuals’ common desire to offer the hope of Christ to people who need a personal relationship with God.
“Please pray for this brand new baby church,” Baker says, “as it begins the hard work of leading people to Jesus, discipling them, and helping them form a new community of believers that reflect the holiness and grace of God.”