NASHVILLE (BP) — Julio Arriola has been named executive director for Hispanic relations and mobilization at the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
“Julio Arriola is one of the most gifted, winsome, and relational leaders I know. He walks with Christ deeply, has a great heart for evangelism, loves people, and knows how to mobilize them to mission and ministry,” said Ronnie Floyd, EC president and CEO.
“Southern Baptists from all walks of life will benefit greatly from his life and his leadership. He and Carla are two remarkable people who love our Southern Baptist family,” Floyd said.
Arriola planted Iglesia Vida, currently the largest Baptist church in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2017. Prior to that, he served as Global Worship Pastor for Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, and previously served as worship leader and youth pastor for churches in Texas. Julio and his family will relocate to Nashville by the end of 2019, and he will begin his work with the Executive Committee in January.
“Almost a decade ago when I became a U.S. citizen, the doors of this great nation opened wide to me and my family to pursue dreams we never imagined,” Arriola told Baptist Press. “For many, the American dream may be a better financial situation, a house, a good education for their children, a few weeks of vacation a year or freedom to do whatever they want. But for me and my family, it has meant greater opportunities to spread the Gospel of Jesus.”
Floyd announced on November 1 the addition of three full-time EC staff positions that would focus on increasing diverse engagement. This is the first of the roles to be filled.
Arriola will work with other EC offices to develop and implement strategies for the involvement and participation of Hispanic churches and church leaders across the SBC and its churches. This will include promoting active participation at every level of Convention life as well as increased Cooperative Program understanding and involvement.
Over the past two decades, the number of Hispanic congregations in the SBC has increased by 77.52%, from 1,975 in 1998 to 3,506 in 2017.
“Jesus prayed for us to be one in John 17, and I am very excited to help do just that in the SBC by serving and mobilizing more than 3,500 Hispanic congregations,” stated Arriola. “With God’s help we will do mighty things.”
Arriola plans to graduate with his Master of Theological Studies degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2020. He holds an undergraduate degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.