Opinion

To train as many church leaders as possible

Victor Rodriguez is the evangelism associate and Hispanic ministries specialist for the Great Commission Team of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. From deep in the heart of one Texan, he shares his background and thoughts on collegiate ministry. To suggest a BGCT-affiliated minister to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured yourself, click here.

Background

Where else have you served in ministry, and what were your positions there?

I served as a pastor in two churches in my 32 years of ministry. I served at Life Church of San Antonio (previously known as South San Filadelfia Baptist Church) for 22 years and enjoyed every minute of it.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in the small town of Stanton, a few miles from Midland. I was raised in Midland but lived most of my teenage years in San Antonio.

How did you come to faith in Christ?

My father was a pastor of a small church outside Odessa. I still recall at age 9, my father brought in an evangelist for a weekend. That Saturday night, I sat in the front pew and knew I needed to open my life for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?

I attended Hardin-Simmons University. My studies included theology and social work.

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About ministry life

Why do you feel called into ministry?

As a “PK”—a pastor’s kid—my goal in life was not to enter into ministry. Though ministry had been a blessing for our family, it also was challenging.

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Financially, I wanted to be a businessman. I dreamed of having my own business and often would sit and dream with my friends about our future goals and dreams.

One week, I went to Camp Alto Frio. Dr. Rudy Hernandez gave a Thursday night invitation about giving the rest of your life to ministry. I sat there with my friends and could no longer stand to reject his calling on my life. As I walked forward that night, I knew this was going to be a lifetime decision. I opened my life to ministry.

What is your favorite aspect of ministry? Why?

My favorite part of ministry is seeing how God totally changes people’s lives. I have witnessed how God has transformed and set a purpose for life. God has allowed me to mentor 19 men; 17 still are pastoring or ministering today. That is priceless.


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What one aspect of ministry gives you the greatest joy?

The greatest joy is seeing marriages, families, men and women serving the Lord in their calling. Everyone has a calling. My greatest joy is seeing people find and embrace that calling.

What one aspect of ministry would you like to change?

I would invest more into people’s lives individually. I believe God has called us to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?

I came into the ministry with the mindset of a pastor. I looked at my calling as only a pastor, nothing else. I feel, today, God calls many into ministry, some to be pastors, youth pastors, counselors and even audio video ministry.

Looking back, this has changed my perspective on God’s calling into ministry.

How do you expect ministry to change in the next 10 to 20 years?

Ministry will evolve. God’s message remains the same, but how we communicate his word will change.

As I write these words, the world is facing the COVID-19 virus. I believe the church has remained dormant for many years, but now it is being challenged to search for creative ways to connect with people and, in turn, share the good news.

Name the three most significant challenges and/or influences facing your ministry.

1. Today’s youth are more interested in ways the church can communicate to them online.
2. Evangelism must return to more of a relational approach in connecting with the community.
3. I am in awe of churches who, even before the COVID-19 virus came, had a strong media ministry in place. This must be one position churches will have to consider seriously.

What do you wish more laypeople knew about ministry or, specifically, your ministry?

Laypeople must become aware and accept the ministry is much different. Though the message remains as powerful as ever before, how to evangelize to the younger men and women will continue to evolve.

About Baptists

Why are you Baptist?

The Baptist doctrine is based solely on the word of God.

What are the key issues facing Baptists—denominationally and/or congregationally?

1. Our Baptist denomination must continue to find ways to involve and connect with the ever-increasing number of Hispanics in Texas.
2. Congregationally, our churches face the challenge of the changes in their community. How will the church reach such a diverse community?

What would you change about the Baptist denomination—state, nation or local?

Baptists must continue the effort of having a multicultural congregation and staff.

About Victor

Who were/are your mentors, and how did/do they influence you?

I have several mentors. First, my father is 85 years old and still pastoring. My mother, 86 years old, is a faithful servant of God.

In my younger years, I had mentors like Becky Garcia—my Sunday school teacher—and Vivian De Soto—my coach. In the university, I had special people like Dr. Alcorta and his family.

What did you learn on the job you wish you learned in seminary?

People skills.

What is the impact of ministry on your family?

My wife is a fine lady. She loves ministry and serves in ministry. My two sons are engineers. I believe ministry formed their life, and today, they serve God with their family.

Other than the Bible, name some of your favorite books or authors, and explain why.

The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur is a book that reminds me why I follow Jesus in my life.

The Disciple-Making Pastor by Bill Hull is a book that reminds me of my calling.

Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley is a book that reminds me of my life as a pastor’s kid to now.

What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?

“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20).

This reminds of a life lived with passion. Paul’s ambition became his passion for life. What an awesome example of a life lived well.

Who is your favorite person in the Bible, other than Jesus? Why?

Paul. He had such an attitude about life and his life calling.

Name something about you that would surprise people who know you.

I love being alone. If I am with you, we will have a blast. But I like walking by myself and just thinking.

If you could get one “do over” in ministry, what would it be, and why?

Take care of myself even more and spend more time with my wife and boys.

What are your dreams for the future?

I want to train as many pastors and church leaders as possible on evangelism, discipleship and church organizational structure. If I can do this for the rest of my life, I would be even more joyful.



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