By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
METAIRIE, La. (LBM) – Good Shepherd Hispanic Baptist Church recently celebrated the retirement of $1,085,000 in debt on the congregation’s education building.
Members rejoiced during a special note burning service, Oct. 8, and leaders said they are preparing to renovate the worship center to accommodate the growing congregation.
“I can’t describe the joy,” Pastor Gonzalo Rodriguez told the Baptist Message. “People are excited and see that God is doing many great things. We are united with God in what He is doing, and we appreciate that He is blessing us.”
Since God planted a desire in Rodriguez’s heart to start a small Bible study group (five people in 1980), Good Shepherd has grown to a church that in 2022 averaged 300 in worship and baptized 26 new believers.
The growth and baptisms underscore the importance his congregation places on reaching Hispanics in the New Orleans area, and beyond, for Christ.
The church recently ordained a member, Fernando Vera, to the ministry; and in July, he became missions pastor at First Baptist Church, Bogalusa. Additionally, the church has sent money and supplies to help churches share Christ’s love in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Most recently, the church was presented the opportunity to help children of immigrants who have been displaced from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Through the partnership with the National Youth Advocate Program, Good Shepherd will place the children with foster families in the U.S., and hopefully reunite them with their parents one day, Rodriguez explained.
Looking to the future, Rodriguez is excited about how God will use Good Shepherd to reach the community for Christ. “We are very excited about what God has done here,” Rodriguez said. “This is just the beginning of even bigger things.”