RICHMOND, Va.—International Mission Board trustees approved the appointment of 27 new missionaries, five of them with ties to Texas, and announced a vice president of mobilization during their board meeting Aug. 23-24 near Richmond, Va.
“Two years ago at this trustee meeting, by God’s grace alone, this body elected me to lead this IMB family,” IMB President David Platt said during the Aug. 24 plenary session. “Now, two years later, I find myself standing here at the end of a deeply encouraging two days with trustees during which we have discussed where the IMB is now and we have dreamed about where God is leading the IMB in the days ahead.
Platt said IMB leaders are hard at work considering, “How do we mobilize this entire Southern Baptist ecosystem of tens of thousands of churches, local associations, state conventions, seminaries and other entities for the spread of the gospel to billions of people who’ve never heard it?” Leaders are meeting with state and national entities and local churches of all sizes to explore how IMB can best serve them and send multitudes more missionaries with them.
Edgar Aponte, who currently serves as director of Hispanic leadership development and instructor of theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., was affirmed by trustees as vice president of mobilization. He will work with other executive leaders in the overall strategy of IMB with particular emphasis on the board’s mobilization efforts, lead teams and networks to mobilize churches in sending missionary teams, and develop relationships across the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Edgar Aponte is an incredibly gifted man of God,” said Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. “The Lord has blessed him with a wide range of abilities and talents. He excels at whatever he does.”
Prior to his work at SEBTS, Aponte served as the ministry of foreign affairs in Washington, D.C., on behalf of his home nation, the Dominican Republic. His role of minister counselor in the political section involved coordinating the political relations between the embassy and the State Department, Department of Labor, U.S. Congress and Department of Defense; advising the ambassador and authorities on a broad range of policy issues from the bilateral agenda; and engaging in meetings with other embassies and interest groups about specific regional issues such as human trafficking and drug trafficking. Prior to that, he worked in banking for five years.
An avid learner, Aponte earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration; a graduate degree in corporate finance; and a master’s degree in business administration (management). He also earned a master’s degree in Christian ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, and is completing a doctorate in theological studies with a concentration in systematic theology from Southeastern Seminary.
In a recent visit with IMB mobilization team leaders, Aponte expressed that he sees the team leading IMB in engaging in strategic partnerships with SBC churches.
“We are Southern Baptists because of missions,” he said. “That is why the SBC started in 1845. Missions is the heart of who we are as a denomination … taking the gospel to where Christ has not been preached. Working together, we can do more than working by ourselves.
“As IMB we have to emphasize the centrality of the CP in our work of cooperation; the CP has shaped Southern Baptist life for almost 100 years, and God has used it as a means to bless our churches and the nations.”
In the pinnacle of the trustee meeting, 27 new missionaries were appointed during a Sending Celebration, which recognized both the new personnel and the churches sending them to take the gospel to the nations.
Appointees with ties to Texas include three people who will work among Central Asian people, including a couple from Rock Creek Baptist Church in Crowley and a woman who was educated in Texas and served a local church in the state. Another couple, being sent by The Village Church in Flower Mound, will serve an American people group. Names are not being used to protect their safety on the field.