The following article printed with permission from Baptist Press. It originally was published February 14, 2022 on their website. Click here to read it on their site.
GUAYAMA, Puerto Rico (BP) — Longtime church planter Luis Soto, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Sin Paredes in Guayama, Puerto Rico, is the new executive director of the Convention of Southern Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico (CSBCPR).
“We are experiencing historic days at the Puerto Rico convention and we thank God for what he is doing and will continue to do in the coming years,” Soto told Baptist Press.
CSBCPR executive members elected Soto to the post Jan. 10 to lead the convention of 52 Southern Baptist churches. On the island of 3.4 million people dispersed among 78 municipalities, 40 cities do not have a Southern Baptist church, according to figures from the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
Soto continues as a NAMB Send Network church planting catalyst and as pastor of Iglesia Bautista Sin Paredes in Guayama. He formerly served eight years as a NAMB church planter in Utah, where he planted and pastored Roca de los Siglos in Salt Lake City and Gracia Eterna in West Valley.
“My plan is to continue working with NAMB to see more churches that preach the Gospel to all of Puerto Rico,” Soto said, “and see hundreds of thousands of people … come to the feet of Christ.”
In addition to growing the number of Southern Baptist churches on the island, Soto has goals aimed at increasing and improving discipleship, giving, seminary preparation, international missions and prison ministry.
Specifically, Soto told Baptist Press, he would like to lead Puerto Rican Southern Baptists to increase giving to the Cooperative Program from $80,000 to $100,000; start a chaplaincy ministry in state prisons and train men for prison ministry; better equip pastors in discipleship, leadership development and biblical counseling; and offer alternatives to theological studies spanning from certificates to doctorate degrees through a partnership with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas.
Soto would like to lead Puerto Rican Southern Baptists to continue supporting international missionaries from Puerto Rico, to continue to provide various resources for pastors’ wives, and to motivate churches to continue supporting North American and international missions in financial giving and prayer.
“We had our hands full for the past three years, in the midst of political instability, earthquakes, (the COVID-19) pandemic and (are) still recovering from hurricanes,” Cabrera told Puerto Rican Southern Baptists in announcing his resignation as executive director. “After these past 36 months, our convention is in a healthy position and ready to continue fulfilling the Great Commission that our Lord Jesus Christ left us in Matthew 28.”
Soto is earning a Doctor of Ministry degree from SWBTS. He holds a Master of Theology degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico.
He and his wife Beatriz Castillo have two children, daughter Eliana Valentina and son Samuel Adrián.