Statement Regarding Cases of Sex Abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention
Some of you may know who I am others may not. That is not important at this moment. All I can say about me is that for twenty years I have sought to be a faithful follower of Christ first as a missionary in South America (2001-2014) and now as pastor of a growing Hispanic congregation in rural northeast Georgia (2015-Present). I have a dedicated wife and four precious children.
While serving in Peru, my wife and I planted and funded two feeding centers for children of very poor families. Our two oldest grew up playing, eating, and studying with those kids. Many of those kids are today our children’s closest friends. For years, our family has tried to develop a testimony above reproach.
In 2015 when God brought us to Gainesville, Ga we found a semi-rural Hispanic community in which issues of sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and dysfunctional families are common. In fact, several members of my congregation have shared their stories of being victims of sex abuse while living in their home countries. For this very reason, I planted Amistad Cristiana, as a place in which healing, restoration, and education could help my community.
I share all this to simply state that when I was invited to become a candidate for 2nd vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, I was new to any denominational affairs. My life and ministry has been focused on serving our Hispanic churches and communities to the best of my abilities. I live as missionary and serve as a missionary.
When I listen today of the many issues impacting our convention regarding cases of sex abuse, I cannot stay silent. It is not my job to judge or point fingers at anybody. But I also believe it is important that all truth be found. Only the truth sets us free and gives us the ability to heal, forgive, restore, and close our wounds. I am a father to four children, a pastor to several kids and youth in my church, and a professor to dynamic college students. So, I want to make sure they understand that "when needed or if needed, they can be heard."
The easiest thing to do would be to get out of this race but I taught my sons that a man must finish his commitments. For this reason, I have decided to continue in this race as Javier Chavez representing my family, my church, my community, and dozens of churches we serve throughout the world.
If elected I will support wholeheartedly an independent investigation that can bring healing and closure to our wounds and to the lives of many victims. But I will also be the first one to remind our convention that we have a Great Commission to fulfill and that there is much yet to do. I stand strongly on the sufficiency of Scripture and the unity of our convention across all races, ethnicities, and languages. We are one in Christ, and I seek to serve our Southern Baptist Convention.
I do not know many of you, but it will be the honor of my life to make amigos (friends) and together see the future of our convention with eyes of hope and faith.
May we honor Christ,
Amistad Cristiana Int.