René Maciel, President of the Baptist University of the Américas (BUA) located in San Antonio, was elected President of Texas Baptists on Monday, November 9, in Frisco TX. Maciel was elected by acclamation with no opponent during the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) annual meeting.
Maciel, 57, will preside over the annual BGCT meeting and act jointly with the Vice Presidents to nominate the Committee on Committees, whose members nominate people to the various boards and agencies of the BGCT and institutions affiliated with the BGCT. The President also is an ex-officio member of the Executive Board.
BGCT is the oldest surviving Baptist convention in Texas with approximately 5,300 churches and more than 2 million members.
Maciel, who is the third Hispanic to hold the top office, said his main goal as president will be to convene different groups to work on sharing the Gospel with all of Texas, especially Hispanics who are becoming the majority ethnic group in the state.
“As the Convention emphasizes cooperative giving, it will be important that we as a Convention act cooperatively. We need to have a unity and the oneness that Christ has called us to. We are the body of Christ and we need to reflect these words out of Philippians 2:2: ‘then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.’” Maciel said in an interview.
“I do not see Texas Baptists as a group working like it needs to without us investing more dollars, time and energy in the Hispanic work in Texas. We will never be the convention that we need to be without that,” he said.
He had been a BGCT officer for the previous two years, serving as First Vice President in 2015 and Second Vice President in 2014.
Maciel has been President of Baptist University of the Américas since 2007. Located off I-35 South, BUA is the only university in the country specifically committed to training cross-cultural Christian leaders from the Hispanic context.
Maciel has invested more than 25 years in higher education and administration with Baptist institutions such as Hardin-Simmons University, Baylor University and the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home.
His early tenure at the 68-year-old San Antonio school has been marked by consistent increases in enrollment and financial support. The university, which a decade ago had fewer than 50 students, now has more than 300 men and women majoring in Biblical and Theological Studies, Spanish, Business Leadership, Music and Human Behavior. Over 500 students are enrolled in the school’s Baptist Bible Institutes that are primarily in Texas but also reach across the United States to South Africa, India, and Mexico.
A graduate of Tucumcari (N.M) High School, he was a standout athlete in high school and continues running and exercising today. Maciel graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with a Bachelor of Behavioral Science.
He began his higher education career as a recruiter and admissions counselor at Hardin-Simmons University.
He earned his Master of Science in Education from Baylor University where he worked on the admissions staff, later returning to Hardin-Simmons as Director of Admissions.
In 1993, Maciel returned to New Mexico as assistant administrator of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home in Portales, N.M. He was named chief administrator in 1997 where he developed his leadership skills as an institutional administrator.
Returning to his first ministry in higher education, from 1999 to 2001, Maciel served as director of student services at Truett Seminary. As the young seminary was undergoing dramatic growth, Maciel was responsible for diverse tasks including recruiting, admissions, financial aid, career services and student life events.
In 2001, he was named Assistant Dean for Administration and Academic Services at Truett, where he served before joining BUA.
His honors include the Religion Award, one of the Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Awards presented by the San Antonio La Prensa Foundation. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from both the Logsdon School of Theology at HSU and from the HSU Alumni Association.
He and his wife Sabrina, a speech pathologist at Medina Valley ISD, have two daughters – Brianna, an elementary school teacher in Belton who is married to Ryan Johnson, and Carmen, a 2015 graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. They attend First Baptist Church of Castroville, where he recently served as Interim Pastor.
Baptist University of the Américas, located at 8019 S. Pan Am Expressway in San Antonio, Texas, provides post-secondary education for students from all over the world. Students can earn certificates and college degrees not only to enter the formal ministry in churches but also to minister while serving in their secular careers. More information is available at www.bua.edu.
Photo Caption: (René Maciel, right, thanks Jerry Dailey, pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in San Antonio, TX, for nominating him.)