Intercultural pastor nominated for the second vice-president of the BGCT
Nebiye Kelile, pastor of Pathway Church and Orchard Hills Baptist Church in Garland, will be named second vice president of the Texas Baptist General Convention.
The Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church is the sponsor of Pathway, a BGCT-supported start-up church aimed at reaching Millennials and Gen Z, and is also the host site for Orchard Hills.
Ryan Jespersen, executive director of the Dallas Baptist Association, has announced his intention to nominate Kelile.
âWe have said many times that we need men to come together and lead traditional churches as well as start new works. Pastor Neb does both at the same time by being the pastor of Pathway Church and Orchard Hills Baptist Church. I believe this unique role gives Neb the ability to lead the Baptist life well, âJespersen said.
âI am grateful for his abilities as a speaker, as a leader and as a person who works hard to bring people together. He strives both to give an existing church the capacity to leave a great legacy and to begin a new work, which is so necessary in Baptist life.
Kelile, who was born in Ethiopia, grew up in California after his family moved there when he was 2 years old. He served 16 years as a preacher and pastor. He helped an immigrant church in Sacramento, California develop a ministry in English to reach and train the rising generation.
When leaders of the Evangelical Ethiopian Baptist Church heard about Kelile and her work through a network of churches dedicated to reaching Ethiopian immigrants in the United States, they invited her to settle in the Dallas area to launch Pathway Church.
Pathway not only reaches English speakers with family ties to Ethiopia and Eritrea, but has also attracted young couples from other backgrounds, many of whom were not yet ecclesiastical.
As the pastor of Orchard Hills Baptist Church, Kelile primarily cares for the elderly who are longtime members of the church whose building now occupies the Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church.
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âIf we are to bring generations together and reach more people for Christ, I believe Pastor Neb Kelile will be a strong voice in the room to help work towards this task,â Jespersen said.
If elected, Kelile said, he would be “honored to serve and contribute to the mission of the Texas Baptists beyond what I am already capable of doing as a pastor and church leader.”
âWe need to be known for what we are for instead of just what we are against. We are for the gospel, âhe said.
Kelile noted that this period in the life of the Texas Baptists parallels in many ways her own “personal journey” in ministry.
âI believe in prioritizing strengthening established churches and starting new healthy churches,â he said.
Due to his background, Kelile said he also felt comfortable among various ethnic groups, as well as in majority culture contexts.
As a next generation leader working with Generation Y and Generation Z, Kelile wants to help Texas Baptists meet the challenge of “learning to train the next generation of Christians, for whom there is no social capital to be gained by identifying as a Christian. or join a church.
Kelile and his wife Hiwot have four children: Lydia, Daniel, Haset and Zaema.