2012 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering
MIAMI (NAMB)—At a brawny 6 foot-6 inches and 255 lbs., 36-year-old Danny Egipciaco looks more like a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins than a North American Mission Board (NAMB) national missionary and church planter.
Danny and Karina Egipciaco are among five NAMB missionaries featured as part of the annual Week of Prayer for North American Missions, March 4-11, 2012, and Annie
Armstrong Easter Offering®. The offering provides support for Egipciaco and other missionaries like him who serve on behalf of Southern Baptists in North America. With a goal of $70 million, this year’s offering theme is “Whatever It Takes.”
Playing football and tackling 220-pound running backs might be easier than what God has called Egipciaco to do in the Miami area—though not nearly as important. That’s to use his considerable strength and stamina to work long hours as part of his passion to plant new churches and bring his fellow South Floridians to Christ.
But the challenge of spreading the Gospel in the Miami metro area is immense because by all accounts, local lostness is vast. According to Egipciaco, Miami—with its 5 million people—is one of the most unchurched cities in the United States. About 95 percent of Miamians are unchurched, says Egipciaco.
Egipciaco lives in nearby Hialeah, with his wife, Karina, and their three children Daniel Jr., Elyse and Brianna. A fourth child is on the way. Karina holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling.
Egipciaco, who moved to Miami at age 4, grew up in a Christian home, attending a Spanish-speaking Hispanic Southern Baptist church. He accepted Christ as a teen under the influence of his mom, a native Cuban who was led to Christ as a girl by a Home Mission Board (now NAMB) missionary. His parents still live in Hialeah.
Egipciaco was serving as a 28-year-old youth pastor in a “legacy” first-generation, Spanish-speaking SBC church when he realized it just wasn’t working. Ministering in Spanish was not the most effective way to reach Miami youth.
“I had to change everything,” he recalls. “We were doing church in Spanish but instead, we needed to connect with the growing second-
generation Hispanics in South Florida who spoke English. Second-gen Hispanics is one of the fastest growing people groups in South Florida and the U.S.”
Long-time church planting missionary Al Fernandez, now director of the Florida Baptist Convention’s “Urban Impact Ministries” and a 2009 Week of Prayer missionary himself, offered advice and counsel to young Danny, eventually becoming his mentor, coach and boss.
“Al had already planted a second-generation, English-speaking Hispanic church, and he shared his wisdom, ideas and experience with me,” said Egipciaco. “Thirty days later, I left the youth ministry, started preaching in a local hotel and became a church planter.” That was 2005.
Today, Fernandez and Egipciaco mentor and coach 30-plus church planters in the Miami area, many of whom are bivocational pastors and even some laymen.
Fernandez said he and Egipciaco face many challenges as they attempt to plant a yearly average of about 34 new churches in South Florida. Miamians who use Spanish as their first language make up 67 percent of the population. But a total of some 180 languages are spoken in South Florida public schools.
“Many people in Miami—especially the second-generation Hispanics—just don’t think about religion, including Christianity,” said Fernandez. “It’s not on their radar screens. Miami is a very materialistic place—a bling-bling kind of place. People are always chasing the almighty dollar. It’s also a fast-paced, time-consuming environment. Sunday is for everything else but church—the beach, boating, the parks, the Dolphins, the Heat and the Marlins.
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