Julio Contreras was born in San Salvador, El Salvador on May 1, 1962. He was the second of 5 children in a home without Christ and for that reason, a family far from perfect. His father was a lawyer and politician, his mother was a business woman. When Julio was just 8 years old, due to the very difficult political situation and death threats, his family was forced to leave El Salvador and seek safety in Mexico where they lived for nearly one year. Little did the Contreras family know that God was orchestrating the necessary circumstances for Him to be able to enter into their home. In 1971, when Julio was 9 years old, they returned as a family to El Salvador, and Julio also came to know Jesus Christ personally thanks to the Children’s Sunday school ministry at Miramonte Baptist Church, a small congregation that his mother had begun to attend. The entire Contreras family radically changed as each member came to know Christ.
Little by little, during his adolescence and youth, Julio became involved in the youth ministry at church and it was there that he met Patty, whom he married in May of 1986. While they both attended the university and studied Business Administration, they believed that they would be used in God’s Kingdom as good laypeople and tithers. That is when God called them to full time ministry and showed them that He had something much better in store. When this call was confirmed, Julio entered the Miramonte Bible Seminary and graduated a few years later. By this time, his gifts in the area of teaching became evident as he and Patty ministered to the adolescents and youth in the church they had grown up in since childhood. As the ministry God had prepared for Julio developed, a door of opportunity was opened for him to become a member of the staff of teachers in the same seminary he had graduated from.
This was just the beginning; God’s plans were still so much higher. A series of events literally shook Julio’s ministerial life in 1987. He met David Wilson of OAC and Leo Humphrey of GNIA in just a matter of weeks. Julio experienced his first real contact with evangelism at this time. It so impacted his life that he refers to it as “being hit in the head with a bat”. John 3:18 profoundly impacted his life: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”Julio’s ministry took a drastic turn at this moment. Leo’s influence became more profound and more evident during the following years. This same year, Julio and Patty met Steve and Pam Kern and an intense and significant friendship began. Julio and Steve, as young visionaries, began to dream of the possibility of starting a different church, one in which evangelism and discipleship would be in perfect balance. It would be a church that would influence the Salvadorian society without fear of the eternal social conflicts that are so typical in Latin America, and a church whose goal would be to reach those who would want to understand and live what they believe. And thus “the Steve and Julio team” was born……and in 1991 the dream became reality and New Life Baptist Church was born.
Since 1991 Julio has been the senior pastor of New Life. His gifts continue to be those of a teacher and discipler; expositorily preaching the books of the Bible at New Life as well as in other churches in and outside of El Salvador. Since the church began, God has allowed him to develop personally and ministerially.
As leader, he emphasizes teamwork on every level.
As pastor, he and Steve are a team.
Ministerially, his team has grown by adding many more full time ministers.
Academically, after graduating from Luther Rice University with a degree in Religious Studies, Julio continues to read, research, and study God’s Word in order to learn more and challenge people through teaching and preaching.
Personally, he continues to dream of reaching El Salvador and Metro America 020 for Christ.
Julio aspires to be a man who could have Galatians 1:24 written on his epitaph.
“And they glorified God in me.”
Julio and Patty have 3 children; each one represents an answer to prayer: Estefania, Natalia, y Julio III, and one son in law, David, who is also an answer to prayer.