How to identify your mission field? How to determine which worship style and which ministries are relevant to that mission field? How to gather people? How to launch a relevant worship service? How to raise funds?
These are just a few of the many questions that were addressed during the third annual BASIC Training "Boot Camp" for church planters in Spanish.
Several annual conferences made up the 42 participants, Nov. 2-5, that made it an event to remember. Under the leadership of Jim Griffith, the participants were challenged to find new and creative ways to start new congregations, to take into account their target group, and to develop ministries that are excellent. These are a few of the elements needed to develop healthy, growing churches.
Presenters also addressed particular cultural issues to be aware of, as well as, how to care for themselves and their families as they embark in this demanding adventure.
Just as the Latino population in the United States is characterized by being very diverse, in the same way, those aiming to reach out to the Latino population and be successful must be aware of this diversity and take particular care on the strategies used.
The Latino population being the fastest growing ethnic population in the United States, it is imperative for the United Methodist Church to devise strategies and train its leaders (Latinos and non-Latinos) on how to welcome Latino neighbors into existing and new United Methodist Churches.
These strategies must, however, include quality leadership, quality resources, and the clear perspective of welcoming Latinos as equal members of the United Methodist Church.
Latinos have a lot to contribute to our church, but our church must open the spaces to receive those contributions, spaces where we can all sit together at the table as members of the body of Christ.