It doesn’t matter whether you are a kid who shines shoes or sells newspapers or whether you are the owner of a factory in town, that church is your church. This is a hallmark of Hispanic culture: every other day of the week, we may live completely different lives, in different classes of wealth and prosperity, but when it comes to worship, we are one church, and we worship together. In America, we sometimes lose this sense of solidarity as we become more diverse. We are a homogenous people; you know the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” But this attitude sometimes works against community. We sometimes leave a particular geographical area because “it’s turned black” or because “it’s turned Hispanic.” We become afraid that if we remain, no one from our group will come to the church anymore.
I understand that sometimes churches must relocate, but why not leave something behind? When we abandon a community and we don’t leave a mission or plant a little church there to take its place, forgive me, but I see that as telling the devil, “You can have them; we’re out of here!” We cannot totally abandon these communities because they contain God’s children too.
Why do I think like this? I come from a culture that thinks like this. I come from a culture where it doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, this is our church.
HECTOR OROZCO is senior pastor of River Oaks, TX, Church of the Nazarene Note: This is an edited transcript of a video interview with Hector. View the unedited segment here