G&P: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FINANCIAL AND LOGISTICAL CHALLENGES OF PLANTING A MULTICULTURAL CHURCH?
OD: The nancial challenges in planting a multicultural church include the economic support that we must give to the planting pastor. It is advisable to know the resources that this person has. These resources include pastoral experience, professional training, and contacts in the city where you plan to open the work. Itis also necessary to invest in basic training for church planting so the pastor can appropriately implement his or her vision. We also need to invest in resources to promote the new work. The vision for the church plant helps determine the approach and resources. It is also important to have a prayer group that knows the vision.
G&P: WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SOURCES OF INITIAL INCOME FOR NON-ENGLISH-SPEAKING NEW START CHURCHES IN THE USA/CANADA?
OD: When we start a new church, one of the biggest challenges is the source of income. When you start a project, there is often a vision, but not financial resources. Basically, we try to examine the options we have in each situation, since each new church plant has its particular nuances. Generally, the district contributes a portion, although it does not supply what is necessary to cover the basic issues of opening the work. In some cases, when a local church opens its doors to a multicultural work, in addition to o ering buildings, local churches provide some initial support, such as a percentage of the allocation for the pastor, health insurance, and pastoral house rental.
In terms of logistical support, I believe it is necessary to have people with experience to train those who start new works, in areas such as the process of developing the vision by examining the environment, options, advantages, and disadvantages. Once the pastor has the vision formed and internalized, he or she can present it to his or her support team. It is important that this team grasps the vision for joint work aimed at achieving the objective.
Among the resources are the buildings of already established churches. Many churches see the increase of a culturally different population in their community and feel the need to open their buildings to these new works. In other cases, hotel rooms, cinemas, or schools are used. If a cell church is developed, the homes of families in the new work will serve as the initial platform.
G&P: NAME SOME SPECIFIC CHALLENGES FACED BY PASTORS WHO ARE STARTING CHURCHES THAT REACH A SPECIFIC CULTURAL/ETHNIC/LANGUAGE GROUP.
OD : As a starting point, it is necessary to know the particular situation of the people we want to reach. In the Hispanic community, depending on the area where we are ministering, we have first-, second-, and third-generation people. Each generation has its demands. With the rst generation, it is only required to speak the language of the particular ethnic group, but with the second generation it is necessary to speak the ethnic language and English. It will also be necessary to work with the new generation to integrate the culture of the country, so we will not lose this important group.
Another challenge is to have creative ministries, that is, to adapt our way of doing church to the customs of the ethnic group to whom we minister. We must have an open mind for adaptation and for change. It is also important to respond to the expectations of the ethnic group. In many cases, the first generation needs a leader who is able to help in specific situations of need: healthcare, legal issues, etc. We must be exible so people have access to us. We have to close the gap between ourselves and the group we want to reach.
G&P: WHAT ENCOURAGING STORIES CAN YOU SHARE REGARDING INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION YOU HAVE WITNESSED AS A MULTICULTURAL CHURCH PLANTER AND COORDINATOR?
OD: Our church has groups in the homes of our congregation. One of the groups opened in a city called Claremore, which is 30 minutes from our church. This group started with a family in a house with the leader who was in charge of the group. The father of the home was trained to take charge of the group, and the group grew until they could no longer meet at the house. After a few years, the group grew to about 40 people. We saw the need to move to a more appropriate environment, and we spoke with the pastor of the Nazarene church in Claremore. That is how the Hispanic Church of the Nazarene opened in the city of Claremore.
The Church of the Nazarene at Regency Park is an other example of evangelistic vision that added to the growth of a Hispanic population in the community. They offered us a building to use to start a Hispanic church. One of our leaders accepted the challenge of planting this work, and now we have about 90 people who need to relocate to another church with the same vision.
G&P: HOW CAN NAZARENES IN THE USA/CANADA REGION PRAY FOR AND SUPPORT MULTICULTURAL CHURCH PLANTING EFFORTS?
OD: We are facing a great harvest, and it is important that we lift our eyes and look out because the harvest is great. We have to ask the Lord to open our eyes, so we can see the crowds that cry out for a church that has a missionary conscience in their Jerusalem. Here in our neighborhoods are people who need Jesus. We need our churches to be more dynamic and creative in order to impact the different ethnic groups that exist in our cities.
We are opening new works, but resources are scarce. The church has to be intentional, nancially and logistically, to make a missionary impact in our communities. Investing in new churches is sowing in fertile elds. The reward of this investment is thriving churches.
G&P: HOW CAN CHURCH PLANTING PASTORS—SPECIFICALLY THOSE WHO ARE PLANTING NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING CHURCHES—TEACH AND EMPHASIZE THE IDEA OF “GIVING AS WORSHIP” IN THEIR NEW CHURCHES?
OD: One of the challenges for pastors of new multicultural churches is to teach people that not only should the gospel impact their lives, but that they should also be committed to advancing the kingdom of God. This commitment includes our economic resources and our time. Many of our new church members do not have an evangelical tradition and do not understand the concept of consistent giving. Therefore, we must lead the believers to such a relationship with God that they are moved like Mary when she spilled the perfume of pure spikenard on the feet of Jesus. This is a process that must be initiated from the moment of conversion. Giving is a principle of adoration and not simply a religious obligation.
G&P: WHAT ARE THE MARKS OF A SUCCESSFUL AND GROWING CHURCH PLANT IN SPANISH-SPEAKING SETTINGS?
OD: A church should pray daily to impact its community with the gospel. A church should both welcome each member and integrate into the culture. A church that loves and values the community and focuses on reaching its community will make a lasting impact. A healthy church must sow in the kingdom of God in order to obtain fruits. To achieve this, we must foster an environment where our members learn to give and become self-sustaining.