Recently I had a very honest conversation with myself, about where my ministries are. The picture is not ideal, but it is clear: I need Him, and He is faithful. Holy faithful.
I was at a conference where the speakers talked about two of my most favorites topics : of being incarnational missional, and of contextualization. The place was packed – mostly by young church planters. It was hosted at an urban, trendy, and very successful church.
I was very encouraged to hear that what the speakers were calling all these churches to do, we are doing at our local congregation. They talked about principles, values, strategies to be faithful to the Great Commission, and I went down the list, checking them off since that is what we are. Actually, one thing that we have, that other churches have to work very hard to enjoy, is a cross-cultural experience. We have it. Every Sunday.
In the past, some experts have looked at our philosophy of ministry, strategies, and ministry plan. They came with some suggestions, a few tips to fine tune our mission, but nothing big. On the contrary, they were impressed by all the work we have put on designing our ministries. They reminded us how much of a “frontier” work we are called to, and how other churches would like to have some of our sabor.
If all these is true, then why is that our ministry is not 300+? Honest question : What am I doing wrong?
In many Hispanic ministries it is common practice to say that numbers do not matter, that we are going after real Spiritual Transformation, and not just numerical growth. For the longest, I thought those were excuses. On the other hand, also among Hispanic ministries, you find those who do actually go for the numbers. The pastor is in all possible media platforms, but he is not able to name more than a few of the hundreds of his congregants.
I do not want either. My desire is to be faithful to Him. My desire is to see Him in action.
But, Why is that we are not 300+?
After considering this question for a while, I came to the conclusion that there are only three possibilities:
- It is not our time, yet. Some children are late bloomers – ask Albert Einstein. We may be doing everything correctly, with room to grow, but with everything that we need in place to keep with our development. It is just a matter of time. His time.
- We are doing something we shouldn’t. Maybe we are adding to His call. Maybe we following the idols of our heart. Maybe we are losing the battle with culture.
- We are not doing something that we should. Have we lost our vision? Have we forgotten to what and to whom He has called us?Are we tired / giving up?
With a little bit more consideration, I realized that #2 and #3 have the same two possibilities, as the reason behind either one: It is ignorance, or it is rebellion.
Why aren’t we 300+? I do not know, for sure. What I know is that I need to pray, I need to humble myself before the LORD, asking Him to provide for me and for my leaders patience (to deal with #1), wisdom (in case #2 & 3 are due to ignorance), and holiness (in case #2 & 3 are due to rebellion).
See? I’m telling you, making disciples among Hispanic Americans is not an easy task, but it is the best place to be to know how much I need Him. It is also the best place to clearly see Him in action, changing one heart (mine), or 300+.
CALL TO ACTION
Consider your own heart. How much, really, do you need patience, wisdom, holiness?
Remember His grace, Follow Him in humility, Cultivate constantly, All in cultural diversity.