Spanish Speaking Ministry!Written by Jeff Harrison on Nov 17, 2015 in - No Comments
Last November we had an exciting announcement in our services from Manuel Abarca (and his son Andrew) about the forming of a Spanish speaking ministry at our church. After Manuel shared his heart for reaching the thousands of Spanish speaking people who live within a few miles of our church building, the elders provided a little background to our relationship with Manuel and invited everyone to support Manuel and his family in this ministry initiative. The elders want to make sure that everyone hears about this exciting opportunity, so I’ve included the announcement from the elders below.
In the first century, the early disciples needed a bit of a push to move them into the Great Commission. God used persecution to get them out of Jerusalem and into the harvest. Now that was something the disciples would have never planned. But even though they didn’t orchestrate this “outreach”, God used their scattering to spread the Gospel into Judea, Samaria and to the remotest part of the world.
We believe that the most effective ministries are those that are orchestrated by God, not by us. And we are thrilled at the open door God has placed before us to reach the Spanish-speaking population around us by partnering with Manuel and Susan Abarca. Initially, Manuel’s plan to come from Minnesota to San Antonio had nothing to do with Northwest. His plan was to work with Vista Community Church. But then James Mendoza, Vista’s pastor, approached us and asked us if we would consider being the sponsoring church for Manuel’s vision of reaching Spanish-speaking families.
Now we didn’t go looking for this opportunity. This was simply a door that God graciously opened to us as He opened a door to the early church to reach out via persecution. In recent months, we Elders have been in frequent contact with Manuel, discussing the exciting possibility of working with him. In all of our meetings we have found Manuel to be sincere, to have a great heart for God, to be humble, and to have a keen desire to serve, learn, and grow.
After many discussions with Manuel and much deliberation and prayer, the Elders have entered into a one year church-planting Residency with Manuel that started on November 1st. As Manuel expressed, during his residency he will be focused on building the core group for a Spanish-speaking church and he and his family will also be attending and serving at Northwest. He will be making evangelism, leadership development, discipling, and planning for this ministry his top priority. The vision, as you have heard him express it, is to be a part of Northwest and to have Northwest be the umbrella under which he serves. The vision is not to have two churches in one building. It is not even to have a “church within a church.” Rather, by God’s grace we hope to become one church offering services in English and services in Spanish. One church with two languages.
The Elders consider this an amazing open door for ministry that God dropped in our lap. As we partner with Manuel, we have the opportunity to be vitally involved in the formation of a ministry that could impact the tens of thousands of Spanish-speakers who live within a few miles of our church building. Manuel is going to need help in starting this great work. The Elders and staff are going to be offering him time and training. God has blessed us with a building that he will freely use for ministry, along with internet, copying and other resources.
However, it has been understood from the beginning that we were not in a position to offer him a salaried position. So, this morning we are inviting each of you to prayerfully consider supporting Manuel and his family by donating financially to his ministry, just as you would a missionary. This would be giving separate from your regular support of Northwest, with the check written to Northwest, and “Manuel” on the Memo line.
We are also inviting you to prayerfully consider serving with Manuel. As the work develops, there will be fellowship events to help plan, childcare needs, music opportunities, and all the things that go with a new ministry venture. Finally, we are inviting you to join us in praying for Manuel’s ministry and our partnership with him and his wife, Susan, and their four children.