By Carl Stagner
Salvation, baptism, healing, spiritual growth, and numerical growth. Pastor Ramon Rivera has witnessed each of these take place at the church plant he and his wife started less than a year ago in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Perhaps that’s why Ministerio de Adoración y Restauración has opted to emphasize Jesus above all else. Jesus is the source of the salvation, baptism, healing, spiritual growth, and numerical growth this Spanish-speaking church has experienced. Jesus is therefore the subject of everything that is said and done, including their church’s website address—a Spanish translation of “Jesus is the Subject.”
The website address for Ministerio de Adoración y Restauración is http://www.JesusEsElMensaje.org. If you’re familiar with Spanish, you know that translates directly to “Jesus is the Message”—the most accurate way in Spanish to communicate that “Jesus is the Subject.” Either way, the message is loud and clear—this new church in Pembroke Pines, Florida, is all about Jesus! “We want people to know that Jesus is our message,” Ramon explains. “And we want to connect with our roots in the Church of God. When the Church of God began to use that vision, we embraced it. And we continue to preach it.”
In a world where so many other subjects grab our attention, even within the church, “Jesus is the Subject” brings clarity to who we are and why we exist. This clarity is focusing the direction of the movement, and it is focusing the direction of the Hispanic Church of God in Pembroke Pines. And in just a few short months, the church is seeing miracle after miracle. In addition to seeing people healed of physical ailments, the church has rejoiced as souls were saved and people baptized.
Like many cities that sit close to the beach, Pembroke Pines is ideal for baptism in a body of water other than a baptistery. When it came time for baptisms this past year, Ramon met with the church at the beach for worship and celebration of souls won to Christ. During the service, one curious onlooker approached the group of believers and asked what the hubbub was all about. Ramon explained the gospel in no uncertain terms, and the man accepted Christ right then and there. “The really amazing thing about all of this,” Ramon recalls, “is that the man went back to his family on the beach and brought his sister back, who came to Jesus, too.” Both the man and his sister were baptized that day.
Not focused solely on evangelism, the church also wants to see every believer become better disciples. Knowing that the spiritual discipline of prayer is paramount for the Christian, Ramon organized a field trip to see the movie War Room. All about the vitality and power of prayer, the movie challenged the church to make prayer a more central part of their personal and corporate lives. The movie not only left the believers challenged and inspired, but made a safe and inviting way for unbelieving family members and friends to see that the church is not a boring, lifeless entity. Because of this kind of outreach outside the church walls, one member of a family visited and ultimately gave his life to Christ.
Today the church worships in a rented space within another church building. Their services are limited to Saturdays because the other church uses the space on Sundays. But that’s not a big deal to Ministerio de Adoración y Restauración. They’re seeing the incredible work of the Holy Spirit among them and in their community as Jesus is lifted up above all other agendas. From their evangelistic trips to the local park and restaurants, to the discipleship gatherings in homes, Jesus is their subject. “We understand we are a light in the community,” Ramon concludes. “We have to go outside the church. We have to be more and more like Jesus.”
Were you blessed by reading this story? Support the ongoing work of Church of God Ministries with your gift to the World Ministry Fund at http://www.jesusisthesubject.org/world-ministry-fund/.