Pastor Karen Kier speaks at Altar’s name-change celebration.
By Carl Stagner
Over time, a model of planting Spanish-speaking churches has emerged. Often English-speaking congregations are drawn to the prospect of partnering with a Spanish-speaking church as a missional means to touch a demographic otherwise beyond their reach. In doing so, the Spanish-speaking church uses the building owned by the English-speaking church to conduct worship services. When the Spanish-speaking church gains traction and becomes self-sustaining, they may then choose to purchase their own facility. At that point, the relationship between the two churches can somewhat cease to exist, though it may never have truly materialized in the first place. Tampa, Florida’s English-speaking Oak Grove Church of God and the Spanish-speaking Arbol de Vida have decided to do things differently. Reflecting their heart’s desire to be one church with two cultures, they’ve united at (the) Altar. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Southeast
Tagged Altar, Arbol de Vida, community, cross-cultural, English, FL, Florida, Hispanic, Iglesia de Dios, innovation, Jonathan Frymire, Karen Kier, language, linguistic, multicultural, Oak Grove Church of God, oneness, outreach, Spanish, strategy, Tampa, Tato Caballero, unity
Pastor Isaias Marquez speaks at the launch service on Easter.
By Carl Stagner
Now, more than ever, the Sunshine State is primed for the gospel. The normal flow of migration to Florida from Spanish-speaking countries presents a tremendous opportunity for Hispanic church planters. But, in the wake of last year’s hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico, Spanish-speaking people have left the territory for Florida in droves. Isaias and Laura Marquez, pastors of a congregation in Lake Wales, are always on the lookout for possible church plants. Observing the lack of Hispanic churches in the Winter Haven area, they reached out to First Church of God to consider hosting a new work. On Easter Sunday, Iglesia de Dios in Winter Haven was born, offering the hope of Christ to Spanish-speaking residents while extending the reach of First Church beyond what they could have ever imagined. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Southeast
Tagged church plant, church planting, Concilio Hispano, cross-cultural, Easter, First Church of God, FL, Florida, Hispanic, Hispanic Council, Iglesia de Dios, Isaias Marquez, Kenny Howard, Laura Marquez, multicultural, partnership, Spanish-speaking, unity, Winter Haven
Photo: Pastor Carlos Lamelas baptizing a believer on Feb. 5.
By Carl Stagner
Pastor Malcolm Tyree described it as a “Super Sunday,” but not because of a certain football game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. What happened on Sunday, February 5, at New Vida Church of God in Dallas, Texas, was nothing short of incredible, especially in light of all that had transpired over the past year. Eleven people were baptized, ranging in ages from six to sixty. Wonderful, sure. But not so uncommon. Uncommon was that these individuals represented multiple cultures originating from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba. Such celebration came on the heels of a year of transition which saw the finalization of the merger between a Spanish-speaking and an English-speaking congregation. But for New Vida Church of God—once New Life Fellowship and Iglesia de Dios Vida Abundante—this wasn’t the grand finale. This is just the beginning. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged baptism, baptized, bilingual, Carlos Lamelas, Dallas, diversity, functional unity, Iglesia de Dios, Jesus Is the Subject, language, Malcolm Tyree, merge, merger, multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual, New Life Fellowship, New Vida Church of God, ONE, oneness, relational connectivity, Spanish, Texas, united, unity, Vida Abundante