Hispanic Bootcamp - Church Leadership Training


The Texas Annual Conference is offering a special training “boot camp” in October designed for Hispanic congregations which will be presented in Spanish. Center for Missional Excellence Director Diane McGehee said they realized in the midst of conversations with Hispanic pastors that their challenges were similar to those of new church starts, but most of these pastors had not had the opportunity to receive new church start training to equip them well.


McGehee learned that consultant Jim Griffith, who trains new church start pastors, also offers a program for new church starts in a Hispanic context. “These communities are very diverse – very different multicultural communities,” McGehee continued. “Working in these communities requires understanding of context and how to unite common goals and themes.”


This training is designed specifically for existing Hispanic congregations and offered only in Spanish to promote the highest retention of the information provided for native Spanish-speaking pastors. “Most of our pastors speak English, but hearing information presented in their native tongue is easier to process so they don’t have to do interpretation in their mind while learning new material,” McGehee added. “We also want to allow all our pastors and congregations to come for training in new church starts and bring their lay leadership teams. To train teams in each congregation helps to bolster the outreach efforts in which they’re already engaged.”


The training will cover evangelism, justice ministries, building a self-sustaining congregational base financially, and developing gifts and leadership within the congregations. It will also include training on how to assess the needs of each congregation’s particular community.


“We can share the gospel in a way that  touches people at the place of their needs, just like Jesus did,” McGehee said. “I think this workshop will enable our Hispanic congregations to make a significant difference in the communities they serve and also lead the rest of us to increase our impact in our local communities.”


To help ensure all congregations are able to participate, a grant from the Moody Permanent Endowment Fund was given to cover most of the cost of the program. “Each congregation will make a payment, but it won’t be burdensome. We have also extended an invitation to other conferences to attend,” McGehee continued. “This is a unique opportunity to take advantage of our connection and work with other conferences.”


“Reaching the Hispanic community is vital. It is the mission field that God has placed at our doorstep… Over 40 percent of the population is Hispanic throughout Texas, and across the nation it is even higher,” she noted. “In Matthew 28 - the great commission - Jesus tells us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. God has actually brought the nations to our very doorstep.  All we have to do is to go out into our own communities, reach out to them in love, meet their needs in the name of Jesus Christ, and invite them to the table.”


There are a number of congregations within the Texas Annual Conference that want to reach out to the Hispanic community who are asking for training as well. McGehee said they are talking with the National Hispanic Plan to come up with a training program for non-Hispanic members of our faith community to better equip them to understand the context of Hispanic communities and the culture, in addition to providing training in effective ways to reach out to the Hispanic community.


One of the models being considered is clustering congregations to support Hispanic outreach in their areas where a number of “sister” churches are linked to a Hispanic congregation to jointly support that congregation. “There can be a significant contribution by a single congregation to reach others in their community, but if we can use the connection, several churches in the region could help share the load of resourcing and supporting one Hispanic congregation for more effective outreach and growth,” McGehee said. “If there is a Hispanic congregation in your area – even if it is already linked to another congregation - your church can help in some way.”


We have about 20 existing Hispanic congregations. All local churches can help by contacting a Hispanic congregation in their area to find out specific needs, or by contacting the Center for Missional Excellence to find a congregation that to help support. “You can help by sharing people, space, finances… whatever it is that your congregation has to offer. Just let them know you’re available,” she continued. “It will take all of us as the body of Christ, each contributing our unique gifts, skills, and resources in reaching not only the Hispanic community, but the entire community for Christ.”


The training will be conducted by Leo and Carmen Rodriguez, both Elders in the Puerto Rican Methodist Conference who have worked with the 19 Hispanic Republics, Puerto Rico, Spain and the first, second and third generations of Latinos in the USA. 


Registrations are being accepted now for the Hispanic Bootcamp training. Hispanic congregational teams are being asked to sign up by September 1, 2011 to appropriately plan for housing, space, and food. The training only costs $50 for the pastor, and an additional $50 for up to four participants from his or her church. That’s only $100 per congregation.


Registration forms and additional information: http://www.txcumc.org/nuevasiglesias