Bootcamp Teaches How to Share “Good news” with Expanding Hispanic Population
Pastor Julio is accustomed to traveling great distances to do ministry. In his home country of Bolivia, he pastors three churches – each a full day’s walk in the rural and mountainous terrain where he shares the “buenas nuevas” in several places, several times a week.
In late October, Pastor Julio traveled some 14 hours – this time by air -- to learn how to maximize his ministry efforts by attending the Hispanic Ministry Bootcamp hosted by TAC’s Center for Missional Excellence at Houston’s Mission Milby.
“Julio experienced a special unexpected blessing during his training alongside 90+ pastors and lay leaders,” says Center Director Diane McGehee. “When the group heard of Julio’s pattern of transportation they spontaneously took up an offering to buy him a motorcycle to make it easier for him to get to his churches.”
Immigration laws prevented other United Methodist ministers from attending with Julio and fellow Bolivian minister Rev. Diane Wimberly (formerly of St. Paul’s UMC.) “Only one-- out of six visas requested-- was granted,” adds McGehee, “so Julio and Diane will be sharing their training with the others when they return to Bolivia, and when B.T. Williamson and I travel to Bolivia to bring additional training support in Hispanic ministries, we hope to get an appointment at the Embassy to pave the way for more pastors to be able to travel back and forth as the opportunities arise.”
“Since the entire training was provided in Spanish, I can’t repeat much of what was said,” jokes McGehee, “but I do know that this Hispanic Ministry Bootcamp training was the result of over a year’s worth of research and listening to what our Hispanic ministry leaders said they wanted to learn more about.”
Currently there are 15 Hispanic churches in the Texas Annual Conference, and all but three have been planted by an Anglo church. For the most part, these leaders started their ministries without receiving any training. “Multicultural ministry can bring unique challenges since first generation family members are often immigrants speaking only their native language and the children are often educated in the States and comfortable with English,” explains McGehee.
“Session leaders taught leaders how to recognize and honor the richness of cultural differences while uniting through the commonality we have in Christ.”