Barnabas Initiative for Hispanic Leadership Development
The Biblical Mandate
The second most frequent command in all the Old Testament – second only to loving the one God above all – is the command to welcome the stranger (repeated in one form or another 92 times in the Hebrew Scriptures). In the Great Commandment, Christ – after reiterating that we must love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind – exhorted His followers to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and – in Matthew 25:31ff - clearly taught that one measure of the righteous in His sight is how they welcome the stranger.
Throughout Scripture and throughout recorded history, we see numerous examples of the Lord moving people for His purposes (Acts 17: 26-27). Sometimes (as with Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, Jonah, Paul, and contemporary missionaries) he moves believers to places where they can minister in His name. In other cases, such as with Ruth, Naaman the Syrian who came to Elisha, the wise men from the East, or the Greeks who sought out Jesus (John 12: 20-21), He brings those who don’t yet know Him to a place where they can see the gospel lived out and hear it preached. For several decades, people from Hispanic countries have flooded into our land of opportunity. As a result, the United States has the second largest Hispanic population of any nation in the world and Hispanics are now the largest minority in the US. By the year 2050 almost 1 in 3 Americans will be Hispanic. Although Hispanic peoples represent a huge and growing population group, the number of PCA churches, church plants, and ministries focused on this group is proportionately far less than those serving other people groups. MNA Hispanic American Ministries is committed to creating a movement of PCA churches and presbyteries reaching all generations of Hispanics in the United States and Canada through launching biblically healthy churches!
Humanly speaking, well qualified, trained and empowered leaders are the fuel that drives a church planting movement. Of the more than 4200 PCA pastors, only a small percentage is Hispanic. The Hispanic leadership void in the PCA must be addressed if we want to see a church planting movement become a reality. MNA Hispanic American Ministries is already engaged in leadership development through traditional seminary education, church-based seminary education programs such as Spanish LAMP, cross-cultural apprenticeships and internships. But we need more laborers!
The Barnabas Initiative for Hispanic Leadership Development is a comprehensive long term strategy to see the total annual number of Hispanic PCA pastors and church planters grow in a self-perpetuating way. The plan is to commit to the long term task of recruiting candidates from high schools, colleges, universities, local communities and from among our lay leadership, then mentoring and training them in their calling and skills for ministry.
The Barnabas Initiative for Hispanic Leadership Development is made up of two tiers. The first tier is the Barnabas Initiative National which seeks to recruit candidates for the gospel ministry from the local community and from among our lay leadership. The second tier is the Barnabas Initiative Youth which seeks to recruit candidates for the gospel ministry from high schools, colleges and universities. These two tiers complement each other and contribute to creating a healthy leadership development ecosystem.
The Two Tiers
Barnabas Initiative -
Our commitment to fulfill the Great Commission among Hispanics in the USA by planting Gospel-Centered Churches requires a large number of trained pastors and church planters. The only way to see the total annual number of PCA church planters grow is to greatly increase our commitment to the long term task of recruiting men with high leadership potential, training these men for the gospel ministry, and launching them into leadership roles within PCA churches and ministries. Hispanic, non-PCA, pastors who live in the United States and bi-cultural lay leaders in local PCA churches are a deep, and virtually unexplored, pool of potential candidates. The Barnabas Initiative National will work with local churches, Presbyteries, and Church Planting Networks to hire a Hispanic Ministry Facilitator for their region. As a result of extensive networking and recruiting in the region this person will develop a rich pipeline of ministerial candidates, mentor these men during their ministry preparation, and help place them into suitable opportunities. This position is best suited for experienced pastors and missionaries.
Barnabas Initiative Youth -
The most effective way to see the total annual number of PCA church planters grow in a self-perpetuating way is to greatly increase our commitment to the long term task of recruiting candidates from high schools, colleges and universities. The Barnabas Initiative Youth will work with local churches, Presbyteries, and Church Planting Networks to hire a Youth Leadership Developer for their region. This person will be a strategic resource for the church and Presbytery. He will develop a large and growing pool of ministerial candidates, provide them with a variety of opportunities to learn ministry skills, and help them design the best path for pursuing ordination in the PCA. This position is best suited for recent seminary graduates (or about to graduate) and campus ministers.
Armando is the Director of Youth Leadership Development at Home Church in Braselton, GA. Armando and Amanda met in youth group in their middle school years. They got married 10 years later in 2013. Jesus Christ called them to serve as youth ministry adult leaders at Chestnut Mountain Presbyterian Church for 7 years. Now, Armando and Amanda continue following Jesus Christ in a new adventure to develop leaders and proclaim Him to Braselton, Georgia and surrounding communities.
Jeff White is the Director of Youth Leadership Development at Las Tierras Community Church in El Paso, Texas. He grew up in Guatemala City, met his wife Matheson at Appalachian State University, and studied theology at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary near Boston. Matheson studied Spanish Education at Appalachian State University and has been an English as a Second Language (ESOL) teacher in the Greater Boston Area. They have a baby girl named Poppie Marie.
Through partnerships at UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso), EPCC (El Paso Community College), and local high schools we seek to engage young Hispanic Americans in discipleship and apprenticeship opportunities in order to equip them to lead multiethnic ministries in the church and community.
Frank Matthews accepted the position of Hispanic Ministries Facilitator for the Greater Richmond Region. He is currently raising funds for his ministry. Frank and Suzanne have been married almost 20 years, and have 5 children. They have served in a variety of ministries including being missionaries in Peru and in two associate pastor roles in the United States. In his new role Frank will work to develop a rich pipeline of Hispanic ministerial candidates, mentor these men during their ministry preparation, and help place them into suitable ministry opportunities in PCA churches.
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