At the 14th General Conference of The Wesleyan Church (TWC), held in St. Louis, Missouri, May 22-25, 2022, Hispanic ministers were invited to gather and evaluate the missional path TWC has taken in the Hispanic church in the U.S. in the past. They were tasked by the General Superintendent’s office to propose new paths and strategies for the advancement and fulfillment of the mission through TWC in the Hispanic context. This task was twofold; first, evaluate how much has been done in recent years; and second, come to God in humility and ask for divine direction.

Questions to God

To accomplish this request, General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt asked the questions, “Where are we as a church?” and “Where are you leading us, oh Lord?” The questions try to evaluate what the journey of our denomination during the last decades has been.

Hispanic ministers from many places took on the task of analyzing the journey and highlighting important findings in the development of the work and the fulfillment of the missionary task. They explored the Lord’s leading and sought God’s direction to follow him at this crucial moment in history.

These questions were raised to encourage leadership to discover what will lead the church to a higher level of maturity, commitment and growth.

Chosen to be with Jesus, chosen to carry out his mission.

This reflection transports the author to the moment of the transfiguration when Jesus chose three of his closest disciples and asked them to climb the mountain to pray (Luke 9:28-36). The exercise of climbing the mountain has to do with absolute dedication and a sacrificial disposition. The disciples may have made a good start on the ascent, but as their strength and passion waned, they fell into a deep sleep just as they reached the top.

As events progressed, the miraculous appearance of Moses and Elijah occurs, followed by the transfiguration of Jesus. — What a marvelous work! — This makes the disciples look at the power of God, however, Peter states, “‘Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ (He did not know what he was saying.)” (Luke 9:33, NIV). Jesus is emphatic with them, we have come to pray but it is not possible to stay here, it is necessary to descend and fulfill the divine assignment.

It should be noted that TWC has been called by God at an important moment in history. We have been summoned by Jesus to climb the mountain and worship him, and then descend and proclaim the gospel to the lost — this relates to TWC’s strategic vision for being a “transforming presence in every ZIP code.”

We need a movement that moves and reaches every corner, being the light that shines. We are one people that rise up and proclaim that we are Made New in Christ, a Kingdom Force, a multigenerational, multiethnic, multieconomic movement. We are men and women, laity and clergy joining hands and following Jesus Christ together. We share his call, this is the Kingdom Force Unleashed, moving to every corner of the world.

What is my church doing and how is my district encouraging me?

At the conclusion of their tasked evaluation, Hispanic ministers affirm the need to strengthen and broaden the spectrum of biblical education in the local church. This process has begun in some churches and districts that are promoting the importance of training and coaching leadership while creating spaces for education and evangelism in the church. For its part, the Education and Clergy Development Division promotes studies at the ordination level as a means that is accessible to the local church through the FLAMA program.

We also recognize that the districts in partnership with the local church should strive to reach the lost while teaching the following topics: the importance of spiritual disciplines, Christian education in the life of the believer, motivating disciples to disciple others and the importance of reaching those in need.

As we concluded our task, we were reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send workers into his harvest …” (Matthew 9:38) and joined together, praying the same for the Hispanic harvest field around TWC.

Read the Spanish translation here.

Rev. Jóse Barboza is the senior pastor at El Buen Samaritano Wesleyan Church in the city of Winston Salem, North Carolina.

 

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