Culto en la Iglesia Hispana
(Worship With the Hispanic Church)
By Jeremy Estep
It’s Sunday morning across America. The rush to get to church creates
a frenzied mess in your home. The struggle to get everyone ready and
be on time is a tall task.
You arrive, file into your pew with your family, and it is time to start. The preacher climbs into the pulpit to welcome the congregation and the strangest thing happens…he’s speaking a foreign language. You look around and everyone seems to be enjoying what the preacher is saying. They understand, and even agree with him. You and your family look puzzled, trying to fit in, trying to act as though you are enjoying the service…but you aren’t. What would you do in this case? Learn a new language? Or find a place that speaks in a familiar language?
We live in a heavily populated country, 323.1 million to be exact. Americans predominantly speak English as the first language. However, nearly 40 million speak Spanish or a form of it. Free Will Baptists do an amazing job in this country ministering to all ages. Discipleship programs are wonderful. Church planting is of the utmost importance…all mostly spoken in English. However, God has called a man and his family to the state of Kentucky to bring the message and teaching of Free Will Baptists to the Hispanic people.
Dr. Rufo Gomez and his family began Capital Harvest Church in Lexington, Kentucky, in 2003. Rufo was born in Guatemala. God led him to the United States as he discovered his need to grow in God. He began a ministry unfamiliar to the state of Kentucky, as God directed him to reach out to those without a true church home. Because the overwhelming majority of Hispanics belong to the Catholic faith, it was a challenge to break down those walls. Fourteen years have brought miraculous changes and a wide diversity of people through the doors of Capital Harvest.
Capital Harvest currently has 68 members attending services on Saturday and Sunday. That may not sound like many, but when you consider the challenges facing the Spanish-speaking congregation, it is staggering. Last year alone, 16 members had their visas expire, forcing them to return to their homelands. (How many of us could survive if we lost 16 faithful folks a year?) That is just one of the many challenges Rufo and his family face constantly.
Imagine doing what we do (or are supposed to do) to meet the Great Commission demand. Reach, witness, preach, convert, and disciple—only to see converts and members return home or move. And then imagine repeating the cycle again and again. It’s unbelievable to think of the people who have encountered the teaching of Dr. Gomez in the last 14 years. In spite of these challenges, Rufo hasn’t stopped, helping to begin and support four other church plants. This faithful pastor has five churches in one. It’s a fantastic way to get the most out of your giving.
This year has created new, exciting changes and challenges for Dr. Rufo. David Crowe, executive director of North American Ministries, has offered him an opportunity to expand his ministry with a potential church plant in Nashville, Tennessee. In the coming months and years, Rufo will also plant other Hispanic churches across North America. Branching out into this new adventure will not slow the direction of his current works, however. He has a team in place to keep the ministry functional and prospering, and they are excited about the direction God is taking his work.
As you read this article, be thankful for a place to worship where you can understand the language and heritage of the church. In that regard, please pray—not only for the Hispanic works, but also for all of our church plants as they attempt to bring the miracle of God’s Word to people who have no understanding. Romans 10:14 sums it up: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
About the Writer: Jeremy Estep is moderator of the Kentucky State Association.