In early 2015, I boarded a plane to Guatemala with my friend, Yancey Arrington, for the very first Acts 29 Latin America conference. Upon arrival, we entered the worship space of Casa de Libertad, which would serve as the birthing room for this new network. At that point, there were only three Acts 29 churches in Latin America.
Over the next two days, we witnessed something beautiful as this newborn drew its first breaths. We experienced passionate, gospel-centered worship. We saw pastors, leaders, and church planters from all over Guatemala and Central America broken and humble before the Lord as they recognized the dire need for healthy church-planting churches. The vision stirred in them as they listened to the pounding heartbeat of this newborn network. There was celebration and excitement; hope ran high, and God didn’t disappoint.
After months of labor, envisioning, and training, new church planters were ready for assessment. Later that year, we boarded another plane to Guatemala for the second conference. We had the privilege to meet some of the incoming candidates who now make up Acts 29 Latin America.
That newborn has now grown to over 45 members in 7 years.
Passing on the Vision
My heart fills with joy whenever I think back on the birth of Acts 29 Latin America. And now, I’m filled with hope as I see God giving new leaders a vision to see this same thing happen among Spanish speakers in the US.
This past December, lead pastors of three Spanish-speaking Acts 29 US churches converged in the DC area with network leaders for an intensive period of planning, preparation, and prayer for Acts 29 Español. We recognized two things coming to the table:
- There’s a scarcity of theologically robust, missionally focused, and contextually responsible Spanish-speaking churches in the U.S.
- There are inherent challenges in advancing this work, but many sense a distinct call from the Lord for this task.
Working the Soil
To date, there are three—yes, only three—Spanish-speaking Acts 29 churches in the US. But the 2015 birthing room in Guatemala gives me hope! “Who dares make light of small beginnings?” (Zech. 4:10a NET).
I opened my talk at that first conference with the following words, and they ring as true for me today as they did then:
We’re moved by God’s work in Latin America to awaken his church to the need to return to the gospel and to plant healthy churches centered on that gospel. The gospel is the basis of all healthy ministry since it is the power of God for salvation and for the growth of the believer and the church.
My wife and I, along with other brothers and sisters, are planting a Spanish-speaking church in Houston, Texas, and we want to see a multiplying movement of healthy churches among US Hispanics. God is the only one who can produce it. We are asking him to allow us to be part of it—raising up healthy leaders to plant and promote the planting of healthy Hispanic churches in the US. Seeing what God is already doing in Latin America to produce this type of movement encourages us to continue forward in this vision.
Like Acts 29 Latin America back in 2015, we have three members with a few in the hopper and are seeking to build critical mass. Contextual realities and bi-vocational ministry make momentum-building difficult in this context. Yet we sit as an initiative within Acts 29 North America. The potential for collaboration, resourcing, networking, and coaching is astounding.
Hope for the Harvest
Here are three simple ways you can join us in our mission to reach Spanish speakers in the US.
- Plant the seeds. Why not invite that Spanish-speaking pastor who loves and serves your community to learn more about your network? Why not reach out to that bilingual leader in your church and tell him about the potential you see in him?
- Pray with us. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37–38).
- Partner with us. You can assist with the birth and growth of this newborn to see it grow to health and multiplication. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can play a part.