In a Journey of Accompaniment & Service to Emerging Leaders

Preparing ourselves for a holy moment

Written byNPHLM Archive

It’s incredible but we are just around the corner for the celebration of our Third National Consultation for Hispanic/Latino Ministry at Duke University in Durham, N.C. In precisely fourteen days, we are planning to gather as a United Methodist people to think, talk and wrestle with what the Creator is expecting of us in the face of the realities of the XXI century. Perhaps, as builders of His kingdom, we must move out of the comfort of a parroquial mentality and begin to construct the bridges that will allow us to inextricably connect with those who are asking: Where is the real church of Christ?  At this point, we hope that you have already begun to focus your thoughts, prayers and plans on how we can be relevant to society today.

As we continue preparing ourselves for this holy moment, please, remember that our main proposal is that we, as a communal body, face the compromising reality that for so many years, we have been irresponsible in not preparing ourselves to pass the leadership to the new generations. At this consultation, we want to honor and recognize the existing talents and gifts among our youth and young adult people. Consulting, listening and utilizing many of their own understandings, perspectives and vision about the needs and opportunities of our communities could be the key for the UMC to become truly a church for all.  It’s vital that we exercise the spiritual discretion to lay aside all entrenched historic opinions, and that we embrace the emerging future as the only context in which God’s spirit can re-form us as Christ’s body for the new moment.

Let us remember our baptism and His call as we walk patiently into the sacred space of this consultation. Remembering our baptism will allow us to more easily peel away the many labels imposed on us by society and many other institutions, making it almost impossible for many of us to remember that we are members of the same community; we are one body. And by remembering His divine call to each of us, as the people who serve and not to be served, we will be reaffirming our commitment to those who have been excluded from the opportunity to sit, eat and drink at the communal table. Please, be sure that you will be sitting and partaking at the table of this consultation!

Anxious to see you in fourteen days.


3 Replies
Your email address will not be pulished. Required fields are marked *
user avatar

Aquiles E. Martinez

2015-10-21 15:45:01
Dear leaders, members of the of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, and Consulta participants: As a follow up to the great consultation we were all part of a few months ago, I have been thinking a lot of what we could do to improve our ministry with Latinos/Hispanics, particularly with the younger generation. Thus, I would like for you to read and reflect on the following proposal (written by areas with their corresponding goals): Based on an assessment of current realities, prayers, consultations, and the praxis of everyday life ministry with Hispanics/Latinos, perhaps we should all be working to create a STRATEGIC PLAN that would incorporate the following goals during this coming quadrenium: A. CONTEXTUAL AND INNOVATIVE LEADERSHIP 1. To form principled, Christian leaders whose work is relevant to the Hispanic/Latino context. The Plan will meet this goal through the implementation of the following objectives: a. To raise up and support Hispanic/Latino young leaders as bridge builders and partners in ministry for the church and world. b. To evaluate and improve the standards for, and development and equipping of, mentors and coaches for relevant spiritual leadership. c. To create collective, collaborative leadership structures that honor and validate all forms of ministry and facilitate all people’s journey into ministry. d. To assist annual conferences in the design and implementation of comprehensive, strategic plans for the identification, recruitment, training, support, and accountability of a new generation of leaders. e. To offer technical, material, and financial assistance regarding leadership formation. f. To help provide pedagogical resources and theological education programs relevant to the complex, unique, and ever-changing needs of the Hispanic/Latino contexts. B. LIFE-GIVING SACRED PLACES 2. To assist annual conferences in the creation and revitalization of human spaces for relevant, innovative, and transformational ministry in the context of Hispanic/Latino emerging needs. The Plan will meet this goal through the implementation of the following objectives: a. To assist annual conferences in the design and implementation of strategic ministry plans relevant to the situation of needs of local churches, community centers, and other forms of community. b. To provide economic, material, and human resources for the development of places for worship, education, evangelism, prophetism, and communal service that respond to the needs of the local churches. c. To help form teams responsible to identify and develop mission sites of new contextual ministry and leadership. C. SOCIAL HOLINESS AND TRANSFORMATIONAL JUSTICE 3. To equip and support the church for compassionate, prophetic service in the church and society The Plan will meet this goal through the implementation of the following objectives: a. To understand, monitor, and respond to the unfolding situation of oppression, exploitation, and scarcity affecting global migrants in the countries of origin, transit, and destination. b. To form alliances with organizations committed to responding to the needs of Hispanics/Latinos affected by migration and poverty. c. To actively participate in national and international gatherings to learn, discuss, and connect with stakeholders from around the globe for a more effective service to marginalized and excluded groups. d. To create a system of sharing of information and concerns on issues of global migration. D. GLOBAL CULTURALISM 4. To create conditions for intracultural, intercultural, and multicultural understanding, sensitivity, and competency across the church. The Plan will meet this goal through the implementation of the following objectives: a. To form and strengthen strategic partnerships with the other ethnic initiatives for a new practice of ministry and leadership benefitting the whole church. b. To actively participate in events seeking to develop cross-cultural relationships and growth. c. To create spaces of cultural cooperation and service. d. To invest resources in helping develop intercultural and multicultural ministries. The above proposal is just a draft. I will be more than happy to engage in a meaningful dialogue resulting in a well-articulated strategic plan that is creative, contextual and relevant. Please let me know what you all think! Gracias Aquiles
user avatar

Jeanet Berruecos

2015-06-30 15:10:50
I am celebrating the fact that even when you mention that “our church” is “incapable and unwilling to solve the leadership crisis it is in.” and “stepping backwards” I celebrate that the Grace of God is with us, and it is much bigger than our negative persistent points of view. Even though we have done a bad outreach to the Latino/Hispanic community in the nation, God is faithfull and he does not stop working in the church, I mean the actual members of the denomination. We are part of God, we form part of the body of Christ, and I am not disappointed of God’s work. If it is true that it has been a slow walk, it is only our negative and judgmental eyes who is saying that God is incapable, looking and putting our focus in structures, organization, and systems, more than anything. The best we can do is not sit and wait to "make sure that its machinery runs smoothly" the best we can do is comming to God to discern what is that each one of is call to do. Many of us have stop believing in our structures, systems and organization, we have to remember, that the Church is the body of Christ, we are part of it. The Holy Spirit it is always loving, it is always caring, it is always calling and transforms anything, even us. Grace is within us.
user avatar

Aquiles E. Martinez

2015-03-21 16:55:04
From the standpoint of logistics, organization, and putting some important issues on the table, the latest Consultation on Hispanic/Latino Leadership was a success. I applaud the NPHLM for its creativity and courage to use some of its resources to shake up the Church. Some elements of this innovative approach were obvious and should be celebrated: the emphasis on developing young and young adult leadership; privileging English as the language of communication; creating a blog for a thought-provoking dialogue; inviting non-Methodists and secular professionals to be the keynote speakers and young people to be their respondents, while minimizing the participation of bishops; designing a clear format for small-group discussions hoping for some creativity to emerge; and putting together an amazing worship team that, though artistic eclecticism, powerful rituals, and prayerful intentionality, helped us experience God in community. However, to my disappointment, the sporadic, intense moments of possibilities we experienced before and during the consulta were soon overshadowed by the institutionality of the Church, and the symptoms of the leadership crisis were are in became even more evident, painful, and disconcerting. This comment might sound too premature for many, but the evidence, interpreted through the prism of the past, is too clear to repress or rationalize. Ignoring the crude reality of the demographic studies with respect to the millennial generation, and the pastoral challenges to wake up and be relevant to this reality; the lack of responses in the consulta blog despite some in-your-face questions to provoke debate; the resulting list of recommendations to the NPHLM and their obvious disconnect with respect to the social profile and context of the younger generation; and the fact that our capable young people were not more prophetic, specific and strategic in talking to the older generation with respect to leadership development during the consulta, were steps backwards and communicated to me a truth I did not want to hear again: our church is incapable and unwilling to solve the leadership crisis it is in. Because its members are the main supporters of the institution they complains about, the Church lacks the knowledge, skills, and mechanisms to substantially change itself or subvert the established order of things. The contradictions are notorious. In its blindness and deafness, our Church can only think, speak, and act in institutional terms. As such, it has been successful in crippling our ability to think critically and cauterizing our conscience, heart, faith, and praxis. Despite its cries of despair, the Church continues to feed this complex network of values, beliefs, and norms created to satisfy the basic needs of its clientele, the main goal of which is to stabilize its entities through the positions and roles it imposes on all of its beneficiaries. As a mechanism of social control, our Church continues to set the necessary limits to guarantee its survival, no matter how unfair the distribution of power and privileges might be or how unfairly people at the fringes are treated. In its religious narcissism of enormous self-serving proportions, the best our Church can do is to make sure that its machinery runs smoothly. Because the UMC is an institution with these and similar characteristics, it will always resist or even punish change, depend on other social institutions to bring balance, and equip and reward its guardians for its legitimation. Because of this situation, radical measures (institutional or not) must be adopted, either to transform the Church from the bottom up or to start a process that would create conditions of instability to accelerate its demise. Informed by a holistic analysis of institutions, I believe that there are some principles that can help some of us create some “cracks” within the structures, value system, and ideology that presently sustain the UMC in order to force some important changes for good. But as we continue to do what we have to do to make this happen from our own trenches and patiently wait for better moments, let us not forget that even patience has its own limits.