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One church, two languages

The Hispanic ministry, sermons at Faith Community are supported entirely by volunteers

Posted: January 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.

A group of men barbecuing at the first the Mother's Day picnic after the church was founded. Many of the men now serve as preachers and ushers for the Spanish-speaking congregation. (Courtesy)

 

Faith Community Church began offering Spanish language worship services nearly a year-and-a-half ago, run completely by a team of church volunteers. However, the journey for the Hispanic ministry was long and began many years before that.

The congregation prayed for guidance for many years about their desire to begin a Hispanic ministry at Faith. The desire grew in 2003, when the church learned they would make a permanent home in the Newhall area, which has a large community of Spanish speakers.

Eventually, what started as a small 10-member Bible study, would develop into a weekly worship service completely in Spanish. The first official service, which attracted nearly 100 attendees, was held Sept. 11, 2011.

“From the first week it was a viable ministry,” said Pastor Steve Jackson. “We set up 50 chairs and had to bring in dozens more, as more people came in. It was a confirmation; God was in this, orchestrating all the pieces.”

Uniting people

The worship team, which does not have a full-time pastor, consists of several rotating speakers who offer sermons and help to teach and guide the congregation. Jackson, who is not bilingual, offers support and guidance.

Ruben Marquez, a long-time member of Faith, came to California from Mexico when he was only 12. He is one of the original members of Faith Community who felt God was leading them to begin the Hispanic ministry to serve the Spanish speakers in the Newhall community.

“It was amazing to see the love and desire of the Faith congregation to begin this ministry,” Marquez said. “This is an opportunity to show people from different backgrounds how much God loves them, in their own language.”

Faith Community en Español, as they began to call the congregation, meets Sunday mornings at 8:45 a.m. Many times throughout the year, the two congregations will come together for special events, such as the Christmas outreach known as Festividad. They also often host joint worship services, in both Spanish and English, to help keep the ministries united.

“We are one church,” Jackson said. “Not separate English and Spanish churches. We are all together and share in what God is doing in our community.”

Volunteering to serve God

Marquez has served at different churches since he first received Christ at 21. He has worked in different capacities such as deacon and elder and has helped to develop other leaders over the last 20 years. Now, he feels called by God to help with this ministry.

“I can see God working in the community,” he said. “This is my personal calling to teach people the word of God in a way they can understand it, to explain how they can receive God’s blessings in their lives.”

Other key team members include Juan Carlos Barbosa and Alfred Moya, who help preach during services. Each team member serves on a volunteer basis. Unlike pastors of other churches, they have full-time careers and serve free of charge.

“Our purpose is to serve God, regardless if we get paid or not,” said Barbosa. “This is our mission, to serve the Lord.”

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