Around four and a half years ago by the grace of God and with the support of our senior pastor Bruce Zachary and the Calvary Nexus church we planted a Spanish church in Camarillo, California. We planted the Spanish church inside an English church. Before the Spanish church launched there was a small weekly Spanish Bible study inside the English church. In the beginning of this journey we did not have the experience or preparation; however, God knew what he was doing. We had the desire to serve Him and trusted He would equip us on this journey. The Calvary Church Planting Network’s resources that we used at Calvary Nexus helped prepare us for this work.
When we started we knew immediately that the church needed a Children’s Ministry; therefore, it was established. As the months went by the church began to grow. We then established a Women’s Ministry and a mid-week Bible study, within the Spanish church. Shortly thereafter, we outreached to the Spanish speaking community surrounding our church. As a result the church grew rapidly, which was exciting and encouraging. By the sixth month we had around fifty people attending.
Through this all we had the support from the English church we were under. The English church provided us with a place to have our weekly service. They provided us with resources such as a budget for Spanish church events, Bibles, equipment, support and guidance. They provided us with whatever we needed to press forward. During the first years we participated and supported the English church’s outreach and their vision to connect, grow and reach, which in turn extended into the Spanish church.
After the second year changes occurred that affected the Spanish church. The English church changed their service schedule, which in turn affected the Spanish church’s service time as well. We went from a service time of 12:30pm to a 5:00pm service. Due to this change we lost some members, but have experienced growth since. One obstacle we face is that the majority of the Spanish speaking community is Catholic. Another challenge is that some visitors expect a larger congregation and for that reason they did not return.
Today the Spanish church has a strong base to grow. We have a mid-week Bible study and strong children’s, women’s and men’s ministries. We also offer family and individual biblical counseling, and most importantly have the continued support of the English church.
Some recommendations for new church planters and pastors are:
- That church growth depends on the work of the Holy Spirit as the Bible teaches us in the book of Acts. Our responsibility is to share the word of God be faithful and patient.
- The support of a larger church to sponsor small church plants in foreign languages is helpful in establishing a strong base.
- It is recommended that senior/lead pastor and staff support the foreign language church by promoting and participating in the different activities despite the foreign language obstacles.
- Train church planters to establish a service, ministries, Bible studies, and train leaders for the ministries. Connect them with resources support and direction and train them how to launch ministries within the foreign language church.
- Pastors: train your pastors and your staff from the church planting and school of ministry manuals.
- Senior pastors: prepare the church planters to teach the word of God to the congregations through a teaching and preaching class.
- The English church should promote the foreign language church, announcements, flyers, websites, social media, etc.
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Jorge Rodriguez is a planter and pastor at Capillla Calvario Nexus in Camarillo, CA.
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Bruce Zachary is the founding and lead pastor at Calvary Nexus. He and his wife Karen and their sons Josh and Jonny live in Camarillo. He enjoys teaching the Bible, fountain pens, riding his bike, and good coffee.