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The ministry founder, educator, and Assemblies of God leader elevated the voices of his community and paved the way for future leaders.Jesse Miranda, a Pentecostal leader and the “granddaddy of US Latino Protestantism,” died last Friday at the age of 82.Several weeks ago, Miranda learned that he had inoperable B-cell lymphoma and entered hospice care.As founder of the National Alliance of Evangelical Ministries (AMEN, Alianza de Ministerios Evangélicos Nacionales) and then executive director of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), Miranda was known for bringing together Latino leaders and elevating their voices within American evangelicalism.A 2002 CT profile called him “the primary visionary uniting disparate US Hispanic evangelicals” and praised his “reputation as a sharp listener and bridge-builder who has put his vision, imagination, and wit to the service of the Latino church.”“His commitment to Christ, real. His prophetic voice, renewing. His love for the marginalized, relentless,” wrote current NHCLC president (and a CT board member) Samuel Rodriguez in tribute this week. “I love and forever will honor you Bro. Jesse! You changed my life!”Assemblies of God pastors and National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) cofounders Gabriel and Jeannette Salguero considered him “a mentor to our generation of evangelicals.”One of the most important lessons Miranda passed down was showing how to lead in both Hispanic and majority culture spaces, said Dennis J. Rivera, director of the Office of Hispanic Relations for the Assemblies of God.“Jesse modeled and taught young leaders that Hispanics are not either/or, but are both/and, bilingual and bicultural, and therefore can navigate and serve in two worlds,” Rivera said.Miranda’s organization, ...Continue reading...
The ministry founder, educator, and Assemblies of God leader elevated the voices of his community and paved the way for future leaders.Jesse Miranda, a Pentecostal leader and the “granddaddy of US Latino Protestantism,” died last Friday at the age of 82.Several weeks ago, Miranda learned that he had inoperable B-cell lymphoma and entered hospice care.As founder of the National Alliance of Evangelical Ministries (AMEN, Alianza de Ministerios Evangélicos Nacionales) and then executive director of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), Miranda was known for bringing together Latino leaders and elevating their voices within American evangelicalism.A 2002 CT profile called him “the primary visionary uniting disparate US Hispanic evangelicals” and praised his “reputation as a sharp listener and bridge-builder who has put his vision, imagination, and wit to the service of the Latino church.”“His commitment to Christ, real. His prophetic voice, renewing. His love for the marginalized, relentless,” wrote current NHCLC president (and a CT board member) Samuel Rodriguez in tribute this week. “I love and forever will honor you Bro. Jesse! You changed my life!”Assemblies of God pastors and National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) cofounders Gabriel and Jeannette Salguero considered him “a mentor to our generation of evangelicals.”One of the most important lessons Miranda passed down was showing how to lead in both Hispanic and majority culture spaces, said Dennis J. Rivera, director of the Office of Hispanic Relations for the Assemblies of God.“Jesse modeled and taught young leaders that Hispanics are not either/or, but are both/and, bilingual and bicultural, and therefore can navigate and serve in two worlds,” Rivera said.Miranda’s organization, ...Continue reading...
Let's ask the questions that need to be asked, and offer honest, grace-filled answers that tell us what we need to know.There are two approaches when we talk about church size.The first one is to use church size and, more specifically, church growth as the main way to tell if a church is healthy, strong and effective. Big and getting bigger? Great! Small and staying small? Not so good.The second approach is to treat church size like it doesn’t matter at all. So there’s no need to talk about it. It’s like avoiding a discussion about politics at your first dinner with the in-laws, there are so many potential landmines, it’s best to steer clear of it entirely.I’d like to propose a third approach.We must talk about church size. Not to determine of the health and effectiveness of a church, or to compare which churches are successful and which are not. Church size is useless as a determiner for that.Instead, we need to talk about church size because big churches and small churches are different. And knowing how they’re different is one of the first steps in knowing how to lead them well, what kinds of ministries a particular church is best suited for, and what types of people each church will be reaching.Erasing The StigmaFor too long, there’s been a stigma attached to small church ministry.Thom Rainer felt the sting of that stigma recently, after penning a very encouraging article Thank God For Smaller Churches And Their Leaders. In a follow-up article, Seven Reasons We Need To Move Beyond The Church Size Debate, he wrote:“It is predictable.Any time I write about anything dealing with church sizes, some of the discussion degenerates into a debate about the best size church. It happened last week when I wrote some positive words about smaller churches. It has happened in the past when I wrote some ...Continue reading...
7 Thoughts on Organizing a Ladies Ministry There are certain things I love to do. I love to organize, to decorate, and to bake desserts. I love to entertain and spend quality time with my family. I love to dream big and see those dreams come to reality. I also love leading the ladies ministry of our church. It excites me to work with ladies and observe as they blossom in their leadership abilities, or in their faithfulness to God.What do you love to do? Think about it. Make a list of things that you love to do. Think of how it makes you feel when you talk about these things. Then, list things in your local church that you love to do. Do you get the same feeling of excitement when you think about or talk about those things?A large portion of loving what I do on a daily basis is ladies ministries. Putting a plan on paper and then putting it into action is an intricate part of being able to love what you do. No one loves to feel tired, behind schedule, and lost in the plan. The most unorganized person can appreciate organization; however, the most organized person cannot function within an unorganized structure. When ladies feel a part of a plan, and understand their role in the plan you will enjoy working alongside them and they will enjoy your leadership.Here are seven suggestions as you organize your ladies ministry:1. Develop a Philosophy of MinistryIt is important to establish a philosophy of ministry that works for your local church. Moving ladies from outer, to middle, to inner core is a part of this philosophy and a perfect example of philosophy. Define leadership and then lead accordingly. Choosing leadership over management of people will help you to love working with people; thus, loving what you do on a daily basis. It is important to manage events, and to lead ladies.Listen as you lead. James 1:19 reminds me of this truth, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Ladies respond well to leadership when their thoughts have been heard. Your leadership is strongest when you gather the opinion of those on your team, not taking the credit for yourself, but instead, it being a team effort.2. Remember the Power of InfluenceNever underestimate the power of influence. Everyone has influence on someone. There are several ways to influence another person. One way is to pray for them. Add a name to your prayer journal and a specific need for that person. Keep adding names until you have a journal full of people. Remember that names on paper represent people with problems whether physical or spiritual.Another way to have influence on someone is to take your time to get to know them. Invite a lady to lunch. Get to know her one on one. Always have room in your life for a new friend. The ministry is all about people and you will be more loving and patient as you personally get to know them and individually pray for them.3. Have a Purpose for EventsHave a purpose in mind for every event, Bible study, newsletter, email, or function. Some events are simply for food, fun, and fellowship. Bible studies are for spiritual growth and building friendships. Building leadership in ladies, as well as, planning a well balanced event is the purpose of using a team.4. Remember that People Are ImportantIn John 4:3–29 Jesus gives us the perfect example of the power of influence on people. John 4:4 says, “And he must needs go through Samaria.” Why? Because there was one lady who was a nobody to the people in her city, but she was a somebody to God! I am important, you are important, and the lady that you should influence is important. All people are important to God! In your ladies ministry, are you placing importance on people?5. Plan for SuccessWhen you have planning meetings for an event or study, don't have just another meeting. Plan for success. Think through what you will say and how to say it. Make a yearly calendar of ladies events. Put them all on your church calendar if your church has one. Reserve the church facilities according to the policy of your church. Host a team meeting to delegate responsibilities, and then allow those team members to work within their area. Be thematic and work at making each event better. Try not to change the date of an event. Consistently doing what you say you will do adds stability to your ministry.6. Develop Policies and ProceduresDevelop policies and procedures as you move forward in your ladies ministry. Have a budget and stick with it as much as possible. Set a price for meals, Bible studies, and such. Have each ministry turn in a report to you each year stating numbers and facts. Develop a procedure for reimbursements. Following the policies and procedures that you set in place will help you to establish leadership and to enjoy working with the ladies.7. Rotate PurposefullyRotating certain responsibilities is a plus to any ladies ministry team. A person can get burned out on doing the same responsibilities. It is difficult to develop new thoughts year after year if the new thoughts are in the same area. Rotation also prevents territorialism, which is a huge enemy of any ladies ministry.These seven suggestions can help your ladies ministry no matter its size. I love what I do and I want you to love it too!
When the State Department released its annual Report on International Religious Freedom in June detailing the status of religious freedom in countries around the world, it drew blowback from world leaders whose countries failed to receive a positive report. Officials from India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were especially quick to criticize the State Department’s assessment of their country.The report outlines several instances where violence has occurred against religious minorities and how Indian law enforcement has been implicated in many of the crimes.Violence against Christians and Muslims is an ongoing problem in India—and Indian law enforcement has been reluctant to protect these religious minority communities. What’s worse is that law enforcement has often been implicated in many of the crimes committed against religious minorities. Over the past several years, it has become increasingly common for members of Hindu nationalist groups to attack Christian leaders and their ministries following false accusations that Christians are practicing forced conversions. There’s clearly religious freedom violations occurring in India, and the State Department report offers substantial evidence to confirm that.In response to the State Department’s report, Anil Baluni, the National Media head for the BJP, defended Indian president Narendra Modi in an official statement. “The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false,” he stated. “Whenever needed, Mr. Modi and other BJP leaders have deplored violence against minorities and weaker sections.”In another response to the report, a government spokesperson tersely retorted that, “India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion.”The State Department report is not the only announcement that has put oppressive countries on the defensive. Popular news outlets are also calling out countries on the abuses levied at their people.Recently, Pakistani leaders issued a defense of Pakistan’s treatment of religious minorities. During a recent trip to Brussels, Pakistani Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi attempted to downplay accusations of ongoing Christian persecution in Pakistan. He argued that Christians are “very welcome,” and stated, “we respect them and want them to be there.”News reports suggest the environment for Christians in Pakistan is less than welcoming. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which prohibit speaking against Islam, are often abused and used to settle unrelated disputes. Pakistani Christians live in fear of being accused of blasphemy, which can be punishable by death.Last week, Nigerian leaders also claimed that accusations of persecution against Christians in Nigeria was exaggerated. This is an especially bold denial when the situation in Nigeria borders on genocide.Tens of thousands of Christians have been displaced or killed by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. Boko Haram has killed more people than ISIS, and the Fulani are armed with AK-47s. Despite the horrific violence occurring in Nigeria, when the Northern Christian Elders Forum wrote a letter to the British Parliament about the abuses suffered under the current administration, the Nigerian government was quick to retort that claims of religious persecution in Nigeria were false. Nigerian officials went so far as to trivialize the current violence by calling it a simple case of clashes between farmers and herdsman. These incidences of world leaders denying religious freedom violations in their countries is appalling and hard to believe—yet it is actually a good sign. This shows that efforts like the State Department’s annual Report on International Religious Freedom (which calls out countries on their religious freedom violations), the upcoming Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom (which highlights the diplomatic importance of honoring religious liberty), and even reports by major news outlets are effective. The fact that state leaders don’t want their countries to be seen as countries where religious liberty isn’t protected shows the pressure that the U.S. State Department can put on countries to improve the status of religious freedom in their countries.World leaders can deny the truth all they want, but religious freedom is only gaining ground as an issue of focus on the world stage. Soon, leaders will have to do more than deny the ongoing persecution in their countries. If regimes want to gain international legitimacy and improve their reputation, they must become known as governments which respect the freedom of their people to adhere to their conscience and protect religious minorities from harassment and violence due to their faith.Arielle Del Turco is the Research Assistant for FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty. Luke Isbell is an intern at Family Research Council.
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