Two languages: One Building, One Church, One Vision
A conversation with Pastors Rabo and Cardona
How long have each of you been part of the ministry at Shreveport First Church of the Nazarene?
John: I’ve been the pastor of Shreveport First for over 13 years.
Miguel: He estado sirviendo a Dios como pastor 8 años.
I have been serving God as a pastor for 8 years.
Your vision is “Two languages: one building, one church, one vision.” What does this mean to you?
John: It’s a reminder that while we may have our differences linguistically and culturally, we share significant things together. We share space; we share spiritual life, and we share a common mission.
Miguel: Para mí significa poder ser bendecidos en el lugar que desde hace tiempo se eligió para predicar la palabra de Dios, cumplir con el propósito por el cual la iglesia fue construida y estar haciendo lo que los hombres santos soñaron, planificaron, y ejecutaron con lo cual estamos siendo bendecidos hoy en día.
For me it means being able to be blessed in the place that has been chosen for a long time to preach the word of God, fulfill the purpose for which the church was built and be doing what the holy men dreamed, planned, and executed with which we are being blessed today.
How does this vision help your church be more effective in reaching your community with the gospel?
John: Sharing space and life with our Hispanic congregation has broadened our concept of mission. Our Anglo church has always had a big heart for world mission – or “people over there.” And I think our local mission was interpreted narrowly as “people like us.” In a way, our vision was bifurcated. Having a “daughter” church in our midst has caused us to be more conscious of the immanence of world mission and the immediacy of local mission work.
Miguel: Nos ayuda bastante porque tenemos la oportunidad de predicar la Palabra en dos idiomas a la vez y ofrecerles al mismo Dios que adoramos, servimos, y exaltamos.
It helps us a lot because we have the opportunity to preach the Word in two languages at the same time and offer them the same God that we adore, serve, and exalt.
What is an event the English and Spanish ministries do together? Why is this important?
John: We typically have combined services in the Spring and Fall. It gives us an opportunity to worship together, since our styles of worship differ. Songs are a mixture of English and Spanish – with appropriate translation. The messages are English or Spanish with translation being provided. It’s a time of bonding for both congregations.
Other shared times include:
… Watch services (Hispanic led)
… Post-retreat testimony service (Hispanic led)
… Harvest Carnival (Anglo led)
Miguel: Tenemos servicios unidos especialmente Easter day y eventos a nivel de distrito y celebraciones especiales. Es importante para mantener la relación entre una iglesia madre e hija y así mantener lazos unidos de amor.
We have joint services especially Easter day and district level events and special celebrations. It is important to maintain the relationship between a mother and daughter church and thus maintain close bonds of love.
If a church wanted to begin a ministry for both English and Spanish speaking people in their community, what would be one piece of advice you would give them?
John: You’re not entering into a contractual agreement – it’s a relationship! With that in mind, I’ve always leaned on the scripture that tells us to “submit to one another in love.” A relationship of love, submission, humility, and respect is going to succeed and flourish.
Even though I had been a pastor over twenty years when this relationship began, I never considered myself “better” than Pastor Miguel. My approach was simple: “I will be a blessing to him, and he will be a blessing to me.”
Miguel: Que puedan disfrutar de las instalaciones del edificio y de la convivencia sin pensar que los unos son menos por estar rentando ni los otros son jefes por ser los que rentan el edificio.
Más bien que puedan disfrutar de una relación de madre a hija sabiendo muy bien que la relación se basa en el amor y respeto mutuo.
That they can enjoy the facilities of the building and coexistence without thinking that some are less because they are renting and the others are bosses because they are the ones who rent the building. Rather that they can enjoy a mother-daughter relationship knowing full well that the relationship is based on love and mutual respect.