This last week we had the Cal-Pac Annual Conference. For 5 days we had meetings, decisions, fellowship and the like. Saturday, we had a reunion of LAMAG, and there we talked about the sale of our (Latina) churches. The DS was there to answer questions and attend to concerns. What became clear was that those who made the decision (I don’t know who they were) had not consulted with any caucus or Latino ministry group. And from there things went down hill. Well, they talked and decided to meet again that night so they could finish their discussion. But, at the same all (or at least some) of the “demons” (complaints, conflicts, etc) that exist between folks came out. I know there isn’t any group that will not have problems—it’s a fact of our reality, but at the same time, some of the problems that exist could be resolved without much effort (for example, having a meeting2 months before conference to discuss what will happen at conference—the resolutions, rules, etc; looking for a common vision, etc.). It seems to me there is no “group think” taking place—in other words, there isn’t a group of people that gets together to think and plan things that have to do with Latino ministries. And believe me when I say, THERE IS A NEED. We need to be more united in who we are, more united in our vision, and not be left each to him/herself—we need the strength of unity and right now we don’t have it.
It seems to me we are waiting for someone to tell us: “Do this. Take care of that.” But, brothers and sisters, we don’t have that person and we can’t keep waiting for him/her. If there isn’t such a person, which there isn’t, then we have to do it ourselves. We can’t wait until the conference understands or until they have someone in front—it is us who need to lead, us who need to plan for the future. We have to do the work. And yes, many of us need more tools, but we also can’t keep waiting for someone to give them to us. We have to look for them, and then look for the teaching on how to use them, and then do the work. We are the ones who are called. We are the ones who have been blessed by God to do the work of Latino ministries, and others are looking to us for the example of how to do ministry with Latinos here in California (and Hawaii).
At the end of the day, we are not all going to have a church of 4000, but there is no reason why some of us can’t have one (that’s to say, that we can’t create one) and for the others, there is no reason why we can’t have a church of 300-500 people. We have the people and we have the gospel—and if we truly believe in the power of the Word, in the power of Christ, in the transformative power of an encounter with God—there is no reason why we can’t “achieve” more people for the Christian community. But first we have to believe in the power of the gospel, we have to believe it offers something to people (something different that you can’t find in any other place), believe that YES we can do the work as Methodists (without being Catholic or Pentecostal) and then set to work at sharing the gospel.