Many church leaders feel isolated, discouraged and unrecognized for their sacrifice. We want to address this by sharing monthly stories of everyday Christians who are ministry SuperConnectors. The specific superpower of these heroes is connecting an immigrant church and an American church for shared ministry.
Our first monthly SuperConnector award goes to Pastor Juan Vargas of Vida Nueva Church in Shakopee, Minnesota, which has formed a deep relationship with Shakopee’s Resonate Church. Pastor Vargas’ partnership with Resonate highlights one of the key factors for success in immigrant/American church relationships: building multiple ministry connections.
Pastor Vargas planted Vida Nueva in his home 3 years ago, quickly packing out his living room. Many Latinos came to faith through their ministry, and Pastor Vargas knew they needed room to expand.
One year ago Church Connectors Ministry introduced the Vargas family to Resonate Church’s leadership team. They began to pray together, visit one another’s services and explore what joint ministry might look like. In less than one year, the churches shared ministry in 4 different areas.
- Shared youth ministry. The youth leaders of both churches quickly formed a friendship and began joint Wednesday evening youth programming. This was well received by both youth and parents, and led to Latino youth coming to faith in Christ.
- Shared spaces. In May Vida Nueva began worshipping at Resonate’s facility on Sunday afternoons, giving them new capacity for growth. Several new families have visited since then. Now that his home is no longer a worship center, Pastor Vargas’ living room has a sofa and other furniture it did not have before.
- Shared outreach. In July the churches hosted a joint community outreach event called Animal Palooza, with a petting zoo, pony rides, games, face painting and more. Both churches provided workers, materials and finances, and invited English and Spanish-speaking neighbors. The event made a positive impression on neighbors of both ethnic backgrounds.
- Shared community service. At Thanksgiving both churches provided volunteers and finances to share hundreds of meals to the needy in Scott County.
Combining so many ministries in less than one year provided a number of relational and logistical challenges. But Pastor Vargas remained faithful to his calling as a pastor and to maintaining solid relationships with his new friends. We hope his story will encourage other pastors to form similar relationships.
You can contact Pastor Vargas at Vida Nueva’s Facebook page, @vidanueva.encristo.39.