Breaking News from the Hispanic Church
January, 2005 – Texas — The Assemblies of God denomination recently recognized NHCLC policy director, Dr. Gilberto Velez as a leader in planting Hispanic churches. The following excerpt from the denomination’s website was provided courtesy of the Assemblies of God.
Church Planting Among the Hispanics
Leading the way in ethnic-church planting has been the Hispanic churches. Iglesia Cristiana Misericordia, a church that began in 1994, is an example of a self-started church-planting endeavor under the leadership of Pastor Gilberto Velez.
Gilberto and Velma Velez, who were originally from Puerto Rico, were serving as associate pastors at El Sendero de la Cruz A/G in San Antonio, Texas, while practicing their medical professions. They moved to Laredo to join the staff at a hospital in that border town. The challenge of the 300-mile round-trip to San Antonio on Wednesdays and weekends to serve at El Sendero led them to begin a home Bible study in Laredo with a handful of people in March 1995.
Little did Velez dream that this midweek Bible study would blossom into a Hispanic church-planting project. After several years of bivocational ministry in the church, Velez and his wife left their medical careers to become full-time pastors. God honored their step of faith and a fellow medical doctor paid their support for 3 months. At the end of the 3 months, the income of the church was sufficient to meet the needs of the pastors and the ministries of the church. In January 2000, the Iglesia Cristiana Misericordia averaged over 500 on Sunday. They purchased facilities from a private school. Their expanded sanctuary, completed in April 2000, seats 800.
To read the full article, please go to: http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200004/064_new_church_planting.cfm