Earlier this week about 20 Hispanic megachurch pastors gathered at Leadership Network's Dallas office for a one-day forum. It was a high energy day. We had lots of laughter as pastors shared their visions, recent breakthroughs, and challenges about staffing and finances. Many good insights emerged as folks talked.
We also had live Q&A about leadership development with Rick Warren in the morning and Sam Chand in the afternoon. One of Rick's lines: “Pride and discouragement are the two things that will mess you up the most. You determine someone's greatness by what it takes to discourage them.” He also affirmed, “You become an oak tree by being a little nut that doesn't move!” Here are the video links if you'd like to watch them, about 30 minutes each: Rick Warren, Sam Chand.
Rick Warren: http://leadnet.na4.acrobat.com/p47858432/
Sam Chand: http://leadnet.na4.acrobat.com/p93028682/
Some of the lines from various pastors that sparked good discussion:
– “Think energy management not time management.”
– “Pride kills me, humility gives life.”
– “I have a team of 20-year-olds critique my sermons. That helps me and also earns me the right to lead and influence them.”
The discussion included a few minutes about the use of grants from the government (federal, state, school system). Several of the churches had gotten sizable grants for some excellent initiatives: mentoring children of parents in prison, mentoring at-risk youth, and more. “Put out as many applications as you can,” one pastor advised, “if you're paying grantwriting specialists for help, offer them a generous financial incentive for each grant you win.” They also talked about the downsides of grants, warning that sometimes they can become the tail wagging the dog. “Make sure you're very clear about the mission God has called you to, and pursue only those grants that align with your church's core values.”
It was fun to hear how these pastors are serving different Hispanic generations. Most of the churches have one or more services in Spanish, and one or more in English. Some start everyone together, and then one language group exits mid-service for the sermon in their language. Some pastors translate themselves as they talk to make the service bilingual.
Co-sponsor Gilbert Velez of NHCLC and I were impressed by these leaders' focus on capturing the next generation for Christ, Indeed, great things are ahead for these churches. If we do another forum like this, please let us know of additional pastors we should invite.
If you want some great statistics and trends on the growth and gospel receptivity of America's Hispanic population, see this excellent visual (and free) booklet: Hispanic Realities for the 21st Century.
Warren Bird, Ph.D., is Research Director at Leadership Network, and co-author of 21 books on various aspects of church health and innovation. His recent “Leadership Network” blogs include Updated Publishing Updates,Beyond Christendom Says Migration Keeps Transforming the Church, Terrific Biography of Rick Warren, The Soviet Plot to Kill God, The Worst Moment in Most Church Services, Excellent Resources for Church-Based Grants, Do White Churches Hold Others in Cultural Captivity?and Church Merger Phenomenon Continues to Expand,”We're Tired of Trying to Microwave Church Leaders” (1 of 3),“We're Tired of Trying to Microwave Church Leaders” (2 of 3), “We're Tired of Trying to Microwave Church Leaders” (3 of 3),The Christian Century on Megachurches