At FCC Chicago we are blessed to have those who speak English, Spanish, French, Creole, German, Albanian and tribal languages of Nigeria as part of our ministry. God can use you to reach the nations.
About 2 1/2 years ago, the Elders shared the vision of establishing a Spanish-speaking ministry as an extension of FCC Chicago’s ministry. Some of you would have been here to hear about that before. Others of you are newer, and had probably not heard that vision verbalized.
The conversation about Spanish-speaking ministry began when we discovered that 20% of the Ashburn neighborhood (that’s 8-10,000 people) are Spanish-speaking, English-isolated, meaning that we couldn’t reach them even if we wanted to with our current English-only ministry. But God loves these people too and desires for them to be part of his family. On this, our heart should match God’s heart.
This is not a political issue of whether all Americans should speak English. It is a gospel issue of reaching every ethnic group with the gospel in order to see them become disciples of Jesus.
The need to write is due to some confusion and misunderstanding of what a Spanish-speaking ministry might mean for the church body. One concern was that we will be making the current Worship Celebration environment a fully bi-lingual context. Let me assure you that that is not the plan. The current English Worship service would remain English.
Actually, beginning the conversation with talk of a Worship service is premature. What we probably would do, before arriving at a Worship plan, is begin to expand our ministry to Spanish speakers through starting Bible studies or other programs that would meet felt needs of Spanish-speaking neighbors, such as English As A Second Language. This is where some of our members become vital ministry links. If you speak Spanish, you may be that person to start a Bible study or participate in a ministry in Spanish. We are blessed to have couple Spanish speakers within our congregation, and I have to wonder if God hasn’t placed you within our body to be used to reach those our English speaking family can’t reach.
If, or shall I say, when, a core group develops through a one of these ministries we could then consider how we would like to further develop that ministry. The foremost option is to plant a “church within a church”, which would see FCC Chicago have the Spanish-speaking worship birth under the umbrella of the FCC leadership. With the building that we have we could even have two services simultaneously, one in the Worship Center and the other in the Fellowship Hall.
We have had some informal talks with Lance Hurley, the Executive Director of Ignite Churchplanting about partnering with FCC Chicago in this endeavor to start a Spanish-speaking ministry. The initial conversations have shown promise that Ignite would partner with us in this journey.
If you have further questions, I would be glad to answer them.