Convención Nacional: Hispanic Council Reconnected, Refreshed Post-Pandemic
By Carl Stagner
Iglesia de Dios Shalom in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, was this year’s host church for the Hispanic Council’s National Convention (Convención Nacional) of the Church of God. Noted for multiple, meaningful moments of impassioned praise and powerful preaching, the event spanned three days at the end of July. Following two years of cancellations, the gathering attracted Spanish-speaking pastors and lay leaders from California to Florida, and several states in between. In an interview with Church of God Ministries, one Oklahoma pastor recounted the experience.
“It was refreshing to see so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ,” Salvador Hernández explains. “After two years of not being able to meet, this meeting was special, the Word of God challenged us, the fellowship was great, and the blessing to be together was just wonderful. I believe everyone went home feeling refreshed and ready to continue the wonderful task of serving the Lord.”
Salvador Hernández serves as pastor of the Hispanic ministry of Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City. His leadership was instrumental earlier this year in the hosting the South-Central Regional Convention (Convención Regional Sur Centro) of the Hispanic Council. He reports that the national event at the end of July was “well-attended,” with a variety of locations represented, including, but not limited to, California, New Mexico, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio.
Ignacio de La Cruz served as the speaker, expounding upon the convention theme of “Reaching new levels.” Specifically, he gave the example of David, “who went from being a shepherd to a King.” Salvador recalls, “We were challenged to see beyond our circumstances and have that attitude of David.” Stressing the vitality of leadership development in the next generation, he warned against the church becoming too comfortable with the existing number of leaders.
Salvador has his own thoughts about the Convention theme, and what should be done. “I believe the idea behind the theme is not to remain stagnant, but instead, to focus on all the richest that God wants to pour on us to become what he has established in his Word. In my opinion, it is important to challenge the congregation because we can become so focus on what we ‘need’ and our own space, waking up. Going to work, more work, school, evening activities, etc., that can easily become distracted by the world and not to fulfill God’s will. I believed the conference had a goal to challenge everyone to see beyond the everyday routine, and focuses on what God wants to do through us.”
Jim Lyon, general director of Church of God Ministries, attended the Hispanic Council convention and offered glowing remarks about the Hispanic Council. While there he also led a conference about the Church of God, translated into Spanish as he spoke. Salvador appreciated the wise words of Jim as the discussion of vision for the Church of God.
Jim Lyon, reflecting on the experience himself, tweeted, “[I’m] truly honored to be in the lineup at ChoG (Iglesia de Dios) Hispanic Convention 2022 in Philadelphia. So many anointed, life-giving, terrific #JesusPeople here—all united by their faith in Jesus, their love for the Church of God, and their Hispanic culture and language…The campus is electric, with crowds filling two indoor venues and spilling outside.”
Thinking ahead, Pastor Salvador expresses hope and confidence in the ways the Spirit is moving in the ministry of the Hispanic Council. “I am excited for the Church of God movement to remain faithful to its biblical principles,” he reflects. “With so many churches that once were conservative and are departing the Word of God to accommodate to the world, I am excited that the Church of God movement in the Hispanic Council remains anchored in the truth. I am also excited to see the leadership of the Church of God Concilio Hispano and what they are doing in order to reach every state where there is a Church of God through several meetings, training, events, etc. in order to remain as one body in Christ.”
Learn more about the Partners in Ministry at https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/partners-in-ministry/. Learn more about the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano) of the Church of God (in Spanish) at www.conciliochog.org. Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 through October 15.
Photo: Hispanic Council convention in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, this year.