Hispanic Pastor Discovers the Power of Multiplication
By Kevin Spear
Pastor Noé Espinoza knows how powerful it can be when a church develops leaders. In just the last three years, he has worked with ten leaders within his congregation who have felt a call to ministry.
Michael Guzman, regional pastor for the Churches of God in Central California recently ordained Espinoza. He commented, “Pastor Espinoza recently completed the first Spanish Leadership Focus program in Church of God history. He has an amazing calling on his life and is great at multiplying leaders.”
Espinoza is the lead pastor of the Church of God of Hope and Life in Tulare, California. His focus on leadership development was aided by the Church of God Leadership Focus Ministry Development Tool. It is designed to guide and strengthen leadership skills for pastors and ministry leaders.
Espinoza has found the Leadership Focus program to be very useful. “I am teaching some of the strategies I have learned to leaders who have the desire to start new Hispanic Churches of God.”
Jeannette Flynn with Church of God Ministries explains, “The Concilio and our Spanish brothers and sisters have been such powerful leaders to the spread of the gospel and in the equipping and training of men and women called to ministry. It has been the partnership with our Spanish leaders there in California and across the nation that continues to bring energy and strength to the Leadership Focus Spanish track. It is our prayer that as we continue to build and strengthen this program that more and more Spanish leaders and congregations will be raised up to effectively extend the kingdom of God.”
Pastor Espinoza said that the group of leaders are men and women from his church ranging from twenty-five to seventy years old. “They are all from our congregation and some of them were spiritually born in the ministry the last five years.” He believes it is too early to tell whether all of them will one day be pastors. “What I can tell you is that most have an authentic calling on their lives.”
Such a diverse group has been a challenge for Espinoza. He notes cultural differences within the group, the age gap, and lack of preparation in secular schools as challenges, not to mention an unfamiliarity with doctrine, as barriers to overcome.
Yet, he has seen the efforts bear fruit. “Two of our students have started new ministries. One is bringing the Word of God to the homeless. Another started a prison ministry. And we are planning to meet with the regional board for the Churches of God in Central California to start new Hispanic churches where there have been no Spanish-speaking ministries.” He has observed that there are larger Hispanic populations in Central California in need of the gospel.
When asked for advice for those that would like to train new ministry leaders, he offered the following. “Primarily, pray to God, then take up the challenge of preparing them. Strive to achieve what God has laid upon your heart. In my region, I could see there were only three Hispanic Churches of God. For a while, I walked the streets of my city, Tulare, and was able to look with eyes of compassion on those that needed to know Jesus as their Savior. Then I saw the need to train men and women to carry the gospel of Christ to the region.”
Learn more about Leadership Focus at www.jesusisthesubject.org/leadership-focus.
Kevin Spear has worked for Warner Christian Resources (formerly Warner Press) and has regularly contributed time and talent to the work of Church of God Ministries. He is a ministry partner with his wife Paula, an ordained pastor in the Church of God.