South-Central States Assemble to Reconnect, Worship en Español
By Carl Stagner
Like the numerous events normally scheduled across the Church of God in the United States and Canada, meetings of the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano) were canceled during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to a relationship with the Lord, our Spanish-speaking Partners in Ministry find uniquely potent refreshment and renewal in relationship with each other when worshiping in their most comfortable language. Exhibiting a similar ramping up of anticipation observed prior to the 2021 Church of God Convention in Denver, Church of God pastors and laypeople in the south-central region of the Hispanic Council can’t wait to reconnect April 29–30 in Oklahoma.
“The past two years, because of COVID-19, we haven’t been able to meet,” Salvador Hernandez explains. “This is going to be a great time of finally getting together once again.”
Hernandez leads the Hispanic ministry of Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City, where Steve Chiles serves as senior pastor. The ministries only just concluded a merger in January and, according to Hernandez, are bearing much fruit in the days since. Such a bold Kingdom move might be seen as risky by some, but it comes as a natural extension of a common commitment to unity in Christ. But unity has to be experienced—lived out—if it is to truly be of any practical value.
“[We must] live out unity as more than just a mere concept,” Pastor Salvador explains. “When we get together, we get refreshed, encouraged, and we can share one another’s burdens and take time to pray for each other.”
In the context of the upcoming Convención Regional Sur Centro, which Shartel Church of God will host, Salvador Hernandez reflects on the vitality of relational connectedness. “More than just a meeting that can happen on Sunday at church,” he says, “this event helps us connect with other pastors, it reminds us that we are not doing ministry alone, and it encourages us to continue in the ministry. We all need to get out of our routines, even if just for a few days to recharge our spirits.”
Oscar Brooks, scheduled as the main speaker for the event, is expected to bring compelling messages from Scripture. Salvador notes that his background is Nazarene, but his heart and mind are squarely in line with the longstanding doctrines of the Church of God movement. More than that, Brooks’s missionary background and experience are sure to energize and inspire. Marcos Garcia and José Gomez, of Hispanic Council leadership, will also be on hand at the event. Salvador is excited for them to join the regional event, even while the national convention doesn’t take place until July 21–23 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
“We asked them to come so we can all be in one agenda,” he explains. “Our regional Concilio cannot work independently of what is happening at the national level. Their presence will help us ensure we are all going in the same direction.”
Salvador Hernandez is the director of the region for the Hispanic Council, but he genuinely looks forward to this event on a personal level. “I look forward to the opportunity to connect with pastors, to remind them of the benefits of belonging to the Church of God movement through the regional Concilio. I look forward to seeing our pastors get together, do business for the kingdom of God, and continue the relationship.”
For more information about the Convención Regional Sur Centro, April 29–30, 2022, call 405-568-9776.