“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” -Habakkuk 2:2-3
All Saints Lutheran Church (Arlington, Texas) strives to embrace the NALC’s Core Values: Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven, Traditionally Grounded, Congregationally Focused. As we continued to intentionally find ways to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those in our neighborhood, we recognized that many of us didn’t speak the same language. While some are endeavoring to learn Spanish, we knew it was time to take the next step.
Last year, we started with zero: zero budget, zero people for a Spanish language ministry. Pastor Jose Torres came to us, through Pr Pedro Portillo’s referral, willing to start a service. He’s established a core of 30+ people who worship regularly at a Spanish language service, even though it’s held at 1:30 in the afternoon. During the past year, Pr Torres, formerly an ELCA pastor, went through the process and became certified through the NALC. He also has been able to serve in a crucial role as interim over at Santa Maria Lutheran Church in Irving since January, and will conclude that role at the end of July. Pastor Torres’ compensation at All Saints thus far has simply been 90% of the offerings received from that service, which has roughly approximated what he would get as pulpit supply. (The other 10% goes into a benevolence fund as tithe.)
In January, we were awarded with a $10,000 grant through the Great Commission Fund application process for Spanish Language ministry. We’ve deferred it’s distribution until July, so that it may be more effectively distributed when PastorTorres is no longer financially subsidized by his interim work at Santa Maria. Then, for the second half of this year, we’ve set out to a) Call Pastor Torres to All Saints, b) normalize his compensation within our budget, and c) Move the Spanish language service to 11:30am, even if it means meeting in our fellowship hall.
Adding this $10,000 grant to the expected income from Spanish language worship made it possible to have a conversation about a part-time salary for Pastor Torres. But then last month our finance team recommended that All Saints MATCH the $10,000 grant from the NALC each year it’s given, out of our savings! So this grant has not only made it possible to expand Great Commission ministry here in Arlington, TX; it has inspired All Saints to match the funds in order to prioritize this mission!!! We cannot thank those who made this possible, through their generous donations, enough for the blessing this allows us to be to others and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
All Saints Lutheran Church voted one week ago on a recommendation to call Pastor Torres to a 2/3 time position as Associate Pastor here at All Saints, starting right away in July, in order to expand and prioritize Spanish language ministry in the community through All Saints. We invite you to celebrate God’s abundant work amongst us as we strive to be Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven, Traditionally Grounded, and Congregationally Focused.
Written by Pastor John Scheusner, Senior Pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Arlington, Texas. To learn more about the work being done, please visit: The Great Commission Society.