San Miguel Lutheran Church is a thriving Spanish-speaking ministry and NALC congregation in Fort Worth, Texas. More than six years ago, San Miguel left their former church body and joined the NALC, of which they have greatly appreciated being a member congregation. On an average Sunday, 200 to 300 people join together to worship in Spanish. They are served by Pastor Juan Portillo.
Alongside their beautiful worship services, they are involved in numerous outreaches in the Fort Worth area, where they additionally offer weddings, confirmations, and quinceañeras. It is a very special and growing ministry. However, these years have not gone without challenges.
Three years after their departure, their former church body filed a lawsuit against San Miguel for repayment of gifted grants which had been given to the congregation over many years. While the plaintiff argued that the grants stipulated that if the recipient left the church body there would need to be repayment, San Miguel contended that grants by definition are not monies needing to be repaid. This led to an unfortunate, long, and difficult legal battle.
In June of this year, a settlement was reached, allowing San Miguel to the full claim on its property and congregation, but requiring a monthly payment to their former church body over the next 10 years. The members and leadership of San Miguel are overjoyed. They are now free to focus on their ministry and mission to their neighborhood and beyond, especially to the increasing Spanish-speaking populations in their midst.
Unfortunately, the settlement will put a serious strain on San Miguel. In normal times they are a self-supporting ministry, however, in addition to the lawsuit, the COVID-19 pandemic has also hit them hard. A number of their members have had the virus, and their community has also suffered, causing worship attendance to decrease significantly. While they have serious challenges ahead, their ministry and outreach continues and moves forward, and the NALC is thrilled to have them as one of its congregations.
As a Mission-Driven church body, the NALC believes that the mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples for Christ. We believe that making disciples – in our congregations, in our communities and nations, and around the world -must be a priority of the Church in the present age. We are excited to see San Miguel live as a community with that very passion to serve those around them in the name of Christ Jesus.
Please keep San Miguel in your prayers. This is an exciting ministry of the NALC. If you would like more information about this outreach, to participate in the work of this congregation, or are interested in becoming a mission partner with San Miguel, please contact the NALC mission office at [email protected] or 651-633-6004.