Bethany Evangelical Free Church in Littleton, CO has been on the missional church trajectory since 2004. Yet it was only in 2007 that we had significant progress. Through demographic research (Percept Studies and Caleb Project’s Crossing Cultures), we discovered that North Littleton (Broadway to Santa Fe, Littleton Blvd. to Belleview) contains one of the largest constituencies of Hispanics in the state of Colorado (69% Hispanic in contrast to 3-5% Hispanic of surrounding communities). This community is only one mile from the church I pastor, Bethany Evangelical Free Church.As the result of this information, we decided to further survey this community. We reserved Powers Park in North Littleton one Saturday during the month of May in 2007 and hosted a Fiesta in the Park. We served hamburgers, green chili, distributed Mothers Day presents, played Latin music and used a simple questionnaire surveying the basic needs of the people.During this time, God graciously sent us a Hispanic pastor with a core group of twenty five Hispanics looking for a facility. God was graciously honoring the small steps of faith Bethany was taking. Not long after this May 2007 event, Vida Nueva Para Denver started, which is Bethany’s Spanish speaking church. There are currently ten nations represented including Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Columbia, Venezuela, and Argentina.Not long after starting Vida Nueva, which meets in the Underground Worship Venue at Bethany at 10:45a.m., we also started a Multi-Cultural Adult Bible Fellowship. This provided an initial place for integration of English and Spanish speakers. Pastor Francisco Mendez runs this Adult Bible Fellowship in both languages. We also started a multi-cultural service every six weeks including the two services of Bethany Evangelical Free Church and Vida Nueva. Lastly, Pastor Francisco Mendez has a radio program on Tuesdays at 2pm on a local Hispanic AM radio station in the Denver area.Then God blessed us when Alejandra Harguth met Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior through Pastor Francisco and Vida Nueva last September 2007. Alejandra just so happens to be the Director of the Littleton Immigration Initiative in Littleton, CO. She is a gatekeeper into our community. Not long after Alejandra’s conversion, she asked if we would host ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in conjunction with Bemis Library. Our response was, “This is what we’ve been praying for, for the last couple of years. We would love to host ESL classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.” Bethany now has vibrant initiatives reaching Hispanics in our community.I must say, God is honoring our simple steps of faith. Honestly, we have no idea what we are doing other than becoming like Christ in character and in priorities. Since starting Vida Nueva, Bethany now has a Philippino bible study on Thursday nights, an Asian constituency (including a Japanese band that led Vida Nueva recently) and an African American constituency coming to Bethany. Building a bridge for Hispanics was building a bridge for all ethnic groups in our experience. Our prayer is that Bethany Evangelical Free can become a living testimony of a church that transitioned from an inward programmatic mono-cultural Evangelical church to a congregation that is aware of and evangelizing the culture of the surrounding community.Pastor Kevin J. Navarro
Archive for July, 2008
We are going to be introducing a new category to the Consuming Jesus blog. This category is titled “From the Trenches,” and will give us an opportunity to hear from pastors and practitioners that are active in engaging in the ideas presented in the book. We hope that it will be another good way to spark discussion about how Jesus’ consuming love calls us to address these race and class issues in the church.
There is now a free Consuming Jesus study guide available for download. It is a great resource for those going through the book, or who would like to go through the book with a small group. The study guide includes questions for sparking group discussion, and possible ways to apply the ideas of each chapter. To access the study guide, click the link below or on the column to the right.