Hispanic Church Growth Continues in Ohio
Hispanic churches in the Cleveland area and throughout the Ohio Conference continue to grow and thrive.
Story by Heidi Shoemaker
At the recent Hispanic Camp Meeting held at Camp Mohaven Retreat and Conference Center in Danville, Roberto Rivera, pastor of the Columbus area Hispanic churches, reported that the First Hispanic church of Columbus alone has grown more than seven percent this year. Church plants in Columbus West and Dublin also continue to thrive.
For a period of time, the Springfield Spanish church in Springfield had remained static, until Rivera and his wife, Ana, encouraged members to hold frequent potlucks.
“Potlucks are a way to bond,” says Ana of the reason for increased attendance. “People [now] feel welcome at church.”
Several central Ohio church members own their own companies and want to witness to their employees. Not wanting their employees to work on Sabbath, they invite their employees to church as an alternative to work.
Like their brethren in the Cleveland area, lay members in Columbus credit involvement and personal interaction as the key to growing churches.
The Hispanic community in the Columbus area is close knit and regularly plans layperson-led Bible studies. Members also personally invite friends to special church events.
Rivera coordinates regular evangelistic programs each year for each of his churches. For 2016, he is also planning a big meeting in downtown Columbus with well-known speakers and a concert featuring Kelly Marchena and Philip Garibo. His plans include a possible fourth church plant, he adds.
Though there are several groups meeting, “we are one body, working as one for the Lord,” says Rivera.