dministrative Bishop of the Northwestern Hispanic Region, David Munguia writes about the challenges facing the Church of God in Latin America . . . which sound familiar to issues the church faces elsewhere.
Renewal of the Liturgy
Every movement or organization requires renewal. Otherwise, it stagnates and no longer shows progress, so that it runs the risk of a slow death.
Daniel Chiquete and Luis Orellane say: “The Pentecostal churches have suffered a certain degree of stagnation and have not developed new types of liturgy, or ‘doing church.’ When we bring a tradition [up to] date, we keep its spirit alive, although its form changes. But if we maintain its form without any change, maybe we are pouring out new wine in old bottles. So we must put this new wine in new bottles.”
Hope in the Second Coming
Owing to the comfort that many ministers and Pentecostals have become accustomed to in our postmodern society, many have lost sight of and no longer live with an expectation for the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The expectation for God’s kingdom to be established on earth has lost value. We must recover it.
The Joy of Evangelism in Different Forms
Today one sees enormous church buildings, with a lavish use of technological resources. These are good to have and valid, but not to the expense of evangelism and service to the community.
Our general overseer, Raymond Culppeper, says the Great Commission is not a program of the Church—it is the reason for the Church’s existence.
The Manifestation of Spiritual Gifts
Many churches lose time in meetings and in various activities (some of them are good) in an effort to fulfill their mission, but are putting aside the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We live in difficult times, and we need the spiritual gifts operating among us.
Many churches today no longer offer Sunday school classes, and as a result the children and young people are not growing in faith. We are losing our next generation.
The Involvement of Women in Ministry
Dario Lopez says: “It is necessary that we allow Pentecostal women to speak, given that they represent the largest social group among members of the Pentecostal church in every country where the movement is present. Moreover, their number is increasing at an accelerated rate. We have to recognize that God is in favor of the concept of ‘women in leadership’ and that in some churches women are being given greater freedom to be able to express themselves. However, more recognition is still required of the full potential of women’s ministry in the Kingdom.”
In Latin America we have tremendous women in ministry—like Ana Ruth Diaz pastoring 10,000 members in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and another sister supervising a region in Peru. God is doing new things in these last days.
In Hope of a Better Future
We trust that the Pentecostal Movement will not be hindered but, on the contrary, it will anchor itself in the hope of a better future. The movement does not belong to man, but to God; and if it is of God, people will not be able to stop it (see Acts 5:34-39). The Holy Spirit continues working, and we need to give our identity as an inheritance to the future generations in order that they might, by faith, face the challenges ahead of us.
It is gratifying and encouraging to know that the Acts 2:39 promise of the Holy Spirit is for us—“all who are afar off” (NKJV). Let us recover our Pentecostal distinctives. If God has done it before, He can do it again today.