Understanding the Role of Global Engagement
Normally, missionaries are able to promote their ministry by showing photos of them with smiling faces of the people (usually children) who they interact with. Much like I used to share when I worked in the community centers in Mexico City.
Promoting an online ministry is difficult to do since I have very little direct contact with the people who benefit from it. But, I have a true understanding of the difficulty in finding good and relevant materials to aid in teaching and sharing the gospel with Spanish speakers. During my time in Mexico City (which would be one of the easier places in the country to find resources), I found myself spending a full day trying to get to the bookstore to buy resources for our women’s group in the Spanish speaking church I attended. My trek consisted of a few of hours of public transportation into the part of the city where book stores are found, then walking to the store to find my selection, and returning back home. The cost of getting there and the time it took away from “work” was more than most pastors or church leaders can afford to do… probably equal to a couple of day’s work. Not to mention the cost of the materials.
And then there’s the selection of materials. There was a lot to choose from, and it was much like walking into a LifeWay bookstore (rural areas would not have anything like this). Many of the materials were simply translated into Spanish… but were not quite applicable to what women in that culture deal with (gals… think of your Beth Moore studies and how she speaks directly into the daily struggles you have in your first world surroundings…much of that won’t apply to the women in this culture). Now, the direct translation of pure theological studies may be ok, but when dealing with life application, this isn’t very relevant for them. Most of the resources on ObreroFiel are translated by our own Avant missionaries who have lived in the Latin culture. Many of them are written by our missionaries as well.
To add to the resources (around 9,000), many of our Avant missionaries interact with people who are searching for spiritual answers. Some of them have theological questions, and some of them are searching for Jesus. Our missionaries are able to help them find answers and direct them to a physical church near them. We aren’t just throwing materials out there into cyberspace, we are reaching real people with real needs and questions, and providing them with answers and a way to grow in their faith!
Think of the local pastor or Sunday School teacher who has a full-time job that barely meets the physical needs of the family… who wants to reach and teach people in his/her community… Think of how much these online resources help them. Think of the training they can get and share that will equip them and others to share the gospel! Please help us as we use technology to partner with Spanish speakers to reach the world!
Evolution of the Ministry
Our online ministry has “grown up” in a sense. I would also say bursting at the seams as we strive to provide materials and training to those who need them. As more and more people use the resources, their hunger to be discipled increases and they begin to realize a desire to share the Gospel with more people.
Historically, Obrero Fiel was an online library for all audiences searching for biblical resources for personal use or use in their own ministries/churches. But because of a shift in percentages, we are beginning to refine our resources to accommodate the changes.
According to The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 66 percent of all Christians are from the Global South as of 2020, up from 43 percent in 1970. The demographic center of the global church is shifting to the Global South. Building on the legacy of more than a century of church planting and disciple-making, especially in Latin America, Avant journeys with churches in the Global South to develop their capacity to impact the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In light of this, our focus is shifting more toward equipping those church leaders and missionaries to support this shift in the demographic center.
My role as their Website Specialist is to create and maintain an online space that allows our current Avant missionaries to encourage and train Latino church leaders to participate actively in our network of missionally developing churches (Red de iglesias misionales). This space also provides leaders with tools and ministry materials to accomplish the development plan they create for their church. Ultimately, with this online platform, the team can collaborate with local churches in their ministry to the unreached around the world by equipping churches and their missionaries for successful cross-cultural ministry among the least reached.
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Like he said in the video, “we can’t do this alone”. Even though this is an online ministry, it still takes many committed workers to develop it and keep it going… as well as to interact with people online.
I’m still in need of ongoing committed supporters. Please consider joining my support team and/or giving a one-time gift. You can do so here. Simply enter my name in the “Missionary Name” field and it will go to the correct account.
I’d love to visit with you about the ministry and I’m also available to speak to your church group or organization. Contact me for scheduling that here.