"Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness* and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God-and all the more towards you." (2 Corinthians 1:12 - NRSV)
To be effective, the most important quality of a pastor is a genuine call to the ministry. There must be a balance between the call, character and attitude. In order to carry out the ministry, a pastor's identity should be in Christ, acknowledging how crucial it is to seek God's will, wisdom and strength. Clergy should have the following qualities in order to put in practice God's work: assurance, integrity, authority, a good witness, aptitude and the right strategies.
To be successful we have to take into account the pastoral character of God, and follow Jesus' example of love as the center of the ministry, living an honorable life filled with love and righteousness as servants of Christ.
The pastoral role, in order to be effective, has nothing to do with how much authority he/she has. The Bible teaches us that Jesus was the good shepherd. Therefore, we should take into account God's pastoral character and learn from Jesus' life, following his example of love as the center of the ministry, living in an integral and just way witness to the world, carrying on the great mission (Matthew 28:19-20).
A pastor must nurture his/her faith through a profound relationship with God, following a spiritual discipline, searching the scriptures, praying and fasting constantly, in the conviction of what is unseen.
The Adonai Community
My goals have been evangelism and discipleship through preaching, Sunday school and VBS, and training.Our ministry tries hard to be a multicultural faith community where everyone can find and experience God's love. We want people to join a Christian community and to blossom into what God has planned for the transformation of their lives and community.
In my congregation, I have felt the love of our brothers, as an answer to my work as clergy and my direct interaction with them. I thank God's grace and for giving me a bishop and superintendent. As a Hispanic pastor, I have always been considered for activities in my conference.
Training and formation
As a pastor, I feel the need to look constantly for training in conference and national events. This is the only way I can train my leaders. I have finished the Garrett-Evangelical Course of Study in 2007. In California, I studied at the Montebello Theological School. I have attended retreats, seminars and workshops.
I have used the modules of the National Plan to train leaders that now are working in our church as teachers, preachers, etc.
But we need more contextualized courses on mission, the structure and Discipline of the UMC; Evangelism; UMC doctrine; Church Administration; Small Groups and Pastoral Care.
My pastoral service
The present social and economic situation imposes tough limitations to the development of any Hispanic Ministry.
Therefore, it is pivotal to realize that, to be effective, we need to tackle the needs of the community, to help solve its many problems.
Our congregation organizes activities to help improve conditions of poverty, prejudice and exclusion by means of community programs about culture, language and heritage.
Each year, a board comprise by members of the church, doctors and police, organizes a health and community fair, in which government agencies help the community to be informed about services and self-help tips. For example, firefighters may teach how to prevent a fire.
We have a clothes-closet organized by women of the church. We receive clothing donations from Central UMC.
We have a food ministry every Friday, when several supermarkets donate bread distributed to the community by Ray Thompson and Miguel Barrera.
Every summer, we provide for the children a VBS with Bible lessons and summer fun for many kids.
I keep building a net of relations with several social organizations, as the Department of Health. This is important to provide prenatal education and support for women, as well as vaccine and nutrition for children.
The center Mercy Clinic helps women and men who suffer domestic violence, transportation and refuge.
On Thursdays, I visit the jail for women, pray with them and give them counseling. The visitation is important because many are undocumented immigrants. The Sherriff has granted me a special permit to visit any person that needs help.
Randolph Community College helps with ESL. Our objective is to teach English, Spanish and other languages and to encourage the youth not to leave school.
Regarding funerals, I obtained the support of companies that are not charging interest in the credit they give for funerals.
The office McKinney Justice Perry and Coalter provide free clinics regarding immigration.
I belong to several boards as the Police Department, the Health Department, community colleges, social services, etc.
I also maintain good communication with the leaders of the schools y serve as intermediary when conflicts with students arise.
--*Ana Morrison is pastor at Misión Metodista Unida Adonai en Asheboro, Carolina del Norte.
el Intérprete Online, noviembre-diciembre, 2012