3 Reasons American and Immigrant Churches Should Serve Together

By Israel Becerra

Ethnic Church Planting Catalyst, Iowa North American Missions Board

Pastor, Iglesia Kairos Church, Marshalltown, Iowa and Hispanic Baptist Church, Waterloo, Iowa

[email protected]

The Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to work together for the Kingdom when he said: I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:6). As American and immigrant churches, we are called to combine our efforts, resources, and spiritual gifts to share the Gospel in our communities. We can powerfully impact our communities by conducting joint events such as sports, concerts, food distribution, block parties, open-air or door-to-door evangelism, and more.

There are three reasons why this is important. First, joint ministry displays unity to our communities. We live in a world where unity is not the norm.  Jesus calls us not only to live in unity, but also to be peacemakers.  “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21). Churches working in unity break down barriers within communities.

Here in Marshalltown, Iowa, my Iglesia Kairos Church has conducted joint events with Pastor Steve Bensema’s Mosaic Church. Together we’ve distributed a full semi-load of food boxes, and also conducted evangelistic soccer camps. Our joint events have displayed unity to the community, as people realize we are two ethnically diverse churches serving as one.

Secondly, joint ministry empowers community service. My hometown, Marshalltown, Iowa was hit by a tornado.  Many immigrants live on the north side of town, which suffered significant damage.  Several American churches reached out to me, expressing their willingness to help.  But language was a huge barrier.  Because we could partner English- and Spanish-language churches together, greatly needed acts of mercy were provided. What would happen if we did not have these relationships?  We’ve seen multiple occasions when joint ministry between American and immigrant churches brought healing and hope.

Thirdly, joint ministry provides the opportunity to serve together across cultural boundaries.  I played soccer for many years.  It’s hard to put together eleven players from different backgrounds to win a championship. What is the key?  They must lay aside their own ambitions, and bring their best efforts for the good of the team.  Churches of diverse cultures best glorify God when they combine their efforts, resources, and spiritual gifts.  When we love one another and labor together, God brings the increase!