Multiply

Summer 2003

 

Inside this issue:

  

   Ministering in South Florida

   Praying for Enemies

   Effective Leadership

Taking the Gospel to south Florida’s growing multicultural population requires new strategies and multiple approaches. PCA churches are committed to making the investment.

  Working Together to Transform North America

 

You were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. Rev. 5:9b - 10


We must embrace the missionary vision of the world that God Himself proclaims. There will be no national or ethnic distinctions at the marriage supper of the Lamb and we had better prepare for that celebration now!" 
That was the admonition of Rickey Armstrong as he delivered the first commencement address for Miami International Seminary (MINTS) in May of 2002. Pastor of Glendale Missionary Baptist in Miami, a broadly reformed African-American church, Rickey has close relationships with PCA churches in south Florida and is a member of the MINTS faculty. Founded in 2000, MINTS is a valuable component of PCA efforts in south Florida to reach a variety of cultures with the Gospel. 
A multicultural population has always been a Miami distinctive. The Bahamians, considered the first permanent residents, settled here in the latter 1800s. After 1896, when Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler extended his railroad down the coast and created a new town with a luxury hotel, Miami was incorporated and attracted a multitude of people of varied cultures. The first mayor was Irish Catholic. Most early merchants were Jewish. One-third of the residents were African American and Bahamian. Over the years, proximity to the islands of the West Indies meant a continuing influx of immigrants. 
MINTS faculty members: Neal Hegeman, director of Hispanic programs, left, and Martin Windle of Latin American Mission, seated next to him. Others are students at this unique institution, which is a collective endeavor of PCA churches in the area. MINTS depends on local churches to provide classroom facilities and their pastors to teach and mentor students. Courses are taught in Spanish, French, Turkish, and English.


Spreading the Gospel to a diverse population calls for diverse strategies and an exceptional investment in time and money. Among the PCA churches who have done exactly that is Old Cutler Presbyterian, led by Mike Khandjian. Since 2000, this church helped to organize MINTS, led in planting one Hispanic church (Iglesia Evangelistica Calle Ocho), started a second mission church (River of Hope), and continues to provide support to other church plants in the area.
Iglesia Evangelistica Calle Ocho became a particular church in February this year and the first Spanish-speaking PCA church organized in the Miami area since El Redentor 20 years ago. Situated in Little Havana, Calle Ocho focuses on reaching recent immigrants. Pictured here are elders of the church and members of the presbytery commission. Front row, left to right: Hugo Andnno and Roberto Pacay, elders; Kent Hinkson, dean of students at MINTS and associate pastor, Key Biscayne Presbyterian; Hans Laue, elder, Christ Covenant; Brian Kelso, senior pastor, Christ Covenant. Back row, left to right: Carlos Giron, elder; Mike Khandjian, senior pastor, Old Cutler Presbyterian; Jaime Rodriguez, church planter, Calle Ocho; Hernando Saenz, pastor, Prince of Peace; David Moran, senior pastor, Key Biscayne Presbyterian.

When it comes to starting cross-cultural PCA churches, finding qualified men to lead them is a major challenge. Those who have the gifts for leadership often lack the necessary education. Sending them to traditional reformed seminaries is not necessarily the answer since the teaching may not fit the culture. Cost is also a factor, and most cannot afford to give up full-time jobs to pursue a seminary education. 
Greg Hauenstein, an associate pastor at Old Cutler, sensed, along with others, the need to start a seminary tailored for such students. After Mike Khandjian arrived, Greg and Mike began laying plans for the institution, which became MINTS. Collaborating with them was Walford Thompson, president of Ministries in Action, as well as leaders from other PCA churches. 
Another south Florida PCA church committed to cross-cultural ministry is Christ Covenant in Southwest Ranches, a community just north of Dade County. Senior pastor Brian Kelso, with "a heart for evangelism and mercy ministry," planted the church in 1990 and now leads a multicultural congregation of 300, including Hispanics, Caribbeans, and Anglos.
In the late 60s, when Castro took over Cuba, exiles poured in. Over the next 20 years, more than half a million settled in Miami. In the 90s, a huge number of Haitians arrived. The current population of Miami-Dade County is 2.2 million; 69 percent are Hispanic and represent multiple cultures. And so do blacks, who compose about 15 percent. Anglos represent another 15 percent.  


In 1996, Brian started a training program for pastoral leaders through a relationship with American University of Biblical Studies (AUBS) in Atlanta, an institution founded by the Presbyterian Evangelical Fellowship. In 1999, the Presbytery of Southern Florida recognized this program for preparing candidates for ministry. 
In addition to course work, students receive extensive mentoring from Brian and Dony St. Germain, pastor of El Shaddai Presbyterian and MNA Haitian movement leader, as well as other PCA pastors. 
"God had sent men for me to teach who were called to ministry," says Brian, "and I wanted to make it possible for them to obtain the proper credentialing to plant churches." 

Brian Kelso, left center, senior pastor of Christ Covenant, established an educational program to train pastors (the South Florida External Division) through American University of Biblical Studies. Students may earn a bachelor of divinity or a master of divinity degree, while working full-time and maintaining church involvement. Current students are Hispanic, Haitian, and Anglo.

Greg Hauenstein, left, is president of MINTS, which enrolls 120 students in Miami and 650 in fifteen countries outside the US, and offers certificate and degree programs, from associate through doctoral levels. Matt Dubocq, right, a faculty member and a former missionary to Colombia, is starting a Hispanic church, River of Hope, in Country Walk, an upper middle-class suburb of Dade County. 

At that time, he was mentoring four Haitians, three Hispanics, and one Anglo. Since then, five of these men are leading church plants and the other three are actively involved in ministry. 
Christ Covenant also formed the Great Commission Alliance to assist men in planting churches. Now under the oversight of the church's session, it will ultimately become a separate entity. So far, the church has started two others and assumed oversight of a third. The latter is El Shalom, a Haitian church in Fort Lauderdale led by Jean Gregoire. The two church plants, geared to Hispanic immigrants, are Prince of Peace, led by Hernando Saenz, which meets at Christ Covenant; and Miami River near the Orange Bowl, led by Joshua Lopez. 

Dony St. Germain is church planter and senior pastor of El Shaddai Presbyterian in Miami and also MNA Haitian movement leader. Working closely with Brian Kelso at the South Florida External Division, he teaches courses in the Creole language and mentors pastors in training. On the occasion pictured here, the El Shaddai congregation had gathered for dinner on the grounds.

In one of south Florida's most affluent communities, David Moran is senior pastor of Key Biscayne Presbyterian, which has separate worship services in English and Spanish. Residents of Key Biscayne, the majority of whom are Latino, are among the wealthiest in the world. They come from Cuba, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, and Brazil. 
Although David has been here only four years, he speaks fluent Spanish and has ministered to Hispanics for two decades, having served as pastor of Oaklawn Presbyterian in Houston, TX, where he led a bicongregational Hispanic church with services in both Spanish and English. Nonetheless, he finds Key Biscayne a tough sell. 

"I've never had more opportunities to share the Christian faith," he explains, "but people here are not easily persuaded - many are hardened against the Gospel." To connect with them, the church gives occasional socials and leads weekly small group Bible studies geared to believers and seekers. 

Hernando Saenz, left, is church planter for Prince of Peace, a vibrant, growing congregation directed to Hispanic immigrants. Started by Christ Covenant, the church launched public worship almost two years ago. Prince of Peace is a demonstration of Christ Covenant's vision to plant churches in north Dade county, which is the most ethnically diverse section of the county and yet has only one other PCA church


The population of Miami-Dade County is a colorful mélange of tongues and nations and a wide ranging mix of incomes and backgrounds - all of which require a variety of approaches and a strong commitment to multicultural ministry. 


Like Key Biscayne, Granada Presbyterian in Coral Gables reaches an affluent community, including many Hispanics, and offers separate worship services in Spanish and English. Senior pastor Worth Carson leads the English, while Omar Zaltron, an Argentinean, leads the Spanish. Every second Sunday, members of both services join together to share a meal. 
Granada has participated in several church plants, including River of Hope and a new work in Doral, an upscale suburb, which has not yet begun public worship. It is led by a Colombian, Jaimid Jimenez, now completing his seminary education at MINTS. An additional church is planned for 
Key Biscayne Presbyterian hosted a party to raise funds for the church's pre-school, considered an outreach to the Latino community. Senior pastor David Moran explains: "Our pre-school and after-school ministries for elementary-age students attract many youngsters from unchurched families and provide excellent opportunities to build relationships that can be used by God to lead people to faith." 

Hialeah, a blue collar community that attracts immigrants from all over the Latin world.
At Pinelands Presbyterian, senior pastor Mike Campbell leads a multicultural congregation of some 300, which is about 50 percent Anglo, 30 percent Hispanic, and 20 percent Caribbean and African American. When Mike, an African American, came to Pinelands six years ago, the congregation was 90 percent Anglo, and there were no concerted efforts to reach the surrounding community. Since then, the church has focused on developing outreach and a climate for cross-cultural ministry.

One of Mike's initial efforts was to organize a cross-cultural task force to determine the means for re-orienting the congregation. "We wanted to create the kind of environment that would not only welcome people of all cultures," Mike says, "but also build relationships across cultural lines and foster reconciliation." To that end, the church has conducted a conference on cross-cultural ministry and participates each year with Glendale Missionary Baptist in their racial reconciliation conference. 
Pinelands, Old Cutler, Christ Covenant, Key Biscayne, and Granada, as well as other PCA 

churches in the area, compose the Miami Church Planting Network, a group of PCA churches with 
Left to right: Jean Gregoire, church planter and pastor of El Shalom Haitian Church, a Creole language church in Fort Lauderdale, and leader candidates Herve Bateau, Gregory Trasibul, and Paul Jean. Started four years ago, El Shalom has an attendance of about 80 and is under the oversight of Christ Covenant.

a passion for church planting in south Florida. According to Worth Carson, "We think of ourselves 

as one church meeting in different locations." 
Above all, the network is committed to doing whatever it takes within God's will to carry the Gospel to the multicultural population of Miami-Dade County. With the whole of North America becoming increasingly more culturally diverse, PCA churches everywhere may wish to take note. 
As Mike Khandjian points out, "It is important for the PCA to take the time, spend the money, and make the most of this opportunity to reach these new people groups with the Gospel. If we don't, others will."

 

Left: Mike Campbell, right, leads Pinelands Presbyterian, a multicultural congregation in a community of varied ethnic groups and a wide range of incomes. "Our overriding mission," says Mike, "is to penetrate the community with the Gospel through such efforts as mercy ministry, English language classes, and a health awareness program."

 Above: MNA held its first annual Hispanic Ministries Convocation last September at Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, AL, with David Moran, center, as a keynote speaker. Focused on the theme "Reaching Hispanics in North America with the Gospel of Christ," the convocation provided valuable instruction for those interested in ministering to Hispanics. Pastors and other professionals experienced in cross-cultural outreach came from across the nation to lead sessions. The 2003 Hispanic Ministries Convocation will be held September 25 - 27 at Old Cutler Presbyterian in Miami.

 

 

PCA chaplain Mike Curtis, center, ministers near the DMZ in Korea with a unit of Korean and US soldiers, the only unit to have daily contact with the North Korean People's Army. He is aided by pastor Yoon Ho-Young, right. Chaplain assistant SPC Michael Rickie is at left.

Praying for Our Enemies: PCA Chaplain Michael Curtis, a captain in the US Army, is currently assigned to the United Nations Command Security Battalion and based at Camp Bonifas near Panmunjom, Korea. He serves a religiously diverse unit, which is 60 percent Korean, 40 percent US soldiers and has a US-Korean command structure. Situated one-quarter mile south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), it is the only US unit that has daily contact with the North Korean People's Army (KPA).
Mike is aided in his work by Pastor Yoon Ho-Young, a Presbyterian who ministers to the Korean soldiers. "The partnership we share," says Mike, "is based on our love for Jesus Christ and a passion for leading soldiers to worship the living God."
These two chaplains conduct weekly chapel services at camp, as well as at sites in the DMZ, and also lead Bible studies, retreats, outreach programs, worship nights, and spiritual fitness events. Mike reports that these activities are often the highlight of the soldiers' stay here, and that many raise questions about eternal life and salvation. "It is unbelievable to see how God is working in their lives," he says.
"Seeing KPA soldiers daily when we patrol through hostile areas and even stand face-to-face with them, I am reminded to pray for our enemies. Just past the soldiers, we see people suffering from persecution and famine. Even the North Korean soldiers pick the fruit trees bare in an effort to curb their hunger."
Each week, after Sunday worship, Mike and Pastor Yoon Ho-Young pray together for North Korea. Often, they pray inside the Military Armistice Commission Building, where they can actually enter into North Korea. 
"Sometimes we take five guards with us to the Bridge of No Return, right at the border, and pray there. Recently, the KPA began to harass us, shouting obscenities in Korean. These soldiers believe their country's dictator is their god - not our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please remember to pray for these people and also other stated enemies of our nation."

Soldiers of the US and Republic of Korea armies stand in front of the Military Armistice Commission building, where delegates of the United Nations meet with North Korean leaders for negotiations. The structure straddles the North-South Korean border, and chaplain Curtis often stands on the North Korean side to pray for the people of the north.


 

 

Effective Leadership: "Embers to a Flame conferences have given us a clarity of purpose, singleness of direction, and a unified philosophy of ministry," says Chip Miller, senior pastor, First Presbyterian, Macon, GA. For five years, Chip, along with elders and deacons, has attended the conferences and found them practical and spiritually nourishing. 
A 175-year-old church with about 1100 members, First Presbyterian is well established. "We've had decades of godly leaders and sound biblical preaching," Chip explains. After  becoming senior pastor in 1994, he felt the need "to know more clearly God's purpose for our particular congregation and how to lead it most effectively."
He found that Embers conferences, focused on ten principles for ensuring healthy churches, provided valuable knowledge, and the enthusiasm of session leaders was an added benefit. A joint effort of MNA Church Vitality and Briarwood Presbyterian, Embers conferences are led by Briarwood's senior pastor, Harry Reeder. For info about upcoming meetings, email <embers@briarwood.org>.




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Address comments to Fred Marsh, Managing Editor / Photographer. Assistant Editor:   Jennifer Musselman.  Design: Studio Supplee. Copy Editor/Writer: Joan Quillen. Material in Multiply may be reproduced with permission.