Fervent prayer, rollicking humor and calls to action shared the agenda with pollo guisado and tostones during the Evento Koinonia at TWR’s North Carolina headquarters.
The Christian fellowship event on Feb. 1, 2013, marked the launch of a new outreach by the TWR Americas Hispanic ministry focusing on Spanish speakers in the United States. Thirty-four representatives of Hispanic churches, ministries and media in the N.C. Triangle, also known as the Raleigh-Durham area, joined TWR staff for the luncheon that featured the popular braised chicken stew and fried plantains prior to an exhortation by guest speaker Joaquin Vargas.
The nearly 60-year-old media ministry has long broadcast Spanish programs to Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain, but its reach in the United States has been relatively modest. With Hispanics now composing a significant portion of the population – sources list the U.S. as having the second-largest Spanish-speaking population in the world – TWR’s Hispanic ministry is striving to get more such programming on the air at radio stations across the country and to connect with local ministries.
“God has brought the mission field to our backyard,” said Hispanic ministry Director Jim Munger. “There are a lot of Hispanics and other nationalities in the United States, and God has given us the opportunity to reach them.”
Munger and Matt McGhee, the Hispanic ministry’s manager of development, shared host duties and provided English-to-Spanish translation for the event.
As a longtime radio broadcaster now delivering content in multiple languages and media, TWR has been highly effective at evangelization – in other words, communicating the gospel to bring audience members to Christ. And while the media ministry also offers lots of programming and other materials to help in building disciples, it recognizes that new believers desperately need local churches and maturer Christians to provide face-to-face guidance as they begin this new life in Christ.
That’s the main goal of the Hispanic ministry’s new outreach: to build a vibrant network among Spanish-language churches and other ministries in Raleigh-Durham that also will be available to connect TWR listeners with local Christians. A further goal of the TWR outreach is to encourage the network to contribute its ideas for TWR programming – especially for contemplated new programs aimed at the unique needs of Hispanics living in the U.S.
After developing and testing this model in North Carolina, the plan is to reproduce it across the country.
After presentations about the work of TWR by its president, Lauren Libby, and about its global women’s ministry, Project Hannah, by founder Marli Spieker, guest speaker Joaquin Vargas emphasized the importance of combining vision and practical action for effective ministry.
“You have a vision that God has given you, but you have to start with your feet on the ground,” Vargas told the audience in an English-laced Spanish presentation.
McGhee got to know Vargas at a summit on ethnic ministry in America and introduced the guest speaker, who oversees missionaries serving with the Colorado-based Missions Door organization. The dynamic Vargas kept the audience alternating between intense concentration and belly laughs as he spoke.
Munger told the audience that the Hispanic ministry hopes “to do something for U.S. Hispanic women this year.”
McGhee added, “We need you to tell us what challenges Hispanic ladies in the U.S. face. How can we serve Hispanic ladies in the U.S.?”