An update from Carlos Contreras, Senior Pastor of Gracia Soberana de Ciudad Juarez and Regional Leader for Mexico…
Sovereign Grace Churches adopted its first International Church a little over 30 years ago, when it embraced our church Gracia Soberana de Ciudad Juarez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. In 1999 God then allowed us to send out my friend Hellman Avila to plant Misión de Gracia, a Mexican Church in the city of El Paso Texas. And since then, the Mexican region has grown to officially include 7 churches.
However, in addition to this, we are currently in the midst of adopting a church plant in the city of Orizaba in the state of Veracruz and also working towards the adoption of 3 other churches (Cordova, Veracruz; Torreón, Coahuila; and Moroleón, Guanajuato). That means that hopefully by the grace of God there could be 11 or 12 SG Churches in the next couple of years in 6 different Mexican states and 3 different countries (México, USA and Costa Rica). We never imagined 30 years ago what God in His mercy had planned for us, but He has granted us the privilege of witnessing our prayers being answered.
All of this has required that we work to develop different contexts that will help equip and encourage our pastors, most of which are young. With this in view we started our first Pastors Conference in 2013. Our desire was to provide a Latin American context in which our pastors could benefit from the same equipping, vision and encouragement received through the SG Pastors Conference in the US.
Our Pastors Conference is called Fieles a Su Llamado (Faithful to His Calling) and it has proven to be a wonderful context to celebrate our union, equip and encourage leaders and their wives, and also demonstrate our values through the generosity and service of dozens of volunteers from our church that hosts the conference. Our next Conference will be this coming October and special guest speakers will be CJ Mahaney, Jon Payne and Bob Kauflin.
Another equipping context we are very excited about is our continuing partnership with The Charles Simeon Trust. With their help we were able to start our very first Expository Preaching Workshop in Juárez in May 2014. Since then we have conducted 11 of these workshops in 4 different cities and are planning on doing 3 more next year. Abelardo Muñoz, one of our pastors has led this initiative and serves as one of several SG instructors. Most of the pastors from our region have been to 2 or more of these workshops as we are committed as a region to seek excellence in the study and preaching of God’s Word.
And in this past month of July, we were so encouraged to host our very first Pastoral Training Week with the intention of having a yearly intensive time of Theological teaching and discussion in a format similar to the SG Pastors College. We enjoyed an attendance of 19 pastors, including Hellman Avila, Joselo Mercado and myself as instructors. It was a wonderful time of intense study, panel discussions on practical application and Spirit inspired worship and prayer times. But the highlight for many was the sweet times of biblical fellowship and fun among brothers.
Manolo Quintal, pastor of Sublime Gracia Church in Silao, Guanajuato put it this way: “God surpasses our desires! For years we had a desire to meet brothers with a sincere faith in Christ with whom we could enjoy a partnership. Now He has granted us not just that, but He is building ever stronger ties of deep fellowship among all of us… I am very excited to see what God is going to bring to our churches and cities as a result of what happened this week, and to see what He will do in our family of churches”. God has truly been so good to us.