Ministering Across Generations
A conversation with Josue Rubio
Ensuring long life for your church requires a strong commitment to the contributions of the past and potential from future generations. An environment where people value both is essential.
Among Hispanic churches, generational differences tend to be more drastic. The offspring of immigrants in the U.S. live in two worlds. They love their heritage but also enjoy brand-new experiences in America.
Josue Rubio, lead pastor of Centro Cristiano Vida Nueva, a thriving Hispanic church in central Colorado near Vail, is trying to cultivate this environment.
“Our children grew up in a Spanish-speaking environment,” Rubio says. “But they grew up! We need to present them with another option other than leaving our church.”
In 2014, Rubio launched a second campus catering to English-speaking members of his congregation.
“Mexican-Americans who have been here for four or five generations still feel comfortable in a Hispanic church,” Rubio says.
However, a bilingual service meets the needs of those growing up in an English-speaking environment.
Every Tuesday, younger churchgoers receive discipleship in an English environment and parents attend English-language courses. On Sundays, both congregations meet separately and worship in their own ways. But every other week, they have a combined service to keep connections strong.
“Anglo churches in the U.S. have great structures, but Latinos have a lot of passion.”
— Josue Rubio
“It’s important that our English-only-speaking members feel accepted and appreciated, and vice versa,” Rubio says. “Our Spanish-speaking church must also feel loved.”
Rubio understands the dynamics of living in two different worlds. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, the son of an Assemblies of God pastor, he felt the call to ministry at an early age. He met his wife, Mayra, at Bible college in Juárez, Mexico.
After pastoring in the mountains of Chihuahua for two years, they moved to the U.S. (Mayra is an American citizen and returned home to retain her status.)
“I called my district superintendent to explain that I would soon need to move to the U.S.,” Rubio says. “That same day Dan Matney from the Rocky Mountain District visited his office. He was looking for a Hispanic pastor to plant a congregation in Colorado.”
Feeling that it was more than a coincidence, the Rubios started Centro Cristiano Vida Nueva.
“The move was hard,” Rubio says. “I had never lived anywhere else but Mexico. In the first three months, I experienced culture shock. But God was telling us He had great plans for the Vail valley, and we were part of it.
“People from Central and South America feel out of place, so they find people from back home to spend time with.”
That can be a great comfort, but it can also keep them isolated from American culture. Meanwhile, the children of immigrants learn and embrace new aspects of a culture their parents never did. Keeping these cultural and generational differences from becoming distractions is sometimes a challenge.
“Anglo churches in the U.S. have great structures, but Latinos have a lot of passion,” Rubio says. “We can learn from each other.”
Finding balance between old and new ways of doing ministry is a great way to ensure positive growth into the future.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 edition of Influence magazine.