Twenty-four called workers from the United States-plus two missionaries from Antigua and Mexico-met Sept. 12-14 at Christ the Lord, Houston, Tex., to discuss cross-cultural ministry work among Hispanics in the United States. Currently about 120 WELS congregations in the United States have programs to reach out to Hispanics; 17 of those congregations offer weekly worship in Spanish.

Coordinated by Rev. Tim Flunker, the national Hispanic consultant for the Board for Home Missions, this biennial conference allows attendees to discuss evangelism, worship and music, and leadership opportunities in congregations ministering to Hispanics in the United States.

“It was really helpful to listen to the experiences of the men who have been doing Hispanic ministry for years. I took a lot of notes,” says Rev. Abram Degner, who has been at his call as Hispanic ministry pastor at Christ the Lord, Houston, for seven weeks. “It’s refreshing to spend time in fellowship with brothers who are going through the same struggles and joys that you’re going through.”

A large portion of the conference was spent discussing Hispanic worship materials. Flunker says that attendees noted that a lack of good biblical and Lutheran hymns in Spanish is a challenge to their ministries. A three-person committee was chosen to gather and distribute materials that are being used and to explore further options.

The group also decided to develop a series of regional workshops held every other year for lay members. “We want to further educate the lay members of our Spanish congregations so that they may participate in the wonderful work we have in sharing the gospel with the world,” says Flunker.

Besides spending time in sessions, attendees participated in several ministry events with Christ the Lord’s Hispanic prospects and members, including a Hispanic meal and a Spanish worship service.

A grant helped fund the conference. The next conference is tentatively set for February 2014 at Divine Savior, Doral, Fla.

Learn more about Hispanic ministry in WELS at www.wels.net/missions.