LAMP Graduate & Author Hernando Sáenz, Hispanic Ministries Coordinator for Mission to North America, shares about his book ¡Plantemos! and his experience with LAMP Seminary as it relates to his ministry involvement in church planting for the hispanic community. “Being one of the first three men that were trained in LAMP and ordained in the PCA makes me a pioneer. It is my delight to see dozens and dozens of men complete their LAMP training and go on to be ordained for ministry in the PCA.”
Currently Hernando serves as the Hispanic Ministries Coordinator for Mission to North America. He shares that the demographic composition of our North American population is rapidly changing! For several decades, people from Latin American countries have flooded into our land of opportunity. As a result, the United States has the second largest Hispanic population of any nation in the world, and Hispanics are now the largest minority in the United States. We see the challenges of our changing nation as an unprecedented opportunity – orchestrated by God Himself – to continue our PCA commitment to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Hernando is the author of the book entitled ¡Plantemos! He shares about the book itself and what led him to write it. Driven by the love for Hispanics and a passion to equip pastors for effective ministry among them, Dr. David Moran wrote: “Manual for Church Planting Among Hispanic Americans” in 1998. Demand from the field for more information motivated Dr. Moran, in 2003 , to revise and expand his manual. Since then, church leaders from many denominations benefited enormously from his insights. However, the urgent need for a new type of church planting resource: one with up-to-date case studies, written from a Hispanic perspective, with plenty of Sabor Latino (Latin flavor), was obvious and galvanized us into action.
Hernando’s passion with ¡Plantemos! is to accelerate the ability to reach, equip and mobilize Hispanics for the gospel. As soon as you turn the first page, you’ll know this is not your typical simplistic church planting book. The parade of insights from practitioners and creative ideas will warm your heart, educate, and inspire you.
The three-fold aims of this book are bold and exciting:
1. It will help church planters and their sending organizations apply the principles of the seven stages of church planting to measure their progress and to persevere in exciting church planting adventures.
2. The desire is that it will equip church planters to write well thought through and compelling church planting proposals.
3. The belief is that the principles in the book are transferable to other cultures and may help create church-planting movements in them.
Although LAMP’s mentor-apprentice method is relatively new in the PCA, it is employed widely by non-PCA churches and denominations. Having firsthand experience with LAMP’s methodology allowed Hernando to encourage those in the throes of their LAMP Seminary training. Hernando’s mentor was a non-Hispanic, non-Spanish-speaking Teaching Elder. That is significant because it made it easy for him to encourage other potential mentors to invest in minorities. “True, they may not be able to reach minorities directly, but their investment in bicultural and bilingual men boosts the PCA’s ability to reach minorities.”
LAMP prepared Hernando to follow God’s call on his life. He completed his seminary education without moving or accumulating student debt, which is priceless. The requirement to be involved in the life and ministry of the church kept him grounded and prevented him from becoming an academic pastor. “My mentor invested in my character and helped me develop valuable ministry skills.”
LAMP was an innovative initiative that started two decades ago for Hernando. This changed the landscape of Theological training in the PCA. Likewise, ¡Plantemos! is a pioneering resource that invites readers into a worthwhile adventure. Although it is a technical book, it is not written in an academic style. Its flavor is down to earth, relational, and seasoned with many stories. ¡Plantemos! encompasses a lifetime of experiences, and LAMP was a key component early in Hernando’s ministry. He started planting Iglesia Principe de Paz while still attending LAMP. A few years later, he transferred his credentials to another Presbytery and engaged in another church plant. Upon accepting the call to serve as the Hispanic Ministries Coordinator for Mission to North America, he worked with a group of men to get the LAMP curriculum into Spanish. LAMP was the Genesis of that wild journey. “I regularly lock arms with men who are training for the ministry in traditional and non-traditional seminaries and seek to resource them. My hope is that ¡Plantemos!, like LAMP, will serve others in a meaningful and lasting way.”
Hernando’s future hopes for ministry involve an army of qualified laborers for the Hispanic harvest. By 2025, he hopes to have a minimum of 70 pastors in the ranks and 70 candidates in training. He would love to see Hispanic churches planted at a faster rate. But the lack of resources to plant them does weigh heavy on his heart. He shares,“It is no secret that minorities in the PCA share a very steep challenge to raise funds for church planting. That steep financial hurdle is one of the biggest obstacles that must be overcome if there is hope to accelerate Hispanic church planting. We must look for new funding strategies if we want the number of churches we plant to soar. Perhaps my next pioneering adventure involves tackling the financial landmines for church planting.” Beyond that, Hernando is searching for ways to reproduce himself so the ministry can grow wings.
Hernando was one of the first three men that were trained at LAMP and ordained in the PCA. This makes him a pioneer. It is his delight to see dozens of men complete their LAMP training and go on to be ordained for ministry in the PCA. The thrill from those early days continues as new LAMP learning sites sprout and blanket the denomination from East to West. As one of the first books written by a Hispanic Teaching Elder, ¡Plantemos! is also a pioneering work. Writing another book is not in his sights. Hernando’s hope is that many other Hispanic pastors and leaders would rise, power up their computers and write. Such a movement would help close the gap that exists between Reformed materials in English vs. Spanish. Churches will have culturally sensitive materials at their disposal. Majority culture brothers would better understand the hispanic culture. “May the writing of others begin in earnest!”
¡Plantemos! is available in paperback and hardcover.
Click here to purchase your copy.
For more information on how to get started with LAMP Seminary visit www.lampseminary.org