Spanglish Ministry: The Celebration and Transcendence of Culture for the Purpose of Mission
This project explores and illustrates the power and possibilities of trans-cultural unity in the pursuit of mission. Like many traditional churches in post-Christendom United States, Oak Grove Church of God needed to change. But what kind of change was appropriate? A careful search of the Scripture and a deliberate return to the church's missional roots ensued. Oak Grove CHOG was not dying, but it had been distracted from its original mission. Chapter one explains the history and context of Oak Grove Church of God. Planted by a missionary, the congregation maintained a passionate commitment to mission, but over the years, influenced by societal changes and church growth methods, its missional focus narrowed considerably. It began to think of missions and mission as synonymous. It sent significant amounts of money to overseas mission, while virtually ignoring its own ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhood.
Chapter two provides a scriptural foundation for the project in the form of an analysis of Matthew 28 and related scriptures. This chapter is organized around key themes of Christ's commission as they relate to the context of Oak Grove's mission. The specific questions behind scriptural reflections are: "What should the church be doing?" and "What should Oak Grove CHOG be doing?"
Chapter three is the story of the Spanglish ministry that helped transform Oak Grove CHOG into a missional congregation. It is phenomenological research that attempts to capture a portrait of life inside an intercultural community of believers. Through the vehicle of narratives, Chapter three illustrates the challenges as well as the joys of ministry in the midst of diversity.
Chapter four is an interpretative analysis of the Spanglish faith community. This chapter explores what Oak Grove CHOG learned about mission, scriptural faith, and its own cultural identity during the growth and evolution of the Spanglish ministry.
Chapter five describes the impact of Spanglish ministry on the Oak Grove congregation and its approach to ministry and mission. It also discusses the implications of this research for the church in the U.S. in the midst of a rapidly changing demographic.