Interview Dr. Miranda : What do you envision five years from now for Congregation Lion of Judah?
If I were asked what I would like to see in 5 years in terms of progress for our church, if somebody were to leave our church today and come back in 5 years, what would I like to see them encountering, what changes to observe. One of the most basic things, the very physical, very fundamental, is I would like to walk to our present parking lot at the back of this building and instead of an empty space to find a beautiful, modern, sanctuary with one floor on top for additional classrooms and offices, mounted on pillars so that we do not lose our parking spaces in the bottom that we can use for daily activities here at the church, and parking for personnel and parishioners.
I think that it is so important because now we have pretty much out-roomed our present facilities, and remember we have two services but we’re pretty close to the point when we are absolutely requiring a larger space, and being able to place a building back there, would enable us to enhance and expand our worship space significantly at a greatly reduced cost. When you compare what it would cost us to go to another part of the city, for example, we would be able to have then three buildings all connected in the inside, the one that we purchased in Northampton and Harrison Avenue, this present building and the one behind there, and I think that would enable us to have a small campus that would allow us to carry out most of the operations that we see God leading us toward.
That is a great thing that I’d like to see the Lord do. By the way we’re somewhat advanced in that process, we already have designs for the building and we have been able to secure the wonderful Christian architect Glenn Knowles, has been so generous with his time and gifting. So we have designs already and shortly we’ll have to come before the Board of Appeal of the City of Boston to get to go ahead, to begin the construction of that building. So that’s one thing.
I think another thing is that I believe that God has gifted the Hispanic church, the Latino church in the USA for ministry and also to make a significant contribution, just to the general culture. Hispanics come to the USA not only to receive, yes, we do come because we’re looking for a job, and for a better life for our children, but I also think that we bring our resources, we also bring our own gifting that can benefit this culture. Hispanics bring a warm sensibility, strong family values, love for children, love for the extended family. We bring almost like a generic love for God and fear of God because of our Catholic and Christian background. We bring an ethic of hard work, of doing what needs to be done in order to procure a family and our loved ones, a healthy living.
Another thing is that we have many Hispanic evangelicals comes to the USA with a strong love for God anointing of the Holy Spirit and experience of the power of God, they come from churches that are very evangelistic and would demand a high level of Christian living and a high level of commitment, of money, of energy and gifts to the Kingdom of God and we think that particularly, that passion for the Kingdom of God is so needed by many anglo European churches that have lost a certain amount of vitality. There are so many churches, particularly in places like New England, for example that have wonderful buildings, great endowments, but are dying with a handful of elderly people, holding for dear life and wondering how they can get out of the kind of rut that they find themselves in. And I think that this is where ethnic groups that come with the passion, the energy of the spirit can really serve to benefit and to bless others.
I’d like to see our church be a part of that. I’d like to see our church have a greater influence on the general culture, I’d love for the Lord the next 3 to 5 years to take us out of just the Hispanic ghetto, so to speak. God has enabled us to do that to a certain degree already, as we have become involved with many of the churches in the city, not just Hispanic, very involved with African American ministries and churches, with a lot of ministries involved in city issues, and social agencies, and so on. I’d like to see more of that happen, I’d like to see our church bring its Latino spirituality and influence to bear on the problems of the city and to be a blessing to, not just the city of Boston, but even across the USA and even internationally. So I think that’s the important thing and as I say that the third element that comes to mind which is the use of the media.
How can our church become that influence across the nation, across the world? I think media is crucial, I think God has given us certain gifts as a congregation, as a ministry and our big challenge right now is how can we make those gifts available to a greater number of people. I think media offers the solution to that, TV, radio, the Internet, I think a vastly unexplored territory that can do so much to reach the world for Christ. The Internet is this vast unexplored land, full of resources, open to entrepreneurs, to hardy types that are willing to enter and start exploring how we can use that great resource for the Kingdom of God, and I thank the Lord for the ministry of Dr. Ernst Diehl and his wife Esmeralda who are part of our Congregation and are trying to help us to learn how to navigate those waters. I think it’s so crucial, so important that our church, in the next few years learns to do good media ministry, high quality with good equipment, good facilities, good message and ability to discern the sensibility of the world out there and how to impact them for the Kingdom of God, how to do it in the most effective sort of way in a way that we’ll be able to compete, let’s put it that way, with any other secular resource that is out there. That’s something that could bring great honor to the Lord and also would be great impact to the larger community. So I hope that we can learn to navigate the whole media a lot more.
A fourth area is the social area. I’ve already spoken about this in other opportunities. God has called our church to be not only involved in strict ministry, or spiritual ministry, but also to impact the whole environment. The Kingdom of God is not just for church, the Kingdom of God is supposed to penetrate every area of the society. The word of God, the message of Christ, the values of the Kingdom of God are supposed to permeate the cultural, the intellectual world, the educational institutions, the arts, the literature, politics and government finance, the Kingdom of God has something to say to all of those dimensions of the human existence.
The Kingdom of God is physical, is mental, is emotional in social spirit and so we should not limit the message of Christ in just one sector, in just one small slew of human reality, we should reach all the dimensions of human life. I’d like our church to be a part of that. I’d like us to learn more on how to impact all the different sectors and areas of our community. I’d love for example to see in 3 to 5 years, a major counseling center in our new facility that we are now renovating next door, serving all sectors of the community, families, individuals, youth, children, whether they are believers or not, whether they are members of our congregation or not, and have several psychologist and even psychiatrist ministering full time to impact needy families and individual in the areas of emotions, and mind, and family existence. So I think that’s a great area.
I’d like to see our educational ministries, like the high education resource center doing more and having more facilities, more resources, reaching more people. I’d like to work more with youth, helping them, not only to become functional in the education area, but also in the area of interpersonal relations, in their sexuality, in their emotional life, in their family life, the way they relate to their parents, the way they construct their whole life and I think the church is called to do that. The church is being called to be the mother of the nations, it’s been called to be a discipler of nations as Jesus said, go and disciple the nations and turn them into adherents of the Kingdom of God and that’s the way we’re supposed to be doing. I’d like our church to always have that global vision and the next 3 to 5 years, these small ministries that we have begun and that right now are now in embryonic stages and to become enhanced and to develop themselves and to acquire more resources and just impact the community in a greater level.
Finally in order to do all those things we need to have strong administration. The church has a spiritual dimension but it also has a physical dimension. It is a religious institution but it is also a corporation and that means that it has to be in contact with the world legally. We are a legal entity, and we also have administrative systems that need to be in place and we have to order our finances, we have m…. staff setup that requires good systems of communications, of delegation, of feedback, training, leadership training. The use of our facilities and the maintenance of our facilities, the acquisition of other facilities and other resources, financial and otherwise for the Kingdom of God and that requires a huge amount of learning, of ‘intentionality’, we need to be learning how to be better institution and I think that as we do we also bring glory to the Lord. We have been given the wisdom of God and therefore our institution should reflect that wisdom in the way that they carry their affairs, so I pray that the Lord would help us on that area as well. So those are 5 areas I would like to see our church become more professional in the next few years.