River Ministry/Mexico Missions brings expertise, practical training to more than 200 church leaders in Mexico

by Meredith Poe on March 22, 2024 in News

More than 200 pastors and church leaders gathered in Querétaro, Mexico, to receive training in discipleship, pastoral leadership, church planting and evangelism during a fall session this past year.

The training was organized and led by River Ministry and Mexico Missions, a ministry of Texas Baptists that seeks to connect affiliated churches to specific mission projects along the Texas/Mexico border and the interior of Mexico.

Mission projects tend to focus on three priorities—evangelism, leadership development and family—and current areas of ministry on the Mexican side of the border include Juárez, Matamoros, Cd. Acuña and Piedras Negras.

Bringing expertise, practical training to church leaders

“In this area, same as in Mexico City and Guadalajara, seminary students receive all the standard training in doctrine and theology, but they often do not receive training in church planting, revitalization or other areas like this,” said Mario Gonzalez, director of River Ministry and Mexico Missions.

“We have people who are experts, and we are bringing this training to them.”

Gonzalez held a training last fall that was focused primarily on caring for the congregation.

“I was helping prepare pastors for what to do when they need to counsel people—not professional counseling but in specific situations in ministry. For example, hospital ministry, conflict resolution and knowing when to refer people to professional help … basically how to pastor their congregation.”

Creating ‘missional leaders’ shaped by God’s mission

This February, Josue Valerio, director of the Center for Missional Engagement, returned to Querétaro to hold additional training on discipleship.

“We want to help create missional leaders—leaders that are shaped by the mission of God, loving Him, loving our neighbor and sharing Christ,” said Valerio.

“We don’t just want to reach people for the Lord; we want to develop them for the Lord too,” he said. “We went over how you start the discipleship process, just spending time with people, living the word of God in front of them.”

Valerio compared the work they are doing with pastors in Mexico to train tracks: “The tracks sit on dirt and gravel and rocks … those represent the word of God and teaching. One rail represents the cognitive part and the other rail symbolizes the practices and ministry, which is the area we’re trying to grow. Then, the logs that unite them represent systematic reflection—what is God teaching me? What needs to change?”

Valerio worked to model for pastors not only what they should be doing in discipleship but also what they shouldn’t do. The pastors spent one-on-one time working through different discipleship scenarios together to understand the process better. Valerio also talked about evangelism and the stages of church planting.

Partnering to apply skills, contextualized instruction

River Ministry and Mexico Missions invites Texas Baptists churches that have Spanish-speaking leaders and programs to consider partnering to provide future training sessions in the most populous Mexican cities and along the Texas/Mexico border.

“We are always looking for people who can bring a particular skill set. For example, technology or sports … we have a few missionaries who are teaching how to use these things for ministry and evangelism,” said Gonzalez.

Valerio emphasized the importance of training being contextualized to Hispanic culture. “It’s more than just speaking the language or having a translator,” he said.

Churches interested in partnering can email Leah McMullen, ministry assistant for River Ministry and BOUNCE, for more information. To learn more about River Ministry & Mexico Missions, click here.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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Read more articles in: News, Stories of Impact, Missional Engagement, River Ministry, Mexico Missions