2006 Rapport: Leading Diverse Churches
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Diverse Churches" which includes this page from
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Maria Khaleel-Gilleland pastors New Life Assembly of
God, Pembroke Pines, Florida. She graduated from AGTS in
2002 with a Master of Arts in Biblical Literature.
New Life started in 1992, and approximately 80% of our congregation
was saved here. Ministry in south Florida is exciting because
the world has come to us. Our community is about 40 percent
Hispanic with large Caribbean and growing Asian populations.
I believe that if a church is effectively fulfilling the
Great Commission to preach the gospel to all people, it will
reflect all ethnicities in its community.
We have over 30 nationalities represented in our church. Many are from Latin America and the Caribbean, but some come from
Asia and Africa. Since the Hispanic and Caribbean cultures are expressive, our services are passionate. These cultures also
have a strong belief in the supernatural, so as Christians they have a natural receptivity to the power of the Holy Spirit. As
a result, we see many miracles and healings in our services.
My greatest challenge is a limited knowledge of Spanish and,
although our services are translated into Spanish, I still
desire to communicate effectively with individuals in Spanish.
Latin and Caribbean people are relational. Therefore, we approach
ministry differently. Simply giving a class or having meetings
on leadership cannot train or develop leaders. There must be
a relational connection. Thus, I do a mentoring ministry in
which new leaders come to my home and share a meal. Then teaching
and interaction occur.
Also, in both Latin and Caribbean cultures, men tend to be “macho.” Many
have stated that when they first saw a female pastor, their
minds protested. However, experiencing the presence of God through
the church ministry silenced their objections.
of ethnic background, respond to genuine love, and this has
become the atmosphere of the entire church. The diverse membership
has helped to expand our life experience and increase our appreciation
for other cultures. In fact, since the church began, we have
had over 4,000 salvations. Truly, the anointing makes the difference.
Monday, July 24, 2006 10:59 AM