A Note from Michael Palandro
My Role in Latin America:
Personally, I have been working with Vineyard and Vineyard partnerships in Latin America for more than two decades. With our church, The Vineyard Church of Houston, I have been involved in serving, training and planting in Mexico and Colombia. I spent a short time as the partnership leader for Colombia. I had previously served on the USA National Missions team for seven years, and returned two years ago as the representative to Spanish-speaking Latin America, where I currently serve.
What sort of work is Vineyard Missions doing in Latin America?
Much of the work in Latin America is done through partnerships. In the early days of missions in Latin America, there was a focus on relationship building, proclaiming and demonstrating the Kingdom of God, and identifying key leaders. In the past decade, we have attempted to build on these foundations by helping to equip pastors and local church leaders, support churches in developing ministry structures and strategies for evangelism and church growth, supporting national leaders who have emerged and giving more energy to newer church plants.
There has also been a strong partnership between the churches and ministry to children in orphanages in different countries, particularly in Central America.
Most recently, there has been an increased effort to provide training approaches that can provide new planters and leaders who can fuel church planting and growth throughout Latin America. Some of the newest efforts with promise are in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Chile.
What do you want people to know about the Latin American Vineyard right now?
Despite the years of long and sacrificial service in Latin America, there is still a great need for people, churches and partnerships to support the national leaders and churches throughout Latin America. Most countries have only a few Vineyard churches, and they want other international partners to help them grow, plant and develop leaders.
Latin American leaders are searching for answers to see the Vineyard reach more people for Christ and to unleash a healthy, rapidly growing movement to have a significant Kingdom impact on whole societies. They would welcome more Vineyard USA leaders who are willing to come alongside, listen, learn the culture, and, together, find answers that would help the Vineyard flourish in Latin America.
Why does this work matter?
This is a crucial time to increase our support and service to Viña (Vineyard) in Latin America. With the amazing growth in the Latino population on the U.S., our futures are bound together in many ways. We are both searching for understanding and strategies that are effective among Latino people from a variety of countries. Vineyard USA is seeking to plant 200 Spanish-speaking Vineyards in the United States. We need the collective wisdom of our friends in Latin America to accomplish this goal. We can learn from each other as we work together. We can share language, culture, resources and discoveries.
How can people connect with the work/you?
I really do want to help more churches and leaders connect in a helpful and healthy way with churches and leaders throughout Latin America. Most of our partnerships based here in the U.S. could benefit from more partners. And there are still several Latin American countries that have one or more churches but would appreciate partner churches with whom they can work together.
It is probably easiest to contact me through email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I can connect you with a current partnership leader or help you explore which partnership or country would be a good fit for your church.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Many of the U.S. Vineyard churches working in Latin America have been doing so for more than a decade. They would greatly appreciate the fresh perspective and energy from churches and leaders who are new to Vineyard missions and partnerships. You should consider working with us in Latin America.
There are many folks in our churches who studied Spanish in school and with just a little effort could be a great bilingual support in our efforts throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Give these folks a chance to serve with us. Put them in touch with me or others serving in partnerships in Latin America.
And finally, though my focus is with Spanish-speaking countries, we have partnerships in the Caribbean with people speaking English, Creole and French. We can help you if God is calling you to one of these countries.