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Colorado church booms with bilingual services

Since starting services for Spanish-speakers and deploying ministry teams into the community, Greeley Assembly of God in northern Colorado has seen extraordinary growth in a small university town.

"We have been having an awesome move of God," says Rigo Magana, pastor of the church, which belongs to the Central Latin American District. "People are getting saved, we disciple them and now they are reaching out to others."

Since 1995, church attendance has grown from around 100 to more than 800 people on Sundays. In that same time attendance at the Spanish-speaking services has grown from 20 to more than 250.

Of the 140,000 who live in the area, Magana estimates that 46 percent are Hispanic. Though the church was once largely made up of third- and fourth-generation Hispanics who spoke English as their primary language, Magana knew God wanted more for the church.

"We felt the Lord wanted us to begin a Spanish work in our church," he says. "But we did not want to create a second congregation."

To do that, the church has two Spanish and two English services on Sundays. But, through the week Spanish and English speakers work side by side in the church’s 38 ministries, which include outreaches to migrant workers, college students, gang members and homeless people. The church also has a strong Master’s Commission.

"This church is constantly reaching out to others," says Daveta Grigson, a member of the church. "Attending here has challenged me because it is easy to get caught up in your own church and life and forget to reach out to others."

Prayer, says Magana, has been the fuel feeding the insatiable appetite of the congregation to reach the lost. As a result, involvement in ministry has become second nature for members of the church.

"The people of this church see a need and God provides someone to meet that need," says Magana. "We are just going after God."

— Kirk Noonan


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