KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Iglesia Bautista Casa de Gracia (House of Grace) in the Northland area of Kansas City is working to reach the small but growing Hispanic community settling in an area that straddles the Kansas-Missouri state line.
“We are one the first Hispanic church serving this area,” said church planter and pastor Arnaldo Achucarro. “We serve a Hispanic population of around twenty to twenty-five thousand people.”
Planted in the Northland community by Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, Casa de Gracia is ministering primarily to first-generation Hispanics who have begun arriving in Kansas City and who will continue to come and settle in this metropolitan area.
“It’s a reality that Hispanics are going to keep coming, even if current policies slow down the influx for a while. They will continue to come,” he said. “And we feel called to reach these first-generation Hispanics who are arriving.”
Matt Marrs, North American Mission Board Send City Missionary in Kansas City, says that the community Casa de Gracia is ministering to is challenging given that Hispanic families are not as visible in that area. Block parties and similar community events would not be effective in drawing the group out. Instead, says Marrs, a lot of door-to-door knocking has to happen.
Achucarro and the Casa de Gracia team are using small groups to reach the community of Hispanics in his area. “We are meeting in homes for discipleship and to get to know the people.” Small groups are also convenient for the Hispanics Achucarro works with as they tend to be business owners and work nine-to-five jobs.
The church plant started with two families in November 2018 and officially launched in April 2019. To date they have baptized four people and will soon be baptizing three more.
“Through building relationships and serving their community, Case de Gracia is reaching people with the Gospel,” said Jerry Conner, pastor of global outreach at Pleasant Valley. “Having a Spanish-speaking church in this community is very important as more Hispanic families are moving to the area.”
Achucarro, a native of Paraguay, has previously planted three churches in Iowa and Utah. “It’s a different kind of challenge to plant a Hispanic church in the U.S. than in our own countries because here we are creating a subculture from all of our own particular cultures coming together in this country. So we take a little more time in getting settled.”
“Pastor Arnaldo is doing a great job of leading Casa de Gracia to become the spiritual home for people as they come to faith in Christ,” said Conner.
“Our hope for Casa de Gracia is to see a healthy-church, healthy members and healthy Christians that live their lives according to the Word of God,” said Achucarro. “We want to see our church in the future be a sending church to others — planting other Hispanic churches in Northland and beyond.”