By Tiffany Silverberg
Every One His Witness® (E1HW), the Lutheran evangelism program launched in 2017 by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Witness & Outreach Ministry, is now available in Spanish. This new edition expands the program’s usefulness to Spanish-speaking congregations, pastors and laypeople in both the United States and abroad.
The E1HW program consists of a core module of six lessons as well as a series of online video context modules that provide support for specific witnessing situations. The context modules are available to participants who have worked through the core module. Only the core module has been translated into Spanish. It includes the core module video in English with Spanish subtitles, along with Spanish-language versions of the workbooks and other printed materials.
This new Spanish edition of E1HW is already being put to use. In July, Jesus El Buen Pastor (JEBP) Lutheran Church in downtown Kansas City, Mo., held a training workshop on the materials, making it the first congregation in the United States to use them. The workshop was led by the Rev. Donaldo Sonntag, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Mexico, Mo., and included time for fellowship, worship and a meal. In total, 49 laypeople attended, including seven high school students. The workshop was conducted in Spanish.
The Rev. William Geis, LCMS Missouri District assistant to the president for Missions and Congregational Services, helped organize the workshop. He described the new resource as an ideal program for training lay leaders to share the Gospel among the Hispanic community.
“We wanted to do something to help develop leaders,” Geis said. “This is a natural fit. The Hispanic congregations had indicated that they wanted to be more intentional about evangelism.”
“The Gospel has to be heard in their own language,” said Geis. “It’s in our Lutheran roots [to] translate the Gospel into the language of the people.”
Like the English E1HW, the Spanish version makes use of the LASSIE approach to evangelism. In Spanish, LASSIE stands for Los Escuchamos (We Listen), Ahora Preguntamos (Now We Ask), Sí Buscamos (We Look), Sí Compartimos (We Share), Invitamos (We Invite) and Entusiasmamos (We Encourage).
Evangelism as mercy
The Spanish E1HW was first used abroad in August 2018 at a weeklong seminar in the Dominican Republic. The seminar took place at Concordia the Reformer Mercy Center and Seminary in Palmar Arriba, Dominican Republic. Deaconess Cheryl Naumann, an LCMS career missionary who directs the activities of the mercy center, has coordinated various events to utilize the Spanish E1HW.
“Among those mercy center activities that I coordinate are providing conferences to instruct all members of the church in our region — whether church workers or laity — to be the hands, feet and voice of the church, in service to our neighbor,” Naumann said. “As we engage in a ministry of mercy, we do it in close proximity to the Word and Sacrament ministry provided in our LCMS mission congregations. We want to be able to point people to the places where they can hear more of God’s Word, to understand what He has done for them, and to better understand why we love them in His name.”
The Palmar Arriba seminar was led by the Rev. Idjon Fritz, a pastor in the Dominican Lutheran Church. Attendees included residential seminary students from Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. In addition, LCMS missionaries in the Dominican Republic, some student deaconesses and Lutheran school teachers, and members of the five LCMS mission congregations in Santiago and Santo Domingo attended.
Naumann reported that the response to the seminar was positive. Since then, seminary students who attended the seminar, who are now pastors and vicars, have led conferences using the Spanish E1HW materials in Mexico and Venezuela. Another will be conducted in September on behalf of a partner church in Santiago, Chile. In October, the Revs. David Warner and Adam Lehman, LCMS missionaries to Spain, will use the materials to lead a workshop at the Spanish Church National Assembly in Madrid.
Geis said, “We have a wonderful opportunity to be more intentional with sharing the Gospel with our neighbors.” This translation puts practical tools in the hands of God’s people throughout the world, empowering them to share the love of Jesus with their Spanish-speaking neighbors.
Tiffany Silverberg is a freelance writer and copy editor.
Posted Sept. 3, 2019