New Church’s Daycare Center Reaches Families and Supports Ministry
A new Hispanic ministry has given a daycare center a fresh start, and its leaders hope the center will become a model for sustainable ministry for churches in low-income communities.
A little over a year ago, the daycare center was in the process of shutting down. At that time it was run by First Lutheran Church out of their building in inner-city Tulare, California. First Lutheran was having a hard time connecting with its neighbors in ways that would lead them to enroll their children in the church’s daycare program.
Most neighborhood families are first-generation Hispanics, born outside of the U.S., and there are also many second- and third-generation Hispanic families.
A ministry opportunity
At the time First Lutheran was closing its daycare center, Jose Camilo, an RCA church planting pastor, contacted them about renting worship space for a new Hispanic church. They agreed, and now the new church, Casa de Adoracion Tulare, not only worships in First Lutheran’s building, it runs the daycare center too.
“With valuable support from Tulare Community Church, we began to administrate the center January 1, 2013,” says Camilo.
To get the word out to the community about the daycare center, Casa Adoracion leaders visited the area’s popular flea markets to share the gospel and promote the center. “At the same time brothers and sisters from the church are talking to others about the services we are offering,” Camilo says.
Outreach through the daycare center
“Currently we have four families from Casa Adoracion that have kids in the center. Additionally, we have reached four other families for Jesus through the center operation; three of them are attending other churches because they later moved to other communities.”
He says 10 children between the ages of two and four were enrolled in fall 2013, and he hopes to more than double that number in 2014.“We are receiving kids from Hispanic, Caucasian, and African-American families, and all of them are receiving the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Using the fees they pay, says Camilo, “The goal for the end of 2014 is that the center can assume the pay for rent and all utilities for First Lutheran, Casa Adoracion, and itself.
“We have 10 leaders involved as volunteers in the operation of the center, including as board members, committee members, and the cleaning team.” Camilo adds that, considering that about 30 people attend worship and another 30 volunteers, parents, and kids are involved in the daycare, “We are influencing around 60 people.”
Sharing the success
Building on the center’s success, Camilo plans to help several other Hispanic churches in rural and low-income communities open daycare centers to help them become financially self-sustaining and reach out to their communities.
He says most Hispanic churches in and around Tulare depend for financial support on people with low incomes who work on farms, in stores and hospitals, and as small business owners. “Many of these churches have the risk of not reaching financial sustainability. In this sense, we are seeing the child care center as a wonderful option to connect new families [to newly planted churches] and to contribute to the support of church planters’ families and church operations too.
“This is only the beginning for us. We are dreaming and praying for another two centers soon. Our goal is that this center could convert into an instrument to plant other centers and churches, or both, in some of our communities most in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”