Living in a low-income neighborhood, Maria struggled to support herself and her son. Her struggle increased when she received news that her mother, who was still living in Guatemala, fell ill.
Then Maria heard about community programs through Ethnos Community Church, a bilingual church community in Bellflower, California: parenting classes and jewelry imitation workshops. Unlike most churches Maria knew about, this one solely ministered through its community programs. Maria gained education on best parenting practices as well as gathering entrepreneurial acumen on how to create and sell jewelry.
After becoming skilled in jewelry imitation, Maria began selling her jewelry on Facebook. The income she garnered selling her jewelry supported her and her son as well as funding travel to Guatemala where she currently is taking care of her mother.
Ethnos Community Church did not begin in a traditional fashion.
“We understand as a church that if we want to minister, we need to approach all aspects of the community,” Pastor Tomas Ivens, founder of Ethnos Community Church, explains. “We want to spiritualize everything and get people to church... Once we started connecting with their physical needs, we were better able to connect to their spiritual needs.”
Supported by Home Missions, Ethnos Community Church’s work reflects a shift in missional thinking. “Christianity in the United States has been changed,” Ivens observes. “How do we reach our nation’s poor, refugees, or immigrants? How do we rebuild our cities and nations to reflect God’s vision for his community? When we develop economic and parenting skills in a community, we spiritually empower them.”