May 5, 2017
Amidst the coffee, corn, and cattle in the rolling mountains of Honduras’s Olancho region, the Holy Spirit has been preparing Rigoberto Juarez for ministry in an unlikely way.
Juarez left his hometown of Mangulile for gang life at a young age. His activities in the gang led him to fear for his own life. Vulnerable and helpless, Juarez fled back to Mangulile, where he eventually joined the church.
“In Honduras, you either join a gang or a youth group,” said Resonate's Caspar Geisterfer, who came to this generalization after serving as a missionary in Honduras since 2008. “Everyone has a basic need to belong, and the strongest sense of belonging in Honduras is either on the streets or in the church.”
Like many new Christians, Juarez was still grasping what it meant to belong to this new group when he first met Geisterfer. Most of his ideas of what a Christian looked like came from watching Christian television programs, but he longed for a deeper understanding.
With people like Juarez in mind, Geisterfer developed a practical tool to help Honduran Christians understand what the Bible is saying to them. He calls it “Cornfield Theology.”
“We work with less-educated pastors and church members,” said Geisterfer, describing how Cornfield Theology uses real life examples to explain theological ideas. “Together, we discover the purposes of God and the ways of the kingdom, using the Heidelberg Catechism."
“People don’t take the time to teach others how to read the Bible,” Geisterfer added. “Cornfield Theology is very conversational and relational, helping people meet God where they already are.”
From the very first question—What is your only comfort in life and death?— participants discover what it means to belong to the body of Christ with relatable examples.
“When we talk about belonging, we talk about the tattoos or hairstyles that show you belong to a gang,” Geisterfer cited as an example.
As he developed Cornfield Theology, Geisterfer knew he needed local people to help him come up with practical examples. Juarez quickly became one of his top choices.
“Rigoberto is one of those people who just can’t sit still because he has to tell others about Jesus,” said Geisterfer.
Today Geisterfer and Juarez have about 90 participants in five different Cornfield Theology classes around Mangulile. Together they draw on their own experiences—Rigoberto as a gangster and Caspar as a missionary—to share what the Bible means to them.
“People are having fun and learning what it means to be Reformed,” Geisterfer concluded.