Observations about Mexican Church

Shortly after we arrived in Mexico we chose a church to make our own. We only visited two, but we made our decision very quickly with the desire to begin building relationships right away! We have loved the church we go to, although we desire to go deeper with our friendships there. The church we go to is a small church that is very much like a family. In fact, a lot of the attendants are related. They have embraced us and cared for us and many of them have helped us with different things through our time here. We love them!

Last weekend we were able to go on a weekend camping trip with the Church. It was such a great time, and allowed for more opportunities to deepen relationships.  Plus, we got to eat Tamales and tacos for breakfast. Win! 

Our times with our church family lately have got me thinking about some of the differences I've noticed between Mexican church and church in the states. Honestly, at the moment I can only think of positive differences. I noticed this one even at the Hispanic church we attended for two years in the states, but I didn't realize at the time that it was a normal practice. At the time for offering, instead of elders standing up to carry around the plates, they have young children, girls or boys go up front to take the offering. They grab two baskets, then they stand together for a moment and one of them prays. I think the youngest kid I've seen do this was about 5 years old. It is adorable to see them volunteer to go up, and even more adorable to see them nudging each other as they stand up front to try to avoid being the one who prays. After years of watching this, I have begun seeing what a big impact this is having on the youth. They are included from such a young age, and it is just the beginning. They feel a valuable part of the church body as they can contribute something. They learn the confidence to stand in front of their elders and pray, which helps them as they age feel free to stand and share a prayer or praise or eventually exhort from the pulpit. We have an amazing group of young adults at our church here in Mexico, and it's awesome to see how all the different age groups function in the church. The youth and young adults that attend our church are attentive, helpful and looking for opportunities to contribute something. I don't know if this was just parenting, I think it was early involvement in things that mattered at the church. In the states when our youth graduate and go off to college at 18 years old, many of them never set foot in a church again. They were coming because their parents brought them, they went off to their classes or youth group, they may have sang with the worship team occasionally, they may have had some fun on a youth retreat, but in general I have not seen much involvement of the youth in the regular church business. They never made it their own.

Secondly, and this also happened in both the churches we have attended long term, they have a regular time of prayer requests and praises. It is opened up early on and doesn't seem to have a time limit. Usually it goes fairly quickly, but I have been to I think two services where the sermon didn't even end up happening because the prayer and praise went on so long. Shocking. There can be some frustrations as we enter this non-time-oriented culture coming from our very time oriented one, but there are also some refreshing benefits. You can see how people truly care for each other and know each other well when they will stop the service to pray or care for a hurting brother or sister. Maybe they still do the service, and it means you are sitting in an uncomfortable chair for an extra hour. Isn't it worth it?

Thirdly, I notice such care and respect for elders, for their wellbeing and at what they say. I feel like sometimes in the states, an adult reaches some specific age and stops being truly valued. We may walk them to their car, but do we seek their sage advice? Today in church I saw an old lady with a cane stand up to walk out, immediately several people stood to come to her aid. One person got there first and the rest sat down.

I want to come back for a moment to the amazing youth we have at our church. That camping trip we went on last weekend was entirely organized by the young adults and youth. They planned the food, cooked the food, planned the cabins and tents and driving situations and location, lead times of worship and games.  One of the guys even gave a short sermon or talk one evening. There were people of all ages there, and they all fellowshipped together, without age segregation. I think seeing the responsibility of the young adults in the church has been one of the coolest things to witness.  It has to make you wonder what we're missing in our home culture of church, and if maybe we could adopt something from the way Mexicans do church that may help?

Popular Posts