The trip from Toronto, Canada, to San Antonio, Texas, is long. We made this trip when God pressed upon our hearts to pastor Central Church of the Nazarene. Central Church is part of the Texas Oklahoma Latin District (TOLD), one of only three all Hispanic districts in North America. Financially, the district is in the bottom of all North American districts, and when we arrived, Central Church was the most financially unstable of all churches on the district. Although the church has a history of producing pastors and district superintendents since its founding in 1944, difficult times put it on the brink of closing its doors. In many cases, this would be a classic tale of closing the church and selling the property for a district re-evaluation, but the TOLD leadership decided that the historic preservation of the church was necessary.
My wife, Carolina, and I serve as pastors of the church. Since the beginning of our assignment, our desire was to restart, revitalize, and reignite the church. We knew the statistics were against us and that it would be a monumental task, but we also were certain that God called us to this church for a reason. When we arrived at the church parsonage, we quickly discovered that the house had not been taken care of for a long time and needed immediate attention. For a brief time, we felt discouraged, but we readjusted our emotions and started working on cleaning and repairing the house. It still needs work today, but it’s in much better shape.
The church building itself needed even more work. We started working on decluttering the rooms throughout the building, throwing out four tons of stored materials. We worked on the roof, the sound system, the stage, painting the children’s room, overhauling the lobby, and building a new nursery area for young families—all with very little financial help. As people started coming to church, there were genuine heart transformations, restored marriages, drug and addiction rehabilitations, and re-consecrations to walking in holiness. It is only through the power of God that this church is now actively present in the community, financially stable, and a place of refuge for the broken.
In just five years, God has shown His mighty hand and has proved that all things are possible for those who believe in His power.
This journey has been a blessing, and even through the pandemic of 2020, Central Church has been open with the appropriate precautions. The church is now paying its budgets and will be in the 10th percentile of church donations to missions for the fifth year in a row. But even in light of these external achievements, the greatest aspect of this restart has been the privilege of witnessing the transformation of individuals and families.
Daniel Carrillo and his wife, Carolina, are both ordained ministers who co-pastor San Antonio Central Church of the Nazarene in San Antonio, Texas, USA. They have served together in ministry for more than 12 years.