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Discernment and Mapping Pt 2 w/ Hector and Juan Carlos Barrero

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In this episode, our host Cara Garrity continues her conversation with Hector Barrero GCI pastor in Bogota, Colombia, and his son Juan Carlos “Juanka” Barrero, Hope Avenue Champion in Bogota. Together they discuss practices and the process of developing a Ministry Action Plan (MAP).

“The first step will be defining our goals as a team. Defining those goals is a process that takes every member to give some time during the week. The first Saturday of each month, we gather with all the ministry leaders. And we are going step-by-step, taking our time with a lot of patience and analyzing the calendar in which we have all the information and analyzing what is next and the steps that we need to work on, the priorities that we have and also the deadlines.” — Juanka Barrero


Main Points:

  • What steps does your team take to put your MAP into action? 1:46
  • What process do you use to communicate your team MAP to your ministry Avenue teams? 7:31
  • How does your team communicate progress that is made on assigned action steps/areas of responsibility? 28:13



  • Ministry Action Plans – an Equipper article with templates and practical input for developing your Ministry Action Plan.
  • Church Juice – an organization dedicated to church communication resources and best practices.
  • Google calendar – an option for developing a centralized and shared calendar
  • We Believe – curriculum mentioned by Hector to develop a deeper theological understanding and equip their team to disciple others.
  • Apprentice Square – GiANT tool recommended by Juan Carlos to develop and liberate new leaders.


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Program Transcript

Discernment and Mapping Pt 2 w/ Hector and Juan Carlos Barrero

Welcome to the GC Podcast, a podcast to help you develop into the healthiest ministry leader you can be by sharing practical ministry experience.

Cara: Hello friends and welcome to today’s episode of GC Podcast. This podcast is devoted to exploring best ministry practices in the context of Grace Communion International churches.

I’m your host Cara Garrity. And today we are going to continue our mini episodes for this quarter focused on process and practices of discernment, strategic planning, and ministry action plans [MAPs]. Let’s welcome back Pastor Hector and Juanka who are joining us to share their experiences with the ministry action plans and their planning in the local context of their church, Comunión de Gracia Internacional Bogotá.

Welcome, welcome. Thanks for joining us again today.

Hector: Thank you, Cara, for inviting us.

[00:01:06] Cara: Absolutely. We appreciated all the wonderful insights you shared with us last month about your team based processes of planning and putting together your ministry action plans.

Today, I wanted to focus more specifically on putting those action plans into action. Sometimes we plan and then it stops at the planning. But with the ministry action plans, we really want to move into action and true participation in the ministry that God’s up to in our very midst.

And I want to start with this question. What steps does your team take to actually put your ministry action plan into action?

[00:01:53] Juanka: Yes, Cara. The first step will be defining our goals as a team. Defining those goals is a process that takes every member to take some time during the week. For example, on Saturdays, we are meeting every single Saturday. The first Saturday of each month, we are gathering with all the ministry leaders. And we are just going step-by-step, taking our time with a lot of patience and analyzing, for example, the calendar in which we have all the information and analyzing what is next and the steps that we need to work on.

For example, the priorities that we have and also the deadlines that we have for events. Most of the time we talk about what’s happening during the week, what’s happening, for example, on Sundays, who is in charge of what.

The steps that we take are basically to gather each Saturday, gathering sometimes on Zoom and having clear our goals and specific events that we have, and the person responsible for that.

It is not always perfect, of course. People change, for example, locations and they get pregnant. The families get bigger. And because of that, sometimes the dynamic is challenging, but nonetheless it’s flowing, and it is very positive.

Basically, the steps are just to make time to have meetings virtually or face-to-face. Obviously, we like more meetings that are face-to-face because we can have a chocolate with bread, that we call here in Colombia como chocolate y pan. And so that’s something that we love to do. And so, when we do that, we can make things happen and we talk about the events, all the plans.

[00:04:29] Cara: Yeah. Actually, consistently meeting together as a team and then referencing the ministry action plan that you’ve put together as you meet and having those check-ins. That seems very practical and a basic way to really make sure you’re getting into action. It’s good.

[00:04:49] Hector: I could say, for example, in the Faith Avenue we decided to study, We Believe. Each class is planned with who is going to teach it in the group of the Faith Avenue. We are preparing the leaders first. We want them to know our doctrine, what we believe. Also, that’s the first step because now we are preparing them to be teachers.

So, we have a small group training those who are going to train others and that has a specific timing. We give the responsibilities to everybody with dates and subjects for everybody. And it has been very good. It’s a good exercise. For example, last time it was Tuesday, yesterday, we had a class on the beliefs on hell.

That subject is very challenging. What is the future of those who are not ready to or not willing to believe, those who rejected the gospel? Where are they going to end up? That’s a very difficult subject. So that’s why we have to train our leaders how to respond, how to prepare, how to analyze certain scriptures.

So we go through our booklet, We Believe, and I would say that’s an example of how we planned specifically on how to reach [goals] and people are doing it. Leaders are doing it. They are following their plan.

[00:06:50] Cara: Yeah, that’s excellent. And using the resources that are available to them. And I loved what you said, I heard that you’re putting into action plans that are going to create more action.

You said your small groups training, the people who are going to train more people and go from there. And so that’s a really neat thing that you’re creating more and more motion and movement and participation.

You all in our last episode talked about this calendar and this folder where you keep all of your plans, and your ministry leaders are able to access it and all of the team members.

Can you share a little bit more about that process that you use to communicate to your team, that your team uses to communicate with each other your ministry action plan amongst all of the team members?

[00:07:45] Juanka: Yes, of course. Basically, we have nine or 10 Google sheets obviously in one file and that file is shared with all the ministries and the leaders. The first sheet is very important because it talks about the mission and objectives. And this is very important for all the people that have access to this document because we don’t forget our mission, our vision, the theme that we have and the goals that each Avenue has.

In this case, we have the pastoral Avenue. For example, in our case, we have for 2023, we have to prepare and open spaces for young people who are going to participate in the proclamation of the gospel. This means that we are giving spaces to young people to preach, to be the leaders of ministries, to have the opportunity to serve in church and outside the church in representation of Grace Communion International or obviously, representing Christ. But this is something that we want to do. So, we have been meeting with these groups, preparing them.

Also, in the Hope Avenue we wanted to create an environment that leads people to worship in community and preparing other people. So, we have this idea that we took from Giant [Giant Worldwide]. (I don’t know if I can mention that.) But yeah, we love the idea of, I do you watch; I do you help; you do I help; you do I watch. [Apprentice Square]

We are implementing that system for developing new leaders, new servers. We actually have a lot of new servers, people that are helping in the church. They’re very committed, and we love that. And the same thing is happening in the Avenue of Faith and the Avenue of Love.

All of those concepts are written in the first part of the Google sheets. Then we have the calendar. The calendar is super important because it communicates to our team basically the MAP, right? For example, on July the 3rd, we have this gathering about something. And then the 5th of July we have, for example, a Bible study, 7:30, and everybody knows that this is going to happen.

And so, it’s super practical. It is an incredible way to communicate to our team because we also communicate these events every single Sunday when we have our services, but it is also written down in our calendar.

And so that’s super important. In addition to that, we have some platforms. For example, we have Facebook, Instagram. We used to have TikTok, but we decided not to continue. We do have something on Spotify uploading the sermons.

And all of this has been working with the third part of our Google sheet, because we have a schedule. For example, most of the time we are sharing on Facebook on Saturdays because we use Facebook just to announce our church gatherings. Everything that we do is written there. It is there, the information.

And so, we love to have that because it communicates to our team. All the other remaining sheets are regarding the Avenue of Hope. And if you go, for example, to the Avenue of Hope. You will find everything related, like the manuals, like everything that we have developed regarding the worship team or the servants’ ministry, the children’s ministry. Everything is there, the youth ministry, all of the ideas, the goals, the dates, the information about the young people attending, the meetings, the woman’s ministry.

And it is the same for the Avenue of Love. We have, for example, the evangelism manuals that are basically like church hacks that we have taken very seriously because they apply to our context. The prayer meeting link.

We have something that is called the Chocolatada, for example, in the Love Avenue. It’s the third Saturday of each month. We have that Chocolatada, which is basically sharing food and the message of the gospel with people from the community. And so, this is something that we are always doing in the Love Avenue right now, and everything is planned there.

So, I think that the process that we use to communicate our team MAP is basically to have this document very available to all the leaders and to remind ourselves every single Saturday that, hey, this next Saturday, remember this. There’s this event we expect this person to be in charge. For example, you or this couple are going to be preparing the music, or you guys are going to do this and that.

Everybody knows what they’re supposed to do, and there’s always movement, and we love that. We love that the church is always moving. For example, something positive that we can tell you now today is that the last Saturday the church was full.

We had two weddings. And so, there were a lot of people visiting church. We had the chance of celebrating love and the love of couples that want to live in Christ. And so, this is something that we continue to do. We love to be always with events.

[00:14:26] Hector: Yeah, we had a wedding on Saturday and then Sunday, we had the second wedding and every one of those couples invited their families. So, we have people attending our church who are not members, but they were participating in this activity. So, it was good. It was excellent because it was apart from church services; it was different activities.

So, it was a good thing, and it was already planned because people who are going to get married, they plan in advance. So, we were able to plan these things from months ago. We have a group of people who help us in planning and doing things, the servers who are involved in that.

The people who make the wedding cake are members and people who serve the food are members. And so, it was excellent. It was a lot of work, but it was a good weekend last weekend. It was excellent. So, we are happy because of that.

Also, we stopped airing our radio program because of different reasons. One of those is economic reasons, too expensive. Now we are doing shorts on YouTube. And we send our shorts, those one-minute YouTube shows. I would say we send them daily to our members and also, we’ve published them on Facebook and on YouTube, of course. So, it has been also a good idea. And all of that had been planned because we needed a way to cover our lack of the radio program.

But it’s coming along very well.

[00:16:22] Juanka: Yeah, I wanted to add to that, that it is incredible to see people moved by the Spirit and just serving and helping in these events. The last Saturday, I think it was—oh, it was Sunday—one of the girls that was helping out with the taking the cake and the beverages and all of that, she fell on the stairs, but she was like, no, I want to continue. Don’t worry. I’m okay.

Obviously, we immobilized her a little bit to see if it was too serious, but the attitude and also the love to serve, it is incredible. It is absolutely incredible. It’s like a joy to serve others and just to celebrate together all of these events.

[00:17:19] Hector: I saw the servants all of them working together. And I was so thankful to them after the activities, the two activities, because the group of people who served in both weddings were the same. I gave them a lot of thanks. I was so moved because of their service, their willingness to participate, to give their time. That’s great to see people so involved and loving what they are doing. It is great.

[00:17:55] Juanka: So, we had gathered during the week, virtually planning everything.

We had everything clear like the arrival of the bride, everything was like written down specifically. Let’s say, all the things that needed to be done, had someone responsible. While one server was working, for example, in the flowers and gathering all the things, all others were dealing with the tables and stuff like that, but everything was written down.

And so that process of communication, like the MAP in that Excel file—sorry, sheets file on Google, is absolutely practical and incredible. Yeah. It is an example.

[00:18:53] Cara: Yeah, absolutely. And it sounds like this open communication that you have that’s very clear allows more people to participate in that process. Like you both were saying, you were really amazed at the folks who served even for these weddings.

And I’ve been picking up on, even in the ministries, a lot more people have been able to participate as you all have grown in the Avenues and planning in this way.

And so, I really appreciate that. And one of the things that I want to point out that I see in your kind of communication with your teams and your leaders is it’s standardized. You guys have a clear system and process that you use that your leaders know about.

You mentioned that everyone has access to these things. It’s in a central location. It’s not random or haphazard your communication. It’s not, oh, when I remember to tell so and so I’ll tell them about this event that I just scheduled. It’s very consistent. It sounds very streamlined where you know what to expect, your leaders know what to expect. And they know that they can depend on this communication system to know what’s happening and what’s expected of them, to know what their response is and what they’re not, what’s coming up.

And I think that is so important for a communication system for a team. When communication is strong like that, you see something like how seamlessly it sounds like this wedding happened. But when communication breaks down, that might be when you show up for an event and you’re like who’s serving the food and who’s bringing this out and what time is this happening?

But I love that this really standardized system of communication that you all have developed and put to use with your teams frees you to work really smoothly together. I think that’s so excellent, and you found the right system that works for you all. But it’s consistent; it’s a system. It’s one that everybody knows and can access.

[00:21:20] Hector: Yeah. I would add that it has to do also with gifts of the servants. We have some people there that are really gifted people. They are organizers, people who know how to organize a wedding, people who have experience because they don’t work only with us, but they have experience outside the church helping in this organizing events.

So, we have a lady that is very well trained in organizing things. So, I think that she has the gift also, I would say in that aspect.

And I would say it also that in the other Avenues. It’s the same. For example, Monica, who is the one who leads the Faith Avenue, she is very converted. She’s a teacher. She teaches English and French. And but she has so much passion to teach. She loves the Lord, and she trains herself and prepares herself to teach. We believe. I would say that we are blessed with her in her role as the leader of the Faith Avenue, she has the gift.

So, I would say the gift in people is very important and we are blessed that we have people that have the gift to lead each Avenue.

[00:23:00] Juanka: Yes. And because of those incredible people, we feel that we are experts now because, for example, with the person in charge of the weddings, these two weddings are nothing. We have done more weddings this year and we’re just used to now the whole event. Oh, now we are experts because she’s so organized and she tells everybody what to do.

Yeah, she’s gifted. So maybe we are also learning from her. And that’s an incredible process.

[00:23:40] Hector: To see her function is good, to see how organized she is.

[00:23:45] Cara: Yes. Yes. Yes. And I think about that. That’s a really cool thing that you guys sound like a well-oiled machine, that people are serving in their right spots.

And that you’ve set up this almost like this cool dance with your leadership where people know when to step forward, and they lead. And they know when to step back and someone else is leading according to their gifting. And because you have some of these foundational structures in place, she’s able to step forward and be like, okay, I know what to do; I can tell everyone what to do.

And we’ve got this communication system that we need, and she can just go forward and serve in her gifting. And like you said, then it’s like nothing, right? Okay, whatever. We had a wedding. That’s incredible.

[00:24:38] Hector: Yeah, I would mention, in front of Juan Carlos, I have to say and recognize that Juan Carlos is a very important person right now because he’s in charge of the Hope Avenue, and he does an excellent job organizing the worship

Everything, every little aspect of what happens during the church service, the call, the gathering every Sunday, he’s in charge of that. He’s the one who plans the songs that we are going to sing and who is going to do what.

And he also is in charge of the equipment. And the YouTube record of the sermons and publishing the sermons and all of that, it is Juan Carlos. So I am a blessed person that Juan Carlos and Paulina do a lot of things. So, I am a blessed pastor. In a sense, I do little, very little because I have a good team of people working around me, who are very efficient. And Juan Carlos, of course, with technology, is very good. I’m not that good. I’m a little bit behind in many things, but he is updated all the time, which is a blessing for me.

[00:26:01] Juanka: I believe that we are just a team, a very gifted team.

The person that is responsible for the weddings or the person that is responsible for—we have something that is called El Mercado de la Libra, which is some help that we are giving to people that are in need. And so, we usually buy food, and we gather that food and every single Sunday we give that food to people that are in need, to some families.

And we have a person that is very outgoing. She’s incredible and she has a very interesting charisma. And I think that we’re just doing our part in whatever we are designed to do. And that’s one beautiful thing that can happen. We are not a small community, I will say, but we’re growing, and everybody’s doing something super cool.

[00:27:07] Hector: We pray that we will continue like that. We see God is helping, blessing us. We hope that we will continue growing healthy. And of course, our goal is in the future, if we continue in this way that we are being trained, we want to start a new congregation, of course, according to instructions. And to do it well, to be a success and to do it not just in a hurry, but very well planned. But we would like to have a church, a daughter church.

[00:27:57] Cara: Yeah. Oh, we join you in prayer for that. That would be an incredible, incredible feature that God would bring you to. Oh, I just love hearing about what God’s doing in your midst.

But for time’s sake, I have just one more question for you all. As your team works together in this really oiled machine kind of way, and you’re able to communicate really clearly and you communicate progress to one another on each assignment, on each area of responsibility and events, what does it look like on your team to make sure that you have that kind of rhythm of accountability with one another to make sure that we all are following through on the things that we say we’re going to by the deadlines that we say that we’re going to? What does that look like for you guys?

[00:29:03] Juanka: I have to say that it’s to be accessible. When we are accessible, relationships flourish. And that’s the key to having good relationships, to have good communication. Obviously, nothing is perfect. There’s going to be challenges. There’s going to be problems because we’re human.

And we usually don’t communicate well. Whatever we want to say, sometimes the other person understands something completely different or has a different idea. So, the process is challenging sometimes to reach an agreement, but along the way it’s just expressing love, patience, and joy to serve together. And I think that is truly the secret of a healthy church: good relationships.

There are going to be problems along the way but how we solve those issues and how we talk to the others and how we communicate the ideas in the best possible way is our intended impact. The actions that we’re having, the effectiveness after an event to measure whatever happened, good or bad, what can we improve? Nothing is perfect, right? We forget about something or something happened that was not supposed to happen, but we just reinvent ourselves. We just have to move forward and have a very positive attitude, just accepting that we are all human.

I’m going to give you an example. Sometimes when we are preparing the presentation for the songs, something happens along the way, and we have some grammar mistakes. And so that is something that can be frustrating, but if we take it too seriously it can be a problem.

Just don’t worry, take it easy. Just fix it and just move along and let’s sing together. Let’s have a great time because stress is everywhere in our jobs and in the streets. Even if we have problems and difficulties, and even though nothing is perfect, we just continue, and it doesn’t matter if the computer explodes or something unexpected happens. We are suddenly—another time we were without electricity in the middle of the worship. There was a little bit of laughter, but we just continued singing.

And it’s the adaptability to continue forward and not being so perfect that everything is like a problem, but just like adapting with what we have.

[00:32:35] Hector: Cara, I would like to add something that comes to my mind right now, and it is also the blessing that we have over here.

It is to have a family integrated to all the aspects of the congregation. I would say that, for example, Paulina, my wife, is a very important, determined aspect of the growth of the church. When it comes to the maturity of the pastor, I would say that a family that is integrated to the activities of the congregation, that the whole family loves the church and all of them participate and speak or are involved somehow.

I’m not saying that it has to be like that everywhere. No, it’s not what I’m trying to say, but what I’m saying is that I have the blessing of having my family integrated with the things that happen in the congregation. I think that it is an excellent thing that your wife, your children, everybody around you have the passion for Christ and the church and the activities and the people and the activities. All of that, it is a blessing. It is a blessing.

So, I would say to a pastor that it is an important aspect of the growth of the congregation for every member to see that your own family is involved. Of course, I’m not saying that it has to be like that everywhere in every case, but I say that I feel myself blessed with that situation. I see my children involved. My wife’s very much involved. I would say that she is more than half of my ministry, much more than that, because all the ladies come to her to pray, to look for advice, and to share their problems, situations in the family. It is all to her.

The wife is very important in the role of pastor. And I would say that, and I pray for all the families, pastoral families that they have to be very cohesive and united in their calling.

I hope that it’s not going to be taken as a negative thing, but I will say that it is very important that your family participate in the health and the activities and everything of the congregation.

[00:35:41] Cara: To have that support network for you as a pastor is a really beautiful thing. Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. Thank you both so much for sharing your experiences and your wisdom with us again today. And not to give too much of a spoiler, but folks, you’ll get an opportunity to hear from Pastor Hector and Juanka again later this year. And look forward to that and we’ll learn some more from them then.

But for now, Juanka, would you be willing to say a prayer for our pastors and ministry leaders as they look to put their own ministry action plans into action?

[00:36:31] Juanka: Yes, of course.

Heavenly Father, we pray today for all the pastors and leaders in churches that love you, that are on a mission to live the gospel and preach the gospel. We ask, Father, that you give them creativity, that you give them good relationships, that you give them support from different people, from all kinds of people, so that they can expand their ministries, so that they can delegate to others to create teams and to create incredible events so that Christ is always preached.

Thank you, Lord, for all of the churches that we have and that they are gathering, and they are looking to be healthy churches. We pray that families gather and that they are united into the mission of a healthy church, that the Avenues grow and that the Holy Spirit moves people’s hearts towards making the mission of preaching and living the gospel.

Thank you, Lord, for everything, for this time, for Cara, and we bless you. We have prayed in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[00:38:14] Cara: Amen. Amen. That’s all for today, folks. Keep on, until next time, living and sharing the gospel.

We want to thank you for listening to this episode of the GC Podcast. We hope you have found value in it to become a healthier leader. We would love to hear from you. If you have a suggestion on a topic, or if there is someone who you think we should interview, email us at info@gci.org. Remember, Healthy Churches start with healthy leaders; invest in yourself and your leaders.

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