The Rock (Anaheim Foursquare Church) in California’s Orange County is reaching Spanish-speaking people throughout the region and beyond thanks to a new partnership with Almavision Hispanic Christian Network, an international broadcast network based in Los Angeles. The network, which airs in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, and also offers online streaming, began airing nightly programming by The Rock on April 4.
The church produces two shows: a half-hour program in Spanish that airs seven nights a week at 7 p.m. PST, and a one-hour program that airs Sundays at 9 a.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish. The Rock handles all of the translation in-house, producing the shows in English first and then re-recording the audio in Spanish.
The half-hour nightly broadcast includes clips from Sunday morning services followed by teaching and ministry from Jerry Dirmann, The Rock’s senior pastor. The weekly one-hour show presents Pastor Jerry’s Sunday message in its entirety. The church funds all costs to produce the shows, but Almavision is currently giving them free airtime—something that came about as a result of a “chance” meeting with the network’s owner, Bruno Camano.
One of the church’s associate pastors was interviewed about The Rock and their Spanish ministry on an Almavision TV show, and met the network owner. The church has a growing Spanish-speaking service and congregation of approximately 600 that Pastor Jerry leads with translation. The owner said that he wanted to meet Jerry.
When Jerry agreed to meet Camano, he says he didn’t realize he was Almavision’s owner. They had a great conversation and connection. To Jerry’s surprise, at the end of the meeting Camano said he wanted The Rock on his network, and he offered them a primetime slot.
“After the meeting, I pulled my senior associate pastors into an office, where we got on our knees before the Lord to ask for wisdom,” Jerry tells Foursquare.org. “We knew God had instructed us to prepare to be on TV several years before, but Spanish caught us completely by surprise. The Lord confirmed to us that day that this was His will, so we made the decision to move forward. We were, and are, so excited!”
At the time of writing, The Rock had only been on the air for a little over a week and had already started to receive phone calls from various parts of the U.S. as a result of the programs. They’ve had around 250 visits per show to their advertised website, and half a dozen or so visitors came to the church on the first Sunday after programs started airing, specifically because they saw a broadcast.
“I have a huge heart for the Spanish-speaking community, and my desire is to get the Word of God into their hearts, and to get them to church, and disciple them,” Jerry says. “I also believe God wants us to open many Spanish, and English, satellite campuses in the future.”
And that’s just the beginning. Jerry says the Lord has made it clear to him and his church leadership that they must translate their program into Vietnamese and begin airing it on Vietnamese TV in preparation of starting a Vietnamese congregation at The Rock later this year. The largest Vietnamese population in the world outside Vietnam, Jerry notes, is in Orange County.
Jerry believes pastors and churches should take advantage of any media possible to reach the people around them.
“The church has been sidelined from many effective media venues too long because of either a lack of resources or fear that we’ll be negatively viewed as prideful or greedy TV evangelists,” Jerry asserts. “But we must not forget that people do watch TV, and we should use every available resource to preach God’s Word. We must also believe that God has more than enough ways to provide for His gospel to be preached.”
The pastor affirms that his team does not make decisions purely based on demographic studies. But he says we shouldn’t ignore the people populating our surrounding communities, either.
“Anglo pastors must begin praying about reaching whoever is around their churches,” Jerry states. “They should not be afraid of their inexperience in relating to other cultures. Love transcends all, and there is only one gospel. God will bring the people to translate and help them make the connection. In fact, they’re so excited to do it. The key is always to hear God.”
By: Bill Shepson, a Foursquare credentialed minister and freelance writer in Los Angeles