Brothers Abraham and Jonathan Quinones have attended Iglesia Christian Fellowship for eleven years. Both brothers completed DBA’s Lifechanger summer internship program and currently serve together in church leadership positions. These two dynamic young men have graciously shared insights on ministry, serving with a sibling, and the Lifechanger program. Read below to hear from Abraham and check back next week to hear from Jonathan.
- How long have you attended Iglesia Christian Fellowship?
Currently, I am the Young Adults minister, which has me teaching the young Adults Sunday School class and leading discipleship in our group. I am also the newly minted church secretary as well as the drummer in the worship group. The community I serve is a mixture of young adults who have recently joined the adult life group and the young adults who are beginning to walk in their career paths.
- Describe your current ministry roles and the community you serve.
Our community location has best been described by a local pastor at St. Jude Oak Cliff, “It’s the purgatory between West Dallas and Oak Cliff.” It’s also a vibrant community. We have neighbors who have written their family stories in homes they have occupied for decades, and we now have incoming young families who are coming into the 50+ homes being built around the area.
- What has been the biggest blessing in working alongside your brother?
Working with my brother has been wonderful because it has provided a constant and consistent partner in growth, joys, praises, and tears. It’s been an immense blessing to see my brother, not only buy into the mission and vision of our church, but to also have God develop that personal vision for his life through the shared road we walk on in ministry. To see the Holy Spirit move in him as a living vessel, to not only bring life to others but to me, has been a source of unending joy in this life of ministry.
- What are some other benefits you’ve received in serving with your sibling?
Being able to share resources has been one of the greatest points of help. The Lord has placed in him a heart that is always willing to give and share, whether it is money, time, or even vehicle use. He has made so much possible by simply making himself available. The ability to develop to a point where we have been in the same room together while with different people but fully aware of what we are talking about and driving towards the same goals, has been incredible. To also be able to be in the same meetings and share a point of view, has allowed for our talks to never solely be about venting but instead lead into prayer, which has been sweet.
- Have there been any challenges in working in ministry with your sibling?
Challenges have mostly been displayed through my time management and sharing space in regards to our presence in each other’s lives. I don’t think we’ve ever really had a challenge that was more than a simple misunderstanding that was easily voiced and resolved.
- Did your experience in the Lifechanger program help equip you for current ministry?
Personally, the experience was great because I had done ministry for years, but had never really been able to catalog or structure some of the things I had been doing in ministry and discipleship. The most impactful words I ever received from my experience were from Chelsie Hoard, who leads the Lifechangers program, after telling Chelsie all about an opportunity in the community and my intent, she nodded, smiled and said “don’t do it alone”. Those words sat with me and made me reflect on how much of my enthusiasm and energy were wrapped in what I could do alone and not what I could do with others.
- Were there other lessons or practices that you’ve incorporated into your ministry from your time in Lifechangers? How have you incorporated these?
The Lifechangers experience brought a real challenge to observe the Sabbath. The season of life I was in during my time in Lifechangers was very fast paced and busy and I thought I was doing the work and was putting forward the currency that would allow a transaction of blessings in my life. I was wrong, Lifechangers presented the divine command to lay down my futile elbow grease and revel in the Lord’s grace and sovereignty.
- What things have you seen or are currently seeing God do in your ministry?
The Lord is currently showing me how the soil is being tilled in our area of ministry. The fruit I have seen so far has been small and scattered, but it has been present. I am being shown that it is better to be patient and trust because of grace than to be “patient” because of perceived barriers that I feel like I cannot move. I have seen the Lord show me that my role as a vessel is to pour out, not to drown out and not to irrigate through a micromanaged system of sprinklers. In order to pour out, I must sit and be poured into; the Lord has shown me that is where I am to find my fulfilling, my peace, and my motivation.
- What are you most excited about in continuing to serve Him?
I am excited about the joy and tears that are to come. I am excited because I have seen our congregation begin to address things rather than ignore them or work around them, and I’ve seen the Lord bring that awareness. I’m excited about the level of maturation that those I’ve poured into, have begun reaching. I’m excited because the shared vision has begun to go from abstract to tangible points. I’m excited because our area is becoming diverse and I can see how our church is being equipped to handle these changes. My excitement in serving Him comes from my relationship with Him. Every day in which I live in his purpose for me, I am filled with joy in truly understanding that this world and all of its desires is passing, but to live in His will for me, gives abundant life.
- What advice would you give others, particularly young adults, in serving their church and local communities?
My advice is to first sign-up for the Lifechangers program at the DBA. Also, take the time to listen and then listen some more, literally ask the Lord for empathy to see your church members and neighbors as He sees them. Pray that His Holy Spirit would bring conviction in your life about something as simple as how you greet people at your church. Sit down with your Pastor, ask how you can pray for him, meet with him Sunday mornings before service starts (bring him coffee and donuts) and ask if you and the other young adults can pray for him. Pray for vision, don’t pray for the benefits you would like church to be for you, but pray for God to show you where you can be a benefit for someone already in your church. It may sound jarring, but ask God if you should be at this church, ask “Lord, if this is where you want me, affirm me Father, not for my pleasure but for your glory, that the gifts and talents you have given me would glorify you through the edification of what needs to die in me and be refined through fellowship and community.” Don’t look to only find where you can be busy at church, look to where you can commit and learn what commitment looks and feels like. Look at your rest, don’t try to quantify it by the amount of devotionals you have done or the amount of times you took a retreat. You’ll find that true rest cannot be quantified by the actions we take, but by the actions we handed over to Him. Pray for your church leadership, pray that the Holy Spirit would be present in the lives of those who lead the church, be intentional about it, you will find that if you truly are setting this practice for yourself, you might not address a leadership problem as “that person is the issue”. In serving your community, learn to exist in your community before you seek to change anything in it. Learn the history of it, learn its rhythms and how it hums. Learn about the businesses in the area, go shop in the area and introduce yourself to employees. Take a Sunday/ Wednesday off to go see what your community is doing while you are in the walls of your church. Learn to see people before you see only their needs.