By Adriana Celis for MenoTicias
Western District Conference (WDC) of Mennonite Church USA has named Sandra Montes-Martínez as associate conference minister, effective December 2020. She is the first Hispanic woman to hold this position.
Montes-Martínez will serve in a bishopric role, supporting congregations and pastors in Texas. She will focus on Anabaptist leadership and support new churches with attention and energy.
In an interview for MenoTicias, Montes-Martínez shared her thoughts about this new stage of her life, the challenges and projects that come with this new role, and the lessons she learned as pastor of Iglesia Menonita Monte Horeb and in other administration positions she held in the past.
Service and commitment are two of the cornerstones in her life.
What does leaving your role as pastor of Monte Horeb to begin working as associate minister for WDC mean to you?
Montes-Martínez: For me it is a privilege to serve and work for the kingdom. This new position requires a lot of determination and detailed organization to launch new churches and work in church planting in WDC. Because of that, it is quite a big challenge, since it means serving with great humbleness and knowledge. I’m aware that very important and brave men of faith have well performed these duties, like Marco Güete, Gilberto Flores and Byron Pellecer.
There has been a wide range of interviews and many candidates for this position. Why do you think you were chosen among them?
Montes-Martínez: I believe they saw the passion I have put into my 12 years of work for the Conference, and my love for God’s work. A great friend and mentor of mine, Gilberto Flores, always said to me, “If you do everything you do with passion, that is what God likes and honors.” And that is what I have done these 12 years of commitment, service and hard work.
What lessons do you feel your Anabaptist experience as pastor can offer the associate conference minister position?
Montes-Martínez: My work as a pastor of a local church equipped and trained me for this new role as associate minister, since it allowed me to exercise the muscle of God’s love of people by walking beside them and sharing their laughter, joys and difficult times. Without that pastoral experience, it would have been very difficult, almost impossible, to take this important step.