Pastor Carlos leads the church Zona Vertical in Torreón, Mexico, in the state of Coahuila. The church led two groups of couples who went through the Real Marriage curriculum. They are one of the churches supported by our Spanish-speaking ministry out of the Albuquerque church.
Full name: Carlos lberto Gonzáles Rodriguez
Wife: Montserrat (married 12 years)
Children: Aaron (10), Emma (6), Alegra (7 mos.)
Professions: Graphic designer, and called to be a pastor for the last six years
MH: How old is Zona Vertical? How did your church start?
PC: Zona Vertical began as a youth ministry that was focused on reaching college aged and singles. It began five years ago and started to evolve into a church for young people wanting to know Jesus.
MH: How did you find out about Mars Hill?
PC: In the last five years, the pastors of Zona Vertical have tried to faithfully follow the vision God gave us in a personal way to work in the church. We want each person who comes to know Christ to know that they have been called to a higher lifestyle based on the person and work of Jesus Christ. In doing so, God has shown us ministries in different parts of the world that have influenced the way we do ministry. We found Mars Hill online. We discovered the sermon archive and that was a big blessing, above all in helping us see how the church was organized, with a fully Christ-centered doctrine, to become a church with a timeless message relevant to today’s culture. We identified with this a lot and has been a big blessing for us.
MH: Why did you decide to work through the Real Marriage campaign?
We were praying and looking for material to strengthen family life in our church. We found Real Marriage in English and began translating it ourselves. We only found fragments of the book online but what we found was applicable and necessary for us to strengthen families at our church.
This year, God has strongly impressed upon us to address topics on the family based on Scripture. With Real Marriage (“Matrimonio Real” in Spanish), we found this combination of material that was really practical with an immovable and solid biblical foundation. We worked on translating each lesson and decided to send some of our marriage counseling leaders to the Real Marriage tour stop in San Diego so they could learn how to better teach and share the teaching with the church.
Abiel, second from left, and Carlos, third from left, talk with others leaders at the Albuquerque church
A short time later, we met [Mars Hill’s Spanish-speaking ministry director] Abiel at an Acts 29 conference. Abiel told us that the book was already being translated—this was a huge help to know that the material was in Spanish. When they gave us the books for the first time and we saw them in Spanish it was a big help because we could give them to the couples who were starting to go through the material. It’s been a big gift for the church.
MH: How has the content brought change in your church?
PC: When we got to the chapter on who men are and who we should be biblically, that chapter had a huge impact on the lives of those in leadership at our church. On one side, some men have told us that they don’t want to take this responsibility, while in others it has awakened an almost solemn charge to care for their families and the fear of God to be fathers and husbands and the great responsibility we have as men.
I’ve heard men say they want to dedicate more time at home and loving the church. Now I know that the home is my first responsibility and being with my wife and kids. It’s propelling the men to take more responsibility and have deeper relationships in their marriages.
It is hard for many men to see manhood in this way because it is so culturally different, but it is bringing to life the families and our church since the material is based on our relationship with Jesus.
MH: Where is Jesus growing you in your own life?
PC: This year God is showing me and my wife that we must continue to work on our marriage and grow in our relationship. Even though we are not where we want to be, we know that what Jesus is doing in our marriage will affect the church. My way of thinking has changed. I used to think that if I was a better pastor then I would be a better husband and father, but I now see that this was backward, and it’s taken a lot to understand that if I’m not a better spouse and father, then I’m not going to be a better pastor.
MH: You recently spent time at Mars Hill Albuquerque. How has your vision for Zona Vertical been impacted through that?
PC: Mars Hill has confirmed the vision that God placed in our lives: we want to see generations to come who have a higher calling on their lives, centered on the life of Jesus Christ. Mars Hill has helped to repair some of the doctrinal issues in our church and keep us Jesus-centered, and it can help us by just keeping on doing what it’s already doing: translating more resources, supporting churches with visits and doing assessments to plant more structured and evangelism-centered churches, and preaching sound doctrine.
Every resource that is translated into Spanish is going to have an impact on the kingdom and a church’s legacy.
MH: Where is God leading your church this year?
PC: We are in a time of transition. After five years, we have reached a limit and God is leading us to connect with other churches with the same doctrine to learn how to grow. We know that God is leading us to be connected with Mars Hill Church. I am praying that God continues to build his church and that we keep talking bout Jesus. We thank you for all your continued support of Zona Vertical that you’re giving.
To support Pastor Carlos, Zona Vertical, and other Spanish-speaking churches in the U.S. and Latin America, as well as the work of translating our resources into other languages, give to Mars Hill Global today.