"God told me you're a champion."
Any of us would love to hear those words, but Pastor Sam Rodriguez, longtime Assemblies of God pastor and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, heard them in a way that both anointed and prepared him for the God-ordained tasks ahead. He shares the story with Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of the Greenelines podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network.
"So in my 20s, I was ministering to primarily Latino young people in large venues, with 5, 7, 10,000 young people gathering in coliseums and auditoriums," Rodriguez says. "And the message would be faith and education. So I would travel around the country. I'm a Pentecostal preacher. So we want to see them saved, delivered, healed, baptized in the Holy Spirit, pursuing righteousness, but horizontal mobilization.
"So we would tell young people, 'Go to college, advance your God-given calling, impact the marketplace and so forth,'" he explains. "And that, all of that, prompted a man named Dr. Jesse Miranda ... he was passing the baton to 'his Elijah,'" Rodriguez says.
Miranda, whom Rodriguez says he called "The Godfather," is known as the father of U.S. Latino Protestantism, and he had searched nationwide for his successor.
"God spoke to him and said, 'Samuel Rodriguez is it,'" Rodriguez says. "I was one of three candidates across the country. And Miranda said, 'God told me you're a champion. So I'm going to pass the legacy. There are about 3,000 churches in the network. And I'm going to pass it over to you; you can rename and rebrand to do whatever God tells you to do.'"
Rodriguez says that set the stage for his multifaceted ministry today. "We took that challenge, and we named it the NHCLC. And we have over 42,000 churches by the grace of God."
For more from this Spirit-fired champion on how God is using him to reach people across the globe with the transformational power of the gospel, listen to the entire episode of Greenelines here. And be sure to subscribe to the Greenelines podcast for more inspiring stories like this one.
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