T H E L A R A S
We have lived and served in Brooklyn, NY for the last four years. In February of 2017, we began sensing that God was preparing us for a shift into Pastoral Ministry. This page was created as a way to avail ourselves toward what that could look like (me for ministry, and our family).
R A F A E L ' M A C H O ' L A R A
I am a Pastor's Kid and have been in church throughout my entire life (literally). I've never known life outside of it, and have always had a definitive trajectory toward God's call on my life.
The bulk of these experiences have been music and worship oriented. I began learning music at 2, and by 5 was playing music with a family music ministry my sisters and I had. By the age of 10 I joined the weekly worship team at the church I was at, and at 17 I began leading worship.
Even still, however, I've always felt that worship ministry was not the end of the road for what God was calling me to. And so, I went to Nyack College to prepare myself. I obtained a Bachelor's of Science in Pastoral Ministry, and subsequent to this (while still serving as Worship Pastor at a church), I continued my educational journey at Crown College (M.A. in Christian Studies) and then Alliance Theological Seminary (M.P.S. in Church Development).
It has been a lifelong pursuit of seeing God bring life and healing to people. I've enjoyed playing my part from a worship perspective, but feel that there's something more (not to be read as 'better', but 'different' or 'not finished'). Those non-music aspects have shown up consistently in the midst of the things I've done.
- I had the opportunity to begin cultivating my love and passion for preaching.
- Taught an undergraduate and a graduate worship course.
- I've served in our church's transition team to help the journey toward becoming an independent congregation.
- I've been in mentoring and discipleship relationships; counseling parishioners.
- I've helped set and oversee budgets for church ministries.
- I've been a part of teams that have planted / re-planted churches within neighborhoods.
Erica has been involved in Youth Ministry and Youth Work for over a decade.
While a student at Nyack College (where she obtained a Bachelors in Youth and Christian Education), she was involved in the Watchmen Ministry who did weekly outreach to youth in the Bronx, as well as the Antioch Ministry wherein she went on various short-term missions trips. Her involvement led her to being brought on as full-time staff upon graduation as a Student Ministries Coordinator overseeing these very same ministries.
Subsequent to that, she has served at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, been a Youth Pastor, and worked as a Student Advisor at a High School.
Currently, she is the Area Director for Young Life, serving the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. With this ministry, she does relational outreach to non-churched and churched youth in the neighborhood, sharing the gospel of Jesus and discipling them.
She is responsible for leader recruitment, having recently recruited 7 leaders whom she mentors and trains to also do the ministry in Crown Heights.
She is a certified trainer with the Student Leadership Challenge. She is gifted in leader development and training, and has a passion for teaching and preaching.
And so, here we are. Once more entering a season where we're saying, "Lord, we surrender. Have your way."
We've had shifts before, so we're not afraid of God's move in our lives. It would be easy to pigeon-hole what the next season would look like (it'd likely involve the things that are more padded on my resume and make oneself feel more confident). But comfort and God's call don't always go hand-in-hand (perhaps, they seldom do).
Below will be our resumes. Glance it over if you'd like. If you come across something that makes you think of us, feel free to share this page along. If you yourself want to have a conversation with us, feel free to reach out as well.
Macho, on behalf of the Laras