Celebrating 35 years of Ministry
For the vision is yet for an appointed time… though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come. Hab 2:3
In the year 2016 JA Pérez celebrates 35 years of ministry. From small and humble beginnings God has raised his team to impact nations, and as he says, “this is just the beginning.”
JA Pérez came to Christ when he was a teenager in Cuba. In 1981 he traveled from Cuba to Jamaica and that same year he preached on a pulpit for the first time soon after he arrived in the United States.
During the first few years of ministry he served as a youth leader, an itinerant evangelist and a revivalist, holding meetings in auditoriums and churches throughout the western and southern United States. He did all this while developing a strong education—not only in bible seminary, but also under the tutorage of great mentors and secular colleges. From the beginning, young JA developed a deep love for study, especially in the areas of biblical history, philosophy and several arts.
Under the big top
For the next few years, JA and Anabel traveled with a gospel tent around the Mexican nation holding crusades that lasted between 21 and 40 days in each city. During the tent crusades several thousands of people came to Christ, churches were planted, and hundreds of leaders were raised and trained in schools of evangelism and leadership.
Probably one the most important highlights from that era was the well-publicized project called “the two-hundred night crusade”. This project concluded with a congress on evangelism where 1,400 spiritual sons and daughters gathered at the city’s cultural center to close the 200 night adventure.
By the mid 90’s the JA Perez team started to migrate to a more massive model of evangelism (without leaving the tent ministry). Citywide crusades started to take place in baseball stadiums, soccer fields, bullrings and rodeo arenas.
It was during the 90’s (the tent years as Anabel and JA call it) that their first two children were born, Samuel (1992) and Jesse (1996). By the end of the decade the ministry would relocate to San Diego, California where they planted the church they would pastor for the next few years.
In 2001 God blessed the Perez family with their third child—a girl whom they named Amy Grace. During the first decade of the new millennium, JA and Anabel pastored the church and trained leaders. JA continued to travel, holding conferences for leaders, entrepreneurs, and for the family. It was also during this time that JA started to take his writing seriously and published his first book.
To the nations
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. Ps 2:8
JA started to receive invitations for ministry abroad in countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, to hold revivals, rallies and mass crusades.
However, back in the evangelistic circuit, JA started to notice that the old crusade model was outdated. He started to get frustrated seeing that in a stadium, the great majority of people present where already believers. He saw how the old ways of doing things were irrelevant to the new generation.
He started to pray and ask God to give him a key to reach the different cultures and groups within Latin America. At the same time he started a deep study about the things that matter and are relevant to the new generation—the millennials.
A text that impacted him greatly during this season of searching was Isaiah 58:10 that says: “If you extend your should to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness and your darkness shall be as the noonday.”
A turning point
No longer would it just be about proclaiming the good news with words. JA understood that God cares about the hungry, the oppressed and social injustice. The new ministry model would heavily involve these causes. Wherever doors are opened, this model would minister to the humanitarian needs of every people group and the message would be presented in a culturally sensitive way, in a non-religious content, relevant in word and sound.
JA has written more than 25 books, which have been distributed worldwide as well as several training manuals that are used in schools of evangelism and leadership. Massive distribution of this literature has become an important outreach and key in the equipping of new leaders in Latin America.
Besides broadcasting his ongoing TV series, JA Pérez has been featured on major radio and television networks in Latin America as well as on small stations in every city where his crusades or festivals take place.
In the past few years, the JA Pérez team has held citywide festivals in several countries in Latin America. These festivals reach women, children, teenagers and youth through drama, arts, music, sports and several other creative methods.
At every citywide event—for the past few years—the JA Pérez team, has partnered with a large number of ministries to reach a wide spectrum of target audiences. Through effective collaboration as a team, we are able to reach the many generational, ethnic, and special needs groups that are part of a city culture.”
Every member of this team serves in his or her specific area of ministry. Some minister to single mothers, others to people with addictions, or families with special needs. By working together we not only cover a wider range of needs, but can also reach a greater number of people ministering to them on a one-on-one basis. Personal evangelism, prayer and counseling are important areas where the team comes together to collaborate.
Our festival model is designed to reach all the above-mentioned groups with relevancy and accuracy, presenting the message of the good news in creative ways. Through arts, drama, choreographic presentations, extreme sports, music and several other forms, we are able to share the good news in a way that produces fruit that stays in the city long after the festival project has concluded.
JA Pérez is honored to maintain ongoing collaboration with many like-minded world evangelists and ministries he respects and loves. He has also partnered with world organizations, television stations, churches, and the governments of several provinces and cities in the continent.
His team continues to raise and train leaders, and in this season of ministry, he has taken—more and more—the role of a mentor, promoting and launching young nationals with fresh ideas to present Jesus Christ to their cultures.
To God be the glory
In 2016 JA Pérez celebrates 35 years of ministry. From small and humble beginnings God has raised his team to impact nations, and as he says, “this is just the beginning”. All for the glory of God and the extension of the great commission.