Q&A with Milton Guardado, Hispanic church-planter and FE Coalition Emerging Leader in Education Awardee

In consideration of back-to-school and the NHCLC’s Education Sunday initiative which is celebrated nation-wide in the month of September, Rev. Girien Salazar, Executive Director of the Faith and Education Coalition, recently interviewed Pastor Milton Guardado, Hispanic church planter and FE Coalition Emerging Leader in Education Awardee, to discuss why his church cares about Hispanic student achievement.
Milton, you’re planting a church in Houston, Tx. What’s your connection to your community? 
I was born and raised in the community that I am now planting a church in. The reason that I decided to plant a church here was because, the last few times that I saw my childhood friends was at a funeral. Every time that I would send them to a church in the neighborhood, they didn’t vibe with it. In 2017 the Lord led me to launch out and begin the process.
What is your church’s role in relation to seeing Hispanic students as America’s future leaders? What is education’s role? 
There are several reasons that our church cares about the achievement of Hispanic students. First, I believe that the church is the locus for creating powerful influential leaders that will help to shape the identity of our nation, however the only way to get them access to opportunities is through education. Although faith places a strong foundation on the direction of their decisions, education helps to create the paths they walk through. Higher learning becomes an additional source of building the student to become the best version of himself. Education helps to build character, patience and follow through. Our churchs role is to build the student holistically and give him access to the resources that were not afforded to us. 
You also do work with an organization aimed at attacking generational poverty. Tell us about it and also, how does Hispanic student achievement relate to this work? 
Yes, I also work with Attack Poverty where we enter into communities through an invitation from a partner church. In the near Northside we work as “Friends of Northside.”  Our heart is to empower people to attack poverty in their life and community by strengthening their communities through spiritual growth, education, revitalization, and basic needs. Currently we are getting ready to launch our after school program called You Can Academy. It is in this program that we are able to help students with homework, participate in an activity and share a story from the bible.
What are some reasons you encourage Hispanics to pursue furthering their education?
Many of us have heard the old phrase, “knowledge is power;” when a church encourages a hispanic student toward higher education, the church acknowledges the need to provide the student with resources in order to understand the world we live in. Knowledge gives the student an array of weapons in order to defend his faith and biblical worldview. This knowledge helps to create self awareness which in turn develops skills within the students that need to be harnessed. By engaging with entities and sources outside of the church, the student positions himself for credible discourse.
What do you hope to learn from working with the FE Coalition?
I hope to see the church in action helping to shape the future of the underserved with conviction, passion, and integrity.  It is when we work collaboratively, as the FE Coalition does, that “one voice” can be heard around the world.

Click here to learn more about Milton Guardado.