by Roberto Ponce
Today, most people in the United States know the Hispanic population growth has exploded in America. In recent years, we have seen arguably the largest demographical shift in our recent history!
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, we now have nearly 50 million Hispanics in America, making the U.S. one of the largest Spanish-speaking countries in the world. One in six Americans is of Hispanic origin. To put the U.S. Hispanic growth in perspective, there are more Hispanics in the United States than there are Canadians in Canada. Interesting, isn’t it?
As Hispanics continue shaping many aspects of our main stream American culture, such as music, food, and entertainment, imagine what they could do in terms of ministry. Hispanics represent a new frontier in ministry. Adding more Hispanic believers and churches to the Kingdom represents a tremendous potential to impact America for God’s glory. Therefore we must continue filling Hispanic pulpits across our nation.
A cultural experience
Some of us who grew up attending Hispanic churches know worship can be a cultural experience. Hispanics are highly relational individuals as a whole. We know Hispanics are also more likely to receive advice from family members and friends than from institutions. From a cultural standpoint then, it makes sense that Latinos may be more open to receiving a gospel message from a fellow Hispanic pastor, spiritual leader, or friend.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not conveying that Anglo churches cannot reach or should not reach out to Hispanics. We are the church, and we are called to reach out to everyone! That is our Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). I am merely stating that we as humans tend to relate and fellowship with people who share the same interests, values, and preferences. It makes sense that Hispanics may want to attend Hispanic or bicultural churches.
Resources to the ministry
Hispanics reached a purchasing power of $1 trillion in 2010, and it is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion in 2015, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth from the University of Georgia. The U.S. Hispanic purchasing power is larger than many Latin American economies, including Mexico’s GDP. Why do I mention this? Because I think it’s important to know that Hispanics, as a community, have the resources for God’s kingdom. They could be a huge blessing to the church.
As we try to reach out to Hispanics, it is essential for churches to have a church-wide initiative that includes an understanding of Hispanic values and cultural nuances. Hispanic culture goes beyond language, but I’ll leave that for another post. Whether it is through Hispanic outreach ministries or Hispanic church plantings, churches need to take a serious look at our U.S. Hispanic communities. If more Hispanic churches are to be planted, then more pastors need to be equipped for ministry. Education remains a gap among the Hispanic community and other populations.
Whatever the case in your local community, we cannot reach a new generation of Hispanics without the help and power of the Holy Spirit; we must depend on it. After all, we are trying to reach a new frontier in ministry.
Roberto Ponce is Director of Communications at Global University. For more information about Global University go to http://think.globaluniversity.edu