Multiplication Center

More Hispanic Churches Shift Focus to English-Dominant Populations

September 13, 2011

Daniel A. RodriguezOver 60% of all American Hispanics were born in the U.S., the vast majority of whom are now English-dominant – and Hispanic ministry is shifting accordingly according to Daniel Rodriguez, who describes how innovative congregations are ministering creatively to the next generation of Latinos. In his new book, A Future for the Latino Church: Models for Multilingual, Multigenerational Hispanic Congregations, the Pepperdine University professor, an evangelical Christian, offers many specific examples to show that effective multigenerational churches and church plants are now centered in second-generation English-dominant congregations. The author calls this era a “moment of transition” (pages 16 and 146), fueled by “a growing number of multilingual, multigenerational Hispanic churches that effectively reach U.S.-born English-dominant Latinos” (p. 21).

Although I’m white, I’m constantly working to improve my high school Spanish because I want to better understand the U.S. group identified as the fastest-growing population over the last decade. According to the 2010 census, half the country’s population growth is coming from the rising number of Hispanics. Native births are now outpacing immigration as the key source of Hispanic growth, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

I appreciate the author’s view that “U.S. born English dominant Latinos are unintentionally being overlooked in the church’s attention and resources” (page 18), but he does more than lament. He offers many great examples of how churches are making a transition to reach the present generation.

What are the biggest implications of this book?

– For Hispanic-dominant churches, it provides great windows into multigenerational ministry that includes the growing English-speaking generation.

– For other kinds of churches, this awareness-raising book will help us be more intentional in exploring ways our churches can partner in reaching for Christ this fast-growing population.

This is an important subject, one I’ve tweeted about, held a first and second forum for Hispanic megachurch pastors, blogged about in books like Walk with the People: Latino Ministry in the United States by Juan Francisco Martinez and Do White Churches Hold Others in Cultural Captivity by Soong-Chan Rah, reported as news in More Large Churches Bridging the Racial Divide, and made visits to predominantly Hispanic churches such as Iglesia Cristiana Misericordia.

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