What American Churches Can Learn From National Hispanic Heritage Month

By Lisa L. McGloiry 

Shepherd Church’s Dream of Destiny ministry is honored to recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month each year. This is done by celebrating the contributions, culture, and history of American citizens whose ancestors hail from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean and Central and South America. This year’s theme is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.

The Hispanic and Latino community is one of the fastest growing populations in the U.S. with over 62 million people in 2020. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in every five persons, or 18.5 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic. Angel Jordan, a native of Guatemala and director of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Hispanic Initiatives says, “The face of America is no longer black and white. It has become a beautiful mosaic filled with many colors and ethnicities.”

Due to this substantial growth, many American churches are making more of an intentional effort to reach out to Spanish-speaking communities in their cities. However, it is critical that pastors and ministry leaders understand the importance of considering diversity when pursuing this significant endeavor.

Here are three things to consider when conducting a Hispanic/Latino Outreach program at your church.

1. Recognize and celebrate multiculturism

It’s critical to realize that Hispanic and Latino Americans are not monolithic. Instead, they represent 21 countries around the world with a wide variety of different cultures that make up the rich fabric of America. Spend time getting to know the Hispanic and Latino community — listen to their conversations, learn their life stories, familiarize yourself with their language, food, music, and their traditions.

2. Diversify your leadership team

Reaching Hispanic/Latino communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ will require more than having a Spanish worship leader on stage, offering Spanish worship services on-site, or engaging in church planting efforts. It will require churches to seek out Hispanic/Latinos individuals from different age groups, experiences, and backgrounds on staff and in volunteer positions to lead on this effort. These voices will bring a fresh perspective, wisdom, and creativity to the table.

3. Lead with the humility and wisdom of Christ

Sometimes in the excitement of reaching more people for Christ, churches can forget to lead like Jesus. Jesus exemplified love, empathy, and compassion for all people. To reach others, he left the comfort of his surroundings. He didn’t come with a pre-packaged program. He gave of himself and he led with humility.

As church leaders and Christ followers, we should do the same in all our Hispanic/Latino Ministry endeavors. When we do, we will find that we can truly appreciate and celebrate Hispanic and Latino Americans — our brother and sisters in Christ and their contributions to this country — throughout the whole year.