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The statistical data for Denton County shows a 2016 projection of 160,000 Hispanic/Latino residents, or 19.1% of the total population. As I participate with each of our Hispanic congregations, I have loosely counted some 600 participants in our eight congregations. Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us.
There is, however, an encouraging word from published demographic studies. A recent article on the Hispanics.barna.org website highlights the shifting faith among Hispanics in the United States. Here are two paragraphs from it that impacts our reaching out to the Hispanic population in Denton County:
The Hispanic population is especially likely to experience faith “journeys,” or transitions in their spiritual profile. To explain this pattern, keep in mind that the vast majority of Hispanics have some type of formative Christian or Catholic experience during their early years. Seven in ten Hispanics say they were Christian as a child. And the overwhelming majority of respondents attended a Catholic church as a child. While the majority of Hispanics have remained with their childhood faith (27%, on par with the national average of 28%), there is a pattern of religious migration among Hispanics from Catholic to either Protestant or non-Christians. Four in ten (41%) [Hispanic] Protestants say they have changed their faith views since childhood and just over one-third of those who now align with other faith groups or have no faith say their faith views have changed significantly in their lifetime.
It is pretty rare to find someone among the Hispanic community who sees his or her faith as something on the sidelines. Only slightly more than one in ten Hispanics holds this view, which is that their faith just hasn’t made that big a difference in their lives. In fact, more people say that they aren’t sure (17%) than say that their faith doesn’t matter that much to the rest of their lives (12%). Barna
Hispanics have both the background and interest in participating in God’s kingdom activities. Though they are less likely to attend activities in a church building, they are much more open to small-group encounters in relational environments such as homes.
Denton Baptist Association will be hosting an opportunity to better prepare to engage Hispanics and others through both off-campus and on-campus small groups. Growing Your Groups training will be offered on August 20. Topics of interest to our Hispanic churches include the following:
There will also be sessions directed to those who work with Preschool, Children and Youth.
All sessions this year will be presented in English. Come and participate to better prepare to reach our Hispanic Communities in Denton County!