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I recently read an article which dealt with how Hispanics perceive themselves according to their generational background of life in the United States.
The article is based on an interview with a Cuban-born Baptist pastor in Florida and the survey done by Pew Research Center. The pastor states that, “Latino churches are adapting to declining Hispanic identity”. ( by Jeff Brumley, Baptist News Global, December 27, 2017)
These are the results of the survey:
The article states: “While some younger Hispanics are distancing themselves from the national origins of their immigrant parents and grandparents, … they are at the same time fusing U.S. and Latin cultural heritage into a shared identity.” It goes on to advocate the use of the term “Latino” as more appropriate than the term “Hispanic” for those who do.
The main conclusion I draw from this research is a simple one: Life does not stay the same. Our Texas Hispanic Baptist Convention agrees, and has identified one of its priorities as helping Anglo congregations understand Hispanic younger generations in order to incorporate them into an English-language ministry that embraces who they are.
I see significant efforts of this in churches such as FBC Euless, Prestonwood and Champion Forest in Houston, where parallel congregations for 1st and 2nd generation Hispanics are provided while blending the younger generations into the English ministries of the church.
I also see other churches going beyond this effort and actually transforming their ministry to reflect the community that is changing around them. LifePoint Church in Grand Prairie ministers in a community that is 70% Hispanic but uses English as its heart language. Fielder Church in Arlington has embraced its changing community and found significant ministry through these changes.
Hispanic congregations in Denton Baptist Association are currently composed of 1st and 2nd generation Hispanics for the most part, but as 114,000 more Hispanic/Latinos are projected to move into Denton County over the next 12 years, we face the need to also adapt as churches to embrace a changing community around us.