Rafael made a couple of good points yesterday. Let’s use them to move this discussion forward. Rafael said:
I think the first and foremost question is, “does the anglo church want a hispanic ministry?”
Which is close to what I wrote before when talking about beginning a Hispanic ministry:
The first step, I think, is for the congregation to make a conscious decision that they are willing to do what it takes to mix different languages and cultures.
The church needs to address several topics as it considers this:
- Change. People don’t like change. But a church has to change to grow. That’s one of the biggest barriers to church growth, and an especially big one when dealing with a church making a conscious transition. Someone said that we should aim for making the vast majority of the people happy about 80% of the time. That’s not a bad rule of thumb.
- Minority/majority status. Are we willing to let our kids become a minority at church? It’s that simple. For some, it’s unthinkable. As churches change, some will say, “We’re going elsewhere; all of the kids in the youth group are Hispanic.” The church is willing to have the Latinos come participate in an Anglo church; is the church ready to participate in a church that is no longer considered Anglo?
- Leadership. I think the goal of the church should be for the leadership of the church to reflect the racial makeup of the community it’s in. Is the church ready for that?
- Racism. There is discrimination in all of us. We all have some degree of “us/them” thinking. For some, that thinking is based on race. And that will kill a church, even a church that isn’t making a conscious effort to integrate. Racism exists among Anglos, and it exists among Latinos. The fight against racism will be an ongoing one in the church, as new members are brought in.
Those are general thoughts. What other things does a predominantly-Anglo congregation need to think about when considering reaching out to Hispanics?