As the discussion about outreach to the Latino community moves forward, an important reminder needs to be stated: this is about people. Outreach is about people. It’s not about numbers. It’s not about methods. It’s about techniques.
Outreach is about forming relationships with people. That’s especially true when reaching out to Latinos, for the typical Latino tends to focus much more on relationships than the mainstream U.S. culture does.
Let me repeat some of the advice I gave Josh the other day (in the comments):
- Be aware of the Latinos around you. It’s a bit like when I started dating a girl in high school that drove a Chevy Impala. Suddenly I was seeing Impalas everywhere, where I hadn’t paid attention to them before.
- Be intentional about speaking with the Latinos around you. Introduce yourself to the girl at Dollar General. Make sure you learn your waitress’ name. Go to high school athletic events and speak with the parents in the stands.
- Once you have a minimal relationship with some Latinos, ask them if there’s anything you could be praying about. This question rarely comes across as offensive, and many people are grateful for the interest.
- Tactfully broach the subject of ministry with some of the Latinos you’ve gotten to know. Something like, “If our church were to do something for the Latino community here in Smallville, what would be the best thing we could do?”
The first part of outreach is going to be service and ministry. What’s the old saying? “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” It applies to much of church work.
So, we have to make this about people. Serving people. Getting to know people. Helping them get to know Jesus.