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What We Can Learn from the Many Hispanic Protestant Churches Opening Across America

Amanda Idleman

Contributing Writer
Published Apr 16, 2024
What We Can Learn from the Many Hispanic Protestant Churches Opening Across America

It’s a God-ordained step towards the Church better reflecting the diversity and unity that the church is called to. Our congregations should look more like the melting pot our communities are made up of than the one race that we identify with.

If you are a white middle-class Christian American, you may be starting to look around and see the historic congregations around you fading. Many churches with long histories are seeing their numbers decline or remain stagnant, but there is a new demographic that is growing and thriving that you may not be aware of.

Recently, I’ve noticed that on the marquee of the older churches I see littered around my community have the name of a second Spanish speaking church listed! These old buildings are being filled with young, passionate Hispanic believers. The Hispanic Protestant Church is on the move and growing. It’s truly a beautiful thing to witness. 

In my own church that is bursting at the seams with new attendees, we have a Spanish-speaking campus that is also experiencing rapid growth. It brings tears to my eyes when I see the leaders of the Spanish-speaking congregation lead worship and prayers or preach at our main campus. It’s a God-ordained step towards the Church better reflecting the diversity and unity that the church is called to. Our congregations should look more like the melting pot our communities are made up of than the one race that we identify with. 

What Does the Hispanic Protestant Church Look Like?

Recently, Lifeway teamed up with twenty-four denominations and church networks, including the largest number of Protestant Hispanic congregations in the US to be part of a research project. In this epic survey Lifeway was able to shed some light onto the trends we may be noticing when we observe the changes in the makeup of the churches in our communities. 

Most Hispanic Protestant churches are new, having just been established since 2000. Many of the people in the congregations are new to the United States; 58% are first-generation Americans. Most of these churches conduct their services in Spanish (53%) while only 22 percent have bilingual services. 

We find a great deal of these churches near cities, and up to a third of these congregations are under the age of 30! God is working in the lives of young immigrants and their growing families. Scott McConnell, the executive director of Lifeway Research, notes that the growth in the number of Hispanic churches in the United States is noteworthy. Many of these churches were started in Anglo churches, but about two-thirds of these churches are being led by first-generation immigrant pastors. They are bringing their heart for the gospel and their culture into their new communities! 

The Hispanic Church Is Missional 

The US Hispanic Protestant church is a that is marked by a culture that prioritizes being missional. When surveyed, 4 in 5 pastors reported that they make a habit of setting aside time for members of their church to go out and share the gospel. These efforts include church members connecting with their communities and inviting people to church, sharing via social media, offering special events, hosting community programs such as food banks, and even engaging in door-to-door evangelism. They also are willing to provide funds when they are available for new church start ups! 

The even better news is that their heart to reach the lost is reaping a harvest! Close to half of churches surveyed reported that 10 or more people have made decisions to give their life to Christ over the past year and most of these new converts have remained active in the churches they connected to. Amazingly 88 percent of pastors reported hearing reports of changed lives in their congregations! 

Community Is a Priority 

These churches are making community a priority! About 88% stated that their church has plans to grow community connections in their church. About half reported that they strongly agreed community was a value. The things they noted were important to their churches included praying together, Bible studies, promoting unity, welcoming those of different backgrounds, prioritizing transparency and accountability, checking in when people miss church, serving the community, socializing outside of church, and sharing resources with one another.

What a beautiful picture of what it means to be the body of Christ. We all can learn from the ways that this growing demographic is prioritizing biblical communities in their congregations. The love for their neighbor is evident in the ways that their church bodies are experiencing growth.  

All across the United States, we see more Latino pastors starting churches than at any other time in history! Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic of American evangelicals and, as a group, tend to be more dedicated and active in their faith than their Anglo evangelical counterparts. In plain terms, we see a revival sweeping America, and it’s in a place that many Anglo Protestants may not go to find it. The revival is happening in the Hispanic Protestant Church. 

This past Sunday, our worship was led by leaders of the Spanish-speaking portion of our church, and as they went from singing a song I knew by heart in English to Spanish, my eyes filled with tears. I could hear the love in the words of worship that they led this multiracial congregation in. I could feel God’s spirit heavy in the room as we lifted hands and voices to the Lord; for some of us, their native tongue, and for others of us, it was something new. Either way, I knew God was there with us as his people gathered to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ThitareeSarmkasat 

Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.