Catching a Vision to Reach Hispanics

If you would have asked me a couple of years ago about reaching into the Hispanic community around us, I would have probably answered, “That will never happen.”  I would have given a number of reasons as, “I don’t know any Hispanics. I don’t think there are any in our community. If there are some here, I don’t know any Spanish and even at my age, I am not sure I could or would want to learn Spanish.”

Well, here it is a couple of years later and I would like to tell you what God has done. During the summer of 2006 my son went to Mexico on a mission trip. His enthusiasm upon his return resulted in our whole family going to Mexico the following summer. Consequently, my heart began to grow with a burden for Hispanic people, not just in foreign countries, but for the multitude around us everyday.
Jesus told us, “Look, for the fields are already white unto harvest, because the harvest is plenteous and the laborers are few, so PRAY.”  How true this is today with the amount of Hispanics here in our country and who continue to come each day.
The doors of opportunity began to open. It seemed that everywhere I went there were people from every Spanish speaking country.  What could I do? What could we as a church do?  I really did not need to survey the community to see if there were Hispanics, they were everywhere I went. I just hadn’t really noticed them before. So what did we do? Here are some things that our small church has done and perhaps this is what you can do also.
 – Survey your community and determine the Hispanic population.
 – Buy some Spanish tracts and make them available to your congregation (they should be carrying tracts anyway).
 – Start an English class (with the purpose of evangelizing).
 – Learn some Spanish, if only enough to give a tract, to invite someone to an English class, to invite to special events at your church or to give the gospel.
 – Send your Pastor or church leaders on a mission trip to a Spanish speaking country.
 – Learn some Spanish choruses for your VBS.  This will make Hispanic children feel welcome and it will put zeal in your hearts.
 – Go to a Hispanic conference (to learn about ministering and reaching out to Hispanics).
 – Contact Baptist Church Planters and ask for someone to come evaluate the possibilities of ministering to Hispanics in your community.
 – Go or send someone to a school in the States or abroad to learn Spanish. Immersion is key to mastering a foreign language.
 – Call me, I would love to come and preach and tell you about our burden for the Hispanic community.
What has God done in our meager efforts?:
 – Two Hispanic families have come to Jesus Christ, been baptized, and become members of our church.
 – We presently have the opportunity to minister to a Hispanic family through counseling.
 – We now have an English class for a Mexican lady.  She brings her children to our Friday night King’s Kids program and then stays for a one hour English class.
 – We have families in our church who are working on learning minimal Spanish so they are able to give tracts and invite people to church.
 – My wife and I are presently taking a class to learn Spanish. I desire to study Spanish so I can personally communicate with the Hispanics, but I also desire to eventually preach in Spanish as well.
 – We have constant witnessing opportunities with a waitress in a Mexican restaurant.
 – We have contact with a couple from El Salvador. She works in a Chinese buffet here in town and yet does not speak Chinese or English.
 – We have been invited into a Mexican home recently.
 – Our people say, “Buenos dias” to people in the laundromat and then give a gospel tract or invitation to a special event at church.  We often hear our church family greet one another with, “Hola!”  Their mindset is broadening.

Your response may be, “That’s great! Do you know of anybody who can come here to begin a Hispanic ministry?” NO!  However, what a better way to teach missions to your people than to have them look out into their own community and see the wide open door of the Hispanics? They have come to us!  We just had to notice. 
David Shumate from Missions Gospel Ministries International said it clearly with the title of his article, “Una Puerta Abierta” – an open door! The door is open; let us not hesitate to step through into this most exciting field.
by Pastor Herb Taylor, pastor of Skyline Baptist Church, Front Royal, VA
Posted 3/31/09