While Sprint and Verizon have been arguing over who has the largest 3G cellular network, Hispanic Baptists must make serious strides to develop their own “3G network” – one that will minister to third-generation Hispanics and beyond.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, second and third-generation Hispanics currently make up 60% of the total Hispanic population. By the year 2020, they will comprise 66% of the Hispanic population.
For Texas, this means that of the 9 million Hispanics in the state, about 6 million of them are second or third-generation.
A 2007 report of the Pew Hispanic Center showed that “fewer than one-in-four (23%) Latino immigrants reports being able to speak English very well.” Among second-generation Hispanics, the number increases to 88%.
A full 71 percent of third-generation Hispanics over age 18 claimed English as their dominant language. Twenty-seven percent claimed to be bilingual. By this third generation, only 2 percent spoke primarily Spanish. This is according to a report from the American Political Science Association.
For Texas Baptists, this means that English can be used to reach out to about 88% of second-generation Hispanics and an astounding 98% of third-generation Hispanics.
As Hispanic Texas Baptists, we find ourselves facing an amazing paradox. We are linguistically and culturally poised to make a dramatic impact in the communities that are experiencing an increasing Hispanic influence around our state and the nation. At the same time, we face a leadership crisis.
Hispanic Baptist leaders can tell you how states like Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee, among many others, are increasingly coming to Texas to seek out Spanish-speaking Baptist pastors and ministers. This means our 300 or so pastor-less Hispanic churches are competing with higher-paying conventions and associations from other states. In the face of need at home, we are increasingly exporting ministerial talent.
When it comes to third-generation Hispanics, this leadership vacuum is at exponential levels. We are told that 66% of Texas Hispanic churches minister primarily in Spanish and 33% minister bilingually from the pulpit. Only 1% of the approximately 1,400 Hispanic Baptist churches in Texas are ministering in English.
This means that less than 15 Hispanic Baptist churches in the entire state are working to reach the nearly 6 million second and third-generation Hispanics in the state!
The New 3G Network
Thanks to the Convención officers and Rolando Rodriguez at the BGCT’s Office of Hispanic Ministries, Convención 2009 will serve to initiate this much needed network of churches, pastors, leaders and communicators that minister to third-generation Hispanics.
Your input in the form of ideas and recommendations for this time is greatly appreciated. To share about your “3G Ministry,” your interest and ideas, post comments here or email them to us using the contact form here.
It’s time to build the largest 3G Network in the United States!