DALLAS — “The U.S. is becoming Latinized at a stunning rate,” said Dan Bouchelle, “and this is not a problem.”
In fact, “this is an opportunity that may save our nation,” said the president of Missions Resource Network
, “because these people are coming with a vitality and an energy and a love of family that we have lost in our country.”
Bouchelle spoke to a room full of Anglo and Latino Christians during a dinner at the Highland Oaks Church of Christ
. The nonprofit he serves seeks to help Churches of Christ plant strong congregations worldwide.
Genesis Alliance, another nonprofit, hosted the dinner, which followed a College Day for Latino students and their families.
The ministry, designed to reach first-generation Latinos in the U.S., invited representatives of Christian universities and other ministries to discuss ways churches in the U.S. can adapt and adopt strategies to reach lost souls in an increasingly Latino nation.
Sixto Rivera, executive director of Genesis Alliance
, told the church members that his ministry favors an “organic” approach to bring Jesus into the Latino community — rather than focusing on traditional church planting or events designed merely to increase the number of visitors during church services.
These people are coming with a vitality and an energy and a love of family that we have lost in our country. — Dan Bouchelle, Missions Resource Network
Through videoconferencing, Rivera hosts training, coaching and mentoring sessions for potential church leaders across the U.S. and Latin America.
For ministries among Hispanics to grow, church leaders must be willing to look for — and cultivate — new talent, Rivera said.
“That’s how Jesus did it,” he said. “He got tax collectors and common people and he made them leaders.”
Rivera urged ministers and elders of churches — Latino and Anglo — to focus on goals beyond adding a few extra people to their pews on Sunday mornings.
“If we plant churches, we may make disciples,” he said, “but if we make disciples, we will plant churches.”
Bouchelle encouraged churches across the U.S. to see the great need to reach Latinos in their communities — and to utilize ministries such as Genesis Alliance as they seek to spread the Gospel in an increasingly diverse nation.
“This ministry stands in the river that is downstream from a giant snowfall, and it’s beginning to thaw,” Bouchelle said of Genesis Alliance. “This river is going to flood its banks and wash over this entire area, and I think maybe we ought to pay attention and join in — and get in the stream with them.”
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