Are prerequisites of the dominant planting culture depriving Latino planters of the opportunity to use their strengths?
As a Latino who has invested most of my ministry life (over 30 years) to church planting, I am deeply grateful to the Send Institute at the Billy Graham Center and Lifeway Research for investing in the much-needed Hispanic Church Planting Research Project and giving us a glimpse into the missional impulse of Latino-led church planting in the U.S.
As a New York-born Dominican (Dominican York) committed to seeing gospel movements develop and mature in key influential cities of America, this research confirms what I have been experiencing as a church planting catalyst in New York City. It also challenges some assumptions and practices I see within the “church planting enterprise” in America, mostly governed by criteria and metrics established by the dominant culture.
The research highlights two fundamental traits that are a must for church planting initiatives to move beyond surviving and into thriving, especially in highly dense urban contexts: grit (resolve, tenacity) and faith.
As the study shows, I believe Christian Latino pastors and planters can write the book on both perseverance under extremely challenging circumstances as well as the need for an uncommon belief and reliance on the supernatural for what is a primarily spiritual endeavor—birthing a church.
Most Latino pastors and planters I relate to are bi-vocational, poorly funded (if at all), have limited formal theological education, and are facing threatening socio-political-economic challenges (systemic, generational, and cultural) within their ministry contexts. Yet they keep at it and manage to not only survive, but even to thrive!
Recently, I had the privilege of participating in an assessment organized by one of the most significant church planting …