“things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4- We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done”. Psalm 78:3-4

In our efforts to serve the Hispanic community in the United States, we often overlook the significance of ministering to second and third-generation Hispanics. These young individuals and families differ greatly from the first generation regarding language, culture, interests, mentality, education, and worldview. This gap poses a unique challenge for our churches and communities.

When you think about the Hispanic ministry, you may be convinced, as I once was, that the Hispanic ministry in the U.S. should be conducted entirely in Spanish. This makes sense because Spanish is, in many cases, the first, if not the only language. The adults we serve as the first generation also speak Spanish as a first language. However, we must ask ourselves: how can we reach and minister to their children and grandchildren who no longer speak or only understand very basic Spanish? How can we prevent these individuals, who once attended church as children brought by their parents, from disconnecting completely because everything is centered around the Spanish language and culture?

The transition from the first generation, who primarily speak Spanish, to the second and third generations, who are more comfortable with English, highlights the need for our ministries to adapt. While the first generation is rooted in their native language and cultural practices, their children and grandchildren grow up in a bilingual and bicultural environment. This reality requires a ministry approach that bridges these differences and fosters cultural inclusivity.

As the father of three teenagers who speak and understand very basic Spanish but prefer to communicate in English and a pastor of a Hispanic congregation a few years ago, I started noticing that their interest in church life was diminishing as they felt increasingly disconnected and isolated. This was not unique to our children; other young people and children in many Hispanic churches felt the same way. I realized that we risked losing them if we did not take action.

We are convinced that the future of Hispanic ministry in the United States will have a different dynamic, where Spanish will not be the primary language and cultural diversity will be predominant.

Recognizing this, it is imperative that we prepare pastors and church workers of the second generation to effectively reach out to their peers. These leaders will possess a deep understanding of the second generation’s cultural and linguistic nuances, enabling them to minister in ways that resonate more deeply. Training programs and theological education tailored to this bilingual and bicultural context will be essential in equipping them to bridge the generational divide and ensure the church remains relevant and welcoming to younger generations.

That is why, for two consecutive years, we are sending a group of second-generation youth to the “Vocatio Tour” at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Last year, there were seven teens, and this year, there were thirteen participating under the supervision of Rev. Rodrigo and Dayana Fernandez. This youth group comes from different parts of our District, including major cities like Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. We are hopeful that the Holy Spirit will work in these young hearts, igniting a passion for ministry. The support from parents and pastors is crucial in this endeavor. Their encouragement can inspire these young individuals to consider a future in ministry.

I thank God for Pastor Rodrigo Fernandez’s heart and leadership; as a part of the Hispanic ministry in the Texas District, he has been a catalyst in supporting, encouraging, and advocating for the next generation. We continue to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His harvest. We are intentionally promoting ministry among the second generation of Hispanics in Texas. Together, we are investing in the next generation, ensuring they remain connected to the church and grow in their faith.

By Rev. Lincon Guerra
Area A Mission & Ministry Facilitator
BMA Liaison / Hispanic Min. Coordinator