Young Latino protestants are rising as the fastest-growing segment of evangelicals in America. Biola University’s 43rd Biola Hispanic Conference aims to prepare church leaders to serve this rising generation.
Hispanic American Protestantism in the US as a socio-religious phenomenon of the 21st century is expected to become not only the largest in demographics, but also the youngest as a movement. According to Pew Research (2014), younger Hispanic people are less likely to be Catholic, the current primary religion in Hispanic families. Furthermore, Lifeway reports that 44% of congregants in Hispanic evangelical churches are between the ages of 18-29 (2019). It’s precisely for this reason that we are focusing this year’s conference on the next generation and the future of Hispanic churches.
The Hispanic Latino churches (I use both terms interchangeably) are courageous evangelicals with deep roots and flourishing branches. We have a complex history in the Americas that extends for more than 500 years. Latino evangelicals believe in the unchanging Word of God and in the guidance, work, and ministry of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are without error or misstatement in their moral and spiritual teaching and record of historical facts. Scripture is at the center of these communities and is a source of inspiration that guides our path and journey.
Latino evangelical churches believe that those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and their Lord, and who confess Him as such before their fellow men, become children of God and receive eternal life. They become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ and at the Second Coming of Christ, their bodies shall be raised and transformed into the likeness of the body of His glory.
Latino Christians strive to integrate orthodoxy with orthopraxis. By orthopraxis, one refers to the demonstration of the way and teachings of our savior Jesus Christ. Latino evangelical communities ratify our confessions (Westminster, Baptist, Renewal) and affirm our creeds (Biblical, Nicean, Apostles, Credo Hispano). Many of our churches are working to see the present aspects of the Kingdom of God established in every generation.
However, one of the greatest needs we are now seeing among our communities is the issue of how we reach and disciple the present and next generations of Latinos for Christ. We have invited young-adult pastor Dr. Lucas Leys, one of the best-known Christian writers and speakers in Latin America and a best-selling Christian author in the Spanish-speaking world, to be the conference’s keynote speaker.
Diving deeper into the theme, “The Church and the Future: Co-creating Paths with Present and Future Generations,” the conference will be held on Sept. 24 in Spanish. It will provide attendees with ministry leadership tools to serve the rising generation, especially since an increasing number of young people are filling the pews. The purpose of the conference is to provide an intensive and high-quality educational and training opportunity within the scope of a one-day event, for pastors and Christian leaders from Spanish-speaking evangelical churches. Participants can expect to sharpen their skills and knowledge for more effective ministry.
The conference theme was chosen to address important issues of concern to the church and to enhance its witness in our contemporary culture. Our staff and faculty here at Biola and Talbot along with distinguished speakers will address how pastors and leaders can co-create paths for current and future generations to flourish in society and how to effectively disciple the upcoming generation.
Register or learn more about the Biola Hispanic Conference.